Reviewed by Molly Martin
72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack
by Adrianna Adarme
Illustrator/Photographer: Terri Lyn Fisher
St. Martin’s Griffin
Paperback: 176 pages, May 28, 2013, ISBN-13: 978-1250012494
Adrianna Adarme’s Pancakes is filled with recipes, color photos and anecdotes set in place by the founder of A Cozy Kitchen blog. The book is a well-made paperback edition with glossy, thick paper covers. Covers extend longer than the pages, are folded front and back … useful for holding the page last perused, and have notes regarding the recipes, the author and her blog. Teri Lyn Fisher’s photos are colorful, representative of the particular recipes to be found in the book and often shown as 1 of a 2-page spread of photo and recipe.
I found the Introduction to be particularly informative, especially for the novice cook; it begins with a charming recollection of the writer’s childhood as she learned to prepare pancake batter under the tutelage of her dad. While the pancakes produced were from a mix, and did not taste as do the ones offered by the writer; she was provided with a lovely reminisce of childhood, along with a determination to better the batter.
The book has information on such things as use of buttermilk, buttermilk powder, vinegar, lemon juice and milk, mixing tips, what to do with too thin or thick batters, fruit and other add ins to the batter, size of the cakes, perfect cooking temperature, use of the oven, syrups, especially the delicious use of real maple syrup, salt and a nice section on Pancake tools and Supplies. The author explains the best skillets to use, use of bowls, liquid measuring cups, and pancake spatula, The first section provides classic pancake recipes: Buttermilk, Vegan, Gluten free and Crepes. These are perfect as is, and work well with add-ins to suit personal taste. Personally I like to add chocolate bits to any and everything, especially pancakes.
The second section is Breakfast Pancakes; an offering of 28 pancakes suitable for breakfast, snacks and anytime the notion strikes. Beginning with orange and chocolate chip pancakes, the reader is made hungry with photos of some plainish, and other really fanciful offerings; apple pie is one. Carrot cake pancakes drizzled with Cream Cheese Glaze are delish, as are the banana bread. In this section Adarme provides some offerings perhaps not always thought of when preparing pancakes. Dutch babies, popovers, crepes as well as spiced pumpkin and gingerbread for the holidays, oatmeal and multi grain for the health conscious, several varieties of chocolate, or with fruit add-ins are all included. The third section, Dinner Pancakes, begins with zip-jalapeno corn cakes, as well as 21 separate, easy to prepare, delicious to eat recipes. Latkes include sour cream and cheese, and sweet potato. From spicy black bean cakes, to fried mac and cheese, to parmesan mushroom risotto cakes, zucchini fritters, cheddar chive or garlic and parmesan popovers, a super gruyere and ham Dutch baby and buckwheat crepes; there is something to please every diner. Pretty green spinach pancakes are a delight for St Paddy’s.
The last section is all about toppings. Beginning with a selection berry butters, fruit syrups, an avocado butter; this section may inspire a cook to try various combinations to create their own butters, syrups and tasty toppings. A four-page index at the end of the book compliments the table of contents to enable adventuresome cooks to find just the right recipe for breakfast, lunch, snack or supper.
Pancakes and waffles too have been a long standing meal beginning for my family. Fêted across all ethnic groups, prepared through use of a diversity of ingredients and prepared by varied cultures worldwide, throughout time; pancakes are the definitive universal food. I found the book to be well-made. The long over-lap type covers are perfect for indicating the recipe to be tried, the one in preparation or the one last used. The shiny, smooth cover can easily be wiped cleaned without worry that the paper will soon deteriorate should a spill happen. Binding is glued pages … and so far no problem, the pages are staying glued despite multi uses.
Striking photographs invite the reader to try their hand using the pictured pancake result. Recipes are easily read and easily followed, with the ingredient list placed along the left or right margin to make shopping easy. The author includes anecdotes as a short italicized paragraph atop the recipe directions themselves. I like that.
This is a book to be referred to often, to help the cook begin to think of pancakes as something more than a circle of cooked batter on the plate, smooshed with butter and doused with syrup; it is a selection of recipes sure to intrigue, delight and satisfy, whether used for creating a hearty breakfast, or for a winter supper filled with good scents in the kitchen and delicious food on the table. Many of the recipes, the four basic recipes, honey and oat, whole wheat, and banana bread lend themselves very well to being prepared as waffles too.