Friday, June 19, 2009

Tea: The Truly International Beverage

I just found this to be amusing... I know it's hard to see in the picture, but this bag of green tea has brewing instructions in FIVE languages (English, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese). And if that weren't enough for you, (I mean, what if you didn't speak any of those five languages or were illiterate?), there are PICTURES demonstrating how to brew the tea. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am all for multiculturalism and equal access by use of multiple languages. But come on, do you even NEED instructions on how to brew tea, let alone in five languages (and pictures)?
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Sunday, June 7, 2009

"Heavenly" Pancakes

Ricotta cheese makes an encore appearance in this recipe! (Well, I had to use up the ricotta cheese from last week somehow)

The inspiration from this recipe actually came from the ricotta cheese container. It called for complete pancake mix. But since I didn't have any, I made my own pancake mix using this recipe, which has appeared before on this blog.*

At first blush, I was not impressed by these pancakes. In sampling my first "test pancake" (you know, the first one you make that never comes out right because the pan hasn't had a chance to heat completely), the pancake tasted salty and not impressive. Something was missing... it needed sweetness... CRAP! I forgot to add the sugar to the batter! Fortunately, the batter was saved and I was able to add 1 tablespoon of sugar without overmixing the batter.** The sugar makes a HUGE difference. Somehow it brings out the sweet creaminess of the ricotta, and the pancake comes together, nice and fluffy. ***

*The recipe on the ricotta cheese container called it "Heavenly Pancakes" - for some reason a lot of recipes that include ricotta are called "Heavenly" Take the ricotta cheese cake from last week for example.
** Overmixing batter tends to make pancakes tough and gluey.

***Food photography tip: Whipped cream melts VERY quickly. So be sure to have everything set up and add the cream just before taking the picture. I had to learn this the hard way.

Heavenly Pancakes


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 well-beaten egg
1 cup ricotta cheese
Optional: fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and syrup for topping

1. Combine dry ingredients and mix with a wire whisk. (Don't forget the sugar!)
2. Add wet ingredients, and mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
3. Most pancakes recipes say that you should let the batter sit for a while - at least 30 minutes. I usually don't have time for this and just skip this step.
4. Preheat nonstick pan - I flick a drop of water on the pan to tell if it is hot enough. If it sizzles immediately, then it's ready.
5. Cook pancakes until golden brown on each side.
6. Garnish with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and/or syrup.
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