Sunday, August 10, 2014

Dutch Baby Pancake and nostalgic summer thoughts

I am not a sentimental person, I don’t often long for the past.  I don’t miss the times when my kids were little, I always thought of myself as raising adults rather than children, so when they became someone conversation worthy I was quite content and didn't look back at whipping noses and butts as regretful.  But now as I saw another beautiful sailing season come to a close I realized that someday they will be gone, they will fly the nest and with them the things that make my days, my seasons, my life….

My summers now start in February or March when the regatta schedules are posted on the web…. I book my days off and I anticipate.  I don’t even contemplate booking a vacation until the sacredly short sailing season is over.  I spend the summer days paying attention to the wind speed and researching magical ways of getting the stink out of the sailing gloves…. And as this season came to a close, and all trophies were collected, I stood on the dock and realized, that the feeling I get seeing my kid raise a spinnaker or rig a boat will not be around forever, it will all be over soon, as soon as they get spread their wings and fly.

One day my summers will not consist of talks of races and courses, of wind speeds and puffs and fouls on the starting line, one day I will no longer care what the wind does, one day, there will be no sailing gear piled up on my kitchen counter, no more bruised toes and burned noses…. They will be grown up and gone… but not yet…I still have a few years to prepare, and I better be ready because when it is all over they will be on their way to magical journey of life and I will be left to long for the old days, looking for a reason to drive past the yacht clubs.

After a week of races and hurried breakfasts in the car I decided my sailors deserved a leisurely weekend breakfast, so I went the Dutch baby to honor the culture that gave us the best sailors in the world and a confusing measure of a nautical mile…. A Dutch Baby.

Imagine a pop-over, a pancake and soufflé having a frivolous Ménage à trois, the love child would be a Dutch Baby, which is a wonderfully eggy, puffed up pancake with crispy edges and soft center.  A vessel to be piled upon with sweet or savory treats.  It makes a great easy Sunday morning treat and gets even the groggiest teenager out of bed.

Sweet Dutch Baby pancake with Lemon Maple Strawberries
For the Pancake
3 tbs of butter
4 eggs
1 cup of whole milk
1 cup of all-purpose flour
½ tsp of salt
1 tsp of sugar

For the topping
4 tbs of pure maple syrup
1 quart of strawberries (or other berries)
Zest of one lemon
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Cut the strawberries and toss them with lemon zest and maple syrup.  Let stand overnight or at least 1 hr. 
Preheat the oven to 450F.  Combine all the pancake ingredients except the butter in a blender and mix well until smooth.  Place the butter in the large cast iron skillet and put the skillet into preheated oven for 5-7 minutes until the butter is fully melted and begins to bubble.  Pour the pancake mix into the hot buttered skillet and bake at 450F for 20-25 minutes until the edges have puffed up and are crispy brown. 
Cool for 2-3 minutes, top with strawberry maple mixture. Dust the edges with powdered sugar and serve right in the skillet. 

All I can hope for is that when they are all grown up they will still occasionally come around my kitchen table so we I can see them gobble up my food and remember all those sailing summers…. For them it will be fun anecdotes of their childhood and for me it will be memories of those simple everyday things that make our lives….