Happy Valentine’s Day, Eaters!
I had a luxurious weekend in Calistoga where my enormous granola barge was a hit. I was not completely accepting of the golden state’s drought cessation coinciding with my visit, but despite my being sodden most of the time, the food was sublime. And I was happy to see my girlfriends, or rather, to see my girlfriends chewing. I don’t know what men think women do on weekends away, but I am here to reveal it: we eat. Oh, and we talk about how full we are.
At the restaurant where we breakfasted lavishly, we were all oohing and aahing over the lemon-ricotta pancakes. I think the waitstaff was rolling their eyes, wondering what ever happened to women watching their carbs. It was difficult to see anyone over the teetering stacks of hotcakes, or to hear over the din of barking and oinking, but I did hear a couple people ask me, between bites, how I would go about recreating the pancakes at home.
I felt like I disappointed them a bit when I replied that I would just look for a recipe for ricotta pancakes. I certainly wouldn’t start experimenting. I have a kitchen, not a test kitchen. There are children sidled up to the counter, their mouths open like baby birds, chirping, chirping…must get the hotcakes into their beaks, no time to compare various techniques for leavening batter.
I didn’t have to go far to find a recipe since I recalled that Nigella – the culinary oracle – had one that I used years ago. My husband grew up with cottage cheese pancakes that he loved and this is a similar idea. I used cottage cheese when I made these years ago, and would have again, but the ones I had in Calistoga were so special that I wanted to try the ricotta – and add lemon zest – to see if I could recapture their toothsome splendor.
So I made breakfast for dinner and it was scrumptious. I underzested; be sure to add an entire lemon’s worth of zest. I prefer a mix of white spelt flour and almond meal but I am sure these would be just fine with white flour. These little griddle cakes are a delicious way to say I love you. But if you are short on time, so is simply saying “I love you.”
P.S. In fact, stick to saying it. I loved these pancakes, but my youngest daughter was “full,” and my oldest made an (I will assume) involuntary gagging sound when she tried one. This was all humbling, since I had just explained to my husband that after being at a spa, I am now “different.” I am now someone who makes cocktails with frothy egg whites, who drinks green smoothies, and who serves fresh-squeezed juices in glass bottles. But my children seem strangely unmoved by my transformation. Maybe it’s because I gained 3 pounds at the spa and have been sort of grumpy since I got back.