Fresh Corn Pancakes

by Caroline

When my husband and I decided to get married, I told him I could imagine making a life in his native San Francisco as long as we spent one week every summer somewhere I wouldn’t need to wear a scarf.

That means, happily, an August week in Northwest Connecticut, visiting my parents, and that also, very happily, means corn. Usually, we’re eating my Dad’s corn, but this year the crop failed so we’re getting it from local farm stands. My Dad likes the one the First Selectman sets up at the end of his driveway (presumably because he can get caught up on local political talk); my Mom (and I) like the bigger one that also offers fresh, homemade mozzarella. Either way, with this much corn around, you are bound to have leftovers, and this recipe is my new favorite way to use them. Don’t be put off (as I nearly was) by the somewhat fussy step of blending and straining some of the corn with milk: it makes a difference.

You can eat these the way my kids do, drenched in maple syrup (and when the syrup’s homemade, I won’t stop them), but you can also eat them savory, as I’ve pictured, with guacamole and fresh tomatoes. It’s summer on a plate.

42 Meals: A Vacation Odyssey, Breakfast

by Lisa

The force was with them even though they hadn’t eaten breakfast

Our kids, like many, take breakfast seriously. They eat shortly after waking up and are used to a fair amount of variety: porridge, eggs many ways, waffles, pancakes, cereal, sweet rice, granola….lots of whole, fresh fruit.

Since we were staying in hotels on our trip, eating right away–even coffee right away–was not so possible. I suppose I could have kept breakfast fixings in the room, but we were moving around a lot and I didn’t want one more thing to tote and pack and, probably, waste.    At several hotels we had a breakfast package, and if you’re traveling with kids, I would highly recommend these.  Hotel breakfasts had variety, were easy to get to, and meant we could get on with our day without any effort. On these days, which was maybe a third or half of the time, we had a solid breakfast. Other days, not so much.  As opposed to the breakfast-included package, purchasing breakfast food a la carte at our hotels proved prohibitively expensive. We loved adored our hotel, but $40 for 2 coffees, 3 bagels, 2 waters and 1 fruit cup is absurd.  Breakfast quickly became the least important meal of the day. It was all about the grab & go.  We made sure to find something decent and relatively healthy for the kids, but really, we bought just enough to tide them over to lunch.  We found this place on Coronado, which was a great place to grab & go on our way to wherever we happened to be going for the day. We relied on bagels, smoothies, and one fine day, a totally delicious bacon burrito and french toast.

We learned that California Adventure has far superior coffee and breakfast options in the early AM than does Disneyland.  Our most egregious meal failure was the day we arrived at the Disneyland gate for the 7 am, hotel-guest only hour, without having eaten.  Anything. Not even coffee for the adults, which frankly might be more important than food for the kids. Especially at Disneyland. In our defense, we had assumed we’d be able to grab food at the park (since we had done this the day prior at CA). Also in our defense, we all rode Star Tours and Space Mountain before 8 am, and got FastPasses for both.  We avoided a near meltdown with pizza at 10 AM.

Some days, you gotta do what you gotta do.

The best breakfast of all–food and fun wise, was the character-themed Critter breakfast at our Disney hotel.  This of course, was a surprise to me, but not to my Disney loving family. My husband, who worked many character breakfasts (as Pluto, for instance) in his 6 years employed at the park, was full of fun stories about what was really going on around us, and was able to speak to Chip and Dale and all the rest in some secret language unknown to the rest of us mortals. Our kids don’t give a hoot about princesses, but what’s not to love about enourmous, cuddly stuffed animals come to life and wandering through a pretty swell arts and crafts/mission style restaurant?  There was kots of fresh fruit, grits, bagels, cream cheese, capers, lox, eggs to order, Mickey-shaped waffles. And the husband knew enough to have a mimosa waiting for me. Which was swell.

So the moral here is: it was good to lighten up temporarily about that most important meal.

And if you have a choice, definitely eat with the animals.

Up next: Surviving the theme park food. (Or maybe not so much.)

The Breakfast of Champions

By Lisa

We are big time into the Women’s World Cup right now, which is turning out to be one of the greatest sporting events of the year for us.  Amazing female athletes, an amazing US team, little commercialism, or ego, or marketing, and heart-stoppingly dramatic games.  The games have been a tremendous source of inspiration, especially for our athlete-daughter who is so fortunate to have opportunity and mentors all around her.

For the US quarter-final game against Brazil, a couple of Ella’s teammates came over for a pajama-party USA themed breakfast: pancakes with red/white/blue strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream. It wasn’t about the food. The food was fun, but the game was the centerpiece of the morning.  Offering pancakes was just an excuse for getting some of them together to root for their players, then celebrate, and the extra whipped cream came in handy when we all needed a pick-me-up during the nail biting overage time.

After, they swarmed the park & had an impromptu meet up with another teammate and her dad.

Caroline makes a lot of different kinds of pancakes: lemony, snack, picture perfect, pumpkin . We just make one.  Let us know what you did for the semifinals today!

Pancakes, Pancakes

by Caroline

Do I really need to give you another pancake recipe? We’ve already given you Lisa’s classic griddlecake recipe, and I’ve contributed recipes for quinoa, pumpkin and lemon pancakes. But I am going to give you one more, because this recipe is so easy you can make it in your sleep, which, frankly, is often my state when pancake-making for my children: vertical and sufficiently responsive, but not entirely awake yet.

The recipe comes from Eric Carle’s picture book, Pancakes, Pancakes!, a book I have been reading to my kids for years about a boy named Jack who asks his mother for pancakes. She tells him she’s busy and will need his help, and then proceeds to direct (but not assist) him in each step, from cutting wheat for the miller to grind into flour all the way to milking the cow for milk (and churning some of it into butter) and gathering the wood for a cooking fire. Jack’s quite happy to do all the chores, and at the end he and his mother flip the pancake together, she spreads it with jam, and he tucks into an enormous, strawberry-jam topped pancake. It’s an excellent story — I revere Jack’s mother — but I have never dreamed of actually making the recipe with which the story concludes:

Until one day recently, as we finished reading, Eli said, “Let’s make these pancakes!” and he caught me at a moment when I was in the mood to say yes. I really didn’t think they’d be very good — no sugar, no baking powder — but I couldn’t sneak in any extra ingredients because Eli was determined to do the cooking himself, plus he can read now. He hardly needs my permission or participation at all:

And I have to say, the pancakes are perfectly good. They don’t hold up very well (no snack pancakes here), so eat them while they’re hot, whether they are stacked with jam:

Or poured and sliced into a homage to Giants’ closer Brian Wilson:

I’ll give you the ingredients, but pick up a copy of Pancakes, Pancakes! to get the whole story, read it with your kids, and then make some pancakes.

1 c flour
1 egg
1 c milk

Stir into a batter while your frying pan is heating, melt a bit of butter in the pan, then proceed, one ladleful of batter at a time, to cook your pancakes.