KITCHEN EXPERIMENT: RED VELVET PANCAKES

I haven’t shared anything food related on the blog in a while. The last recipe I tried and shared was the Chicken Jambalaya, long long ago in November 2011. 😮 I love to cook and try new recipes when I have the time.

Pancakes are a breakfast favourite at my house, and in the spirit of the season, I decided to make red velvet pancakes on Christmas morning. I pinned a Red-velvet pancake recipe to one of my boards months ago, and it was when I was thinking about the ways I could make Christmas day special, that I remembered it. Thank God for Pinterest! It’s a wonderful way to organise random stuff that interest you, things you might want to go back to.

On Christmas eve, I went out to get my ingredients, but couldn’t find cream cheese for the frosting- so I left that out. Here’s the recipe I tried/adapted:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, plus more for thinning (if needed)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Additional butter for the skillet
  • Cream cheese frosting, for topping (recipe below)
  • Toasted chopped pecans, for topping
  • Warm maple syrup, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200°F
  2. Add all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, sugar and cocoa powder to a large bowl, whisking to combine and aerate. To a different larger bowl, add egg, buttermilk, sour cream, red food coloring and vanilla extract, whisking until smooth.
  3. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and whisk until just incorporated. Slowly stream in melted butter while whisking. Continue whisking just until all lumps are out. The batter should have a pourable consistency. If it is too thick, stir in a bit more buttermilk.
  4. Warm a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a small dab of butter to the skillet and swirl around until the surface is evenly coated. Use a paper towel to wipe away any excess butter. Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter on to the skillet. To form a nice, round pancake, pour the batter from the ladle on to one spot of the skillet. Do not move around your ladle. The batter will expand from that spot into a perfect circle.
  5. Flip the pancakes when you see bubbles forming on the top and the bottoms look set. Cook the pancakes for an additional minute or two until cooked all the way through. Keep the pancakes warm in the preheated oven until all batches are cooked.
  6. To serve, decorate your pancake with some cream cheese frosting. 

His pancakes-

source: KitchenKonfidence

source: KitchenKonfidence

What mine looked like 😦 –

x_x

x_x

They tasted great though- my people loved them, except my mom who said they were too synthetic (she only said that because the colour turned her off lol but yes, food presentation is as important as the taste, so this is something I need to work on). I thought about it, trying to figure out where I went wrong, and I concluded that it was probably because I added more colouring than the recipe required. The batter didn’t look as red as I wanted to be, so I added half a tablespoon more.

OKAY.

I did try again in a few days, this time remembering to add food colouring with caution. I still ended up with the same colour of pancakes, even darker! So it’s a reasonable conclusion that my Christmas day pancakes and these ones were looking really dark not because of the food colouring, but because of the way the cocoa powder interacted with the colouring. In fact, without the red, they’d probably be brown pancakes because the cocoa brown was really really present. Unlike Brandon’s, my batter was brown before I added the red colouring.

I’m definitely going to try a third time. Not soon (I’m at school and we aren’t allowed to cook) but before then, I hope to figure out how to make red velvet pancakes that look as good as they taste. Complete with the frosting too!

Kitchen Adventure: Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

I was lying down thinking about the menu at Sir Max’s, and I remembered the word ‘Jambalaya’. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? JAMBALAYA. So I googled it, and thanks to my friend Google and all his nice friends, I found that its a really easy, quick dish to make. Like slightly fancier ‘Concoction or Emergency Rice’. Jambalaya is a traditional Cajun dish. The Cajuns are an ethnic group mainly living in Louisiana, USA. They are descendants of French speakers from Acadia (now known as the Canadian Maritimes).

I’m going to take you through the ingredients I used, the process, and finally show you how it looked like on a plate. I’m not particular about measuring; and when I do, its not really standard in dericas and cups. I’d tell you for instance, that 5 Kenzoooo handfuls of rice make enough rice for three people. Somehow it all just comes together nicely. A link to a standard recipe here -> http://southernfood.about.com/od/jambalayarecipes/r/blbb269.htm

BEFORE WE BEGIN

Chicken stock- basically, its what you get when you’re done boiling your chicken. Like, the mix of spices + water + chicken juices left behind. Instead of throwing it away, cook with it instead.

