Basic Pancakes

Basic Pancakes | Pinky's Pantry
This is my mom’s pancake recipe. She always said that pancakes were the easiest breakfast to make. And the easiest recipe to remember. In fact, you didn’t really need a recipe according to Mom. It was just “1-1-1.” One of everything except for the salt which you cut in half. Funny thing….. Mom was right! Not only is this an easy recipe to make, but it makes delicious, fluffy pancakes. The trick is not to overmix the batter. You want to gently stir the flour and baking powder into the liquid ingredients until the flour is just moistened and you’ve broken up any large lumps. Little lumps are okay. As Mom put it, “don’t worry about it. They’ll disappear during cooking.”

This recipe makes about 4 pancakes (more if you make small ones) but the nice thing is that you can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe if you’re feeding more than two people. Set out some butter and syrup and have at it!

BASIC PANCAKES

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole milk (substitute buttermilk for buttermilk pancakes)
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  1. In a medium bowl, beat the egg, milk, sugar, and salt together until well-blended.
  2. Add the flour and baking powder, and stir until just combined. Don’t overmix! You want your batter to be lumpy.
  3. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes to give any lumps a chance to absorb some moisture.
  4. While the batter’s resting, preheat your griddle to 375°F.
  5. Spread a little butter or margarine on the griddle and pour a scoop of batter onto it. Try not to put too much batter. Remember, the bigger the pancake, the harder it is to flip. You want about  1/3 cup of batter per pancake.
  6. When the pancake is starting to get filled with bubbles and the edges start looking dry, that’s your sign that it’s time to flip the pancake over.
  7. After you flip it over, it takes only a minute or two for the other side to cook.
  8. Serve warm with butter and syrup.

VARIATIONS:  You can add things like blueberries, sliced bananas, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, etc. to the pancake batter for a variation on the basic recipe.

Basic Drop Biscuits

Drop Bisciuts | Pinky's Pantry
Drop biscuits are some of the easiest biscuits to make because you don’t have to roll them out or cut them with a biscuit cutter which makes for less equipment to use and less handling. Remember, the more you handle your dough, the tougher your biscuits turn out so you want to handle your dough as little as possible. These biscuits are Old Goat Honey’s favorite because he loves how they’re all crispy on the outside but chewy inside. I love making ham and cheddar drop biscuits, like the ones I have pictured, and serving them with eggs and coffee for breakfast.
Drop Bisciuts | Pinky's Pantry

BASIC DROP BISCUITS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk (can substitute milk)
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter, for brushing on top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, melt 1/2 cup butter in the microwave and let cool about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour melted butter and buttermilk into flour mixture and stir just till mixture comes together. You’ll have a soft, sticky dough.
  5. Drop about 1/3 cup of batter onto prepared baking sheet, about 1½ inches apart.
  6. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until tops are golden brown and crisp.
  7. Take biscuits out of oven and immediately brush tops with 2 tablespoons melted butter, if desired.

VARIATIONS:  You can add things to the dry ingredients like ½ cup shredded cheese, or ½ cup chopped ham, or ½ cup crumbled bacon, or ¼ cup minced herbs, etc., alone or in combination with each other, before combining with the wet ingredients. You may have to increase the buttermilk to moisten the dough some more if you add other ingredients.

NOTE:  For the biscuits pictured, I added ½ cup shredded cheddar, ½ cup minced ham, 2 chopped green onion stalks, and about another ½ cup buttermilk.

Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur | Pinky's Pantry
I found out that today is National Sandwich Day. Who knew we had a day dedicated to sandwiches? I love sandwiches. They’re the easiest thing to pack for lunch, they’re adorable cut into dainty little shapes for tea, and our family road trips just wouldn’t be the same without a cooler of sandwiches and drinks in the trunk of the car.

It’s commonly believed that the sandwich was the invention of John Montagu who was the 4th Earl of Sandwich in England. I can’t vouch for the truth of that, but the story goes that Lord Sandwich was a notorious gambler. They say he spent long hours at the gaming tables and rather than get up to eat, he would ask the servants to bring him some sliced meat between two pieces of bread so he could hold the food in one hand and keep his cards in the other. His friends embraced the custom and when they got hungry, they would ask for “the same as Sandwich” and that’s how the sandwich got its auspicious beginnings.

Anyway, in deference to National Sandwich Day, I decided to make Croque Monsieur for dinner tonight. Croque Monsieur is typical French bistro fare. Fancy as its name is, it’s basically just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with béchamel sauce and more cheese. It’s delicious served all hot and melty with a glass of wine or an ice cold beer. If you top a Croque Monsieur with a fried egg, you’ll have what’s called a Croque Madame. But that’s for another post.

