Yes, summer is finally upon us, in that sleeping-with-the-fan-on-full kind of way. How I long for/dread these days (Oh the heat! Oh, the heat.).
One thing I love about this weather is the food I am inspired to eat. I’m normally a comfort food person, which naturally goes with cold, wet days, or at least seems to me the antithesis of summer…Unless I were to think about sorbets and fruit salads and coleslaw as summer comfort food. In which case, I’m feeling very comfortable right now.
Our lettuce is bolting something fierce. After a damp, cool few weeks of growing, it’s now fully committed to going to seed. It never ceases to amaze me how fast a lettuce can go from a nice, uniform round head to a towering pillar of lettuce excitement. So we’ve been trying to eat lots of salad, and luckily, one of the varieties I planted is buttercrunch, a kind of Bibb or Boston lettuce, which is just delightfully crisp and, yes, buttery. Aside from a thorough aphid inspection (I hate those guys), it’s straight from patch to plate. And doesn’t it look lovely? I could eat a whole bowl of this, just drizzled with a bright dressing, nothing else. Well, maybe some avocado.
Of course it’s also frozen dessert weather, so this week I made some fro-yo. Just plain yogurt flavour. No vanilla, no distractions. I love tang. The best gelato I ever ate was yogurt flavoured and oh-so-tangy (and in France). I wish this fro-yo had more tang. I fear I’ll not be able to balance this (otherwise great) recipe with that mouth-puckering yogurtyness. The fro-yo needs enough sugar to keep it scoopable and from going icy, but that also takes away from the lactic acid sourness. What to do? I’ll have to research and report my findings.
And finally, as Little e and I reveled in the bright, cool (6 am) morning before the sun heated us up to boiling, I thought of crepes. Actually, Palatchinken, the Austrian version I grew up eating, which is really the same thing (sacrilege police, forgive me). These are not usually hot weather comfort food for me, but this morning it wasn’t yet a hot day, and I wanted something to go with the last of the blackberry sauce I found in the bottom of the freezer (that’s it on the fro-yo too–it’s a workhorse). But, I reasoned, all the palatchinken will be cold by the time I get to eat one, so really, they are a heat wave food.
And as I sat down to my breakfast and read Hannah’s post about talking ourselves small, I remembered how many times I have done that in the last, oh, 48 hours. And I was glad for good food and good friends and good, honest conversation (and great comments!). And for summer, as hot as it comes.
Adapted from several recipes
225 g flour
a few pinches of salt
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 egg, beaten
300 ml milk
25 g butter, melted, or oil, like grapeseed
more butter/oil for greasing the pan
In a food processor or blender, pour the liquid ingredients (cooling the butter a little before adding it). Then dump in the flour, salt and sugar. Blend for about 45-60 seconds, making sure all the flour is incorporated and the batter is smooth. It improves with time, so if possible, chill it in the fridge for a few hours before using. When you’re ready to make the pancakes, heat a pancake pan or large frying pan (this is the only thing I use non-stick for). Coat the pan with a little oil/butter. Pour a small amount of batter into the centre of the pan and immediately tilt and shake the pan to get the batter to move to the edges and cover the whole surface. The thinner the pancake, the better. It usually takes me one ‘practice’ crepe to get in the groove. Cook until little bubbles appear and the underside is just browning. Flip and cook the other side for less than half the time. You can keep these warm in a low oven, serve them immediately (with jam, honey, lemon/sugar, maple syrup…) or let them cool and eat them during a heat wave.