The Dude Cooks: Banana Flour Pancakes

I love pancakes, but usually can’t having them in the morning. I don’t know why, for my first meal of the day, I crave savory food (though, I will make an exception for dipping maple syrup on my scrapple). So, what’s a girl to do but ask her Dude to make pancakes for dinner!

Want a fun, gluten-free twist on regular pancakes? Try some made with banana flour! The batter is a bit more savory than regular pancake batter, so feel free to add more of the sweetener. I really like the savory-ness though, and am itching to have the dude make them with chives or bacon or something. Another fun, sweet idea would be to add cinnamon or chocolate chips to the batter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup banana flour
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free flour (we use King Arthur)
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil or melted butter (plus more to grease the pan)
  • 1 tbsp agave or honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup almond milk

Method:

  1. Combine both flours, salt, an baking soda in a large bowl.
  2. Combine oil/butter, agave/honey, almond milk, eggs, and vanilla in another bowl.
  3. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. (Gluten-Free fun fact: If something only as GF flour in it, mix to your heart’s content; there aren’t any glutens for you to over-develop, so you won’t end up with a tough batter.) When properly mixed, the batter should be slightly runny and similar in consistency to drinkable yogurt or keffir.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan or griddle over medium heat and grease pan with oil or butter.
  5. Pour batter into pan. You can make the pancakes as large or small as you like; we usually like ours to be circular and the size of a small saucer. The Dude recommends using a measuring cup for easy pouring.
  6. When bubbles develop all over the pancake (usually after 2-3 minutes), flip. Cook for another 2 – 3 minutes on the other side. The pancake should be golden brown and spring back if you gently poke at it.
  7. Repeat until all batter is used up. You can keep the pancakes warm in a very low oven or on a warming rack.
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Flags a’ Flying

Few things excite me more than the news of a restaurant opening, particularly if it’s in our neighborhood or very close by. I love the anticipation of seeing the storefront change day-by-day, of reading blurbs about the chef and restaurant concept on blogs or in magazines or taped haphazardly to a front window. I love wondering what the food will be like and whether it will become a favorite spot and I love when it finally opens and I get to pour over reviews before The Dude and I get to try it for ourselves.

The Dude just wants them to take down their damn grand opening flags.

There is a restaurant in our neighborhood that has been open since 2012 and their grand opening  flags are still flying. I got a flyer from them the other day, in fact, that advertised a “Grand Opening Special!”. Whenever we drive by, The Dude squints and grimaces at the flags. He hates them.

He also hates the huge “Grand Opening!” banner on a Little Caesar’s that’s on our way into the city and has been opening grandly almost as long as our neighborhood joint. I think he’s actually shaken his fist at that one.

A part of me agrees with him, agrees that there should be a limit on how long restaurants can advertise themselves as new. But, another part of me feels bad for those restaurants. If they were as successful as they wanted to be, would they still feel the need to fall back on novelty?

I imagine conversations between the “new” restaurants and the old, successful ones to go something like this:

Flag Flutterer: But, I want everyone to notice me! Look, I’m new and shiny and have things flapping around everywhere.

Old Standby: Ah, but they know me. They know how delicious I am.

Flag Flutterer: But, I’m good, too!

Old Standby: But, I’m better.

Flag Flutterer: I’m just as good as you are.

Old Standby: Hah. You have to wave things in front of their faces to get them to notice you. They just remember me.

Flag Flutterer: I’m just as good as you are. I AM.

Old Standby: Hah. Prove it. Take down your flags.

Flag Flutterer: But, I’m new and shiny…

The Dude hates those flags: “Leave them up 1 month, maybe 2,” he says. “This is crazy. We can’t ever eat there. I hate those stupid flags.”

And, we haven’t eaten there, not at any of those places. I don’t think we will.

The Dude’s Mole

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Mole chicken tacos with radish, guacamole, and pickled red onions.

The Dude loves making Mexican inspired food (his tortillas are delicious) and he seems to really love making mole. I won’t lie, the first time he made it, a large mess was involved. The mole itself was very tasty, but it took forever and seemed to splatter the entire kitchen. I still tease him about it. He’s gotten the process down pat, though, and it now only requires minimal cleanup.

