It was rather convenient of the rain to come, finally. I wouldn’t normally say this, but this past (long) weekend seemed like a particularly good one for cuddling up on my couch, cooking up a storm in my cozy apartment, catching up on some television viewing, and quality time with friends around the dining room table.
For those of you who haven’t been reading my blog long, let me tell you: I love breakfast. And if breakfast is sort of reminiscent of dessert? Well, even better. I will always choose the sweet over the savory. Whenever I head out to breakfast, the health conscious side of me always hesitantly contemplates getting the omelet, but the “Hey! We’re out to breakfast!” side of me always lands on the Swedish pancakes or Challah French Toast. Pity.
I’ve written before about some to-die-for buttermilk pancakes, but a three day weekend certainly called for three days of more extensive breakfasts. Day 1: poached eggs over some English muffins. Day 3: steel cut oatmeal with dried fruit. And Day 2? Ahh, Day 2… We invited some friends over for breakfast (who conveniently brought a bottle of champagne and a jug of orange juice to make mimosas). I had in front of me a bagful of lemons (I do not exaggerate) from my parents’ tree. What to do with them all? Lemon. Ricotta. Pancakes. With Wild Blueberry Preserves. They were, in a word–heavenly. By separating the eggs and beating the egg whites until they became thickened, the batter was a billowy concoction fragranced with freshly grated lemon zest. The ricotta added a nice little sour note, that was perfectly complemented by the berry jam. The recipe came from one of my favorites–Smitten Kitchen. While Deb opted for sauteed apples as a topper, I was quite pleased with my jam. So pleased, in fact, that I nearly forget that by the time we ate them, it was nearly 11 a.m., which quite frankly, made our little gathering a brunch that lasted well into the afternoon. I feel cheesy saying this, but these pancakes were like little disks of sunshine. Think of them as your plastic yellow rain boots, ready splash around in a puddle.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Wild Blueberry Preserves
recipe c/o Smitten Kitchen
*serves 4, though I’d double the recipe so that no one is fighting over the last pancake
4 eggs, separated into 2 containers
1 1/3 cups of ricotta
1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon zest
1/2 cup of flour
1 tablespoon of melted butter
1. Whisk the egg yolks together with the ricotta, sugar and lemon zest until fully combined.
2. Stir in the flour.
3. In a separate bowl, use a whisk attachment for an electric mixer to whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they nearly triple in size, and turn into a thick mixture, forming peaks.
4. Whisk about 1/4 of this mixture into the other bowl. Stir in the rest of the egg whites.
5. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-high and brush with melted butter.
6. Drop batter into the skillet using a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Cook each pancake for about 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes, until golden.
7. Serve with wild blueberry preserves and fresh berries. (You can also sub in maple syrup, or try Deb’s recipe for sauteed apples.)
*Keep your oven on warm, and stack your pancakes into a heat-proof dish that you can throw in at any time. Nobody wants cold pancakes.
Musical Pairings: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and Hercules & the Love Affair
I loved Kasey’s lemon, ricotta pancakes. This playful, creative take on an old favorite (pancakes that is) manages to call to mind the essence of traditional pancake recipes while simultaneously tasting brand new. We invited over some friends and drank mimosas while enjoying these pancakes. The result was a very happy, celebratory meal with good friends. For this reason, Hercules & the Love Affair’s self-titled album is a perfect pairing for this meal. Songwriter Andrew Butler called upon a collection of friends including Antony (from Antony & the Johnsons) to contribute vocals to this stunning, upbeat album. Although reminiscent of 70’s disco, Hercules & the Love Affair definitely feels like a fully realized evolution of the genre: something new that borrows upon other contemporary genres such as electronica, club music and house. In other words, this isn’t retro – its brand new. -Matthew