Sunday, August 19, 2012

Buttermilk Chronicles Part 1: Buttermilk Peach Smoothie

On my way to breakfast at Lynn's house yesterday - buttermilk biscuits, eggs, sausage gravy and fruit - I bought buttermilk for the biscuits. A quart. Why doesn't buttermilk come in pints and half-pints as it did in my childhood so I don't end up with left-over buttermilk? There are a lot of uses for buttermilk, but none of them were on my menus for the upcoming week. All I remember about buttermilk from my childhood is that my dad loved drinking it straight (with a little black pepper) and, as a child, I hated the taste. I had consigned myself to using powdered buttermilk for spur-of-the-moment biscuits ("Buttermilk Biscuits") when I had neither buttermilk nor milk (to transform into a substitute with lemon juice or vinegar).

Why I continued to hold this childhood prejudice against buttermilk I don't know. I love yogurt - the tangy-er the better. I make my own yogurt on the tangy side. Lynn talked me into taking the remainder home and I vowed to use it. This morning I made a buttermilk peach smoothie and I pronounce it... DELICIOUS! Will I buy buttermilk just for smoothies? YES!

I don't use ice in my breakfast smoothies because I think it dilutes the flavors. If all of the ingredients are frosty cold right from the refrigerator, or the fruit is frozen, it's absolutely chilled enough for me.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Saturday Breakfast: Mashed Potato Pancakes

Ours weren't quite as fluffy as we expected them to be, but then I realized that 'somebody' (ahem, me) only beat the egg whites to 'soft' instead of 'stiff' peaks. Still, they tasted marvelous.

Who says you can't go home again? Taste memories are sometimes hard to recreate because what you remember tasting can be tied up with other kinds of memories: time, places, and people can all affect how you remember taste. Lynn, my co-cooking compatriot wanted to recreate the potato pancakes of her childhood from (long closed) "Farmer John's Pancake House" in Bakersfield, CA, formerly located at the corner of Union Ave and Golden State Hwy (Route 99). "Farmer John's" was a roadside diner and any of us who grew up in the U.S. prior to the 1970's can remember them well. They still exist, but largely they have disappeared, some have become regional chains and a very few are national or global chains.

Photos are reproduced with kind permission by Roadside Peek

These weren't the kind of potato pancakes like latkes that start off with shredded potatoes but American-style pancakes made with leftover mashed potatoes.

We modified the recipe from Aroostook on in that we did not add the sugar and added about 1 1/2 tablespoons of finely minced shallot. That amount of shallot was perfect - just a hint that didn't overwhelm.

Whether an exact re-creation or not, Lynn loved (as did I) how these turned out.