Shrimp and Scallion Pancakes

Shrimp and Scallion Pancakes

I absolutely love these shrimp and scallion pancakes. Why? They’re light, they have an amazing flavor and — assuming you have some accommodating fellow diners — you can eat a bunch of them before they fill you up. And oh, yeah, they’re also very easy to make. You can often find them as Korean street food.

How easy to make? Well basically, you can make them by mixing together a batter that includes shrimp, scallions, a little red pepper, some mild green chilis and a little flour, eggs and water and you’re pretty much done, other than putting them on a platter once their fried. That’s really all there is to it (except for maybe some garlic and sesame oil). But oh my, the amazing flavor of some really good shrimp really sets the pancakes off. 

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Basic Buttermilk Pancakes

buttermilk pancakes

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday. It’s what Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans — and carnivals all over the world — in lead up to. Where there is no week-long celebration of the arrival of lent, the traditional 40-day period culminating in Easter Sunday, Tuesday will be marked as Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day. Why pancakes?

In the Christian tradition, Shrove Tuesday was the day to reflect on your “sins” and ask forgiveness. According to good ol’ Wikipedia:

Like many other European holidays, the pancake day was originally a pagan holiday. Before the Christian era, the Slavs believed that the change of seasons was a struggle between Jarilo, the god of vegetation, fertility and springtime, and the evil spirits of cold and darkness. People believed that they had to help Jarilo fight against winter and bring in the spring. The most important part of Shrovetide week (the whole celebration of the arrival of spring lasted one week) was making and eating pancakes. The hot, round pancakes symbolized the sun. The Slavs believed that by eating pancakes, they got the power, light and warmth of the sun. The first pancake was usually put on a window for the spirits of the ancestors. On the last day of Shrovetide week some pancakes and other food were burnt in a bonfire as a sacrifice to the pagan gods.

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Chocolate Pancakes

Chocolate Pancakes

A few days ago, I posted an orange cranberry muffin recipe and the purpose, in part, was to highlight the idea that there is a close kinship between muffins and pancakes. So here is the other side of that equation. These chocolate pancakes were made using exactly the same base recipe, but swapping cocoa powder for some of the flour and, of course, eliminating the fruit and juice.

I don’t know whether to think of these as a brunch item or a dessert or maybe a brunch dessert. Whatever use you them for, these chocolate pancakes are decadently rich and I suspect very appealing to kids.

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Spicy Oatmeal Pancakes

oatmeal pancakes

If you think that pancakes are pancakes, these spicy oatmeal pancakes will surprise you, I think. They come with a hint of cinnamon and ginger and the dark richness of molasses that’s not like any pancakes I’ve ever had, anywhere.

We’ve been making them for many years, and I’m not sure where the original came from. It’s one of those recipes that’s written on a scrap of paper, tucked into the battered old recipe box. (We all have one of those, right?) It doesn’t get pulled out often enough, because every time I make them, the consensus around the table is “you should make these more often.”

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Road Trip Sourdough Flapjacks

Sourdough Flapjacks

It may be genetic (or certainly a cultural inheritance) but whatever the reason, when just about anyone in my family starts off on a road trip, the first thing that happens is that everyone in the vehicle gets hungry. Sometimes before we’re out of the driveway. Certainly by the time we’re a few miles down the road.

It took awhile, but I concluded that this malady is at least aggravated by the fact that we tend to eat lightly or not at all in the hectic and exciting runup to the start of a road trip. And this recipe is one of my solutions. Eat a stack of these sourdough flapjacks and you’re not likely to think about food for a couple of hours, probably longer. They’re light and fluffy, but very satisfying and nonetheless filling, especially with a hearty hickory syrup or fresh fruit to accompany them.

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