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Abrazos! xox Penny

Friday, July 16, 2010

Flipping Them Off!

Twice this week, I watched movies set in Pittsburgh and both gave off the vibe of "You don't want to live there!". Ticked me off. I am happy to say I am from Pittsburgh. It was a delightful place to grow up: an accessible, romantic city full of all kinds of colorful people, culture, quirks and of course, professional sports teams. The suburb where I grew up was and still is, a beauty...deep woods, wonderful architecture, meandering streets and streams, horse-y antics, home to dear friends and still holds a big chunk of my heart. Don't trash The Burg...or the Rust Belt for that matter. I was born in Ohio.

However, those movies did spur me on to answer a question...

Some of you have asked about the "first time" I learned to drive...I mentioned it in a post a while back. Here is the story...cleaned up some. My dad would have told it a little differently.The first time was in my hometown near Pittsburgh, PA. My mom, a high school English teacher, was my first teacher and given her skills in the classroom, we all thought it would work out just fine. If she could teach kids the intricacies of  English grammar and composition, how hard would it be to teach me something so basic as driving? Really. Done deal.

Well, I was able to learn the basics and drove through the winding hills of The Burg back and forth to the apple farm stand we loved. Yes, there were lots of gasps and white-knuckles on her part, but overall, I did OK and we both survived the training period. That is, until the test.

My family's one car was very basic... a stick shift Ford station wagon, went forward, backward, around corners and God willing, stopped. Definitely no bells, whistles or powered-up helpers. When I got the car in place for my driving test, I *flunked*, big time...even before I officially entered the course which, of course, started off at a stop sign on a steep hill...a given in Pittsburgh. I popped the clutch, stalled out, finally got the car into gear...the wrong one, and then, flooded the engine. The officer in the car was incredulous and said as kindly as possible, "Miss, you gotta give this some time." I was mortified and relied on friends and the good old bus system for the next year and a half. I didn't know anyone who had flunked the driving test. Anyone.

Eighteen month later, next teacher up was my dad. The second time I learned to drive was on Shelter Island...same car but a flatter training ground. No killer hills to speak of. Things looked good. Even better when for my second test, my dad rented a car with an automatic clutch and power steering. Sweet victory in a nutshell, minus the expletives on my dad's part about renting the car.

And so, to celebrate coming out of my baddish mood and reliving my driving tales, I am going to go flip some pancakes, another skill my dad taught me. And, the next time someone trashes where I am from, I am going to flip them off with these.

Buckwheat Griddlecakes                                                   

2/3 cup unbleached AP flour*
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
2 teaspoons brown sugar (or white)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (use is aluminum-free)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
6 T 2% or whole milk
1 large egg, yolk and white separated
2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Oil (I use cocount)
Pure Maple Syrup (from Ohio would be a nice touch)

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Pour milk and buttermilk into a bowl. Whisk egg white into milks. In a small bowl or cereal dish, beat melted butter into egg yolk and then add into egg white/milk mix. Pour all wet ingredients into dry and whisk only until just combined. Do not beat or overmix.

Heat griddle over medium-high heat. Brush with oil. Test for readiness by flicking a few drops of water into griddle. They should "dance".

Ladle 1/4 batter onto griddle, not crowding. When underside is nicely browned, the top should start to bubble...about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook until second side is nice and golden., about 1-2 minutes. Play with your heat to get the right setting, somewhere between medium and medium-high should do it. Makes about 8.

Serve with sweet, unsalted butter, maple syrup or any fruit you love. For summer, pour on some berries!

*I love the flavor of buckwheat flour and make them with all buckwheat, too. They are denser. There is also a good recipe on the Hodgson's Mill Buckwheat Flour box.

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