Tag Archives: banana

Caribbean Pancakes

Caribbean Pancakes // The Pancake PrincessNo one goes to the Costa Rica for the food.

I was warned that it is a country of plain food: meat, rice and beans. In my week there (the first half of spring break), I found this to be fairly true–when we weren’t eating Americanized burritos or (surprisingly good) pizza, the majority of our meals were platters composed of white rice, black beans, coleslaw or pickled vegetables, thick white cheese, slightly sour and tender golden fried plantains and perhaps grilled fish from sodas, or small cafeterias selling “typical” Costa Rican food.

But honestly? Plain doesn’t mean bad. After long days of hiking, surfing and beachgoing, I never once got sick of these bountiful platters, and thrived on the huge fried plantain boats filled with salty cheese that we found. (Though now I understand why you don’t find Costa Rican restaurants in the U.S.)

Caribbean Pancakes // The Pancake PrincessOne of my classmates and travel companions for the week had been to Costa Rica twice before and mentioned that her last time in the country had brought an inordinate amount of banana pancakes into her life. I kept an eye out for pancakes the entire trip, but didn’t come across a place that offered them on the menu until we stumbled into an Americanized brunch spot during our last day in the Caribbean side. They were billed as “Caribbean pancakes,” but the stack I received was basically a couple of regular pancakes with a sprinkling of toasted coconut–a far cry from the messy, homey, banana-studded pancakes I had envisioned.

I realize trying to find my ideal pancake in Costa Rica seems silly, but the relevant point is that I got to eventually recreate my ideal pancake at home with the exact right amount of fluff, level of whole wheat heartiness and proportion of shredded coconut and gently crushed banana to bring back the sun-drenched, sandy days of vacation in the Caribbean.

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Family Classics: A to Z Bread

Family Classics is a series that features some of the classic recipes I grew up with, slightly adapted to adhere to my current pescatarian, dairy-free diet. Say hello to all the flavors of nostalgia!

A to Z Bread // The Pancake Princess I’ve had a luxurious three weeks at home before my last and final semester of business school begins, and baking up two hefty loaves of this childhood favorite was a perfect afternoon activity in between…well, eating and more eating. And planning and baking and long walks and meeting up with old/new friends. And watching BABIES EATING LEMONS HOW DID I JUST FIND THIS. All in all, a solidly relaxing and rejuvenating break. How has your new year been treating you?A to Z Bread // The Pancake Princess


A to Z Bread // The Pancake PrincessI asked my siblings for help in coming up with ideas for this series and banana bread! was unanimous, instantaneous from both. Fitting, since it was probably the recipe my mom baked the most as we were growing up. For me, it conjures up a kitchen enveloped in a warm haze of buttery banana scent and toasted nuts (even though we abhored the nut-topped loaves as kids and always pleaded for a just-plain chocolate chip loaf), leftovers kept moist and plush in a deep orange container and barely crisp, toasted slices for breakfast.

A to Z Bread // The Pancake Princess

In my years of baking away from my mom’s plastic roladex of handwritten recipes, I’ve found that Smitten Kitchen’s zucchini bread recipe is nearly identical to this recipe except that this recipe bumps up the vanilla to a full tablespoon, omits the nutmeg, and REQUIRES chocolate chips–they’re practically a birthright in banana bread in my family. The original recipe calls for a full cup of oil and 2 cups of sugar, but I find that subbing in almond milk for a portion of oil leaves it just as moist and delicious as I remember, and cutting down on the sugar leaves more room for the chocolate chips to shine. If you’d like to halve the recipe, I’ve made this successfully using only one egg and subbing 1/2 tablespoon of flax or chia seeds with 1.5 tablespoons of water for the “half egg.”

Ironically, we have never used this recipe for anything other than banana bread, but the good friend and neighbor who gave my mom this recipe listed a bunch of other ingredients you can use as add-ins in place of banana–from A to Z, the ingredients range from apples to eggplant to peaches to zucchini.

…I think carrot will probably be my next adventure. I’ll leave the eggplant to you–let me know how it turns out, will you?

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Matcha Milkshake!

Matcha milkshake // The Pancake Princess

But first, a failed dutch baby.
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IMG_6011 IMG_6016 IMG_6017I learned a lot of things this time around, making my, oh maybe sixth in a row?, failed dutch baby. I thirded the recipe of a very popular dutch baby recipe and ended up with, once again, a very flat pancake. Here’s what I think went wrong:

  • Whole wheat flour: maybe this is too dense to allow the dutch baby rise the way all-purpose flour allows? TBD.
  • Chocolate chips: apparently adding add-ins to the batter before baking hinders the batter’s ability to poof to the heights it should be destined for. I should have known. (cc: this adorable post.)

Anyway, I ended up with this:

IMG_6042Let’s be real: I still ate it, and it was delicious. But if you have any tips on how to make a fluffy, REAL dutch baby, they would be greatly appreciated!

On another note, that immersion blender.

*heart eyes emoji*

OXO generously sent me their fabulous OXO On Illumination Digital Immersion Blender and omg. I’d been thinking about buying one for years, but couldn’t justify it because if you take a casual stroll through my kitchen, you’ll find no fewer than 92837492837 kitchen appliances, including a giant blender, a ninja, and a food processor. Adding another blending device just seemed ludicrously indulgent.

