Saturday, October 16, 2010

Strawberry Oat Pancakes...of Doom

I was studying yesterday and my mind wandered to the strawberries in my refrigerator that werestarting to look a little sad and it came to me! Strawberry oat pancakes. (How I went from philosophy and truth-makers to strawberry oat pancakes, I'm not sure) I had bought a big thing of oats not long ago (I hatedoatmeal as a kid and thought I might like it now that I'm older and more mature. I was wrong.) and thought oats and strawberries would go great together.

So I woke up this morning and figured it wouldn't be too hard to make these pancakes. Wash, hull, and chop some strawberries. Put them in a bowl with a little sugar and let them macerate for a few minutes, then add them to a recipe for oat pancakes. (I used this one)

Problem #1
No buttermilk. Of course, all the best pancake recipes call for buttermilk and I never have it on hand. Thank goodness for google, though. I looked up some buttermilk substitutes and it turns out you can sort of make your own buttermilk (not as delicious, but it works). (I used this recipe, but I also found this). So I made a little buttermilk, and while it sat for the 5 minutes, I prepared my strawberries. Washed, hulled, and chopped, in a bowl with about a teaspoon of granulated sugar. I got the pancakes mix ready in the food processor and after that was all prepared, I added the strawberry mixture and pulsed it a few times. I figured
the strawberries added a little more liquid to the mix, so I added a little flour to balance it out. So now I put about 1/2 cup pancake mix into a hot skillet and, man, were these pancakes looking good. Sort of a pink color and when they started getting bubbles on the top, I grabbed my spatula to give them a flip.

Problem #2
I forgot to oil the skillet. Of all the times I've made pancakes, I don't think I've ever forgotten to grease the skillet in some way. But, since there's a first time for everything, I made a feeble attempt to save those pancakes, but ended up throwing them out, cleaning out the skillet and trying again. This time, I added a little canola oil to the skillet, got it heated up and made a batch of pancakes, put them on a cooling rack (I intended to save some to eat throughout the week) and got started on the next batch. I made a few batches before I realized...

Problem #3
The pancakes weren't cooking through in the middle! I made a few more batches, trying high heat, low heat, medium low heat, lowest of low heats. Nothing worked. I threw the pancakes out and decided to take this one as a loss.

So I moved on to tortilla española!
I ate this just about every Sunday with my host mom (my madre) while I was studying in Spain. It's one of those simple recipes that once you know how to do it, you can add anything to it. My madre's boyfriend once made us tortilla española with asparagus in it and it was

I grabbed two red skin potatoes (sort of big ones) and started cubing them. You can also do them in rounds and arrange them nicely in the pan...if you want. I also put a whole bunch of canola oil in a skillet and put it on high heat. Once the oil was hot, I put some of the potatoes in (very carefully so the hot oil didn't come back up and burn me) and let them fry. Meanwhile, I was chopping a leftover 1/2 white onion and 1/2 a very tiny yellow onion.
(Side note: I still have not figured out how to prevent onions
making me cry like a baby when I cut them. I've tried running cold water next to me while I chop, holding a piece of bread in my
mouth. So far, the method that seems to work best is wearing goggles. I've heard that putting the onion in the freezer first works, but I always forget to put the onion in the freezer before I
start chopping.)
When the potatoes were done, I put them on a plate lined with paper towel and salted them. I did the potatoes in batches so
I didn't over-crowd the pan and make the temperature of the oil drop too low. I cracked something like 7 eggs in a bowl with a little salt and pepper and whisked it with a fork. (If my mom had seen me, she
would have insisted I use one of those fancy spring-like whisks, but I don't even have one of those, anyway). I took out most of the oil from the pan (I left a little bit in to sauté the onions), turned the heat down, and dropped my chopped onions in and let them hang out until soft. I stirred them around a lot because you don't really want them to get brown...although you could if you wanted because you can do anything with tortilla. Once the onions were soft, I added the potatoes and shook the skillet to make sure everything was in a nice, even layer. Then I added the eggs over the top and shook the skillet again to make sure the egg was evenly spread throughout. I let this cook for a while over low heat and when it seemed to be done enough to flip it, I placed a large plate over the top of the skillet, put a hand on top of the plate (do this quickly because the plate might get hot), freaked out a little bit, and flipped it over (so now the plate is on top of my hand, the tortilla on top of the plate, and the skillet on top of the tortilla. I put the pan back on the stove and slid the tortilla back in. I let this cook for a little while longer until I was pretty sure there wasn't any raw egg left in there to make me sick.

And then I ate it.