CROQUE MONSIEUR
(Makes 6 sandwiches)

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 12 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • room temperature butter for spreading on the bread slices
  • 1 jar dijon mustard
  • 6 ozs. thinly sliced Black Forest ham or Virginia ham
  • 8-10 ozs. Gruyère cheese (can substitute Emmental, Comté, or Swiss cheese)
  1. Slice enough Gruyere to make 6 sandwiches (6 or 7 ozs.) and grate the rest to use for topping. Set cheese aside.
  2. Make béchamel sauce by melting 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a small saucepan.
  3. Add flour, whisking until well combined.
  4. Gradually whisk in milk, parmesan cheese, and nutmeg.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cook until sauce thickens, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes.
  7. Set béchamel aside and preheat broiler to high. You’ll broil the sandwiches later.
  8. Butter one side of all 12 slices of bread.
  9. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat on the stove.
  10. Place 3 of the bread slices, butter side down, in the skillet.
  11. Brush some mustard on top of each slice of bread in the skillet.
  12. Top each with a slice of ham and a slice of Gruyère.
  13. Cover sandwiches with 3 slices of bread, butter side up.
  14. Cook until deep golden brown, then carefully flip over and cook other side.
  15. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining bread.
  16. Spoon béchamel sauce over each sandwich.
  17. Sprinkle a little grated Gruyère over béchamel.
  18. Place under broiler until cheese is melted and light brown.
  19. Serve hot.

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake | Pinky's PantryIt’s blueberry season! Every year, my sister Helen takes her daughters blueberry picking with a bunch of their school friends and their families. They go to this blueberry farm up in the hills and have an absolute blast while they’re there. Helen’s youngest daughter, Sophie, is a little blueberry-picking speed-demon and can fill up a bucket faster than you can say blueberry pie!

Anyway, whenever they go, they always make sure to bring me back a bagful of the beautiful little blue gems. This year was no exception. The berries are always so sweet and juicy. If you’ve never had blueberries fresh off the bush, you’ve got to find a way to try some. Commercially sold blueberries are good, but they pale in comparison to these ones. I think it’s time for some Blueberry Buttermilk Cake!
Blueberry Buttermilk Cake | Pinky's Pantry

BLUEBERRY BUTTERMILK CAKE

  • 2 – 2½ cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar (or white granulated sugar)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×13-inch baking pan.
  2. Place blueberries in a small bowl.
  3. Take 2 tablespoons of the flour and toss it with the blueberries. Coating the blueberries with flour helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake as it bakes.
  4. Combine remaining flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  5. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  6. Add vanilla and beat in eggs, one at a time.
  7. Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, in three additions until completely combined.
  8. Fold in blueberries.
  9. Spread batter in prepared baking pan.
  10. Sprinkle top evenly with demerara sugar.
  11. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  12. Cake can be served warm or cool completely before serving.

NOTE:  If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own homemade buttermilk by placing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to the cup till it reaches the 1-cup line. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk with a wire whisk for a few seconds.

Cherry Cobbler

Cherry Cobbler | Pinky's Pantry
It’s cherry season and the cherries are out in full force. I see them everywhere – at the farmer’s market, in the grocery stores, on street vendor’s tables – and they’re absolutely delicious! So dark and sweet and juicy.

I picked up a sackful from the store yesterday and decided to make them into a fresh cherry cobbler. I love fruit cobblers, don’t you? Especially when they’re just out of the oven and served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on the side. Yum! As an added bonus, they make the house smell so good while they’re baking, too!

If you have a cherry pitter, use it. It sure makes the work of pitting each cherry a lot easier. I used to be the Room Mom for my kids’ kindergarten classes and one year, as a thank you gift, the children gave me a pretty white basket filled with fresh cherries. Tied to the basket’s handle with a red-and-white checkered ribbon was a silver cherry pitter. I still have that same cherry pitter to this day. It’s proven to be a mighty useful contraption over the years.
Cherry Cobbler | Pinky's Pantry

FRESH CHERRY COBBLER

  • 4 cups fresh cherries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 can evaporated milk (or 2 cups fresh milk)
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar (or plain white sugar), optional
  1. Wash, stem, and remove the pits from the cherries. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish.
  3. Using a wire whisk, whisk the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
  4. Empty the can of evaporated milk into a measuring cup and add enough water or fresh milk to make it amount to 2 cups.
  5. Add the milk and melted butter into the flour mixture and whisk together well. Batter will be thin.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
  7. Scatter the cherries over the top of the batter, distributing them evenly so you get a cherry in every bite.
  8. Sprinkle the top with the ¼ cup demerara sugar, if using.
  9. Bake for about 50 minutes or until top turns light brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

NOTE:  You can make this cobbler with blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches or any other fruit you like.

