The Great Popsicle Hack (or how to make a popsicle in 1 minute)

Instant 3-Ingredient Popsicle Bowls! // The Pancake Princess

Before we discuss the Great Popsicle Hack, we need to discuss how fast summer is passing (again) and the ridiculousness that has been consumed this summer:

Instant 3-Ingredient Popsicle Bowls! // The Pancake PrincessAlso: this pan of miso lobster mac ‘n cheese for a double date, made with bountiful quantities of heavy cream, cheese, more cream and more cheese and consumed by four people, one of whom is lactose-intolerant, one of whom is slightly allergic to dairy. Which made for a fun night.

Instant 3-Ingredient Popsicle Bowls! // The Pancake Princess
From a certain perspective, you could say the night was disastrous, from burbling indigestion to the stray blueberry that flew out of someone’s bowl and ended up smashed between my butt and the couch, bruising the seat of my white shorts purple to the truly bizarre (horrifying?) Netflix movie that we found. But mostly it was fun, and importantly–I know, I know, you’re like why all the blabber when I really just want to hear about this instant popsicle business?!–it led to this discovery of the 1-minute popsicle, created by Ornsiree for a light dessert to follow the incredibl(y heavy) meal. Just in time for Billy’s brilliant POPSICLE WEEEEEK!

Instant 3-Ingredient Popsicle Bowls! // The Pancake Princess
Okay so it’s really a popsicle bowl, but I’m not interested in technicalities when it’s 100 degrees outside with 100% humidity and sweat is gluing my thighs together because we’re trying to conserve on electricity in our apartment.

Are you ready? It’s so easy, it’s like cheating. Frozen fruit + milk of choice + maple cream + wait for slushiness + DEVOUR. Am I kicked out of Popsicle Week yet? It’s just so perfectly refreshing: icy, fruity, a little creamy, a little sweet, but not too sweet. Most crucially: almost INSTANT!

Instant 3-Ingredient Popsicle Bowls! // The Pancake Princess

In other news, CALLING ALL HOUSTON READERS: remember that one time I went to Portland and became obsessed with Italian street food? So, best news: a new Italian street food place is coming to Houston which means we can alllll be obsessed with fresh Italian flatbread + crisp veggies + melty cheese + sharp Italian dressings together! (Menu here.)

Piada sounds kind of like the Chipotle of Italian food, bringing the experience of Italy to you in a fresh and inexpensive fashion. They’re offering a sweet opportunity to be a VIP, which means you get to eat free food the week before the doors officially open. You also get to meet the head chef and learn about Piada’s food and history. But did I mention the free food?

Sign up here if you’re interested in their Memorial location! (Or here for Vintage Park; here for Sugarland).
Instant 3-Ingredient Popsicle Bowls! // The Pancake Princess

Back to popsicles. Make these and keep cool this summer, friends!

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Buckwheat Oat Crumble Pancakes (vegan, GF)

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In light of the national egg shortage happening, it seemed especially fitting to post an eggless pancake recipe.

I’ve been mildly geeking out while reading about how companies are dealing with this egg catastrophe—some companies are turning to substitutes (like General Mills, who placed a huge order with Hampton Creek, a plant-based egg substitute company) while some are limiting their consumption of eggs (e.g. Whataburger’s shortened breakfast hours), and I’ve even heard of one university cafeteria that switched from a buffet-style egg station to cooked-to-order eggs to minimize waste. I LOVE that this shortage is making companies think hard about their consumption habits and strategize accordingly. If only we could all be so conscious of our consumption.

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IMG_0895On a way smaller scale, I’ve always tried to minimize my consumption of animal-based protein since becoming pescetarian, which is why I often try to bake vegan—because the eggs have to be saved for a runny, golden-yolked fried egg or slumped pile of slow-scrambled eggs, unadulterated and glorious in their inimitable texture).

