Of pancakes and pimientos

My husband, Jim, has been offering dinner suggestions lately.

I like that.

On a recent late Sunday afternoon he craved breakfast for dinner – as in pancakes. I rarely buy pancake mix or even Bisquick so I got out my Betty Crocker cookbook and turned to my old standby recipe for “Favorite Pancakes,” on page 57.

Oops! The recipe calls for buttermilk and I realized I had used the last of that the week before in an Italian Cream Cake.

It dawned on me that you can make your own buttermilk but I didn’t remember exactly how so I called on Mr. Magoogle. (That’s what I call Google).

He asked, “Making a recipe that calls for buttermilk? Use this simple substitute, and you won’t need to buy any.”

Just put one tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measure cup then add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line. Let stand for five minutes then use as much as your recipe calls for.

So that’s what I did and proceeded to whip up the following recipe which is absolutely delicious:

FAVORITE PANCAKES

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons melted shortening or salad oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Beat egg; add remaining ingredients in order listed and beat with rotary beater until smooth. Grease heated griddle if necessary. To test griddle, sprinkle with a few drops of water. If bubbles skitter around, heat is just right.

Pour batter from tip of large spoon or from pitcher onto hot griddle. Turn pancakes as soon as they are puffed and full of bubbles but before bubbles break. Bake other side until golden brown.

Makes 10 4-inch pancakes

Whenever we make pancakes they are even more tasty and special because I use my late mother’s old, long, skinny, heavy pancake griddle that extends across two burners on the stove. Doing so makes it seem as though she’s still with us. I can’t imagine how many pancakes she flipped on this griddle all those years on the farm — not only for family but for the hired men who worked for my dad.

Also note the flipper beside the griddle. It’s my favorite and it’s still holding together after Larry the Neighbor Guy soldered it some time ago.

ONE MORE STORY

On another recent evening Jim asked for Chicken A La King. We hadn’t had that in a long while and we do love it. I knew right where our favorite recipe is for that – my even older Betty Crocker’s GOOD and EASY COOK BOOK that I received for a shower gift when Jim and I married. The recipe is on page 80.

It’s as follows:

Chicken A La King

  • 1/3 cup mushrooms (2 oz. can)
  • ¼ cup chopped green pepper
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup cream (I use half-and-half)
  • 1 cup diced cooked chicken
  • ¼ cup chopped pimiento

YIKES! I didn’t have a jar of pimientos on the shelf and they make the chicken a-la king so colorful.

I was not going to let the lack of pimientos keep me from pleasing my husband’s palate, so I took a jar of olives off the shelf and removed the pimiento from each one and added it to the Chicken A La King. Turned out it was colorfully delicious for my king.

Method:

Saute mushrooms and green pepper in butter. Blend in flour and seasonings. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Slowly stir in broth and cream or half-and-half. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Boil one minute. Add chicken and pimiento. Continue cooking until meat is heated through. Serve hot on biscuits, toast points, noodles or fluffy rice. Makes 4 servings.

All the while I was making this Chicken A La King, I realized I did not know what a pimiento is. So I called on Mr. Magoogle again. I learned a pimiento is a variety of large, red, heart-shaped chili peppers that grow three to four inches long. The flesh of the pimiento is sweet, succulent and more aromatic than that of a red bell pepper.

Get this: The pimiento was originally hand cut into small pieces then “hand stuffed” in olives to complement the strong flavor of an olive. This method proved to be very time intensive. In the industrial era, the cut pimiento was shot via hydraulic pump through the olive, getting rid of the pit in the process.

Oh, the things you learn all for the love of husband, home and hearth.

Until Soon

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