This recipe can easily be halved and baked in a 9-inch square pan for a smaller cobbler.

Totchos

Totchos | Pinky's PantryThis recipe is a play on traditional Nachos, except instead of tortilla chips, you use tater tots. It makes a hearty and delicious appetizer, or can be served for a yummy brunch dish. Try to have whatever toppings you’ve chosen all ready to go so that as soon as the cheese is melted over the tater tots, you can pile on your toppings and serve right away. The longer the tater tots sit with the toppings on them, the less crunchy they become. Not that that’s a bad thing. My family just prefers them crunchy.
Totchos | Pinky's Pantry

TOTCHOS

  • 1 bag (2 lbs.) frozen tater tots
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream, thinned with a little water or milk till pourable
  • fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Toppings:

  • chorizo, removed from casing, crumbled and cooked
  • refried beans or black beans
  • diced red onion
  • sliced black olives
  • whole kernel corn
  • sliced pickled jalapeños
  • pico de gallo, or your favorite salsa
  • guacamole
  1. Line a jellyroll pan with foil.
  2. Arrange tater tots in single layer on baking pan and bake according to package directions until brown and crispy.
  3. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese over tater tots.
  4. If necessary, return to oven and bake just until cheese is all melted.
  5. Remove from oven and top with any combination of the toppings listed above. You can use as much or as little as you like of the toppings.
  6. Drizzle sour cream over everything.
  7. Sprinkle with cilantro for garnish.
  8. Serve immediately.

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast | Pinky's Pantry
One of the nurses at work gave me her recipe for blueberry french toast several years ago. She loved it because it was very easy to make and could be prepared the night before so it was perfect to take to an office potluck. I had to agree with how easy it was to make, not to mention how delicious it was. I love biting into a little chunk of cream cheese when I’m eating it. The sweet-tart blueberries make the perfect backdrop to each creamy bite. And my blueberry sauce gives it just the right finishing touch.

I love making this casserole with brioche bread which is soft and silky and has a very thin crust. If you can get your hands on some brioche, give it a try. It makes a rich and wonderfully delicious french toast.

BLUEBERRY CREAM CHEESE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

  • 14 slices of white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 12 ozs. (1½ boxes) cream cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  1. Spread half the bread cubes in the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking pan.
  2. Sprinkle with half the cream cheese cubes and half the blueberries.
  3. Cover with the other half of the bread cubes.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining cream cheese and blueberries.
  5. Mix the eggs, milk, and sugar together.
  6. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes in baking pan. Push bread down very lightly with a spatula to make sure top layer gets soaked. Don’t smash it down!
  7. Cover with foil and place in refrigerator overnight.
  8. Next day, remove from refrigerator about half an hour before putting in the oven.
  9. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  10. Bake covered for 30 minutes; then uncover and bake another 30-40 minutes or until firm.

BLUEBERRY SAUCE

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ cups blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • juice of one lemon
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  1. Combine the water and sugar together in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Add the blueberries and simmer until most of them have burst, about 10 minutes.
  4. Dissolve the cornstarch in the lemon juice.
  5. Add the cornstarch-lemon mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
  7. Serve sauce warm with french toast.

NOTE:  My kids like a lot of sauce so when I make this, I double the sauce recipe. You could also skip it and just serve this with plain syrup if you don’t feel like going the extra step of making the blueberry sauce.

Coconut Toast

Coconut Toast | Pinky's Pantry
I read about Coconut Toast on this blog called Laugh With Us Blog. It reminded me of this Filipino coconut dessert we ate all the time growing up. It was called “bukayo.” Bukayo is a native coconut “candy” made by cooking fresh grated coconut and sugar together. One of these days, I’ll have to post a recipe for you guys so you can see what it’s like. Our cusinera (cook) — yes, we had a cook when I was growing up — used to make it for us for an afternoon snack all the time. It’s usually shaped into little balls or little flat patties, but Manang Francisca used to just pile it all into a bowl and we each got to have a tablespoon or two of it. Saved her the work of rolling it into balls, I guess.

Anyway, the coconut in this recipe is prepared a bit differently as it has egg in it, but it reminded me a lot of bukayo. Of course, piling it onto bread takes it up a notch. How clever is that? Then you actually get to eat it with your fingers! No spoon needed. And eat it you will! Esther from Laugh With Us Blog wasn’t kidding when she said this was a must try. OMG! You’ll not only eat it with your fingers, but you’ll lick every little crumb off said fingers, too! It’s that good!

