Monday, September 18, 2006
The virtues of the pancake are so many they defy listing. Inexpensive and easy to make, they taste rich and complicated. They can be made healthy and nutritious or decadent and fattening. My rule of thumb is two cups of flour (plus salt, baking powder, sugar) to two cups of wet stuff. The wet stuff can be comprised of a great variety of things including but not limited to eggs, milk, butter, oil, apple sauce, apple butter, soy milk, buttermilk, goat milk, cream, or yogurt. I literally take my Pyrex 2 cup measure and start filling it up with what I have around. The results vary but are usually quite good.
Many people believe that buying a pancake mix is a good idea. It is not. They are very mistaken. Pancakes from mixes are not easier to make, they are not as tasty, are more expensive and probably less healthy. So lets see .... They are fun to make, fun to eat, cheap, healthy (or not), oh yeah and generally good for the family. Children love to assist in all aspects of the pancake ritual which, of course, translates into a "teaching moment." What is not eaten at breakfast, becomes the kids' afternoon snack to be gobbled down amidst inquiring glances and raised eyebrows at the park.
Thus, when ZenCamel delivered to us one bag of stone-ground organic wheat flour (with germ) from the Littleton, NH Grist Mill, it was not long before my family turned to making pancakes. The results were superb -- a delicate 'cake with a hearty whole-wheat flavor punctuated by nutty bits of wheat germ.
Thank you Mr. Camel.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Anyway, back to the pizza ... this festival oven is, I think, a semi-permanent fixture at the Round Barn because American Flatbread caters so many weddings and other events at the Inn. But George and his crew can also set one of these ovens up in an afternoon. They arrive with rough hewn wooden logs to build a sort of lincoln-log platform on top of which, as I recall, they create something like a big sandbox. They lay fire bricks in the sand for a floor and then they stack bricks in diminishing concentric circles, which they plaster with cob (mud and straw). Typically, they use the festival ovens just to finish par-baked pizzas on site. It may sound like cheating, but keep in mind that the pizza is par-baked in an earth and stone Quebec style oven. Trust me, the product is good. I recall a pizza topped with a basil and sunflower seed pesto. It was good enough that I made a mental note to experiment with it, though I haven't yet. There was also a very memorable Vermont sausage pizza.
It was a nice event, though the limitations of my stomach capacity were frustrating. There was plenty more good eating to be had that night...