It's probably sacrilegious to say this in Vermont, but pancakes aren't really my thing. They always seem like a good idea, but by the time I've finished making the batter, cooking them and eating them, I always feel a little unsatisfied.
At my house, we've been making crêpes, a lighter, pancake-like breakfast alternative. There aren't many ingredients in the recipe and you need just one bowl and a whisk to prepare the batter.
It's one of the few recipes I've memorized. In fact, last week, I dictated it to my 7-year-old daughter, Mira, and she whipped up the batter herself.
Because crêpes are thinner than pancakes, the cooking time is a lot shorter. I have no problem preparing them for a weekday morning breakfast — even on days we wake up late.
Instead of drowning the delicate crêpes in maple syrup, my kids prefer a squirt of lemon juice and a sprinkle of granulated sugar on top. It's a preparation I excavated from deep down in the recesses of my food memory. As a kid, that's the way my childhood friend's Australian mother would prepare them for us during post-sleepover breakfasts. I first tasted artichoke leaves dipped in butter (yum) and Vegemite (yuck) at her house as well, experiences which expanded my culinary horizons way past the borders of suburban New York.
Who knows? Maybe one day my kids' Vermonty friends will taste these crêpes at my house and learn that there's a world of breakfast beyond pancakes and maple syrup.
(Serves a family of four)
Adapted from How to Cook Everything
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk (I use 2% but any kind should work fine)
2 tablespoons neutral oil (like canola)
a pinch of salt
unsalted butter for the pan
lemon and granulated sugar for topping
Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk until smooth.
Heat a nonstick pan on medium heat. When warm, add a small amount of butter and swirl around the pan to coat it.
Pour batter into the pan in a thin layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the edges appear cooked. Flip over crêpe and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side.
Remove crêpe from the pan. Squirt with lemon juice and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Serve with a side of fruit.
Repeat until batter is finished.