a year in food and life

On ballooning and babies (literal and Dutch) February 12, 2007

Filed under: baked goods,Dessert,Diversions,food,Musings — superspark @ 9:21 am

What a weekend we had planned! As a work-related excursion, we had been invited on a hot air ballooning-wine tasting retreat. How cool is that? We would get up very early Saturday morning and drive to Temecula, where we’d be whisked away on a balloon tour of wine country. The rest of the day would be spend tasting and touring at the various vineyards, with breakfast and lunch stops at carefully selected restaurants. I’d been looking forward to the trip for weeks.  Maybe you can already sense that my excitement about this excursion was soon to be squelched. On Friday afternoon, we found out that because the forecast for Southern California was for rain on Saturday, the whole trip was cancelled. Waaaah! And if that weren’t bad enough, when we woke up on Saturday morning, it was gorgeous and sunny and lovely. I can only hope there was a monsoon over Temecula.

Perhaps, we thought, we’d drown our sorrows in some homemade strawberry ice cream. But somehow Dylan, who is an ice cream pro and tends not to give much thought to silly things like recipes, managed to curdle the milk with the acid from the strawberries, leaving us with a brew of hot strawberry paneer. Yegh.

Luckily things started to get better on Saturday night, when we headed out to babysit. Clearly we have no children yet, for only the childless could look forward to spending Saturday night with an eight-month old while his parents go out for a romantic birthday dinner. But just spending an hour with a delightful, sweet-tempered baby can cure any foul mood. His chubby legs, wide-eyed startled look, and baby head smell had us wondering whether it would be fair to keep him up past his bedtime so that we could play with him more. (We didn’t, but it was tempting.)

Spirits lifted from babysitting, we returned home and whipped up a batch of cinnamon ice cream to put the cap on what ended up being a not-altogether-terrible day, even if it was not what we had thought it would be. The ice cream was amazing, but as the premier ice cream maker in our house, Dylan gets dibs on blogging that one. He’s been experimenting with a new recipe for the base that produces incredibly smooth and non-eggy results.


Instead, I’ll just mention the dutch baby (or variation thereupon) pictured above that we made for brunch on Sunday. Having drooled over The Wednesday Chef’s Sow’s Ear pancake ever since it was posted here in mid-January, we finally decided to make one. I think, in looking back at the recipe, that it may have been intended for dessert, not breakfast, but doesn’t that seem unnecessarily restrictive?And I won’t even begin to ponder how anyone could manage to get six servings out of this glorious apple-y goodness. Let’s just say there’s nary a scrap of pancake left at our house today. (And wow, wouldn’t it have been good with a little cinnamon ice cream on the side?! I’m almost embarrassed that that didn’t dawn on me until just now!)

You can check out the original Sow’s Ear recipe as posted by the Wednesday Chef here or for a couple of interesting variations…

-Dylan has made slightly smaller, individual-sized oven-baked pancakes that are nearly the same as the sow’s ear pancake. We loved the peach version, but were slightly less wild about the fresh fig version . One neat thing about Dylan’s recipe is that the pancake really climbs up the side of whatever baking dish you use and can take on crazy and interesting contortions.

-Just this morning, Erin of Erin’s Kitchen posted a completely ingenious version of a baked apple pancake in which she substituted powdered chai latte mix for the sugar in the recipe. Brilliant!


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