Nigerian rice- there isn’t really a brand/type of rice called Nigerian rice. The widely eaten rice in Nigeria is imported, but its bigger grained than Basmati rice, and it is not perfumed. I do not know where exactly it is from. 

I USED

Chicken, cubed (about 1 kilo), Chicken Stock, Sausages, ‘Nigerian Rice’, Green bell pepper, Fresh tomatoes, Fresh pepper (the small ones), One clove of garlic, One medium sized onion, 2 Bay leaves, Ground pepper, Butter.

HOW I GOT READY

I boiled my ‘Nigerian rice’ till it was almost soft enough.

Marinated my chicken overnight, and boiled it in the morning. I put it back in the refrigerator for a few hours (my Jambalaya was lunch) and I was happy I did because I did not find already prepared chicken breasts. It was easier to de-bone and cut the cold chicken into cubes.

I cooked my sausages, and cut them into half-inch slices.

Sliced the onions, green pepper, red pepper, diced the tomatoes and minced the garlic.

GETTING TO IT

– Put the butter in your dry skillet/pot/whatever, lets call it the utensil. I used a pot. It’d be good if you started heating your utensil after the butter is in. Mine was really hot already, so it melted instantly, and the butter browned as it melted. But don’t worry about that…

-Saute the minced garlic and the onions and red pepper in the melted butter, until the onions are tender.

-Add the sausages, let them brown a little. Then add your chicken broth, diced tomatoes with the juices, green pepper and bay leaves. Put the bay leaves in as they are, do not cut them. Cover your utensil, and let everything boil for a bit.

  

-After about five minutes, add your ‘almost-ready’ white rice to the mix. Mix it up well, and add a little water if necessary. Here, you might want to add a little dry pepper (I like pepper) or salt or something, depending on how spicy your chicken broth is.

-When the rice is practically ready, add your cubed chicken, and stir just enough to distribute the chicken cubes fairly evenly around the rice.

-Cover the utensil, and reduce the heat. Cook for a few more minutes, let’s say 3-5. Turn off the heat, and remove the bay leaves before serving. Fin! 🙂

There. No big deal shey? Its not a fancy meal. Cajun dishes are known for their hearty flavor and basic methods and spices. It looks good on a plate still, and tastes good as well. If you’re tired of same old same old Jollof or Fried rice, you could try this some day. Its easy, a one-pot meal, so you don’t have so much washing up to do.

Many thanks to my lover Iby, who helped me take the photos.

Till next time,

Kenzooo

P.S. If you have any comments or suggestions as to how this could be better, or how you make your own, please share! And if you try to make yours, please let me know how you did. Thank you 🙂

Love It, Love To Hate It, Hate To Love It, You Know You’ve Just Got To Have It

You’ve got to eat something, no matter how little, to stay alive. Although some sad people wish they did not have to, everybody has to eat.  Food is beautiful. Life without food? Unthinkable. I haven’t always appreciated food this way though. At some point in my life, I began to pay attention to detail, I began to appreciate truly truly, the art that is Food. I’m no gourmet chef (yet) but food is definitely more than just a prerequisite for survival. The whole process is important- the cooking, the presentation, the eating… I’m a very picky eater too, and I almost always have issues with the way ‘general food’ is prepared, and I end up vexing and doing my own thing.

Food is beautiful. Comfort-eating could be bad for you (when you’re sad all the time), but there’s no denying that good food cheers you up, lifts your spirits, relaxes you, makes you feel good. More often than not, I’m not hungry by the time I’m done cooking. The journey is almost as fun as the eating.

On this blog, I’m going to be sharing some of my kitchen/food adventures with you. Even when I can’t find all the ingredients, I adapt them to my resources, and do what I can. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t, but its always always fun to try.

Chef E.