COCONUT TOAST

  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 9-12 slices of bread
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and coconut together.
  3. Spread the mixture onto each slice of bread.
  4. Arrange bread on an ungreased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until toast is lightly browned.

NOTE:  The original recipe is supposed to make enough mixture to cover 12 slices of bread. Apparently, we slather it on a lot thicker than that because we only get 9 slices of bread per recipe. LOL! Just spread the mixture on as thickly as you like. You’ll get anywhere from 9 to 12 pieces of toast.

Also, for those of you looking to cut down on your sugar intake, I’ve made this recipe with only 3/4 cup of sugar. It’s just as delicious as it is with the full amount.

Nutella Filled Aebleskiver

Nutella Aebleskiver | Pinky's Pantry
Megan and Izzy are two of Bashful’s best friends from the city we used to live in before we moved. The girls are here on a visit and will be spending the weekend. It’s always nice when they come to visit. They’re such sweet girls and the three friends have such a blast whenever they’re together. It’s cool how the friendship between the girls has never faded, even though we moved so far away.

Anyway, I wanted to make something fun for breakfast so decided to make Aebleskiver. Aebleskiver (pronounced ey-bluh-skee-wuh) are light and puffy Danish pancakes shaped like little balls. They’re most commonly served around Christmas time in Denmark. They can be a little tricky to cook – turning them takes practice – and you’ll need a special pan to make them. Aebleskiver pans have little round wells in them and were traditionally made from cast iron, though nowadays they sell really good non-stick ones. Danish cooks use long knitting needles to turn their aebleskivers in little quarter turns while they’re cooking. You can use wooden skewers or a fork, though I would rather turn them with a teaspoon than a fork because it’s easy to puncture the little spheres.

When I make filled aebleskivers, I break from the traditional method of cooking them. Instead of turning each ball a little at a time, I cook one side, flip them over, then cook the other side. It’s much simpler.

Aebleskivers can be stuffed with any kind of filling you like. You can fill them with jam, peanut butter, fruit, chocolate, sausage, cheese, pretty much anything you can think of. I’ve filled them with leftover Christmas cranberry sauce. I’ve used canned apple pie and cherry pie filling. I’ve even done pumpkin butter served with cream cheese frosting on the side. This recipe is filled with Nutella. Now what could be better than that? Yum!

NUTELLA FILLED AEBLESKIVER

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 jar nutella
  • extra butter for greasing pan
  1. Beat egg whites in a bowl until stiff but not dry, then set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together egg yolks, buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until smooth.
  3. Gently fold in beaten egg whites.
  4. Heat an aebleskiver pan over medium heat and brush each depression with butter.
    Nutella Aebleskiver | Pinky's Pantry
  5. Pour about 1 tablespoon batter into each of the wells and let cook for about a minute or two.
  6. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon filling into the center of each aebleskiver.
    Nutella Aebleskiver | Pinky's Pantry
  7. Top with another tablespoon of batter, making sure to completely cover the filling.
    Nutella Aebleskiver | Pinky's Pantry
  8. When edges are starting to look cooked, quickly flip them over using 2 bamboo skewers or 2 teaspoons.
    Nutella Aebleskiver | Pinky's Pantry
  9. Cook the other side.
    Nutella Aebleskiver | Pinky's Pantry
  10. Remove from pan and transfer to a serving platter.
  11. If making sweet Aebleskivers, you can sprinkle them with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Crab Salad Crescent Appetizers

Crab Salad Crescents | Pinky's Pantry
I got the inspiration to make these appetizers from the Pillsbury website. My family has been making crab salad for years, though we always serve it as an appetizer in a bowl with crackers on the side. When I saw the photo on Pillsbury, I thought how perfect it would be to wrap our family’s crab salad in crescent roll dough and bake it, instead of doing the same old, same old. It turned out great! And looks so pretty, too!
Crab Salad Crescents | Pinky's Pantry

CRAB SALAD CRESCENT APPETIZERS

  • 1 pkg. imitation crab meat, chopped
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ pkg. (4 ozs.) cream cheese, softened (optional)
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced (can substitute ¼ small onion)
  • 1 stalk green onion, green and white part, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 can Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Mix imitation crab, mayonnaise, cream cheese, shallot, green onion, worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper together in a bowl until well combined.
  3. Unroll dough on work surface and pinch seams to seal.
  4. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows to make 24 squares.
  5. Spoon about 1 teaspoon crab salad onto center of square.
  6. Pull opposite corners on each side up over filling and let points meet in center.
  7. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Serve warm.