Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mar 14th - Mixed Berry Whole Wheat Pancakes - Lime and Coconut Prawn Squash Soup

D first made a version of these pancakes nearly 10 years ago at grad school in France. His international school has 'Days' for each nation represented in the class. For Canada Week, D made a pancake breakfast. The original version was a banana pancake but I was not in the mood for the cloy texture of pancakes today. Actually, we only have new bananas and I do not find that they work in baking or cooking. We have some over ripe in the freezer for such occasions but we had not taken them out. So instead, we are using a frozen berry mix as a substitute. As well, I have a penchant for Southern spins so I have begged and pleaded with modest success to add cornmeal. One day when I am at the helm of the morning skillet, I will make Ho-Cakes or Johnny Cakes which are mostly cornmeal. Love that crunch. Mom always adds cornmeal too. It is one of her only regular Western foods that she makes. She has the recipe on an old index card on the fridge but she rarely looks at it anymore. Though she makes hers the size of dinner plates and they are quite a bit fluffier. I think our Baking Powder is dead.

Mixed Berry Gud Wheat Pancakes (featuring Cornmeal)

Mix these two batches in separate bowls and then add together.

Mix Wet:
3 eggs
1 T vegetable or neutral oil (or melted butter)
2 c milk (lactose free, if you are intolerant to the violence of lactose as we both are :-D)
2 vanilla pod split and scraped of the seeds. You only want the seeds.

Sift Dry:
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c all purpose flour
1/2 c cornmeal
2 t - 1 T sugar
2 t baking powder

Last: 1 c mixed berries

Add the Dry to the Wet, slowly by folding. You want it all combined but not over mixed or gluten will develop from the flour and you will have tough pancakes. Do not worry too much about small lumps but work out the big ones.

Gently fold in the berries.

In a large non stick fry pan heat some vegetable oil on medium heat, add two 1/4 ladles of batter as far apart as can be so that they do no bleed together into one enormous figure eight shaped pancake.

Let sit until a lot of bubbles appear on the surface and the edges look solid. It should be about 3 minutes. Check underneath as well that they do not over brown. If they start to over brown before the top looks like a sponge, then flip. I think our baking powder might be dead. We did not get many bubbles. Cook on the other side for another minutes.

Serve with Maple Syrup of course. MMMMM

For dinner, we went to our friends' B & H's new house. They fully renovated a beautiful house on Douglas Park. When I say fully, I mean, cut roof off, lift roof a storey and replace roof. Fully. It is stunning. They recovered a lot of the wood and there is so much air and light. On top of that, they had a new baby over Christmas so with the first time seeing them for the New Year, it was a treble whammy. We brought a little bag of goodies, pretty close to the traditional Scandanavian house warming gift of Bread, Wine and Salt. We brought a lovely Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc, my current favourite wine, so that their house would always know joy. We bought an Italian Easter Brioche, so that they would never know hunger. And instead of salt, for flavour, we brought some Chocolate and a Flowering Plant, so their home would always know sweetness and new life. The kids wanted the chocolate immediately :-P

H made a wonderful dinner and with the kids on Spring break and she on mat-leave, she even found the time to bake a Raspberry cake. B opened a very nice Nk'Mip Cellars Pinot Noir 2007.

The soup they served will definitely be something I try at home. This is not the exact recipe but from talking, is it. We have made Squash soups before but the small variations on this one made it so gooood!

Lime and Coconut Prawn Squash Soup

(serves 6-8)
3 lbs butternut squash peeled and cubed
1 tin coconut milk
3-4 c vegetable broth or water
1/2 onion sliced
1 lime, zest and juice
1 inch fresh ginger, minced (or in chunks if you want to fish it out)
1 T sugar, (or honey)
4-5 large prawn, shelled, per person
3-4 cups fresh, washed, baby spinach
1 c fresh cilantro chopped.
Salt and White Pepper to taste

In a large dutch oven, heat some vegetable oil on medium high. Sautee the onions and ginger until the onions soften. 2-3 minutes. Add the squash and sautee for 5 minutes to soften the squash slightly. Add the broth/water, to cover the squash. Simmer for 30 minutes until the squash is fork tender, or you soft enough where you could squash a cube with your finger or the back of a fork. Add the lime zest.

Puree with a hand blender until smooth. Do not worry about getting perfectly smooth. Add the coconut milk. Add more water by swishing the coconut milk tin if the soup is too think. You do not want porridge thick. Add the prawn. Simmer on low until the prawn are just cooked.

In the soup bowls, place 1/2 c of baby spinach leaves, and small handful of cilantro. Ladle the soup over the greens. Make sure to get 4-5 prawn per person. Squeeze a wedge of lime just before serving.

It was gorgeous!!!

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