I twist the lid off the canister, my head swirling as the familiar scent fills the space around me. One scoop. Two scoops. Three. I snap the basket back in place, turn the knob and stand back, hands on hips awaiting the first sounds of the pump forcing the water up and through the heating rods. I inhale and glance around my kitchen searching for my favorite mug. Reflected in the freshly shined dryer door, I catch a glimpse of her. Quietly I watch as she basks in the warm sunshine languidly stretching her limbs then settling down again, seemingly oblivious to the world around.
As if sensing my curious eyes on her, she lifts her head, nose to the air. Does she smell it too? The hot brown fully caffeinated liquid that I now only treat myself to on Sunday mornings? Our Sunday mornings? She looks towards the back door, in the direction of the dryer. Does she see me like I see her?
She hops off her throne and pads her way over to me, eyes searching mine as if to say, "What are we doing today, mama?"
I stoop down, my motion inducing the ever vigorous, often amusing, full butt wiggle in anticipation of my caress and acknowledgment.
"Are you hungry, my pretty girl?"
I bury my hands in her thick and sun-warmed coat forgetting my hunger for a moment. I wonder if she can feel my love for her flowing up from the very depths of my soul, down my arms, through my hands and out the tips of my fingers as I knead her fur covered flesh?
How fortune are we to have found each other?
The coffeemaker silences. I stand, reaching for my mug. Starbuck, realizing the moment is over, turns and heads back to her throne in the sun. I pour some of the steaming liquid, raise the cup to my lips eager for that first taste of ambrosia. Simultaneously bitter and sweet, much like my life these past few months, the tension in my neck and shoulders ease as the warmth of the coffee washes over me. I cradle the hot mug, breathing in the earthy aroma.
A familiar stir in the pit of my stomach spurs me into action. I turn towards the refrigerator, open it, and look inside.
"So, what's for breakfast?"
Easy Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes
The secret to fluffy pancakes is to not over mix or over bake. I mix until JUST combined. The batter will be VERY lumpy. You want the lumps. They'll provide lovely pockets of air in the pancakes making them light and fluffy. I also make mine in my well-seasoned cast iron skillet which minimizes the need for a lot of butter to cook the pancakes in. Plus, the cast iron holds heat well so I can keep the heat at medium-low for controlled cooking. Also, to keep a consistent size, use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter onto the pan or griddle. And for goodness sake! Don't pat the cooking cake with a spatula. Believe me, I've seen it done.
Yield: 10 6-inch pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups cold buttermilk (well-shaken just before pouring)
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup melted butter plus more for cooking and buttering the pancakes
your favorite syrup
Place griddle on medium to medium low heat.
Sift together the dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat with a wire whisk. Add the buttermilk and extracts. Whisk vigorously until thick and frothy. Slowly add the butter a little at a time while whisking (the slow incorporation keeps the hot butter from scrambling the eggs).
Add the flour to the buttermilk mixture all at once. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour JUST UNTIL there is little to no visible dry flour showing through. Batter will be very lumpy.
Place a teaspoon or so of butter on the hot griddle and swirl around to cover the surface. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, carefully scoop up batter and place in center of griddle. Don't worry about spreading, the batter will spread on it's own. Cook until the surface is covered in popping bubbles. Carefully flip the pancake and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until the flip side is golden brown. Remove the pancakes to a warm plate and keep it in the oven while you cook the rest of the batter.
Serve pancakes with your favorite syrup and/or top with berries. Leftover pancakes freeze well for a quick breakfast later in the week. Wrap them well after they are fully cooled.
|Batter should be lumpy.|
|Ready to flip!|