One of the biggest perks of having help taking care of Sean is being able to just laze around and do what I enjoy - i.e. read, go jogging and generally not do much around the house. I've been consumed with a whole load of food-inspired books with a heavy helping from the neighbourhood library. I've wolfed down Big Night (I'm a big fan of the movie), just finished The Food of Love and working my way through Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life. Breakfast has always been one meal I have loved cooking for Sean on the weekend and since I wrapped up another drool-worthy chapter from Wizenberg I decided her latest recipe for Dutch baby pancakes needed to be made.
I gave Sean a gentle nudge and told him I was making him something special, which was enough of a tempation to get him out of bed. Now this recipe is like magic. The ingredients are put together in a matter of minutes and then you let the oven's heat and the eggs do their job while you wait. I was mesmerized watching the mixture bubble and transform into a light, souffle as the edges turned a crisp golden shade. Sean came into the kitchen and like two children we watched as the slurry of eggs, flour and half and half turned into a giant balloon and filled the kitchen with the rich aroma of eggs.
Just a dusting of powdered sugar and a sprinkle of lime (I had no lemon so just used a bit of lime for some tartness) and we were ready to chow down. It was delicate in texture and the mixture of the lime's brightness and sweetness of the sugar matched perfectly with the rich souffled pancake. It was only after I Googled the recipe on Wizenberg's blog that I realised I had taken the pancake out too soon. It could have done with a bit more baking time and would have probably been a lot better with the edges crisper than we had. Nonetheless, for the first attempt it was pretty impressive walking to the table with the pan filled with this 'bowl-shaped' pancake as Wizenberg described it.
I have to be honest, it collapsed rather quickly so taking photographs was a bit of a challenge. Judging from the Wizenberg's pictures, the longer baking time would have made the pancake more sturdy structurally. On another note, if you haven't read A Homemade Life, I suggest you give it a try. It is wonderful collection of stories that celebrate the intermingling of food and memories and never fails to leave me smiling every time I conclude another chapter. Wizenberg's relationship with her father reminds me a lot about the closeness I share with my dad, which is probably why I love it so much. I managed to get my sister (who lives in Sammamish, which is a half hour away from Seattle where Wizenberg lives) to read it as well and we swap notes every evening with how far we've reached in the book.
Family, love, inspiration - Wizenberg incorporates it all in her book and reiterates my belief that even the most simplest of meals can leave such an indelible mark for a lifetime.