Strawberries and Cream (Cheese) Pancakes!

IMG_5143.JPGSaturday morning has been like the breath after a storm lately, the only time of the week when I don’t notice how long I am working on something, or how long I have to get up and get ready and go go go. This morning, I googled pancake recipes (I liked mine but didn’t love it, so I recommend just going with your favorite; I do recommend lots of vanilla extract and butterscotch flavoring if you have it!), heated frozen strawberries, and added dots of cream cheese to each warm pancake. I will say, I’ve been really impressed with “white whole wheat flour” (I have King Arthur brand, but I haven’t tried any others yet) – it makes the recipe a little grittier and darker than average whole wheat flour, but still works up with the consistency of white flour. It’s a good compromise, especially for Husband who does not deal with whole wheat well.

These pancakes, let me tell you. It wasn’t fancy, or beautiful (I attached a picture pretty much just to show how non-romantic my photos were) – I was honestly quite grouchy and unpleasant, and Husband did the thing where he went fairly quiet and fairly upbeat just to weather my mood. But man, the combination of sweet and tart fruit, wholesome pancakes, and just a rich morsel of cream cheese will melt even the most stubborn giant.

Pancakes, even when they are a little charred with the first batch as the pan gets going, are a little like love, which has on my mind with Valentine’s coming. It’s our second Valentine’s in marriage, and while I still feel like I’m learning constantly, I’m starting, very slowly, to see that this is what life is: messy, requires adjustment, but is so surprisingly sweet so often. I cannot tell you how lucky I feel to have him around me, to have him weather the days with me. I love that he delves into his food and grins and says “good pancakes, hon” and asks me what I want to do today. Messy, but unbelievably sweet.

39. Ricotta Pancakes

I have been thinking about my friend A lately. She’s works for the church I attended while I was in Spain. Spain is not a very church-going country (a lot of Catholic masses in Madrid are mostly grandparents and small children), but in the middle of Madrid there was a church called Oasis, which means the same thing in Spanish and English. People from all different branches of Christianity came together to think and pray and read together, and challenge each other’s assumptions about spirituality. I loved every minute of it, and have been seeking that kind of community since I got back from Spain. A was integral: she led the Bible study I attended, and she took girls like me under her wing as we got used to living in a new place. She knew about loneliness in a foreign land, and she wasn’t afraid to be real about both joys and hardships.

A had me and another girl over for pumpkin pancakes one morning that I remember vividly – her apartment has come to represent home for me in Spain, since it was a constant and I lived in 3 different places during my years there. Settling into a comfortable chair with a plate of pancakes and looking out the window and watching life flood by in Malasaña (her neighborhood) is still one of the things I miss the most. Both A and I have moved since then, but one of the great qualities of food that I appreciate is that specific recipes anchor me to a place and a time that I won’t get to revisit.

I had a container of ricotta in my fridge last week, probably meant for a lasagna but I happened to see The Kitchn’s post about Ricotta Pancakes

and I was so excited by the idea that I just had to do it. The process works pretty much like they say in the recipe, and I got to use the stand mixer to make real STIFF PEAK EGG WHITES and it was so easy. That’s a very long sentence but it accurately expresses how happy this stand mixer makes me about cooking and baking.

Husband and his friend D gobbled these pancakes happily with a strawberry reduction since we were out of syrup. While a lot of work (definitely not instant Bisquick kind of time frame) they were totally worth it on a lazy Sunday morning. A would have had trouble with them – she’s lactose-intolerant and vegan – but I am sure we could devise a work-around to fill her tummy too. We always managed when we lived in Spain. 🙂

39. Ricotta Pancakes

I have been thinking about my friend A lately. She’s works for the church I attended while I was in Spain. Spain is not a very church-going country (a lot of Catholic masses in Madrid are mostly grandparents and small children), but in the middle of Madrid there was a church called Oasis, which means the same thing in Spanish and English. People from all different branches of Christianity came together to think and pray and read together, and challenge each other’s assumptions about spirituality. I loved every minute of it, and have been seeking that kind of community since I got back from Spain. A was integral: she led the Bible study I attended, and she took girls like me under her wing as we got used to living in a new place. She knew about loneliness in a foreign land, and she wasn’t afraid to be real about both joys and hardships.

A had me and another girl over for pumpkin pancakes one morning that I remember vividly – her apartment has come to represent home for me in Spain, since it was a constant and I lived in 3 different places during my years there. Settling into a comfortable chair with a plate of pancakes and looking out the window and watching life flood by in Malasaña (her neighborhood) is still one of the things I miss the most. Both A and I have moved since then, but one of the great qualities of food that I appreciate is that specific recipes anchor me to a place and a time that I won’t get to revisit.

I had a container of ricotta in my fridge last week, probably meant for a lasagna but I happened to see The Kitchn’s post about Ricotta Pancakes

and I was so excited by the idea that I just had to do it. The process works pretty much like they say in the recipe, and I got to use the stand mixer to make real STIFF PEAK EGG WHITES and it was so easy. That’s a very long sentence but it accurately expresses how happy this stand mixer makes me about cooking and baking.

Husband and his friend D gobbled these pancakes happily with a strawberry reduction since we were out of syrup. While a lot of work (definitely not instant Bisquick kind of time frame) they were totally worth it on a lazy Sunday morning. A would have had trouble with them – she’s lactose-intolerant and vegan – but I am sure we could devise a work-around to fill her tummy too. We always managed when we lived in Spain. 🙂