World’s Best Pancakes

January 18, 2013

The first rule of pancakes: Don’t use a mix. Let me repeat that: Don’t use a mix. It saves no time, it tastes no good – and it costs more money. 

Pancake Rule Two: Don’t even think about using inferior maple syrup. A good pancake deserves the very best.

Pancake Rule Three: Don’t skimp. I know my recipe, below, has a lot of butter, but where pancakes are concerned, more is always more. 

Pancake Rule Four: You can always put anything you want into your pancakes. Blueberries, chocolate chips, pumpkin puree… use your imagination. But when pancakes are this good, you probably won’t want to.

Here’s my basic recipe.  I’ve made this so often that I can pull it together in under a minute. After you’ve done it a few times you’ll be able to do that too. This is not diet food, but I promise that these pancakes will make your family very, very happy.  

Melt a stick of butter.  Whisk together a cup of milk, 2 large eggs and a tablespoon of vegetable oil, then add the butter.

In a small bowl whisk a cup of flour with 4 teaspoons of baking powder, 4 teaspoons of sugar and a teaspoon of salt.  Whisk that into the milk mixture just until its combined.  Add a bit more milk if you think it’s too thick. 

Skim a good pan with butter or oil and start pouring in some batter. The size is up to you; sometimes I make them tiny for children, sometimes I make them ludicrously large. Watch as the bubbles appear in the batter, grow larger, and then pop and vanish.  When they’ve all popped, carefully flip the pancake and cook the other side.  

Rush the pancakes to the table as each one is finished. You want them hot, sweet, salty and a little bit crisp. You want the memory to linger with your family as they move through their day. 



James Beards’ Onion Ring Sandwiches

January 5, 2013

In my experience these are pretty much a love or hate proposition.  If you love onions as much as I do, they're a huge hit.  They're also very pretty, very easy, and a surprise to most people when you set them out with drinks.

Onion Rings

1 loaf brioche or challah, cut into 1/4 inch slices


4 small onions, very thinly sliced into rounds

sea salt

1 cup chopped fresh parsley 

Cut 1 1/2 inch circles out of the brioche slices with a cookie cutter. 

Slather mayonnaise on the little circles. 

Sprinkle with salt. 

Place a circle of onion on a circle of bread and sandwich it between a second piece of bread. 

Roll the edge of the sandwich in the mayonnaise and then the  parsley.

Hold it together with a fancy toothpick.


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