Saturday, June 15, 2013

I don't think I even know what buttermilk is

Thursday June 6th, 2013

Last weekend we celebrated a friend's birthday and I decided to make a cake that I have had success with in the past. I mentioned before that I don't consider myself a baker, there is no mystery behind this.
Baking is a science of proportions and I am awful at following recipes, I usually half (or even quarter) the called for amount of butter and sugar, and will substitute in some whole wheat flour. All this ends up with baked goods that taste what P calls "ropey", in that is tastes a bit like rope, but in a healthy, hippy way (those who came P's birthday will remember the ropey carrot cake).
I discovered a cake in Bon Appetit that does well with my changes and still tasted like cake. I did end up substituting most of the butter with a banana so it is now a spice banana cake. The recipe calls for buttermilk, but not for the whole carton so there was some left over in the fridge after the party and it needed to be used.

What do I do with buttermilk? Pancakes for dinner!!! Along with the buttermilk, I still don't know what it is besides a dairy product, there were also a few oranges that were embarrassingly suspicious. The orange peel had turned hard, I'm going to blame this on the dry climate. While I've been ignoring them when I make lunches,  I took a chance tonight and did some investigation, fully prepared to compost them if needed, but to my surprise the fruit was still juicy and sweet.
What's in the fridge: buttermilk, hippy pancake mix, almond extract, allspice, crispy orange. 
I break out the hippy pancake mix, pour some in the mixing bowl, measuring be dammed, I am just going to eyeball this. I have a general idea of what pancake batter looks like so I add the buttermilk and more mix until it looks like enough to make about 6 pancakes. I squeeze in one of the oranges and some almond extract. In my mind oranges and almonds go well together.  As I'm mixing the fragrance of these two is amazing, sweet and fruity. It gets finished off with a dash of allspice. I have no idea why I have allspice but I ran out of cinnamon and the look pretty much the same so in it goes.
our "greens" for tonight. 

To top the pancakes I am going to raid the fruit bowl to make a salad. Since this is a veggie free meal I need to add in something fresh. There are a few strawberries left over from the birthday cake making and a mango that is perfectly ripe, my crispy oranges and an apple rescued from the teacher's lounge at school.

The batter goes in, a few get treated with some frozen blueberries from the freezer. The orange and almond fragrance are filling up the kitchen and we are getting very hungry!  And what is pancakes with out maple syrup? Well, good thing we have some VT Gold, handmade at 45 Markham Road.
Testing the sap in Dad's sugar house

Tapping Trees

The reason I rarely order pancakes out is because I'm a maple syrup snob, only the real stuff for me. The final product also gets topped with some almond butter and served with a beer. Beer and Pancakes?! P wouldn't have it any other way. Over all this one was a success and I am happy that I was able to use up two ingredients, the buttermilk and the oranges, before they started growing things.
Pancakes don't photograph well, but they taste great! 


  1. Looks yummy, Nora! I've been enjoying your kitchen creativity. Glad Peter put it together for you :)

  2. Buttermilk makes a really yummy Irish bread. I'm not much of a baker myself for the same reason as you but some wholemeal flour, bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk makes for an amazing soda loaf!
    I leave out the salt, and my one tip would be to knead the life out of it! We make it all the time and it is gorgeous. For a bit of extra kick a handful of porridge oats go really well with it too!