Saturday, March 27, 2010

German Dutch Baby Pancakes

This morning is a quiet one. After a week with mom, College Boy returned last evening via Greyhound bus to Drury University. I do not recommend travel by bus, at least not Greyhound. When I was a college student myself eons ago, I once made the 90-mile-trip home from the University of Alabama to Prattville on a rickety old Trailways bus. Let’s say the trip motivated me to find another way home. I think I can safely say the same for CB, who definitely picked up a couple of stories to write about. Some things never change.

CB is good company though, and I do miss him already. We watched a couple of movies, Crazy Heart (recommended with a caveat or two: It reminds me of Robert Duvall’s 1983 Tender Mercies — whose plot summary according to IMDb is: “Alcoholic former country singer Mac Sledge makes friends with a young widow and her son. The friendship enables him to find inspiration to resume his career.” Well, Duvall won an Oscar in 1984, and so did Jeff Bridges this year, and who I am to question reusing plot lines if it works. But I did ask myself what the heck moved a young thing like Maggie Gyllenhaal to shack up with a broken-down man like Bad Blake?). CB and I also watched Blind Side, and being from the South and loving football, how could we not like this one?

One night, elder son made us homemade pasta and sauce (Bolognese with pappardelle), and another night, I barbecued (a.k.a. burned up) some chicken slathered with the remaining Montgomery Inn barbecue sauce I was saving for a special occasion. The chicken was accompanied by my potato salad, which CB had requested.

On my morning off, CB and I went over to our favorite Batavia breakfast spot, Lume’s, and indulged in a Dutch Baby German pancake. If you have never had one, I recommend you try them. In these parts they are rather expensive, and I thought I’d give making them at home a try. And thus, I discovered, they are amazingly easy to make and right tasty too.

• Here’s my version with slight modifications to the recipe found at How to Make German Pancakes—Dutch Babies. I used the smaller version, which the author says serves 2 to 4. First revision: I ate the whole thing but would say it would serve 2 non-gluttonous individuals quite well.
• The eggs and milk were just out of the refrigerator. I am an impatient sort.
• Forget the business about bread flour as opposed to all-purpose flour. I can’t imagine my Dutch Baby any higher.
• I used more vanilla and skipped the cinnamon and added about a quarter cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter instead of 7 teaspoons, which might be the equivalent but I didn’t want to calculate differences in tablespoons and teaspoons.
• I used a well-seasoned 8-inch cast-iron skillet and would recommend a 10-inch instead simply for the reason that instead of a quarter-inch bottom, I ended up with a half-inch depth. Not bad—just might have been a tad better if it had been thinner. Be sure to follow the recipe as to getting your oven and skillet hot before adding the butter (probably ought to melt it) and then the batter. My Baby cooked in approximately 15 minutes. So, I would suggest you check on your pancake prior to 20 minutes just to be on the safe side.

Well, you can see from the photos the Baby turned out pretty pouffy. After sifting confectioner’s sugar over the Baby, I served it with lemon slices and syrup. Somehow I felt the Baby deserved an upgrade from Hungry Jack Lite syrup, but that was all I had in the house.

Happy Saturday!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

I Wonder

Nothing happens until something moves.
— Albert Einstein

Elder son asked if I had written anything on the blog lately. I said, “No.” And I started to wonder why. Certainly, I’m never short of something to say. However, I am a bit tired these days. Tired of politics for sure, shaking my head at the seemingly impossible impasse at which our two political parties here in the U.S. find themselves. I don’t recall feeling so discouraged in quite a while.

I could rail on the need to address the greater good but find I am fighting an urge to turn inward and tend to my own good.

Remember in the 80s when Looking Out for #1 topped the New York Times best-seller list? I am, of course, dating myself, but I have grown tired of self-help books like Robert Ringer’s as well as the “wisdom” dispensed by Oprah Winfrey. Life’s complicated and if I’m going to figure it out, I’d just as soon trust my own instincts rather than theirs.

I did finally get back to the gym this weekend after letting the excuse of a bad cold sideline me. I’m in better spirits. As I walked at a goodly clip goin’ nowhere (listening to my favorite Chris Isaak CD) on the treadmill, three posters on the weathered brick wall in front of me caught my eye. One said, “Possibilities,” another “Opportunities,” and the final “Action.”

That about sums it up as best as I can see. Life is about action. When we succumb to inaction for whatever reason, I believe we are merely walking through life zombie-like. I think that it’s a worthy goal to be that person of action. It becomes #4 on my list of resolutions.