For Valentine's Day, Keep it Simple

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This year, keep Valentine's day simple with these heart shaped pancakes. (And if you're not in love, you can still make them for your mom, your best friend, or yourself).

Valentine's is the worst day of the year to go out to dinner (you're likely to pay a premium for uninspired food in a very crowded restaurant, and if you don't get into an argument, you'll probably have to overhear someone else's). The bombardment of chocolates and roses leading up to the 14th can seem more annoying than romantic. Still, if you have a sweetheart, its unkind not to observe the holiday. And isn't it nice, after all, to have a holiday dedicated to love?

Who doesn't adore having breakfast made for them? Even if you are totally unprepared (or you blew it on Valentines day and you need to get out of the doghouse the next morning), you can probably make pancakes for your sweetheart. You most likely have all the ingredients in your pantry, and you can dash to the corner store, or knock on a neighbor's door to borrow a cup of milk. If you don't have measuring cups and spoons, no sweat! You can use a mug and a tea spoon. This recipe is incredibly forgiving––just don't over-stir it.

Sometimes the simplest gestures are the most thoughtful. And this easy breakfast is a celebration of love that you might find yourself repeating throughout the year.

Basic Pancakes

To make these vegan, omit the egg, use nondairy milk, and add a teaspoon of lemon or cider vinegar. If you have buttermilk, use that instead of milk and substitute 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for the baking powder. Try replacing 1/3 of the flour with whole wheat, rye, or any other interesting flour for heartier pancakes.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • generous pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • oil or butter, for greasing the pan

1. Put a skillet on the stove over medium heat — it needs to be thoroughly heated by the time you drop batter in. Whisk together the dry ingredients: the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat the egg and combine it with the milk.

2. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients. Mix them quickly and leave some lumps (they will disappear as the pancakes cook). Don’t mix too much or the pancakes’ texture will be tough and chewy.

3. Pour a bit of oil into the pan to grease it lightly, turn up the heat to medium-high, and wait for the oil to warm so it shimmers. Or use butter and wait for it to melt. (If you want even-toned pancakes, use oil; butter gives a better flavor but makes the pancakes' surface splotchy and burns more easily).

4. Using a ladle, or a measuring cup with a spout, pour the batter onto the pan in a heart shape. If you're finding it difficult to draw a heart with the batter, try making the letter V (it will end up looking like a heart). You can use a spoon to quickly adjust the shape after the batter is poured.

5. When lots of tiny bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, it’s ready to flip. Flip it, and cook until evenly browned. You can check the center for gooeyness with a toothpick or the tip of a sharp knife if you’re uncertain of whether it’s done. Repeat until the batter is used up.

Pancakes can be kept warm on a heatproof plate in a 200 degree oven for about 15 minutes before serving.

 

You might also like:

Perfect Whipped Cream

 

Goat Milk Custard with Pomegranate Molasses

Goat Milk Custard with Pomegranate Molasses

You know when you travel somewhere foreign, but there's something about the place that makes you feel like you've come home? That's how pomegranate molasses tastes to me. Its sweet floral tang is mysteriously familiar. I find myself mixing it with seltzer, substituting it for balsamic vinegar and adding it to desserts–even sneaking a spoonful from the fridge now and then.

Pomegranate molasses might sound exotic to American cooks, but it’s cheap and pretty easy to find. Middle Eastern markets stock it right next to the rose water and orange blossom water (at 1/3 the price they sell for at Whole Foods, you might want to pick those up too).

Here's a sweet recipe to get you started–Goat Milk Custard with Pomegranate Molasses. Serve this effortless and sophisticated dessert to impress dinner guests. While the ingredients may seem exotic, the preparation is simple. You don’t even have to turn the oven on.

Goat Milk Custard with Pomegranate Molasses

  • 4 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1-2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup goat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla, or seeds scraped from on vanilla bean
  • fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish

1. Pour one tablespoon of pomegranate molasses into each of four small ramekins. Set aside.

2. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the yolks, egg and sugar until well mixed and a little frothy. Slowly whisk in the milk. Stir in the salt.

3. Gently warm the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly. When it begins to thicken watch closely, it will cook fast. Turn off the heat when it’s about not quite as thick as runny yogurt. Whisk in the vanilla.

4. Carefully spoon or pour the custard into the ramekins, dividing it equally between them. Place them in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, until set. They’re best consumed within a day, but will keep for a few days.

5. Sprinkle some fresh pomegranate seeds on top before serving.