Thursday, June 19, 2008

I survived the flood of 08'

Hey Kathryn,

It seems like you've been mighty busy over the past week.  I've definitely tried to decompress over the past couple of days - I've had some time off, and it finally appears that this flood is on the mend.  Yesterday, the water receded 10 inches, and more roads are starting to open up.  It is now safe to cross the river and venture over to the Iowa City downtown area (yay!  Farmer's Market, here I come!)  

I don't have any pictures of the flood, but I do have this fairly biblical/ironic/mundane photo of a rainbow framing my neighbor's home that I took last Saturday when the Iowa River rose to around 30 feet, which is 8 feet above the 93' levels.  

As far as cooking goes - I've been in quite the frugal mode, ie, trying to make as many things as possible without having to go to the store.  Some projects have been really successful, such as this pesto I made with arugula, parmesan cheese, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and a combination of olive and truffle oil (I know, this hardly qualifies as a frugal ingredient, but I've been trying to find as many applications for it as possible before it becomes rancid.)  I don't have any pictures of it, but it was rustic and sufficiently garlicky.  If I were a recipe developer for Gourmet Magazine, I would use it as a base for a grilled pizza topped with smoked mozzarella and peaches.  

However, I found that improvisation can be a bit more complicated when trying to make pancakes.  Marci and I attempted to make pancakes with a recipe that called for 1/2 a cup of plain yogurt.  After discovering that the only non-gelatin containing yogurt we had in the fridge had expired a month ago, I thought we could use a combination of ricotta cheese and buttermilk.  Due to this decision and the addition of a few too many frozen blueberries, the batter was a Bridget-Jones-cooking-disaster shade of blue and a little too watery.  The batter would flood onto the griddle, which produced really haphazardly shaped pancakes such as these ones.   

Bio-major Marci called it "imperfect mitosis."  

As hard as they were to spoon on to the pan, they were even harder to flip.  We agreed to equally distribute the more perfect ones and the "screw-up" pancakes, but as you compare the two stacks, you can clearly see that Marci who was on flip-duty has a relaxed definition of sharing.  Just teasing...

However, even though these pancakes were mushy, not fluffy, blue, not golden brown, amoeba shaped, not round, Marci and I still cleaned them off.   The real moral of the story is that there isn't anything in life that can't be fixed with a dollop of ricotta cheese and good old Canadian maple syrup.  

Missing you, and I hope that you find more great recipes from the Splendid Table cookbook.  


PS - Marci and I had the greatest idea ever for a breakfast party in Grinnell.  It'll be an ode to the character Letitia Cropley on Vicar of Dibley and the game will be called Surprise Ingredient Pancakes.  What do you think?


Kathryn said...

Allison, I wish you WERE a recipe developer for gourmet magazine! I want pesto-peach pizza for reals. Also, I sympathize with your blue pancakes. I have never, in my whole life, been able to make a decent pancake. It's a huge stumbling block, let me tell you.

Alison Wilder said...

also, I read this book once that I think was about a tweenage girl and the haunted theater she worked in, but the best part was that she and her dad made cookies together out of any random ingredients they came up with from their kitchen! I always thought that was the ideal mode of father-daughter bonding, but I'm not sure my dad was game for it. Maybe while you're in good ol' aburdeen you can convince your own to partake?