Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ushering in Spring: Swedish Pancakes with Lemon

"The best things in life are nearest:  Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you." Robert Louis Stevenson

So here we are in the midst of April, and I hope wherever you are the snow has melted and spring is in the air. We are getting another dump of the white, fluffy stuff today, but in a day or two it will all be forgotten as the temperatures rise and melt away the last dregs of winter. It has been a long, suffering one, has it not? I can't wait to trade in my lace up winter boots for footwear that requires less effort to put on. I know. So lazy of me! I've been wearing the same boots for 6 friggin months. Time to switch it up, right?

I haven't updated my blog in two months - which is bonkers. Please forgive. I wish I could say I took off on an extended vacation to Spain. That would be swell. But, no, in fact my mom had knee replacement surgery on the last day of February, so most of March and early April was spent taking care of her, going to work, taking her to physio and doctor appointments, and not much more. I'd never really taken care of anyone so completely and for such an extended amount of time. It's hard! And exhausting! I was the only one looking after her, which meant my shoulders were carrying quite the load. I don't know what I would have done without my sweet Dixon, as he took care of me while I took care of my mom. He made sure my house was spotless, the cats fed, sidewalks shoveled, food in the fridge. He's such a gem, that one. The road to healing post knee surgery is a long one, and not without many, many hurdles, but I'm happy to say that my mom is doing so well now. She's walking like a pro, doing most daily tasks around her apartment on her own, and soon she'll be driving again. The hardest part has been getting the knee to bend, but we are getting there, with her excellent physiotherapist's help. Soon mom will be out and about like before, and I know she's looking forward to that after being cooped up for most of March and April. She's so grateful for all I've done over the last several weeks, but she's my mom. And that says it all.

While I was in major care giving mode in March, a beautiful cookbook landed on my doorstop - The Alaska From Scratch Cookbook, by Maya Wilson. Maya is a food blogger, chef, food columnist and kindred spirit. I too, have a love for the North, and while reading through her cookbook, I couldn't help but notice the similarities we share. Without a doubt, if we ever met in real life, we would become fast friends. I love reading cookbooks where the author is not afraid of writing about the Big Stuff; where she lets us into a little corner of her life and heart and we are grateful for it. Her recipes are fantastic, too. One of the first things I made mom and I for dinner when she got out of the hospital was the Spicy Chorizo Red Lentil Soup with Kale. Loaded with healthy goodness, it really did hit the spot. And, Dixon and I still talk about how awesome the Asian Chicken Noodle Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms was. Spicy, yet teeming with flavour, it helped clear up my stuffy nose and scratchy throat that was hanging around last week. Well written recipes, gorgeous photography, and good writing makes this a cookbook I'm going to have hanging around my kitchen for a long time. Well done, Maya! You should be very proud.

But, these Swedish Pancakes!  We gotta talk about them! I love all manner of breakfast foods, and this recipe from The Alaska From Scratch Cookbook is fast becoming a favourite around here. I love the recipe because all of  the ingredients go into a blender, and you cook the pancakes off like crepes. Simple is good. What makes them stand apart from crepes is the thicker, tangier batter, thanks to sour cream, and you serve them with plenty of melted butter, a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a generous dusting of icing sugar. I swear everything is made a little bit better by pouring melted butter over it. Amiright? These Swedish pancakes are a tender, eggy, and terribly satisfying. I ate like four in one sitting, and no, I'm not sorry. I love how the bright lemon balances the richness of the melted butter. The whole plate is breakfast magic, really.

Spring is all about renewal and resurgence, and around here, that has special meaning for me and my loved ones. Life is all about the little moments - be it a knee finally bending to 90 degrees, after much hard work and many tears; a breakfast of warm, lemony pancakes and coffee shared between two people who love the bones off one another; reading heartfelt, delicious words long into the night, snuggled under the covers; slipping on a pretty jacket, inhaling the smell of spring on the wind, and walking into a new day.

Swedish Pancakes with Lemon

5 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 Tbsp sour cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
canola oil for greasing the pan
1 lemon, quartered
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
Icing/confectioner's sugar 

1. In a blender, combine the eggs, milk, and sour cream. Blend until smooth. Add the flour, sugar, and salt. Blend until completely smooth. The batter will be thin and pourable. 
2. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When the pan and oil are hot, ladle in 1/4 cup - 1/3 cup of the batter into the centre of the pan. Quickly but gently lift and swirl the pan to spread the batter to the edges. Cook for 60 to 90 seconds, or until the bottom is set. Turn and cook for 30-60 seconds, or until the other side sets up and golden flecks can be seen. Using a spatula, fold the pancake in half and in half again to make a triangle. Set the pancake aside and repeat with the remaining batter, oiling the pan again between pancakes as needed. (I like to keep cooked pancakes warm in a 200F oven.)
3. When ready to serve, lay 3 pancakes on each plate. Drizzle generously with fresh lemon juice and melted butter, then dust liberally with icing sugar. Serve promptly with more lemon wedges, melted butter and icing sugar on the side.  Makes about 9-11 pancakes. Recipe from The Alaska From Scratch Cookbook, by Maya Wilson (Rodale Books, 2018). Recipe reprinted with permission. 

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