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archive for December 2012

pancakes for us

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Recipe: chocolate gingerbread pancakes

People react to tragedy in different ways, and we were reminded of this on Friday morning when shock and despair rippled through our collective consciousness. I shed tears for people I didn’t know – victims, survivors, families, a community – and later more tears for my friend whose little nephew was lost in the shooting. You can do something or you can do nothing, but we all have a choice here and my hope is that we will think carefully and clearly about that choice.

I have experienced loss, but I am no expert. I seek solace in nature, a place so cold and indifferent and yet almost painfully beautiful. The world continues around you, no matter what has happened, and I find comfort in that. It helps me to pick myself up and continue. I thought I’d share some of the beauty in my corner of the world from a weekend that left so many of us heartsick.

an especially bright meteor from the geminids shower early friday morning

two meteors within 30 seconds of one another

a lovely red fox hiding out in the yard

We spent the weekend hosting a dear high school friend of mine and his wonderful wife at our house. It’s so nice to spend an entire evening catching up and sharing with people you love and admire, but rarely get to see in person. We curled up on couches under warm quilts, eating dessert, bonding over any topic and every topic. The following morning was Mitch’s birthday and Shannon clued me in on his favorite breakfast treat – pancakes. Imagine this Harvard-trained world-traveling consultant-do-gooder gourmand sitting down to a stack of pancakes and clapping his hands together like a little kid. Just one of many reasons why I love Mitch.

happy birthday, sweetie

I am not a breakfast person, and I think most of you knew that. But isn’t there something awfully special about pancakes? I sort of feel that pancakes bring out the kid in all of us. They are like breakfast presents for children – both the small and the big children. Morning happiness on a plate. An act of love. I’m thinking Saturday mornings in your pajamas eating pancakes with sticky syrup and watching favorite cartoons with nary a care in the world. I equate pancakes with childhood… precious childhood. Let’s make some pancakes.

eggs, molasses, brown sugar, spices, flour, chocolate, butter, buttermilk, leavenings

While I don’t indulge in pancakes very often, I do enjoy a fluffy buttermilk pancake from time to time – preferably with fruit inclusions. But sometimes you have to go a little wild and change things up. As I flipped through my copy of Desserted, my eyes locked onto a recipe for chocolate gingerbread pancakes. How Decemberish!

mix the dry ingredients

mix the wet ingredients

add chocolate (i swear this isn’t dessert)

**Jump for more butter**

my senior citizen

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Recipe: chana masala

Today, my baby puppy Kaweah turns 14 years old. And even though I call her my puppy, even though she acts like a puppy, even though so many people think she’s a puppy… she’s pretty old. So when she turns off her ears and doesn’t come when called (her hearing is perfectly fine, she can hear me open the closet door to her dog treats from across the house) or when she stumbles because her back legs are weak, we are extra patient and understanding with her the way we would be with our grandmas if they were still alive. I don’t generally make a big deal of birthdays, but this one is special, because it may be her last one.

a little salad, puppy biscuits on cheddar, and raw flank steak

kaweah started with her veggies first (good girl)

apples, peanut butter sauce, unsweetened whipped cream

such a patient pup

jeremy blew the candle out

birthday girl!!

We actually celebrated on Thursday, one day early, because our schedules are completely bonkers. The holidays really make me want to do the opposite of what is considered de rigueur. I can get away with some of it, but not the baking. Our local post office ladies ask Jeremy every November if I’ll be bringing cookies for the holidays. And I can’t not give cookies to my vet, because we love him so much. My ace #1 oncologist – he gets cookies for sure. We always gift cookies to the administrative staff in Jeremy’s department. I don’t mind the baking because this is an expression of gratitude. What I do mind is having heaps of sweets around me. Gah! Get them away! To balance out the craziness of holiday baking, I’ve been gravitating toward simple, but awesome savory dishes.

cayenne, garam masala, paprika, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cumin seeds

spices, salt, garlic, onion, lemon, tomatoes, ginger, jalapeño pepper, and chickpeas

This is a recipe that has been eating away at me for a few years – chana masala. My friend, Nicole, brought it to a potluck party in Seattle two summers ago and I loved it. It was a big party, and I never got around to asking for the recipe. By the time I remembered again (months later) I hit the interwebs which 80% of the time lead me to Deb.

grind the toasted cumin seeds

everything chopped, diced, grated, minced, ground, or juiced

**Jump for more butter**

a diamond in the roughage

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Recipe: shredded brussels sprouts salad

The crush of self-imposed holiday-related deadlines looms large at Butter headquarters. We don’t even celebrate anything in particular and I’ve got a little bit of the freak out going on. So I needed something easy and full of crunchy vegetables to balance the ungodly amount of baked goods I’m cranking out of my kitchen.

brussels sprouts, walnuts, pecorino, lemon, salt, pepper, mustard, olive oil

The first time I had Brussels sprouts was in the NASA cafeteria during a summer internship. I generally loved vegetables as a kid because my mom didn’t cook them to death, but served them bright, fresh, and full of flavor and nutrients. I popped a sprout into my mouth and *squish*. It didn’t taste bad, it tasted sad. Fast forward a decade to my reintroduction to the oft-maligned Brussels sprouts – that time roasted – and we’ve been enjoying a love affair ever since.

peel any discolored or blemished outer leaves

slice thin by hand, by mandoline, or by food processor (slicing or shredding blade)

separate the slices in a large bowl

**Jump for more butter**