Sunday, December 5, 2010

Meatless Monday:Breakfast for Supper

Happy Monday! Why not treat yourself to breakfast for supper (or dinner depending on where you live or your lifestyle) on this Meatless Monday? I don’t seem to have many mornings to prepare and enjoy a meal of pancakes, french toast, or popovers. But I sometimes find the time in the evening, and once in a while I whip up this recipe of my own invention — part popover, part pancake, baked in my trusty No. 10 cast iron skillet. My Baked Apple Pancake is a particularly welcome comfort food in these nearing Winter days so short on sunshine. It’s also a great way to use up any apples picked earlier in the Fall which may be getting a little soft. You probably have most (if not all) of these ingredients on hand.

Vegans be warned that that although you may be able to swap out the milk and butter in this recipe, I don’t think egg substitute will work this time. 

But before I get to the recipe, I’m going to ask you to consider taking some important action. If you find you just can’t wait, jump ahead, but please come back. Remember this Summer’s massive egg recall? On Tuesday (November 30), the F.D.A. Food Safety Modernization Act S.510, “The Food Safety Bill,” introduced by Illinois Senator Richard Durbin (D) in March 2009, was finally passed with a margin of 23 votes. An amendment introduced by Senator John Tester (D-Montana) in April of this year, designed to protect small farms for whom the regulations would have posed economic hardship, saved the day. This map illustrates how each Senator voted.

If this bill can be reconciled with a bill passed earlier by the House, then the safety of some 99% of the eggs (and other ingredients) you purchase to create this festive dish will be protected in the future. Food advocates Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser are two supporters of this legislation. You can read an excellent summary of its key components here. The Senate bill must now be reconciled with a bill passed earlier in the House. The bill could be derailed by efforts of two groups who oppose its passage—owners of larger farms who do not want ANY growers to have exemptions, and anti-government activists. Pollan and Schlosser have called the Food Safety and Modernization bill, “the best opportunity in a generation to improve the safety of the American food supply.” Let your legislators know where you stand. Wouldn’t you like to feel more confident that any food you serve your family will actually be good for them? 

Back to the recipe. Here you go…

(pictured above)
Preheat oven to 425°.

4 large apples
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup of flour

In the No. 10 cast iron skillet, melt the butter on low heat, being careful not to burn it. While it is melting, peel and slice the apples. Then sautĂ© the apples in the melted butter. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and the spices. Add this mixture to the apples, and continue stirring and cooking until the apples are tender. Turn off the heat and spread the apples into an even layer.

In a food processor, or with a hand blender or whisk, blend the remaining ingredients until there are no lumps.

Pour the batter over the layer of apples, and put the skillet into the preheated oven. Bake 20 minutes until the pancake is puffy and browned. 

This pancake/popover has a pretty dramatic appearance when first taken out of the oven. Like a soufflĂ©, it will deflate as soon as the first cut is made. So have everyone gather round to admire it before you serve it up with a drizzle of maple syrup on each plate. Remember that this pan is really hot (and heavy). Use an oven mitt to hold the handle when serving and a heavy-duty trivet if you set the pan onto your counter.

The milk and eggs provide significant protein, and the amount of butter is relatively small, making this a healthy “sometimes” meal. It serves four generously, up to six if you have some side dishes. You can warm any leftovers in the oven at low heat; microwaving will turn it rubbery. This pancake is best hot, straight from the oven.

I hope your new week is off to a good start. Please look for me on Thursday when I expect to post another list (No. 8!) of eco-friendly shopping ideas. I'm behind on my monthly blog update, but I'm working on that, too. It's a busy time of year for us all. Please don't give up on me.  

I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.

1 comment:

  1. In the words of a certain fellow Italo-American, "Yummo !" I have all the ingredients & I'm making it for breakfast tomorrow morning. Glad I hadn't logged out to watch BOARDWALK EMPIRE before this arrived ;-)