Saturday, July 30, 2011

Savory Pancakes and Kale Chips

Went to Trader Joe's today and came back with two bags full of fruits, veggies, and baking supplies. Happy :)

For the past few days I've been eating pretty crappily. My dorm fridge lacked veggies and only had a few cups of greek yogurt. I ate cereal as quite a few of my meals. And when I went out to eat I felt like it was dumb to order salads for like 12 dollars so I opted for not-so-nutritious entrees instead. Like asparagus soup that turned out to be eighty percent butter (I'll write about it in a later post). I know what you're thinking - Diane, you idiot, you live in NYC and there's a supermarket on every block, why don't you just GO and get some real food? Well, I was thinking the same thing. But somehow, laziness and bad timing got the best of me this week.

Anyways, now my fridge is beautifully stocked up with lovely produce, which makes me a much more content person...and also which allows me to do more experimentation with cooking! Which brings me to my very first blog recipe post.

Basically, I needed something that contained veggies, incorporating the use of my saute pan as well as my brand new baking sheet that I just received in the mail (!). I've been craving pancakes for a while, and had a big bag of kale from Trader Joe's that I bought out of curiosity, as I never tried kale before.

First off were the pancakes. There were a bunch of recipes for zucchini pancakes on the web, so I kind of made a combination of all of them and added some more vegetables to mine.

Zucchini, Mushroom, and Onion Pancakes
(makes 2 medium-sized pancakes)

1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 egg
2 tbsp almond milk
1/4 cup sliced zucchini 
1/4 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/4 cup diced white onions
3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
olive oil 
salt & pepper
cinnamon (optional)

1. After slicing and dicing the zucchini, mushrooms, and onions, cook them until soft. Set aside.
2. Beat egg in a mixing bowl.
3. Add in flour, vegetables, cheese, garlic powder, and almond milk. Mix well.
4. Pour a bit of olive oil onto saute pan.
5. When oil gets hot, scoop pancake mixture onto the pan, making a flattened round shape.
6. Let cook for about a minute, then flip to the other side and cook for another minute.
7. Sprinkle salt and pepper, and a bit of cinnamon (if you're a cinnamon fanatic like me) to taste.

These were scrumptious! I think I'm going to add a little more flour and some baking powder the next time I make these so that they turn out fluffier and a little less egg-y. I feel like these were almost like a frittata, and would make a yummy breakfast.

Next up, kale. Browsing around online, I found that a popular use for kale is to make kale chips. I admit I was skeptical at first, thinking to myself: why not just saute them instead of going through all the hassle of baking them in the oven? But I gave in, because 1) the pictures of kale chips online are a lot prettier than limpy sauteed kale and 2) if I made kale chips I would be able to use my new baking sheet. Hooray for my shallowness, because the chips turned out to be much better than I expected!

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

3-4 handfuls of washed, cut kale
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Place all ingredients into a big ziploc bag.
2. Shake and gently squeeze the bag to distribute all ingredients onto the kale.
3. Pour contents of the bag on a baking sheet, spreading out the kale leaves.
4. Pop into a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 20 minutes, mixing the kale once at the halfway point.
5. Let cool for a bit and enjoy!

I loved how some kale chips turned out super crispy and others were a bit chewier (mostly the ones near the stem). The variation in texture, saltiness, and added zing from the vinegar made it a great complement to the pancakes. There was a slight bitterness from the kale, but barely detectable.

Feels so great to have eaten a nutritious home-made meal. Another perk of being in the city - grocery stores galore (there are three Trader Joe's in NYC alone!). Well, unless you get too lazy to go to them and pathetically decide to live off of cereal and yogurt. Yeah, probably not happening again anytime soon. I always say that I would not be able to survive on a college campus that did not have a supermarket nearby, so I should definitely not take this wonderful city for granted. Anyways, very excited that today's cooking experience was a good one, and that I am able to share how I did it :)

Til next time! I'm thinking brownies in the very near future...

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