Sunday, June 13, 2010

Banana Pancakes

Apologies for the absence, readers.  Don't think I haven't been cooking--I have.  I just haven't had time for the blogging part of the cooking blog.  Here's how my days have been breaking down lately:

Work: 12 hours
Sleep: 8 hours (ha!) 
"Commuting" to work: 1 hour
Morning routine: 1 hour 

So that leaves about 2 hours in the day for the rest of life (cooking dinner, cleaning, laundry, collapsing on the couch, email, facebook...)  Yeah, blogging hasn't been fitting in too well lately.  Luckily there are Sundays, when I do all that stuff that I neglect during the week (which would be most of that list, minus the email & facebook, which I can't seem to wean myself off of.)

Sundays are also a great time for pancakes, which is what this post is all about.  Banana pancakes, specifically.   I always have overripe bananas kicking around, because when I buy a bunch I will only eat the first 3 or 4.  If I were smarter I would just buy 3 or 4 bananas at a time, but alas, I am not.  98% of the time the overripe bananas become banana bread, so I was extremely happy to stumble upon an alternate overripe banana recipe in People magazine last month.  I made them last Sunday with half of the bad bananas I had sticking around, and then made them again today since the other half of the bad bananas were really really really bad bananas at this point.  Although the smell and texture of overripe bananas makes me a little queasy, as soon as you add flour and sugar and eggs and heat, somehow it's all good.  In fact, it's all great.  I don't know how that works, but it does.  The bananas keep these pancakes amazingly moist, not at all dry and bready.  It also somehow lubricates the whole wheat flour, which this recipe uses, so again, nice and moist, not like the hockey puck pancakes that my friend Shannon described when someone else cooked her whole wheat pancakes.

Last weekend I made some blueberry sauce to go with my banana pancakes, because I was out of maple syrup.  I just took a couple of cups of frozen blueberries (though fresh would work, I just happen to have lots in my freezer), and cooked them in a sauce pan until they were unfrozen and mushy, then added just enough light brown sugar (though any sweetener would do), to make it sweet and syrupy.  While I liked the banana pancakes with the blueberry sauce, I actually preferred them with straight up maple syrup.  But don't get me wrong, the blueberry sauce was excellent (as a bonus, I was inspired to brush my teeth immediately after eating, which doesn't often happen on Sundays!)  I ate most of it out of the pan, actually, since I made way too much.  I think I will try it again with vanilla ice cream, or perhaps blueberry shortcake, instead of strawberry...?  Things to try.  But in the meantime, try these:

 Blueberry sauce, delicious right from the pan.

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes (From People Magazine)
Serves 2-4, depending on your appetites

* 1 cup of whole wheat flour (you can obviously use white, if you prefer or if that's all you have)
* 1 Tablespoon white sugar
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 healthy dash of nutmeg
* 2 healthy dashes of cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 ripe to overripe bananas, mashed
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1 cup of milk
* 2 Tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* Sliced bananas and/or strawberries, to top (optional)

1. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl

2. In a larger mixing bowl, mash bananas.  If your bananas aren't so ripe they're soggy you may have lumps, but fear not, those taste good.  Mix in egg, milk, oil, and vanilla.  

3. Add dry ingredients to the wet, and stir in until it's all moistened.  It's okay if the batter is lumpy.  If the batter seems too thick to you (mine did), thin with about a tablespoon of milk.

4. Heat a griddle or frying pan and oil or butter lightly over medium heat.  When a drop of water will sizzle on the hot pan, add approximately 1/3 cup of batter.  Cook until the edges are dry and there are lots of bubbles on the surface of the pancake.  Flip, continue cooking for a minute or two until golden brown.  Serves with sliced fruit, if desired, and lots of maple syrup (you don't want these to be too healthy, after all!)  Enjoy!

This is what your pancake looks like when it's ready to flip.  You probably 
already know this, but for the pancake neophytes out there, now you know, too.

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