It is a long standing tradition in Europe to give a gift of preserves – especially marmalade during the holiday season. We have had a number of customers from the British isles tell us that they are sure to buy a “special pot” every year and some insist on saving it for breakfast on Christmas, Boxing Day or New Years day to welcome in the New Year.
Living a good life is like flipping pancakes. If you hesitate, it splatters all over the place.
Mr Simpson may be right – it takes a bit of a quick wit, a sure hand and a practice to make a perfect pancake – much like the perfect life. A dissertation on life is quite beyond me. But the perfect Sunday pancake – this is where I have some knowledge.
I love the idea of desert for breakfast – especially on a holiday, a lazy Sunday, or when we have guests – and it surely pleases the child in us all. We love chocolate but a candy bar for breakfast is a bit decadent, although I have been known to enjoy a piece of dark chocolate with my morning coffee.
After pondering the conundrum – why not chocolate chip pancakes? With bananas – a current favorite and maybe a tricked out maple syrup and marmalade drizzle. Now your talking – a dash of vanilla and a pitch of cinnamon could round out the flavors. Sappy and wonderful just like sticky buns – but that’s another blog.
For a special spring brunch or special occasion they do blow the blueberries out of the park – but why not go one step further – heat the maple syrup and add a bit of bourbon the the marmalade. Just don’t serve it to the kids – we’ll not cross any lines here.
We love them – even my husband who doesn’t eat desert loves them and most of all. Jo and Lucky beg for more.
Chocolate Chip & Banana Buttermilk Pancakes with Marmalade Scented Maple Syrup
3 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (All Purpose will do but I choose Whole Wheat)
1 T Baking Powder
1/2 t Baking Soda
1/4 t fine grain sea salt
2 t organic sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 t vanilla
4 T Butter (Melted & cooled – I often clarify my butter to remove the milk solids)
2 3/4 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
4 ripe banana’s thinly sliced
Clarified butter for cooking (it’s easy and cooks at a higher temperature due to the removal of the milk fat)
1 cup maple syrup
2 heaping T Blood orange or other marmalade
A dash of Cinnamon
- In a food processor whiz all ingredients for the pancakes except the chocolate chips and bananas
- Scrape bowl and whiz again – you may need a bit more buttermilk if the batter is too think
- Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle and drizzle a healthy dose of clarified butter to the pan
- when the pan is hat and not quite smoking drop 1/3 c (you can use a ladle, a measuring cup or an ice cream scoop for this.)
- As soon as the edges go firm add a few slices of banana and a spoon of chocolate chips.
- Cook for a minute or two and when the sides go golden – flip and continue cooking.
- Stack cooked pancakes of a warm plate.
- As the pancakes are cooking heat the maple syrup and the marmalade. Stir – being careful not to burn the syrup. Turn the fire off and keep warm
- To serve – stack 3 to 4 pancakes with the left over banana slices.
- Pour the warmed marmalade and Maple syrup over the pancake stack
- As an option sprinkle with cinnamon
This recipe makes 30 pancakes – but the recipe can be cut in half or saved for the following day. I think pancake batter always tastes best the second day.
My Sunday was sideswiped by the cover article of last weeks NYT magazine, “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food” by Michael Moss . A fascinating expose of how large food brands seduce our senses with fast, easy to prepare (or pack, as in the case of Lunchables ) engineered “food”.
Building a product that tests high and bringing consumers to their “Bliss Point” is the goal. Addicting them to fat, sugar and salt is how you measure success. Consumerism at it’s best and maybe most dangerous. But sales soar and brands grow. I don’t usually stand on a soap box pontificating about the horrors of engineered food. We all are lucky enough to make choices, and so much of success in life is about good choices. If you have the time I would recommend that you read this article.
But what is a real life “Bliss Point”?
We all have blissful food memories – a Sunday supper or home baked pies, an insane burger or a perfect Maraschino-cherried Manhattan at a cozy bar.
For me, it was my mother’s sunday roast beef dinner. When it was a “special” dinner, it was always followed by a magical pineapple upside down cake that filled the air with the scent of caramelized sugar and tropical fruit.
The cake was a visual delight – plotted rings of pineapples stuffed with bright red maraschino cherries. There was something so exotic and wonderful about the smell of pineapple and caramelized sugar with a suggestion of cinnamon. The drama of turning out the cake was always a theatrical moment with lots of fuss and bravado. The pan was flipped on a dinner plate revealing the glorious design of the pineapple rings. The burnt sugar glaze dripping down the side of the soft white cake. The gesture of the flip was usually reserved for my father – as it took some strength to flip the hot pan and not drop the dinner plate as the cake surrendered. If we were lucky, my mother would serve it al la mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And yes, to my 10 year old experience it was it was perfectly blissful.
