Monday, October 21, 2013

My Ukrainian Mother's Pancakes

When I first moved back to Ottawa,
after being there for the fall and winter
semesters when I was still in library school,
I lived with my Ukrainian family for about
1 month or so before I landed my next apartment
and got my first job,
which to this day remains one of the ones
I loved the most.
One of the things we would do was
having pancakes with local honey,
fresh sour cream, berries... pots of tea
(they were very hospitable and taught me
a lot about hospitality, and had tea just for me,
since I never have caffeinated teas).
I remember eating at their table,
first a white one with a tile top and later
a wooden one of the same size,
I remember not only the food being
so warm and delicious,
I remember the love and quiet close
society this family had with one another.
I, who have always been on the more willowy side,
was always told to eat more!
Well, one of the things I asked my
Ukrainian Mother before I left was to come over
one last time and for her to teach me how
to make her pancakes, along
with a few other dishes.
Finally this weekend I made them!

What I loved was that I got cooking lessons
that were from scratch, not from a book.
I am slowly making my way through
Stand Facing the Stove: 
The Story of the Women Who Gave America The Joy of Cooking 
and one of the things that I am learning through it is
culinary history and how cookbooks
were not always standardized and that
women taught other women as they had
big kitchens as before everything changed,
food was not pre-canned, chickens were not bought plucked,
not to mention de-boned and ready to be cooked immediately.
One of the things we have lost through these changes,
though there are many new conveniences and things
we take for granted, like sugar being inexpensive
and flour being prepackaged and ready to be used with ease.
The way my Ukrainian Mother taught me
was the old way.

1 liter of milk
melt some butter/coconut oil/olive oil and add it
(all three oils together being best)
Lightly lightly oil the pan,
adding more oil, almost no oil at all,
with a bit of cheese cloth, being careful as the pan
will be already hot,
(I used paper towel scraps to lightly re-oil with a bit of butter)...

I melted the oils.

Added the three eggs and beat them in the milk
and oil...

The flour you add last
and add it until the mixture,
with the three eggs added already,
until it is the consistency of a fresh (liquid) sour cream
(that I had many times there) or pourable honey.
I think I added about three cups,
but I did it a bit at a time and tested the consistency.
I did not have enough easy arm power
to get the mixture smooth, as my first
dump of flour had been too much at once,
so I used a blender to mix the batter and then
poured it back in my shorter but still substantive
8 cup Pyrex measuring cup with lid.
Once it had just a little bit of give when I
used my wooden spoon to stir the top
of the mixture while still in the blender,
and it was not at it's most 'runny' stage,
but more like a runny sour cream or liquid honey,
I called it good and was ready to use it.
Mr. Husband wanted savory ones
so this was my own addition to
this particular recipe...
based on crepes we had previously.

FYI, when I was first making the pancakes,
I realized that the batter was frying up a bit 'dry'
and I added a little bit of olive oil to the batter,
which righted the matter immediately.
It finally dawned on me to fry up the
non-hormone laden turkey bacon
before adding it to the finished but still
in pan crepe/pancake/blini. 

Put some fried turkey bacon, some
(we had organic) mozzarella cheese in the middle,
carefully flip over half the crepe...

Have it melt a little bit
and quickly but carefully move to the waiting plate.

I covered this plate with another while
making others,
so that they would all stay warm.
The savory pancake I enjoyed with some
Canadian Maple Syrup
and the plain ones I loved best with
sour cream and honey!


Heather L. said...

I do know Elizabeth Goudge, though not as well as some other authors. After you mentioned Middle Window I quickly went and checked the two Goudges I brought home and sure enough, Middle Window is one of them! YAY! I will look forward to reading it!

Also have marked the book you are reading for my to-read list. Sounds like I would enjoy it.

Martha said...

Mmmm...I ♥ crepes. Usually we eat them with "tvorog" (buttermilk cheese), honey, yogurt, jam or maple syrup. I've made some savory ones, with mushrooms, onions and cheese.