Like all moles, the recipe does contain quite a few ingredients and steps. It’s really much easier than it looks, though, and is absolutely worth it. It’s a great go-to sauce and we love having it in the fridge or freezer. This mole is also a bit on the spicy side, but it’s really worth it and can easily be tempered  with crema, sour cream, or cheese. Plus, it’s mole – it’s supposed to have a kick! It works on pork, chicken, and fish (and probably on beef, but we didn’t try that).

Ingredients:

  • 2 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 dried pasilla chilies
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 tomatillos, quartered
  • ½ can (15 oz) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Large handful toasted almonds
  • Large handful toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Large handful raisins
  • About 1 ½ cup of chicken stock, divided.
  • ½ cup black bean stock (substitute chicken stock if necessary)
  • 5-6 dark chocolate pieces (we used dark chocolate covered almonds)
  • 1tbs smooth peanut butter
  • Grapeseed, canola, or other non-flavored oil (olive oil is too strong)
  • Agave to taste

Method:

  1. Place a heavy pan (we used cast iron) over medium heat. While the pan is heating, remove the seeds from the chili peppers.
  2. Place the chilies in the pan and toast until fragrant. This only takes a few minutes, so watch them; they go from toasty and yummy to burnt very quickly.
  3. Remove toasted peppers and place in a heat-proof bowl. Cover with about ½ cup of hot chicken broth. Steep until peppers soften.
  4. Add 1-2 tbsp oil to the pan and toast almond and pumpkin seeds until fragrant and slightly darkened (about 2 minutes). Make sure to stir frequently and watch the pan! Set aside.
  5. Add the onion and tomatillo pieces. Sear 1-2 minutes on each side until charred.  Set aside.
  6. Add raisins to the pan and cook for about 1 minute until they plump up and change color.

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    Blend it up!

  7. Add all of the following to a blender:  softened peppers (with liquid!), charred tomatillos and onions, toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, and raisins, fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, and allspice. At this point, also add ½ cup black bean stock (cooking liquid – water and some baking soda – from black beans). If you don’t have this, just sub in some more chicken stock.
  8. Blend until smooth, adding more chicken stock if necessary.  It will take a little while if you have a cheapo blender like ours!
  9. Taste the mixture; it will likely need some salt and some sweetness. If you are using dark chocolate almonds (like we did!), add them and a pinch of salt now (we’ll add more salt to taste later) and blend again until smooth. If you’re using plan chocolate, just add some salt and wait until later to add the chocolate.

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    Time to strain.

  10. Now for the messy part – straining! Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and add the mixture. Push the mixture through the strainer with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. This will take some time, but make sure you push everything you can through the strainer – it’s totally worth it! Discard anything left in the strainer.
  11. Add about 1 ½ tbs of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot over and heat on medium low. Add the strained mixture. Yes, it will splatter (told you this can be messy!). Cook down until the mixture resembles tomato paste, stirring frequently. Be patient with this part, it can take quite a while and you (and your kitchen) will get splattered.
  12. Once cooked down, add enough chicken stock to get the sauce to the consistency of a thick puree or thin applesauce. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes and salt to taste.

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    Reduced sauce. Notice we used a way-too-large pot to minimize splatter.

  13. Add 1tbsp of peanut butter. Also, if you are using chocolate pieces instead of chocolate almonds, add them now. Stir until incorporated.
  14. Taste again and add agave if you want it sweeter.
  15. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

 

Once your sauce is cooked, use immediately or cool and place in containers. It will keep for about 1 week in the fridge 3 months in the freezer.

 

 

 

Skillet Masa Cornbread

Cornbread. Made with maseca. In a skillet. Seriously delicious. This recipe is courtesy of The Dude.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup maseca
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbs softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tbs honey

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degress F. Place cast iron skillet in oven (we used a 12 inch) so it can preheat with the oven.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  3. Smoosh in (the technical term) all but 1 tbs of the butter.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine milk and honey.
  5. Add wet ingredients into dry. Mix well.
  6. (Carefully!) Remove pan from oven and grease with remaining 1 tbs of butter.
  7. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.
  8. Bake for 21 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Serve immediately or place on rack to cool.

Finished Product:

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Next time, we’ll try adding jalapenos, cheese, and/or corn. Yum!