My recipe is adopted from my mother’s with a bit more bravado than even my father could achieve. I chose to substitute star fruits for the pineapples and I added bananas and blood orange marmalade along with cardamon and nutmeg to the cinnamon and vanilla. I really changed the recipe – to enhance my adult bliss. But you can add and subtract as your own flavor profile suggests. I tried this out at a casual saturday night dinner when Sean & I had invited guests. Lets just say it fast and easy to prepare – the perfume of the citrus and spices filled our home and the theatrical flip of the upside down cake was not wasted on Stephen who adores an operatic gesture at the Met or where ever he can find one.
A Cold Winter’s Night Star Fruit & Banana Upside Down Cake with Blood Orange Marmalade
1/2 cup blood orange marmalade – we use Josephine’s feast! Fine Cut Blood Orange Marmalade. But any marmalade will do
1 star fruit – 1/2 slices
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced organic bananas
8 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup sugar – I prefer organic, along with being healthier it has a rich warm color
1 T vanilla
3/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t cardamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1-1/3 cups cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup milk
whipped cream or ice cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 10 inch cast iron skillet.
Heat the pan over the stove top and spread the marmalade evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Place the star fruit in simple pattern and add the banana slices covering the marmalade – but allowing the rind to show thru.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. I use a hand mixer for this as my mother always did
Continue to beat while adding the egg, vanilla, and spices.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Alternately add the dry ingredients and milk to the butter mixture, a bit at a time, then stir until just combined.
Pour the batter evenly and completely over the fruit that line the skillet.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Loosen the cake from the skillet by running a knife around the edge of the pan.
Invert a serving platter over the cake and turn over so that the cake rests on the platter. Gently lift the skillet, the fruit and marmalade layer should now be on the top of the cake.
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired. But this is a beautiful cake with a desert wine by a winter fire. Serves 8 to 10.
So Cupid walks into a bar – assuming a guy with wings could get a drink at a bar – what would he order? I believe he would have to be in Venice. The Venetians are tolerant of so many legendary characters that I am quite sure Cupid would have no problem being served. After all, didn’t Casanova escape from Piombi Prison in Venice with the aid of his paramours – the only prisoner to escape the Doge’s prison…ahh love and Venice!
Harry’s Bar, where the classic Belini was created, is the best in Venice. The world for that matter. Here’s a take on this favored cocktail inspired by the thought of Cupid strolling into Harry’s Bar in February when Blood oranges are in season:
12 oz Prosecco
3T Blood Orange Marmalade
1/4t Grenadine –even the traditional Bellini had a hit of raspberry or cherry juice to give the cocktail a pink glow.
Simply pour 12 oz of Prosecco into a cocktail mixer and stir in the Blood Orange Marmalade and grenadine. Strain and serve straight up in a champagne flute or over ice in a highball glass.
A non- alcoholic version can be made with club soda adding a touch more marmalade for a light refreshing beverage.
I go crazy at the farm when I see gorgeous heads of lettuce popping from the soil. The first weeks I am so content with a simple dressing of olive oil and vinegar. As the weeks progress I find myself looking for something new to balance a meal – and keep my interest. This is one of my favorite salad dressings – with the right mix of sweet and tart flavors that can show off tender baby lettuce or add zest to a bowl of bitter greens. In the fall it is simply divine on a bowl of shredded raw kale.
Josephine’s Feast! Blood Orange Marmalade Vinaigrette
Makes 3/4 cup
1/4 cup Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Generous Tablespoon of Josephine’s Feast! Blood Orange Marmalade
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A Large Bowl of Market Greens: I prefer Baby Spinach, & Arugula combined. This dressing is also delicious on Baby Bibb Lettuce or loose-leaf lettuce such as Deer Tongue or Lollo Rosso.
For the Dressing:
Whisk together the lemon juice, marmalade and olive oil. The vinaigrette will keep for a few days in an airtight container and stored in the fridge.
To Make the Salad
Combine all the lettuce in a large bowl and drizzle with the dressing – toss actively to make sure the dressing is evenly distributed over the market greens. Finish with an optional dash of sea salt and grind of black pepper.
My everyday choice is a chunky thick cut marmalade – wonderful on toast and absolute essential to cook with. One of my favorites is a Meyer Lemon Marmalade that has a wonderful sweet tart flavor and a lovely fragrance. From salad dressings, to glazes for grilling, and even deserts & cocktails. A jar of this marmalade can go a long way.
Inspired by a friend at the Westhampton Farmers Market – I have adopted her sensational recipe for easy entertaining during these dog days of summer. Meyer Lemon Marmalade Glazed Swordfish serves along with a green salad and corn could not make for a better meal with friends!
Meyer Lemon Marinade for Grilled Sword Fish
6 swordfish steaks
1/ 2 cup of JF Meyer Lemon Marmalade
¼ cup fresh lemon juice – or vermouth, white wine or rum
¼ cup fresh chopped mint
salt & white pepper
One of the easiest meals for friends and family is a grilled swordfish with this delicious glaze. Combine the Meyer Lemon Marmalade with a whisk adding ingredients one at a time. Grill the swordfish flipping once on each side. Halfway through cooking glaze each side of the fish. Drizzle any leftover glaze over the swordfish streaks just prior to serving.