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Goat Cheese Pancakes with Fresh Peach Syrup

Goat Cheese Pancakes with Fresh Peach Syrup

Well, it is officially August, but instead of lamenting that summer is almost over (though believe me, I’m tempted to do so) I’d rather celebrate the arrival of stone fruit season! At least in my northeast US neck of the woods. It seems like those peaches, nectarines and plums just aren’t really ripe for use until the beginning of August up here, though rest assured I try to rush them every year.

Goat Cheese Pancakes with Fresh Peach Syrup

So for my first peach dish of the season, I went for brunch. I realized it’s been forever since I made pancakes (the horror), so Matt vehemently happily agreed it was time to rectify that. I can always count on him for support. 🙂

goat cheese pancakes with fresh peach syrup

The goat cheese flecked throughout the fluffy pancake batter turns out delicious pancakes. They are both sweet and tangy, and the goat cheese plays very well with the sweetness of the peaches. I tested this recipe both ways, and you definitely need the cinnamon in the peach syrup. I was worried it would overpower the peach flavor, but it just brings it out and adds some warmth to the syrup. And without it, the syrup is actually a little bland.

Goat Cheese Pancakes with Fresh Peach Syrup

Enjoy! A perfect way to begin the wonderful peach season! And your morning…

Source: adapted from Cook Without a Book by Pam Anderson

Ingredients:

PANCAKES:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp granulated sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tbs flavorless oil, like canola, plus more for brushing the skillet
3 oz. crumbled goat cheese

SYRUP:
½ cup honey
2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt

Directions:
To make the PANCAKES: combine the flour, sugar, salt,  baking powder, and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, oil, plus ¼ cup water.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, all at once, then whisk until just combined. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the goat cheese crumbles. Set aside to rest for a few minutes while the griddle heats up.
Place your griddle over medium-low heat and give it all the time it needs to heat up. Don’t rush this process, or you’ll be throwing out your first batch of pancakes. It’s ready when you flick a few drops of water onto the griddle and they spit and dance around.
Once ready, brush the griddle all over with canola oil. Ladle the pancake batter, about ¼ cup at a time, onto your hot griddle and cook until the edges are set and you see bubbles forming on top. Quickly flip the pancake over and cook on the other side until just cooked through. I like to test for doneness with a toothpick. Remove the pancakes to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter until done.
While the pancakes are cooking, make the SYRUP: in a medium stockpot, bring the honey and peaches to a simmer over medium heat. Add the cinnamon and salt. Cook until the peaches release their juices and the mixture reduces to a syrupy consistency. This should take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it, it goes from a perfect syrupy texture to overdone in a blink. Once it’s ready, keep on low heat until you’re ready to use.
To plate, place 2-3 pancakes on a plate and generously ladle the peach syrup over. Serve immediately.

Meatless Muffulettas

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Well, it seems that Mother Nature did get my memo that it is now officially spring! The weather has warmed up a little, and we’ve had a slew of gorgeous days. Today is chilly but breezy and beautiful blue skies all around. Hooray! Thank you Mother Nature!

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I think one of the reasons I love spring so much (aside from obvious reasons we all share) is that I met my husband during the spring. It was March, 2003, and I still lived in Texas, where the month of March is just beyond gorgeous and so, so pleasant. So now spring gives me a warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feeling, kind of like when you hear a certain song that reminds you of a past great memory. The song comes on, and unexpectedly you’re transported to reliving that time or specific memory. Well, gorgeous spring days remind me of meeting Matt.

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As I’ve mentioned before, we met in most random fashion, on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. And no, neither of us lived in New Orleans at the time. I won’t say it was love at first sight (not sure I believe in such a concept), but there was an immediate connection and attraction, the likes of which I’d never before experienced. We spent two evenings together, then my friend exchanged our phone numbers and email addresses for us. Upon leaving New Orleans, I was sure I’d never hear from him ever again. I mean, he lived 2,000 miles away from me. It made me kind of sad,  but I figured best to just accept it and move on.

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When I got home, I sent him a brief email, thinking that endeavor would turn out to be little more than 15 minutes I’d never get back, but I was wrong. He phoned me a few days later, and we spent about an hour talking. A few days later he emailed me, so I wrote back. A few days after that he called me, and before I knew it we were corresponding daily by email and weekly by phone.

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A couple months later, he uttered six of the sweetest words ever: “I want to see you again.” So we met up in New York, each of us having absolutely no clue we’d be living there together someday. Perhaps it was a sign…

And the rest, as they say, is history! The following spring we got engaged, and thirteen months later we married. The entire thing was completely unexpected and really turned my world upside down. To say I went on a road trip to New Orleans in spring of 2003 with one of my girl friends not really expecting to meet the love of my life is a gargantuan understatement. But that’s exactly what happened, and ten years later, I couldn’t be happier about it!

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I made this wonderful NOLA classic sandwich shortly after returning from our anniversary trip. Of course, traditional muffulettas are packed with deli meats; but I decided to make a vegetarian version. Matt and I are eating less meat these days, so this fit our lifestyle a little better. And it is still delicious! Matt gave it the highest compliment when he took a bite and said, “Wow. I almost don’t miss the meat at all!” Which, trust me, coming from him is very high praise…

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Source: adapted from Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals by Pam Anderson

Ingredients:
2 medium garlic cloves
¼ cup drained capers
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 cup drained pimiento-stuffed green olives
2 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped celery hearts
4 soft Kaiser rolls, split and hollowed out in the center
4 deli thin slices Monterey jack cheese
4 deli thin slices provolone cheese
4 deli thin slices Swiss cheese
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and halved
¾ cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, halved

Directions:
First, make the olive spread. Mince the garlic cloves in a food processor. Add the capers and pulse to chop. Add the olives, vinegar, and oregano. Pulse to chop again. Add the olive oil and celery and pulse again to mix everything together. You want it to have the texture of a slightly chunky paste. Set aside.
Make the sandwiches by spreading 2 tablespoons of the olive spread on each half of each roll. Divide the cheese evenly among the sandwiches. On top of the cheeses, arrange a portion of the artichokes and tomatoes. Top with the roll tops, cut in half and serve. This makes 4 large sandwiches.