When I look back on this period of our lives — and I do sincerely hope that we’ll be looking back on it someday and that quarantine isn’t just a new way of life — there are certain cultural artifacts that’ll remind of me this time: The Leftovers (which we marathoned at the start of the pandemic; it’s very on-the-nose and also very good), The Nilsson Sessions (my go-to cooking music these days), The Patrick Melrose novels (read them over the past few months), Parting Glances (an incredible movie that we watched in our Zoom movie club), and, most relevant to your interests: ricotta pancakes.
How did I arrive at these ricotta pancakes? I can trace it back to my friend Diana telling me about Farm Fresh To You (a great CSA) and the incredible ricotta that they carry from Bellwether Farms. I signed up and started getting the ricotta every week — it comes in a little basket, so the whey drains out and the ricotta is extra thick — and at some point I had a ricotta pile-up. Instead of just eating it with a spoon (a viable option, considering how good it was), I decided to treat ourselves to ricotta pancakes one morning for breakfast.
The issue was this: Craig bought the bread. Can you imagine the gall? When he’s in a relationship with one of the most important food writers of his generation, buying the bread? Without asking questions like “what kind of bread” or “should it be sliced or unsliced” just going out and buying bread? I mean, really. So there I was, on a Sunday morning, staring at a loaf of perfectly nice white bread from the Village Bakery with only one problem: he bought it sliced. If I tried to make French Toast with those individual slices, it would be super wimpy French Toast. No one likes wimpy French Toast, not even wimps.
How to transform already-sliced bread into bread thick enough for everyone’s favorite butter-fried breakfast treat? A solution suddenly appeared: I could make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and treat those like French Toast. PB&J French Toast. Genius!
Our first weekend in the new apartment and it was my mission to make breakfast. I’d carried a box of foodstuffs from our old refrigerator to the new refrigerator so as not to waste anything and that box contained perishables like eggs, bacon, butter and milk. In my pantry, I had flour, sugar and salt. What could a person make with these things that wasn’t boring? A vision came to me, a vision of a nun on a beach dancing the hoochie-coochie. But then another vision came to me: Crêpes!
Wow, what a morning. I went to sleep last night slightly anxious: would the Supreme Court continue its conservative streak, this week, and uphold DOMA? Would Prop 8 remain in place? Then, at 6 AM, I woke up and checked my phone, going straight to Twitter to see if there were any relevant updates. There weren’t, so back to sleep I went. Then at 7:30 I woke up and same thing. Maybe it was around 8 that the news began to trickle in: DOMA had been overturned. I switched to Facebook and so many of my friends were ecstatic with the news. My friend Lauren, who I lived with in law school and who had the same family law professor I did, wrote this: “Around 10 yrs ago, my Family Law professor (an orthodox rabbi) confidently said to my face that he believed within 10 yrs time there would be an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same sex marriage. The smile on my face right now is dedicated to him. Law students: don’t believe everything they tell you.”
I’d like to propose a toast to toast. It can do so many miraculous things: drizzled with olive oil and topped with tomatoes, it becomes bruschetta; brushed with butter and topped with eggs, it’s an open-faced breakfast sandwich. And then there’s the matter of French toast; where you dunk the bread in custard, fry it up in butter and serve it hot with good maple syrup. The only thing that could make that better is if you double the toast quotient by toasting the bread before making it French. And the only thing that could make THAT better is if you make the toast cinnamon toast.
It’s Friday which means it’s time for a weekend breakfast recipe!
I’d like you to meet my breakfast from last weekend, Buttermilk Cornmeal Pancakes. These pancakes, which come from Cheryl and Griffith Day’s “Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook” intrigued me because of the cornmeal in the title. I’m not normally a pancake person because of a texture issue–I find them too spongy, too mushy when you add the syrup–but cornmeal seemed to suggest these might be crisper than normal pancakes. And guess what? They totally were. Craig called them the best pancakes he’d ever had for that very reason.
Greetings from Seattle! I’m at a coffee shop staring at Molly Orangette’s back (this is true: after seeing her yesterday, I randomly ran into her again today). I’m here, though, for a very important reason. I’m here to tell you about these banana nut waffles that will be perfect for a holiday breakfast this weekend. Some of you may be celebrating Christmas; and if, after unpacking your stockings, you load up on these before tearing into the presents? You’re bound to be happy even if your significant other gifts you with a poodle sweater.
In the food section of my brain, there are two major filing cabinets: (1) New York City restaurants organized by location, allowing me to choose the perfect spot to nosh no matter where we are in the city; and (2) a recipe file.
My recipe file is mostly organized by ingredient (chicken, peas, bacon), though occasionally it’s organized by equipment. There are the recipes I make with my ice cream maker, the recipes I make with my new wok, and, filed away in there, was the recipe I wanted to make if I ever received a waffle maker.