I spent almost $400 unexpectedly this past week between a routine vet visit and a cavity filling. (Having not gone to the dentist for the last 7 or 8 years, I was happy to only have one cavity and no advanced periodontal disease. In case you’re wondering how one goes 7 or 8 years without going to the dentist and only having one cavity, I would tell you it’s a combination of two things: 1) good genes 2) where I grew up there was fluoride in our drinking water. I certainly don’t brush and floss religiously like everyone is supposed to.)
I digress. Having dropped so much cash unexpectedly, I decided to forgo the normal weekend expenses, which includes groceries. I spend at least $25 each week on groceries, usually closer to $50. Instead I’m looking to what’s already in my fridge, freezer and pantry to stretch the zero dollars I have in my wallet until payday (next Friday).
Last weekend I needed buttermilk for a recipe that flopped (a recipe you didn’t get to read about). Occasionally the QFC sells buttermilk that’s about to expire for a really cheap price. OK usually when I need buttermilk I can find a carton of about-to-expire buttermilk at this QFC. I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for buttermilk. The thing about buttermilk is you can use it way past its expiration date, if you’re into that sort of thing. (I am.) In fact, I will use buttermilk for weeks after it expires. Months maybe. Until I see mold, separation or I use up every last drop, I will keep expired buttermilk on the shelf in my fridge.
Saturday around 2 pm I finally got around to eating and decided to make pancakes using some of my expired buttermilk and the last few eggs. I found a recipe my grandma sent me awhile ago. It’s a pretty straight-forward run-of-the-mill pancake recipe. Which is exactly what I was looking for. The only real way this recipe differs from the recipe I grew up making and eating is that it uses vanilla. I can’t say I’ve ever added vanilla to a plain Jane pancake recipe before, but what the heck. I decided to follow the recipe to the T and add the vanilla.
Turns out the vanilla peps up the pancakes slightly. I swear it made them taste slightly sweeter and reminiscent of pancakes you would get at a chain restaurant. (Not sure that’s what I’m trying to achieve in my kitchen, but what the heck.) These pancakes were pretty much perfection. Just the right amount of thickness in that they didn’t lose their “puff” when I removed them from the pan. I would make this recipe again and recommend it to anyone.
- 2 c. all-purpose bleached flour (the recipe says bleached flour is softer than unbleached – I can’t tell you for certain what I have in my kitchen)
- 4 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. soda
- 1 ½ c. buttermilk (your doesn’t have to be expired), room temperature
- ½ c. milk, room temperature
- 2 jumbo eggs, room temperature
- 4 T. butter, melted and cooled
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- vegetable oil for your griddle
- Allow the necessary ingredients to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, microwave butter on high for about 30 seconds, or until butter has melted. Allow to cool.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet or griddle over low heat while preparing the batter.
- In a large bowl or measuring cup with a pour spot, mix buttermilk, eggs, cooled butter and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and whisk until combined. If the batter seems too thick, you can thin it out by adding more milk. But you probably want thick pancakes, no?
- Set the heat on your griddle or stove to the appropriate temperature. I find that my pancakes turn out best when I cook them at a medium-low heat. You know your stove the best and do what works well for you. Brush the skillet or pan with some vegetable oil. (Or you can just pour it in your pan, if using, and swirl the oil around by tilting the pan.)
- Pour batter into pan. Most recipes suggest you use ¼ cup of batter per pancake. I say use whatever amount of batter you want to make the desired size pancake. I like pancakes to be a little bit bigger than what ¼ cup yields, but I don’t make mine as big as most restaurants. Flip the pancakes when the bottom has browned and bubbles have begun to pop on the surface. Cook until golden brown on the other side, about two to three minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.
- If you have leftover pancake batter, reuse it the next day or within the next few days. Just make sure to stir it before you use it. Your batter might thin out after sitting in your fridge overnight. If you use all the batter but have leftover pancakes, you can easily reheat them in your microwave (not recommended by me), in a toaster, or back on your griddle or in your pan. (This is my preferred way to reheat.) Store extra pancakes wrapped tight in Saran wrap or in a baggie in your fridge or freezer.