Tuesday, August 16, 2016

German Apple Pancake for Breakfast, Lunch, or Brunch !

Last Sunday, I was relaxing at home, planning to have a quiet day alone, watching the movie called, "The 100 Foot Journey". I looooove this story about the conflict and melding of the cultures,  people, and cuisines of East India and France. It also is a love story. Before I started the movie, I was thinking about what I would like to eat that day, since on Sundays I sometimes like to stray off my normal path of eating, cooking something a little special.  The thought came to me....German apple pancake !! Mmmm....now that sounds lovely !
   This is a puffy as a cloud pancake, that fills the whole of a large frying pan, and is filled with apples that have been sautéed in butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sprinkled with confectioners sugar. I feel nostalgic when I make this, because I first made it when I was in college, having bought Anna Thomas' The Vegetarian Epicure cookbook, during my vegetarian days. How many of you who went to college in the seventies bought this cookbook !!? It was my absolute cooking Bible, having tried quite a few of the oh,
so flavorful recipes !! My cookbook literally fell apart !
   The recipe is quiet easy...just some apple chopping, throwing batter ingredients in your blender, baking the pancake, and topping it with the apples !  Anna says that this can be a special-day breakfast for two or three people, a light late supper, or a beautiful warm dessert for four to six people. It is just as delicious as an apple pie ! I changed Anna's recipe a little, in that I added a little whole wheat flour to the recipe, instead of all white flour, and I increased the amount of apples in the filling.  I also add honey instead of the sugar. You could also throw some berries or other fruit into the apple mixture as it's cooking.
   Oh, I almost forgot to tell you that I had the wonderful privilege of meeting Anna Thomas at a book signing in Santa Barbara, California, at Chaucers Bookstore ! Wow, was I thrilled !! She was promoting her book called Soup, and she even brought two delicious soups that she had made for us to try. I can still taste the acorn squash soup !!
   One of her fans brought her cookbook that was in shreds, like mine ,and held together with string ! (I'm so sorry Anna and lady that I lost the photo of you two together, that I was going to send to you !!)
                                                           German Apple Pancake


3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbs.butter (unsalted preferred)
1/2 cup thin-sliced apples (Optional)


1  1/2 lb. tart, fresh apples (Pippin and Pink Lady are great)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup  raw sugar or honey (I prefer honey.)
powdered cinnamon and nutmeg


2 Tbs.melted butter (optional)
powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Beat together the eggs, milk, flour, and salt until very smooth. Add some very thinly sliced apples if desired. In a heavy 12-inch skillet, melt about 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. As soon as it is quite hot, pour in the batter and put the skillet in the oven. ( One of my skillets has a wooden handle that has been baked partly off , so don't put wooden handles in your oven if you don't have to !) After 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Watch the pancake to make sure it's light brown and crisp, and not dark brown. You can cover it loosely with foil if it's getting too brown.
    During the first 10 or 15 minutes of baking, the pancake may puff up in large bubbles.  If it does, pierce it thoroughly with a fork or a skewer.

   While the pancake is baking, prepare the apple filling. Peel and thinly slice a pound of apples. Saute them lightly in 1/4 cup butter and add 1/4 cup raw sugar or honey. Season to taste with cinnamon and nutmeg. The apples should be just tender, not too soft.About 8 to 10 minutes of cooking over a medium flame should be plenty. (The filling can be prepared ahead and reheated just before serving.)

   When the pancake is ready, slide it onto an oval platter, pour the apple filling over the pancake. A little melted butter can be poured on if you choose, and the whole thing carefully sprinkled with powdered sugar through a sieve or with your fingers. Serve it at once, slicing wedges. (Anna folds her pancake in half and slices pieces off crosswise.)

Thank you Anna Thomas for helping to make eating during my college days so delicious, creative, and fun with your fabulous cookbooks !!!


Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Garden Birthday Party in Carmel Valley !

It was recently my annual summer vacation to the coast with my girlfriends, the "Beach Bunnies", as we like to call ourselves ! We rent a house in the Monterey, California area for a week to take walks, shop, dine, go to a musical, watch movies together, play games, read magazines, sleep in or not, and we also usually have Birthday parties !
   We had a special Birthday party for Sharon, who is passionate about gardening, flowers, and delectable cuisine ! I asked her where she would like to have her Birthday party and she said that she liked The Corkscrew Cafe in Carmel Valley, that happens to be one of my favorite places in the world, so I made a reservation there very quickly ! The Corkscrew Cafe is a rustic, old house that has been turned into a darling restaurant with a beautiful, Provencal garden, gravel on the ground, grapevines growing overhead, and a trickling fountain in the center with goldfish in it.
   I wondered what type of party should we throw for Sharon, so I said a little prayer asking G-d what to do and I heard to give her a garden party, with vases of flowers lining down the center of the table. One of my friends' named Leslie brought an assortment of clear vases and bottles from home with her to add to my mine, so we had ten all together. It equaled one vase per lady at the party! Leslie helped me arrange the flowers that I had brought, secretly in our rental house. We loaded them in ice chests in my car the next day. Sharon asked me if she could ride with me to the restaurant, but our friend Jennifer told her that she couldn't because I had "issues". Hee hee !
   The kind people at The Corkscrew Cafe prepared a lovely long table covered with a blue Provencal tablecloth and white cloth napkins under the shade, in their tranquil garden.  On Sharon's plate, I placed a lavender sachet with a tiny bouquet of fresh lavender, red rose buds, and a sprig of jasmine tied on it. And with our parade of colorful flowers cascading down the table, it was a scene out of cafe garden in Provence !

 Quite frequently, Sharon and I, (two foodie gals who love to eat and cook) order the same items when we dine out together. Today was not any different, as we ordered to share, a Meyer lemon, arugula, and cheese pizza, and a mushroom pizza . Both were  wood-fired. Yum ! We also ordered a caramelized pear, roasted hazelnut, gorgonzola salad with apple cider vinaigrette dressing. Oooooh...so delicious ! I had a refreshing lemonade to drink and our friend Debbie had the champagne that you see in the picture.
             In the middle of the meal, some of us took turns
blessing Sharon with kind words, telling her what we admire and appreciate about her, and thanking her for the special ways that she has affected our lives. Those were some touching moments and words. After our lunch, our kind waitress brought Sharon a sweet, fresh peach galette (a rustic little pie) with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream and a lit candle ! (Some of us were hoping and praying that the dessert chef had made lavender ice-cream; something delectable that we had had there before. But not today, boo hoo !) Oh well, not to worry...the day was gorgeous, the food scrumptious, the company delightful, and the celebration was fun !! What more could we ask of such a wonderful, blessed day !
   P.S. We missed those of you Bunnies,  that weren't able to come this year !