If these pancakes sound familiar, it’s because they are a shameless rip-off of the rhubarb crumble pancakes I posted a few weeks ago—the deliciousness of the crumble incorporation demanded another version. This old banana buckwheat recipe served as the vegan/gluten-free base, and in re-making it, I tried to streamline the recipe to make the process. I still can’t quite believe how thick, fluffy and non-gummy these turn out without any oil, butter or eggs—they’re a really great hearty and healthy option for any meal, and the crumble baked into the bottom of each pancake pretty much cries out for whatever fruit you have on hand.

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If only I could bake up a solution to this flooding business. I worked from home yesterday after the massive flooding scare over Memorial Day weekend (and then it was, of course, dry as a bone all afternoon). But this summer has been approximately 45% rain and 99% incredibly hot so far. I think I’m going to have to bust out the ice cream maker soon. Got any recipes I should try? Continue reading

Vegetarian Pressed Picnic Sandwich

Disclosure: This post was done in collaboration with Houston Tidbits & Whole Foods Voss I was given a gift card to purchase seasonal produce.

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I want to dub this summer the summer of picnics. Partly because I want to eat this sandwich all summer long and partly because I am really in love with the idea of picnics right now, particularly after spending an absolutely gorgeous weekend in D.C. with some of my favorite people in flawless weather that involved a lot of lazing about outside.

I’m finding that travel, even as short as weekends away, is a trigger for intense reflection on my current living situation. Based on recent travels to Chicago and D.C., I have a renewed gratitude for the booming food scene in Houston, but also a renewed longing for walkable commutes, better public transportation and a generally more happening city scene.
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output_ecvF77Back to picnics: this sandwich was born from the inescapable siren call of an ancient pin that introduced me to the concept of pan bagnat, or a pressed sandwich with origins in the South of France (which traditionally includes tuna and anchovies). Shooter’s sandwiches are another similar concept, as I just learned from Serious Eats. The novelty of this sandwich, apart from the gargantuan, dramatically layered slices, lies in the fact that it’s easily assembled and very portable (i.e. perfect picnic food).

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I brought this sandwich to a BBQ over Memorial Day (right before the torrential rain + flooding struck Houston) where it was happily consumed alongside grilled skewers, chips + guac, pasta salad, this tart (RIDICULOUSLY GOOD), and tons and tons of other desserts. My friend told me she was still thinking about the sandwich days later. Though that is probably just her being generous, this really is a delicious sandwich. Each element brings a lot to the sandwich in my opinion–the briny tapenade, eye-poppingly acidic marinated beets, sweet and mellow caramelized onions, tangy goat cheese, herbed and toothsome mushrooms, tender zucchini, and juicy tomatoes–but it’s also easily customized. The mushrooms could easily be dropped in favor of grilled eggplant; you could omit the goat cheese for a vegan version (or add a layer of almond feta, if you’re ambitious); you could simply layer in roasted beets instead of marinating shredded ones.

Vegetables can easily be added or subtracted, based on what’s in season; I found all of my exceptionally flavorful ingredients at a brand-new Whole Foods, where I also picked up the delicious whole wheat boule used for this sandwich. Also popcorn because hello does a more perfect picnic snack exist?

Note: I initially tried slicing the sandwich into the slices pictured in this post, but found that slicing the boule into wedges, pizza-style, allowed the sandwich to hold together better. Slice  as you desire at your own risk.

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Vegetarian Pressed Picnic Sandwich

Ingredients

  • Caramelized onion:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups onion, sliced thinly
  • salt

  • Quick olive tapenade:
  • ¾ cup kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley (or ~1/2 cup of fresh parsley)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 fat clove of garlic, minced)
  • black pepper, to taste

  • Marinated beet:
  • 1 cooked beet
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon mustard
  • salt and pepper

  • Sauteed zucchini:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced lengthwise into thin strips

  • Sauteed thyme mushrooms:
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5 cup white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

  • For assembling:
  • approximately 2 lb. loaf whole wheat boule (I used a Whole Foods loaf from their bakery section)
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced and drained of juices

Instructions

For the caramelized onion:

Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan and add sliced onion; sprinkle liberally with salt. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden. Lower heat and add a splash of water if onions start to dry out.

