Archives for April 18, 2014

Breakfast for Dinner – The Best Pancakes + Easy Toppings

Breakfast for Dinner – The Best Pancakes + Easy Toppings

We’ve had breakfast on the brain all week! Chef J has some great tips to make this a morning or evening meal. So, what are we having, Chef J?

Breakfast is a magical thing. The food we eat in the morning sets us up for the rest of the day. Forget what side of the bed you wake up on; the level of your performance during the sunshiny 12 to 16 hours after cursing the alarm and rubbing the crusties out of your eyes largely depends on what the first thing you put in your tummy is.  A bagel and cream cheese isn’t a bad way to go. A banana for the road? Who are you kidding? A bowl of cereal? C’mon, you’re an adult; Captain Crunch is dinner food! There isn’t always time for a spectacular morning feast, but when there is you must seize it!

That’s why I propose two things.

Thing the first: Plan your breakfast ahead of time.

Do yourself a favor and make breakfast plans the night before when your brain is relatively functional. You know, after your second bowl of Captain Crunch. Your body wants sugar when you wake up; jump start your morning with a piece of fruit or glass of orange juice. But sugar is fleeting. It’s the summer romance of food: everything goes by so fast and when it’s over, your heart hurts. You also need protein of some kind to keep you going throughout the day. It’s the stable relationship of food: it might not always be sweet, but it will keep you from falling asleep with your shoes on. If you want a quick meal to eat in the car, try a banana and a handful of almonds. If you have a bit of time, mix up a couple of eggs with a handful of dinner leftovers in a microwave safe container; zap it for about a minute and a half for a quick omelet. But you’re not here to learn about how to properly ingest your morning nutritional requirements; you’re still going to cram 3 donuts in your face as soon as you get to the office.


Thing the second: Re-purpose breakfast.

As a society, let’s put breakfast where it should be: wherever we darn want it!

Breakfast can be spectacularly comfortable and satisfyingly delicious. The people deserve to ingest it when they have the post-morning cognizance to enjoy it! Take back breakfast, my brothers and sisters! Fly your bacon banners! The streets will flow with syrup! Our revolution will not be over-easy!

In other words: make pancakes for dinner.

So often food tries to explain how wonderful it is with elegantly simple descriptions (see: meatball). If you say “pancake” nice and slow, you might see it. Pancake. Pan cake. Pan CAKE. It’s CAKE!!! Cake you can eat whenever you want! What a world we live in!

Here is my favorite pancake recipe, with some suggestions for alterations that may sway it more towards your particular fancy. As well, whip up a few toppings and put out a spread. And while we’re on the topping topic, the ingredients for maple syrup should read “maple syrup.” If you see “high fructose…” or “flavoring” on the back of the bottle of pancake sauce, throw it on the floor in a sensational act of defiance! Or just put it back on the shelf and reach for the real, pure maple syrup instead, if you don’t want to join me in the breakfast revolt.


  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz. milk
  • 2 oz. sour cream
  • 2 oz. melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Butter for the pan

Whisk the eggs, milk, and sour cream for about 2-3 minutes so it gets nice and frothy.
Mix in the vanilla and melted butter.
Sift the dry ingredients together.
Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Don’t over mix! Let it be lumpy.
Heat your griddle to medium or medium low.
Grease the griddle with butter and scoop about half a cup of batter on. Start with one test cake to make sure the griddle is at the right temperature.
After a couple of minutes, bubbles will begin to break through the top. That’s the sign to flip your cake (don’t be nervous!) and give it about another 1½ minutes.

That’s it. That’s pancakes! If you want to get a little crazy…

  • Replace a tablespoon of flour with cocoa powder.
  • Add a pinch of nutmeg, clove, cardamom, lavender, or cinnamon. Or any combination of those.
  • Throw a handful of chocolate chips in before cooking!
  • Leave out the vanilla and sugar. After you flip the cakes sprinkle some cheddar or American cheese on top of half of them, then top with another pancake. Pancake grilled cheese!!!

Easy toppings

  • 1½  cups water
  • 2 cups frozen fruit
  • ½ cup sugar (or honey or maple syrup or agave…) or to taste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp water

Bring all of the ingredients, except cornstarch slurry, to a boil.
Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 5-8 minutes until the fruit begins to break down.
Taste for sweetness. Careful! It’s hot.
Add the cornstarch slurry and mix well.
Let it simmer for another minute to thicken.
Boom! You got sauce.

To make it match your cakes…

  • Try a splash of lemon juice when using blueberries.
  • Add a tsp of cardamom and/or lavender when using strawberries.
  • Replace some or all of the water with Chardonnay when using peaches.
  • Add a tsp of vanilla any time!
  • Remember that everything is better with whipped cream or a big scoop of ice cream!

Printer friendly recipes: Pancakes and Toppings