BUT I think it might have just slid into first place as my new favorite kitchen device. I used it earlier this week to blend up a large pot of broccoli soup, which already earned it its weight in gold in my book (has anyone ever had a too-hot blender full of soup explode on them? #scarredforlife) as well as to blend up just a tiny amount of batter for an individual dutch baby AND to blend up a quick matcha milkshake right in the glass I ended up drinking it from. Possibly what I love most about it is the rubber covering that protects the blade so that you’re never in danger of scratching your pots/bowls/dishes.
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Last weekend I ate so so many cookies and just didn’t have the carb-consuming stamina to keep testing my dutch baby until it was perfect. I just needed a smoothie and some green stuff! I figured you might need some too because #holidaycookies. They’re all around us.

This is way too easy to throw together, and super delicious! Even though it’s technically not a milkshake at all, I just liked the alliteration and it’s creamy and delicious enough to pretend like it is. Matcha is known for being high in antioxidants and as a natural source of caffeine, it’s a perfect energy booster to keep you going through the holiday madness. Cheers, and don’t forget to get the favorite person on your gift list a brand-new immersion blender! (They’ll love it.)

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Whole Wheat Stuffed Pancakes (vegan)

Whole Wheat Stuffed Pancakes (vegan) // The Pancake PrincessLet me set some clear expectations for the following statement: it falls squarely within the realm of First World Problems and I am being a tad overdramatic as per usual and it pales in comparison to this but SOMETHING TERRIBLE HAS HAPPENED.

Whole Wheat Stuffed Pancakes (vegan) // The Pancake Princess

Whole Wheat Stuffed Pancakes (vegan) // The Pancake Princess

This Terrible Thing is a dairy allergy. Of odd proportions. For months, I’ve been noticing some symptoms every time I consume cow’s milk/yogurt/feta/fresh mozzarella (though aged cheeses seem to be kosher): tiny blisters and itching and peeling on two (sometimes three) of my fingers and mild eczema-like rashes on the inside of my elbows.

Whole Wheat Stuffed Pancakes (vegan) // The Pancake PrincessAt first, I thought the rashes on my fingers were due to excessive moisture on my hands from washing dishes, but when the inner elbow rashes showed up, I knew it had to be something more. Eczema runs in my family (though it never affected me as a kid, and it’s bewildering to have it show up now) and my suspicion is that I gave myself this allergy due to overenthusiastic consumption of Greek yogurt a few years ago. It was during a phase when I was convinced I wasn’t getting enough protein, and I compensated by eating a LOT of yogurt. I’d eat it at least twice a day (for breakfast and a snack), and occasionally for dinner or dessert. Aside from yogurt, I was a fairly moderate consumer of dairy: I grew up drinking 1% milk, but switched to almond milk almost six years ago when I became pescetarian. Since then, I’ve mostly eaten dairy in the form of moderate pizza/taco/pasta consumption and whatever dairy ended up in whatever pastry I was making or buying.

Looking back, I should have known better than to eat one food group so excessively, but yogurt is kind of a classic staple in the single lady life. Easy to make (open the container), easy to eat, protein- and calcium-packed. It was an easy weapon to fulfill what I thought were my increased protein needs. I had no idea that excessively eating one food could give you a food allergy until I read Felicia’s eloquent discussion of her avocado allergy (really, her entire journey of overhauling her diet is fascinating and worth a read) and in doing research since then, I’ve come across more and more anecdotes about similar occurrences.

In the midst of figuring out what the heck is going on with my fingers/dairy consumption/elbows, I met the lovely, bubbly Lisa of Maple and Love (a Houston-based custom bakery that makes the MOST beautiful and delectable treats!) who told me about her allergy to a certain milk protein. Intolerance to this particular protein can’t be determined through blood tests, so a dairy tolerance challenge (like this) is recommended instead. This kind of elimination test makes sense to me, so I’m embarking on a dairy-free challenge for the next few weeks (and probably years, if we’re being realistic).

Whole Wheat Stuffed Pancakes (vegan) // The Pancake Princess

All of this to say: this is why my recipes will be dairy-free for the foreseeable future (though I will leave up recipes like this cheesecake and these pancakes because I still think they’re great for those who can consume dairy).

Also: if you have any wisdom on this topic, please share! Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever had similar symptoms? Were you able to overcome a food allergy?

Whole Wheat Stuffed Pancakes (vegan) // The Pancake Princess

The silver lining to this is that pancakes are still well within my eating realm. To celebrate going dairy-free from now on, I updated this basic vegan pancake recipe (turns out you don’t need flax!) for these very simple, satisfying pancakes. They’re not going to win any attractiveness awards, but anything stuffed with peanut butter…cannot be bad. Plus, I think whole wheat pancakes are not only virtuous, but super tasty. These aren’t really revolutionary, just a fun way to eat pancakes (and leftovers make for a great little on-the-go package in the morning if you toss a couple in a pan to reheat while you brush your hair and dance around to Sia…or whatever wakes YOU up…).

Whole Wheat Stuffed Pancakes (vegan) // The Pancake Princess

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Gooey Chocolate Oat Cake

Gooey Chocolate Oat Cake // The Pancake PrincessWhen you’re waking up covered in a light sheen of sweat to the deep-voiced man on the radio announcing “it’s already 80 degrees with a high of 99” your desire to turn on the oven turns to negative 20 degrees. Particularly when you are trying to keep costs down in the form of taming the resource-sucking A/C beast. Yet somehow, my desire for cake does not function in the same manner.

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