For the quick olive tapenade:

In a food processor, combine all tapenade ingredients and process until a textured mixture forms.

For the marinated beet:

Shred the beet finely using a hand grater. Whisk together the red wine vinegar, water, sugar, mustard, and a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Let the grated beets marinate in the marinade until ready to assemble the sandwich.

For the sauteed zucchini:

Once onions are done cooking, saute the zucchini in olive oil in the same frying pan over medium heat, laying the strips in a single layer in the pan. Cook on each side until brown--this will take several batches.

_For the sauteed thyme mushrooms:

Once the zucchini is done, saute mushrooms in olive oil, thyme and salt in the same frying pan over medium heat.

To assemble:

Slice the top third of your bread boule, and then hollow the center using your hands, leaving about an inch border around all sides and making sure not to punch through any surfaces. Hollow out the top third of the loaf as well.

Stir the thyme into the goat cheese and spread over the interior of the bread boule. Layer the rest of the cooked vegetables into the bread boule until you reach the top. Place the top third of the loaf back onto the sandwich. Wrap sandwich tightly in plastic or foil and place a heavy object on top to press it at room temperature for around 4 hours, or up to overnight in the fridge. Slice into wedges (recommended) or slices (a bit trickier) when ready to serve.

http://www.thepancakeprincess.com/2015/06/03/vegetarian-pressed-picnic-sandwich/

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Rhubarb Crumble Pancakes

Since we last spoke, I’ve somehow reached the end of my first year of business school (marking the halfway point!!), secured a summer internship in market research, watched my sister win division 3 ultimate nationals with her team, and consumed divine cupcakes with Nora in Chicago.

Rhubarb Crumble Pancakes // The Pancake Princess

Hanging out with Nora felt kind of like seeing a childhood friend you hadn’t seen in years and picking up right where you left off. That is to say, it felt like an instant connection, at least on my end. We’ve emailed and talked over the phone (#mbabonding), and finally got to meet in Chicago, when I had all day Friday to explore the city solo before watching my sister’s Ultimate tournament. I will be forever grateful to her for spending a good couple hours with me eating, walking, and ‘gramming like nerds (“okay, if you’re standing, I’m standing”) and talking about everything under the sun even though it was her husband’s birthday! Kind soul that she is, she also greeted me with a container of homemade, out-of-this-world cookies and doughnuts (which she promises will be posted soon) and assured me that though I’ve been vegging instead of getting back in the kitchen ever since finishing finals, the lacking-inspiration thing is okay. Decompression is a real thing, and so are kind humans. She made me feel eons better about the fact that inspiration has been lacking lately–partly out of an instinctual avoidance of the kitchen instilled over the past school year (should be studying/networking/anything but procrastinating with food!) and partly out of a sense of paralysis about this space. I keep feeling as though I need to find my niche, but the more I try to identify one, the less genuine anything feels. Which means I’m backing away slowly from that.

Rhubarb Crumble Pancakes // The Pancake Princess

Rhubarb Crumble Pancakes // The Pancake PrincessRhubarb Crumble Pancakes // The Pancake Princess Continue reading

Single, No-Bake Chocolate Cinnamon Roll

IMG_0407Single-Serving Chocolate Cinnamon Roll // The Pancake PrincessEaster has never constituted a significant blip on my holiday radar over the past few years, but this past weekend, my friend Irma hosted a small Mexican brunch and it was everything. Chilaquiles—one pan with red sauce that she deemed too tomato-y, and one with homemade tomatillo salsa that was deemed authentic and devoured by everyone—eggs, perfectly ripe avocado, salty, crumbly cojita cheese, icy palomas, and a perfectly set chocoflan.

Five of us took down nearly half the bundt cake and it was not okay (but also very, very okay).

