Sour Cream Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Our house guest for the weekend told me these pancakes are “breathtaking”. He’s 9 years old, but with a discerning palate. He liked them so much that I made them on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Sour Cream Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 medium banana, thinly sliced

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Combine the sour cream, milk, and egg in another bowl and whisk until smooth. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, then stir in the chocolate chips. The batter will be very thick, almost like biscuit dough.

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and melt enough butter to coat the pan. Add the batter 1/4 cup at a time. Press 3 banana slices into each pancake, pushing down to flatten the cakes. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Cook the pancakes on the first side until golden brown, then flip and cook until batter is set. Use care when removing as the bananas will caramelize and may stick a little. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Adapted from Pancakes A to Z.

Longcut Ragu

After some trial and error, I am ready to immortalize my basic pasta sauce recipe. I like my sauce to be relatively smooth, with just tomato chunks and meat for texture. I make a broth and an infused oil to extract the flavors from the vegetables and herbs, making a surprisingly flavorful sauce.

This is ideally made with home-canned tomatoes, but I use store bought cans in the recipe since I so rarely have a lot of home canned tomatoes on hand. I think one and a half pints of home-canned tomatoes would be roughly equivalent. If using store bought tomatoes, obviously higher end Roma or San Marzano varieties would be preferable.

Vegetable stock base

  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, broken into a few pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsely with stems
  • 1 bay leaf

Add 4 cups water to the vegetables in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for one hour. Strain the stock, then return to a boil and reduce to two cups

Once the vegetable stock is made, we can prepare the simple sauce

Sauce base

  • 1 pound ground beef, pork, or lamb
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cans whole or diced tomatoes

Heat the oil in a skillet or saucepan. Season the meat with salt and pepper an add to the pot. Brown over medium high heat until just starting to crisp. If there is a lot of fat in the pan, drain all but about 2 tbsp.

Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes along with the vegetable stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer one hour. Using a potato masher, crush the tomatoes to your desired level of chunkiness.

While the sauce is simmering, we make the infused oil.

Infused oil

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • A large pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 spring fresh rosemary, or 1/2 tsp dried

Combine all ingredients in a small skillet. Place over low heat. If the garlic begins to sizzle, remove from heat for a few seconds. After ten minutes over low heat, remove from the burner and allow to sit for 30 minutes or so. Strain the oil into a small bowl.

When the sauce is thickened and the oil is ready, stir the oil into the sauce just before serving, along with a handful of chopped Italian parsley.

Zucchini Corn Fritters

Last week the Minneapolis Thursday Farmer’s Market on Nicollet Avenue was a bounty. I came home with what must have been 20lbs of fresh produce. Inspired by what I got, I came up with this recipe.

Zucchini Corn Fritters

  • 5 small zucchini, grated
  • 1 ear sweet corn, kernels removed from cob
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 to 2 tsps salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil for frying

Place the shredded zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for 10-20 minutes, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Combine with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl

Heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the batter in 1/3 cups and press down with the measuring cup to make a pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes per side or until nicely browned and cooked through

I served this with Mark Bittman’s simple Red Pepper Puree. I think a fresh chutney, salsa, or relish would also make a nice complement.

Red Pozole

Several years ago in Acapulco, we came across a restaurant just off the waterfront near the Zocalo. We were staying in a cheap hotel, away from the strip, and we walked into this establishment because it was full of locals and seemed lively.

The menu had only a few items: mostly tamales and pozole. I had no idea what pozole was, but most of the patrons seemed to be enjoying a hearty soup with a number of accompaniments: radish, ground dried chilis, chopped lettuce, and avocado. We somehow figured out what they were having, and I was introduced to pozole verde.

Upon returning to the states, I immediately sought out a recipe for this fantastic dish. This recipe from Epicurious is an almost perfect approximation, and I have made this soup over and over, sometimes as much as quadrupling the recipe for 20 people. It’s easy, delicious, and scales well.

Recently I developed a recipe for Red Pozole (pozole rojo) that takes much less time to make and is almost as delicious. Like my cheese enchilda recipe, this dish relies on a puree of guajillo peppers, tomatoes, and garlic, and like my chorizo taco recipe, good quality Mexican chorizo is a must.

Here is the recipe:

Pozole Rojo

  • 3 dried guajillo chilis
  • 1 dried pasilla chili
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lb Mexican Chorizo
  • 1 can low salt chicken broth or other stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 28oz can hominy, drained and rinsed

Heat a small dry skillet over medium heat. Toast the peppers until fragrant and soft. Remove the stems. Place the peppers, tomatoes (with juice), garlic, onion, oregano, and salt in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet. Remove the casings from the chorizo and brown the sausage in chunks. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a soup pot. Cook the pureed tomato/pepper mixture until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the chorizo to the pot along with the water, chicken broth, and bay leaf. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the hominy to the pot, and simmer an additional 20 minutes. If the chorizo releases a large amount of fat, you may wish to skim some of it before serving.

Serve with lime wedges, chopped romaine lettuce, avocado, and fried tortilla strips.

Mel’s Cornbread

Around my house, when we talk about making cornbread, we are talking about making Mel’s cornbread. It’s definitely not traditional southern style cornbread, and it’s almost as sweet as a yellow cake, but everyone seems to eat it until it’s gone.

I’m always worried I might lose the recipe, so I decided to immortalize it here.

Mel’s Cornbread

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, or a blend)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar with a mixer. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat until creamy. Mix in the corn, milk, and cheese, then fold in the dry ingredients until just mixed.

Turn into a greased 13×9″ pan. Put the pan in the oven, then immediately reduce the heat to 300. Bake for 1 hour.