No Whey Pancakes!

Sooo I’ve began a love affair with ricotta cheese. Not just any ricotta cheese, but home made ricotta. I’m new to it and never knew how easy or delicious it could be! I just always thought it was that gross spongy stuff you added to lasagna to give it its density. Turns out, it’s amazeballs. If you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend it. Here’s the post to help you out.

Ok ok ok… why all this talk of ricotta cheese on a pancake post?! Well, there’s a WHEY you can make pancakes with a cheese bi-product. Hehehe, get it? The whey! When you make even a little ricotta, you get a lot of all natural, no fat, high protein liquid whey! I just save it in a jar and use it in smoothies and pancakes etc. And you can’t even tell. Here’s the pancake recipe I use:

Dry Ingredients:

2.5 c flour of choice* (I’m always playing around with my flours, but I’m a huge nerd that way. I typically grind up a mixture of whole wheat, steel cut oat, flax, almond and chia in my Vitamix, but you can use any flour)

1tsp baking soda

*except coconut flour… that would be one DENSE pancake

** Feel free to also add protein powders here. I don’t for these pancakes because I use the whey in the liquid base!

 

Wet Ingredients:

3 medjool dates, pureed with about 2 tsp warm water and

¼ c Coconut oil (I just LOVE the way coconut oil tastes, but you could use any oil)

½ banana (optional, for a little added sweetness)

2 eggs

½ c Cottage Cheese*

1 tsp ACV

3/4c Liquid Whey

*Could also sub greek yogurt, but I like the way the cottage cheese reacts with the baking soda and ACV and makes them a little bit fluffier

Blend/mix all the dry ingredients.

Blend the first two ingredients until pasty. Add the rest and blend until well incorporated. Pour wet into dry. Fold until all the batter is well mixed.

Spray and heat a large skillet. I use Trader Joes sprayable coconut oil. When pan is hot, use a 1/4c to pour batter onto skillet. Flip after about 30sec-1min.

 

These were so tasty my kids didn’t even eat these with syrup. Just hot off the plate, just about as fast as I could make them for a while. I topped mine with figs and Coconut Cult yogurt and HAD to go back for seconds. I absolutely could NOT help myself.

They’re also really tasty topped with an egg!

Wait for it…

It’s a hearty, but delicious pancake. Gives you energy for family hikes like these:

And shenanigans like these:

Ricotta me this

I know, cheesy title. HAHAHA. Ok, I’m done, I promise

 

But for reals. Have you ever made home made ricotta?! I am new to it and it is a GAME CHANGER.

 

It’s super easy, really versatile and even the by-products have their uses! I use the liquid whey that’s left behind in my pancakes and my kids gobble them up like crazy. They have no clue. And neither would I if you didn’t tell me.

 

And you can make the traditional savory ricotta you typically find in baked pastas like lasagna or a baked ziti or what have you. All you need is:

½ Gal whole milk (preferably whole, preferably not UHT pasteurized

1/3 C Lemon Juice (about 1-2 lemons)

OR 1/3 C distilled white vinegar

1 tsp salt

 

1. Warm the milk to about 200*F. Warm the milk SLOWLY. It’s important- you don’t want to boil the milk and you don’t want it to burn. If you don’t have a thermometer, 200*F is when it starts to get kind of foamy at the top.

2. Remove the milk from the heat and add the vinegar or lemon juice. I LOVE it with lemon juice… it adds a bit of tangy freshness, but isn’t overwhelming. Stir it really gently then let it sit for about 10 minutes.

3. With a slotted spoon scoop out the big curds and then just line a strainer with cheesecloth and put it over a half gallon glass ball jar. Then just dump the warm milk/curd/liquid whey mixture over it and let the strainer drain for around10-40 minutes. Then just transfer the ricotta in the cheese cloth to a container or use it immediately when its nice and warm. Mmmmm warm non-melty cheese just really hits the spot sometimes.

 

OH!- and SAVE THE WHEY! Some people drink it, but I just save it and use it in smoothies or pancakes etc. Here are some ideas: pancakes,

You can also make a slightly sweeter ricotta using the juice of an orange instead of a lemon! Same amounts, it’s just slightly sweeter. I eat this for breakfast a lot and add fruits, jams, or make delicious parfaits with yogurt and frut. SO SO SO good. Or you can eat it warm and add a warm fruit compote or FIGS or sautéed or grilled peaches. OMG I’m drooling already. What are you waiting for?!  If I were you, I’d go and make some! I know I am.

Figs, Not in Newtons

I really need to get better dish naming conventions. I mean, how do you name a dish, make it sound good, and hint at the main ingredients all in one. I mean this has caramelized onions, figs, goat cheese and flatbread which are all yummy, but “Caramelized Onion Goat Cheese and Fig Flatbread” just doesn’t have a great ring to it. Or maybe it does and I am just weird. I guess everything doesn’t have to be cute. I mean, what would you call a dish with those main ingredients?!

I have to admit, this posts title makes me laugh because up until I was, oh, in my mid twenties I had no idea, really, exactly what a fig was. The only thing that mattered was that they were in those delicious Fig Newton cookies. So imagine my surprise when I was navigating the grocery store and saw Strawberry-like containers with different variety’s of these seasonal fruits called Figs! I scooped up a pack of the purple figs to try! The texture weirded me out a bit at first. The outside is black and leathery, but the inside is subtely sweet, soft and seedy. After a couple though, I got used to it and really enjoyed them. I even gave one to my 18 month old and he LOVED them and ate  inhaled about 4 before I decided it would be a good idea to stop him and move on to something else. He just took it and popped the whole thing in his mouth (minus the stem I took out for him).
Anyway, I thought these Figs would be really good either grilled or roasted to bring out more of their natural sweetness. The texture indicated to me that they might caramelize a bit too, which is perfect on warm bread. I had some leftover flatbread and this bread called Naan from dinner and decided to try and make a pizza dish out of these Figs. And here is what happened (plus recipe to follow):

Ingredients:
7 ripe figs
1 Naan or packaged Flatbread (you could even use those Flat Out breads to make it super healthy)
1 very large Vidalia Onion, thinly sliced
1-2 tsp butter
Olive Oil spray (I use olive oil that I pour into a Misto sprayer)
Goat Cheese (to taste)

Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add sliced onions. Add salt and spray onions with olive oil. Cook onions over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. If the pan gets too dry, just pour a little water in there.
Sidenote: I like to caramelize this way because you don’t need to use a ton of butter/oil, but you still get the same effect. I have been doing it this way for quite a while, but never said anything because I thought people would think I was weird or “doing it wrong.” However, this months issue of Bon Appetite featured a restaurant called Rouge Tomate in Manhattan that uses this same method and boasts healthy, yet delicious food!
Anyway, I digress. While the onions are caramelizing slice the figs into a mixed group of halves and quarters, lengthwise. When the onions are done caramelizing, spread them out over the flat bread. Sprinkle the figs on top and “plop” little chunks of goat cheese in the little nooks and crannies. Bake at 350* for 15 minutes. You could also broil it, but you really have to watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn!