Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Very Happy Mother's Day with Strawberry-Ricotta Pancakes


    Allow me to say Happy Mother's Day to everyone out there. Sadly, my mother and I have lived apart since I was a baby, but we talk almost every day and so I was quick to call her this morning and remind her about how many drugs she had to take for my C-section. And before you call me callous, I promise she is always quick to remind me if I don't beat her to it.  I love my mother very much, and I wish I could have been there to spend the weekend with her.  Kentucky Derby, Mother's Day, and good food.  Really, what is better?  A Triple Crown winner, that's what.
     Mother's Day is a day for breakfast, if you ask me. But why go out when you could show how much you care? With pancakes! Man 'o man. Let me just say... I. Love. These. Pancakes. They are ridiculously good. I consider myself to be a connoisseur of good pancakes, and while they don't quite beat the blueberry pancakes at The Pancake House, they're by far the best I've ever made in-house.  I added more lemon than perhaps was necessary, but I thought it made it so fresh and beautiful.  And because you don't mix it a lot after you add the Ricotta, you get these blobs of it within the pancake and it's just wonderful.

Can you see the pieces of Ricotta!?  Mmmmmm

     The circumstances were so fortuitous. I had a field trip early on Saturday morning for Marine Botany, but I made it back just in time to run down with the boyfriend O to the farmer's market, and he was sweet enough to buy us two pints of strawberries.
     Strawberries are in season again, one of my favorite indicators that spring is underway. And while nothing beats the simplicity of eating them plain, as a baker I always feel the need to throw them into something tasty. Combine that with a carton of fresh Ricotta I had from making a zucchini galette earlier in the week (a post on that to come later), and I had the makings of a delicious breakfast. Plus, I love being able to use up ingredients. I can't bare to throw them away.

So here I have given you the perfect breakfast to share with your mother, albeit a bit late. This seems like great “special occasion” recipe, but I like it so much I might just make Monday morning the next special occasion.  It's so easy to make, very quick to whip up, and it makes you look like a very fancy chef.
Recipe adapted slightly from Une-deux Senses's recipe.

- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup milk
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 2 tbsn. sugar
- dash of salt
- 2 tsp. grated lemon zest (I grated one whole medium-sized lemon and added all the zest)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 - 2 cups strawberries (or really any you have available)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Pour the milk into a mixing bowl, then add the egg yolks; mix until combined.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and mix well. Add the lemon zest and mix.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry peaks form. Gently fold throughout the batter, leaving some streaks of white.
  4. Lastly, add the ricotta and mix gently (try not to overmix as you want it to be slightly chunky).
  5. Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan over medium heat, then grease lightly with butter or oil. Pour 1/2 cup of the batter (per hotcake) into the pan. If using berries, sprinkle the top of the hotcake with a few berries. Cook on one side until little bubbles appear, about 2 minutes, then flip over and cook on the other side for about 1 minute.
     Let me end by saying I'm sorry that this post was a bit late in coming. I'm trying to aim for at least a post a week, but already I'm being a bad blogger. Unfortunately, as I said before, I chose to start this smack dab in my busiest weeks of the quarter to date. I've had midterms and field trips and lab work and I feel like I haven't slept properly in weeks.
     But it's not all so doom and gloom. I've gotten good grades on all the exams I've gotten back to far, and field trips are always fun. For my class on Marine Mammals we took a boat out to go whale watching. I got soaking wet and it was freezing, but we saw sea lions, some otters, a bunch of jelly fish, a pod of Risso's Dolphins, and then a pod of transient Killer Whales, which was ridiculously cool. I saw them in Alaska in 2005, but the transients are jut a whole different class. They're the ones that hunt other whales (if you've ever watched Blue Planet) and as such they're huge. We supposedly saw the largest male on the West coast, and I swear his dorsal fin alone had to be at least 3-4 feet tall.

 Three otters, including a baby.  I work on these guys out a Big Sur.

A Risso's Dolphin.  Those marks come from dragging their teeth on each other's backs (photo courtesy of

     And then for Marine Botany we took a trip down the One to Big Sur and hiked out to a remote cove. Its so gorgeous there. If you've never been and are looking for a nice roadtrip, I promise you can do no better than the One. It's all curves and coast and cliffs and the most beautiful views you could ever want. The pictures never do it justice.

No justice at all...

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