Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Boys ♥ Pancakes

I started this post thinking that I was going to write about the evils of mixes and chocolate-frosted sugar bombs for breakfast. But that would make me a huge hypocrite because, well, we have our share of Toaster Strudels and that cereal-that-shall-not-be-named-that-shouldn't-even-bother-with-the-cereal-part-because-we-all-just-want-the-marshmallows. We try to do better. We're not perfect.
           I was also going to tell you how it's really not that much more work to mix pancakes from scratch (it isn't) and how I have made these pancakes so many times that I can do it with one eye open and only half a sip of coffee down my throat and that I don't even need the recipe anymore (this is truly I think the secret to all cooking longevity), but I realized while making these the other morning that these pancakes are really about my boys. They started as a need to find a small batch recipe that suited the breakfast needs of a toddler and his mama. Then expanded to feed another toddler while the previous one morphed into a teenage boy while I wasn't looking.
These pancakes are about little boys getting their first start cooking in the kitchen. Pulling chairs up next to the stove to mix, pour, and stir. About requests to have them shaped into hearts with strawberries inside, Star Wars vehicles, and bats and ghosts. To experiment with peanut butter and bananas between two pancakes when my oldest son created a portmanteau "panwich", because the fact that he knows what a portmanteau is and delights in creating them makes me beam with pride. That the little one prefers his with powdered sugar instead of syrup like his mother. About sleepyheads at the breakfast table with mouths full of pancakes, "Mom, you make the best pancakes." ♥ ♥ ♥ Pancakes. Who knew?

Small Batch Buttermilk Pancakes
makes about 5 to 6 4-inch pancakes
I often mix up the dry ingredients and store it in snack size plastic bags for one less step in the morning, or I measure out the dry ingredients the night before. These are great plain but we have also been known to sprinkle a tablespoon of chocolate chips to each pancake after it's poured in the pan, or a few fresh blueberries, or small-diced strawberry.

1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbls. veg oil

In a small bowl mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Measure 1/2 cup buttermilk, add the egg and oil to the measuring cup and mix until fully incorporated. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently just until the dry ingredients are moistened. A few lumps are fine. Spoon about 3 Tbls. batter onto a medium-hot greased pan or griddle. If using an add-in, sprinkle on top of the pancake now. Cook 1-2 minutes until edges look dry and bubbles form across the surface. Flip and cook 30 seconds to a minute on the other side.

Freestyle heart making: Spoon about a tablespoon of batter on the right side. Spoon a second tablespoon of batter on the left side creating a V-shape. Smooth out your heart shape.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cheddar Cornbread Waffle Sandwiches with Pulled Pork and Almond Coleslaw

Waffles. From a mix. Buttermilk. Raised. Buttered. With or without syrup. With fruit baked inside. Gingerbread. These are about all the ways I have dabbled in the waffleverse and it's probably why I still have the waffle maker I received as a wedding gift (and the husband that came with it). It only comes out for use a couple of times a year (the waffle maker not the husband), but apparently I have been living under a rock because waffles are not just for breakfast anymore! Hell's bells, sometimes they're not even for waffles
A few weeks ago we tried Joy's delicious BLT waffles and I immediately started to imagine other sandwich to waffle conversions: open-faced cornbread waffles with chili, waffle reubens, or herbed waffles with gouda and ham, but first up, these cornbread-style waffles with pulled pork. The traditional pulled pork and coleslaw sandwich is more of a Carolina-style pork with no sauce and a vinegary slaw. This sandwich incorporates a little southern-style cornbread with sweeter pulled pork topped off with cool, creamy coleslaw. I haven't even told you the best part about using your waffle maker for sandwiches--all the benefits of fresh bread without having to fuss with rising, waiting, or heating up the oven (August is coming, people). Sheer genius.

Cheddar Cornbread Waffle Sandwiches with Pulled Pork and Coleslaw
One recipe made 4 full-sized Belgian waffles which made 8 mini-sandwiches which was plenty for 4 people. You could easily add a little chopped fresh jalapeno to the batter if you like spicy cornbread or 3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels. I used packaged pre-cooked pork (for my local peeps I cannot say enough about HEB's Natural Seasoned Pork, we need to talk about tacos soon). Do ahead: the waffles can be made anytime and frozen tightly wrapped in plastic, then reheated in the oven or toaster oven until crispy again. The coleslaw and dressing can also be prepared a day in advance and stored separately in the fridge until right before serving. This recipe makes more coleslaw than you need for the sandwiches, so if you're not about leftovers--in which case I'm not sure who think you are--I'd make half the recipe.

Cheddar Cornmeal Waffles
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg
1/2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels (optional)
1 jalapeno, seeded, deribbed, and finely chopped (optional)

Mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat together the buttermilk, egg, and cooled butter. Gently fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Add cheddar, corn, and jalapenos, if using. Cook according to your waffle maker instructions. If your waffle maker is unseasoned you may need to spray it with a little non-stick spray first.

For the Pork
2 to 2 1/2 cups shredded pre-cooked pork
1/3 to 1/2 of your favorite barbecue sauce
Nothing magical here. Mix and heat in microwave until warmed through.

2 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped cucumber (peeled first)
3 Tbls. onion (green, white, or yellow works fine)
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
3 Tbls. half-n-half, whipping cream, or heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Toss together cabbage, celery, green pepper, cucumber, onion, and almonds. If not serving right away, cover tightly and refrigerate. For the dressing combine mayo, cream, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl. Refrigerate if not using immediately. Right before serving, toss the veggies with the dressing.