Pancake Celebration

Photos, Recipes, Winnipeg

Pancakes  It’s official, yesterday I handed in my academic plan – after too much deliberation– and I’ve decided to major in journalism! It seems to be the path less travelled these days thanks to a somewhat bleak future for the printed news. But even in the age of the internet there’s still a need for well written, insightful articles and I would’t mind contributing to that.

Aside from being a respectable, if not insanely stressful, career path, I knew when I started Creative Communications that I wanted to be a journalist. I really like storytelling, and once I got over my trepidations with interviewing people I fell in love with the whole process.

Even though I knew all of this, I was experiencing a huge amount of anxiety leading up to my declaration. I’ve never been good at decisions – choosing a restaurant to eat at or a movie to see can be a painful affair for anyone accompanying me – so deciding what I wanted to do for the rest of my life gave me horrible stress nightmares.

So I took a step back and imagined how I would feel 20 years down the road if I hadn’t done journalism. I would feel pretty guilty. So even if I don’t end up working as a reporter or a news anchor in the future I’m feeling pretty satisfied with my decision and I’m celebrating with a pile of homemade banana pancakes!

I adapted the recipe from here, which makes too many pancakes for one person so I tossed the rest of the mixture in a sandwich bag and put it in the freezer. This way when I’m ready to make pancakes again I can just defrost the bag, snip off one corner of the bag and pipe the batter straight into a skillet, easy peasy.

Fluffy Homemade Pancakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour (we use Gold Medal all-purpose flour)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups (295 ml) milk, whole or 2% reduced fat milk are best
1 egg
4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for skillet
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons ground flax seeds

Directions

1. Sift all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Melt the butter and combine it with the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Make a well in the flour and pour the wet mixture into it.  Stir until there are no more large pockets of flour, but it’s ok if the batter is a little lumpy.

2. Heat a large skillet with coconut oil over medium heat. Pour the pancake batter into the skillet using a ladle or, if you want to be more accurate, a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Flip the pancakes when the bubbles stop popping around the edge of the batter.

3. Serve immediately with syrup or jam and your choice of fruit as a topping.

Canning Salsa

Recipes, Vegetarian

Tomatoes Blackened Simmering cans Jars

 

A week ago I had too many tomatoes, and now I have a years worth of salsa! Last week I had dinner with my parents, who sent me home with a giant bundle of tomatoes from my aunt’s garden. I had already been planning on canning something this fall so this plethora of t’maters was the perfect excuse.

I should let you know that this was my first attempt at canning. And after reading stacks of articles about proper canning techniques I was very careful to follow all the directions I found, as closely as I could. I bought canning tongs and new cans but didn’t purchase a canning rack for processing the cans. Instead I placed a dishtowel underneath the jars to prevent them from getting too hot while they were boiling. Not all of my cans sealed properly (I found some simple tests for seals here), so I reprocessed them the next day for another 15 minutes.

This recipe is fairly mild but really flavourful, and the process is pretty quick once you have your workspace prepped. I didn’t have any anaheim peppers as the recipe called for so I substituted yellow bell peppers and broiled their skins off in the oven.

Canned Tomato Salsa

I used this recipe

Ingredients

5 lbs tomatoes (about 10 cups)
1 lb peppers (about 2 cups)
3 Jalapeño chilies, seeded & stems removed (or keep seeds for lots o’ spice)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp sugar or more (depending on taste)

Canning Equipment Needed

5-6 pint sized canning jars (I used 12 1/2 pint jars), with rings and new lids
1 very large stockpot (not aluminum because acidity will corrode pot)
1 steamer rack (or dish towel like I described above)
Canning tongs to lift jars out of hot water

Instructions

1. Place jars in canning pot and fill with water until the lip of the jars are covered. Bring water to a simmer for 10 minutes, and keep jars in the warm water until you’re ready to fill them. Have a kettle filled with water ready to boil so you can sterilize the lids right before canning.

2. If you have a gas range you can roast your peppers over the flame, but if not you can broil the peppers in the oven until their skin is black. Once they have cooled gently rub off the outer skin and discard.

3. Prepare the tomatoes. You can do this on a grill or you can broil the tomatoes as well by halving them and placing them skin-side up on a baking sheet. You can also blanch them to remove the skins but this is the least flavourful way of getting the skins off. To blanch anything means to place it in boiling water for a short amount of time and then moving them to an ice bath, the skins will come off easily.

4. Put all of the ingredients into a large stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes.

5. While salsa is cooking, place the jar lids in a bowl of boiled water and cover to sterilize them.

6. Adjust seasonings. If too acidic add more sugar, if too sweet add more vinegar. You can also use an immersion blender if you prefer your salsa smooth instead of chunky.

7. Ladle salsa into jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of room on the top. Wipe the mouths with a clean paper towel to get rid of any salsa bits. Place the lids on and screw on the rings but make sure you don’t over-tighten since air needs to escape during the next step.

8. Place the jars back into the large pot that was keeping them warm. Cover the jars with at least 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Process for 15 minutes and turn off the heat, let the jars sit in the water for another 5 minutes. Remove the jars using the canning tongs and let them sit on the counter until completely cool. You should hear lots of popping sounds as the jars create vacuum seals. Check your cans before storing them in a cool dry place, if any aren’t sealed properly you can reprocess them. Canned salsa should be eaten within a year so remember to write dates on your jars somewhere.