The deeply delicious yet peaceful nature of it all reminded me of the occasions when I’ve hosted meals–Irma pulled off a stunning from-scratch brunch AND showed up a classy dress, makeup and hair. A far cry from my typical “entertaining” where I’m hopping in and out of the kitchen like a crazy in a sweaty T-shirt. I hope to grow out of that someday.

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Time is money, as they say, and I invested some time that really should have been put towards, say, reading the 200+ pages for my Leading Change class, and into practicing these almost-instant chocolate cinnamon rolls, which played a lovely chocolate sidekick to Irma’s chocoflan at brunch.

While I am in principle against using microwaves excessively (ever since a power tower scare in our neighborhood, long story), I can’t deny the great value a microwave can play in, say, a time-crunched student lifestyle. I think every once in a great while can’t hurt–just make sure to stand way back from the microwave while it’s on. At least two feet. Just in case. Because moderation but also safety.

IMG_0261 IMG_0271 IMG_0275 output_QFoeOb IMG_0326 IMG_0335 IMG_0345These cinnamon rolls are almost cakey soft (my favorite texture of all time); they can made more structured with an extra tablespoon of oat flour, or even cakier with less oat flour and an extra dash of cocoa powder. They’re a riff off of Kylie’s single-serving cinnamon roll which means it’s mostly healthy but still ridiculously good. They’re not too sweet—in fact, barely sweet at all, which is why you can justify a generous drizzle of glaze over the top since the gooey filling is a sweet and harmless mixture of dates and cinnamon–and chocolate chips if you’re feeling extra-special.

They’re really much simpler than the number of photos in this post might indicate, but I’m practicing my process photos, so please forgive the excess. You can make one, start-to-finish in under 15 minutes, promise.

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Remember that one time you left the lid of your date container askew in the fridge and all your dates dried out? No? Just me? Well, maybe I’m alone in my inability to acquire perfectly soft and ripe dates, but just in case you have this issue too, I’ve changed up Kylie’s recipe just a bit to a) adapt the date filling to transform even the toughest of dates into a paste-appropriate filling and b) make them chocolate, clearly.

To clarify: even though two cinnamon rolls are shown in this post, the following recipe makes just one individual (substantial!) cinnamon roll.

Single-Serving Cinnamon Roll

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

One single, slightly cakey, dense-yet-fluffy chocolate cinnamon roll that doesn't require baking!

Ingredients

  • 2 dates, chopped finely
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • chocolate chips (optional)

  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon oat flour (for a more structured, firm dough)
  • 1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder (increase to 2 tablespoons and only use 1/3 cup oat flour for an extra soft, cakey texture)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • scant 3 tablespoons mashed banana
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

  • For a glaze:
  • powdered sugar, yogurt, and/or milk

Instructions

Add enough water to cover the chopped dates in a small microwavable dish. Add the baking soda and microwave for 40 seconds. Set aside to cool.

In another bowl, stir together the oat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, then stir in the coconut oil and mashed banana. Flour a surface and roll dough into 2-3 long, thin ropes between your palms. Press the dough into long, thin rectangular shapes.

Drain the date mixture and stir in cinnamon and chocolate chips, if using. Spread the date paste over the rectangles. You can either roll each rectangle into into 2-3 mini cinnamon rolls and place in a greased ramekin, or roll everything into one large roll by overlapping the ends of each rectangle (see GIF above).

Microwave dough in a greased ramekin for about 1 minute and 15 seconds (depending on the power of your microwave; mine is pretty strong).

To make a glaze, add about 1/4 teaspoon of water or milk to 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar and stir until pourable. Adjust to desired consistency. Alternatively, you can sweeten some yogurt with sugar or maple syrup to use as a glaze.

Notes

Adapted from the wonderful Kylie's microwave cinnamon roll for one.

http://www.thepancakeprincess.com/2015/04/10/single-serving-chocolate-cinnamon-roll/

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