I’m going through a real sorbet / ice cream-making phase right now. If you follow me on Instagram (and how can you not?!), you saw me make a vanilla bean ice cream a few weeks ago, and a Concord grape sorbet more recently. Not only was it fun to dig out my old ice cream maker (it’s nothing fancy; just a crappy old Cuisinart, with a canister I keep in the freezer), but it’s been EXTRA fun to have homemade frozen treats waiting for me every night after dinner. I have a real sweet tooth, but eating a whole dessert every night is a lot, so I just have a spoonful or two of homemade ice cream or sorbet, and I’m good.
Yesterday, I was at the farmer’s market and I decided to brave the line at the only organic stand (they’re so popular, they scared away all the others). As I gathered up heirloom tomatoes and zucchini, I spied really gorgeous strawberries. Even though strawberries are more of a spring thing (aren’t they?), these specimens were pretty undeniable.
Strawberry season may be over in most parts of the country, but here in L.A. the strawberries are still bright red and fragrant and sweet as could be.
On Monday, last week, I brought home two cartons of strawberries from the farmer’s market that I planned to use for a shortcake the next night. The question was: “How do I store them so they don’t lose their fresh-from-the-market flavor?” The answer came via Twitter from my friend, the celebrated pastry chef Shuna Lydon.
“Whoah,” you’re probably thinking, “am I on drugs? What’s going on here? That picture, it’s so good, so professional, so unlike any picture I’ve ever seen on this blog before. What gives?!”
I’ll tell you what gives: I didn’t take that picture! (Collective gasp.) No, that picture was taken by my new best friend for the next year or so. Say hello to Elizabeth Leitzell (here’s the link to her website), the new snapshot photographer who’ll be coming along with me taking pictures of me cooking with famous chefs for the cookbook I’m writing for Artisan. Last week, I cooked a dinner for her and my book intern Tyla Fowler (the blogger behind Without a Microwave) as a gesture of good will before the cookbook work begins.
I never liked pancakes growing up (the syrup made them too soggy, I preferred waffles) but I like them now mostly because they’re easy to whip up on a Sunday morning, especially if you have one of the following dairy items on hand: buttermilk (most preferable), regular milk (also preferable) or, as I learned today, sour cream and half and half (not preferable, but certainly good).
Yes, to make pancakes you just mix a bunch of dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) and then a bunch of wet ingredients (milk or buttermilk or sour cream, eggs, melted butter), and then you add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, heat some butter in a nonstick skillet and fry up the pancakes a few at a time. Only, as I discovered today, you can also add a mystery ingredient. Sometimes the mystery ingredient is chocolate chips, other times the mystery ingredient is coconut. Today the mystery ingredient was strawberries!
Funny how when you have an impulse to do something, like add strawberries to pancakes, you look for validation that your idea is ok online (at least I do). I Googled “strawberry pancakes” and saw several recipes and I knew it was ok. And sure enough, after making them and eating them, it was more than ok: it’s a terrific way to use up seasonal strawberries that you bring home from the farmer’s market and don’t know how to use.
I figure at this point in the post you’re probably wondering: “are you going to give us a recipe?” And normally, I’d say: “No, just do any pancake recipe you like and add sliced up strawberries at the end” but instead I AM going to give you a recipe in the style of Star Wars opening credits. Enjoy!
Isn’t the internet great? On that same trip to the farmer’s market (see Green Garlic Soup) I bought a bunch of rhubarb and a carton of strawberries. After having that soup for dinner, I wanted to make a strawberry rhubarb cobbler, only I didn’t have a recipe. Enter the internet. I Googled “Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler” and what was the fourth result? My friend Elise’s recipe. And guess what? As you can see by the picture above, it’s a pretty fantastic recipe. You can read the recipe here. The only substitution I made was, because I didn’t have any tapioca (and it was too late to go get some), I just used an equal amount of corn starch. That worked fine. Hot out of the oven and topped with a scoop of David Lebovitz’s vanilla bean ice cream (which I had in the fridge), springtime desserts don’t get much better. But you better act fast: strawberry and rhubarb season’s almost over. Get thee to the farmer’s market!