We’re nearly to the 2nd week of February and I feel like I may just make it through through the winter. Maybe it’s because it was 40 degrees out and the snow piles were actually shrinking. Maybe it’s because I spent five days in sunny Florida without my children. Or maybe it’s because I ran 24 miles this week, swam 1/4 of a mile, and made some hazelnut-ricotta-lemon pancakes this week. It’s probably all of the above.

I’m pretty excited about this next week. I plan to hit the pool a little bit harder than I did last week, and log a couple of dozen miles on a bike. I have no idea how that is going to go, but I’ll keep you posted. I expect it will be humbling, but I hope it doesn’t cross the line to become humiliating. And in my spare time, I’ll be coming up with some sort of snackish food . . . something light enough to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner . . . something I can feel good about giving to Squish when he says (and signs), “More please!” for the 38th time in 2 hours . . . something made of sweet potatoes. I hope you’ll join in the sweet potato snack challenge. I look forward to hearing about what you all come up with. (image from here)

If you’ve forgotten the drill, you have a week to come up with a sweet potato snack. E-mail a picture of your food, along with a link to your blog post about it and your run/bike/swim stats to me at lizzie AT themotherrunner DOT com.

Here is my submission to for the Week 1 IronChef challenge:

Hazelnut-Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes from The Essential New York Times Cookbook

grated zest of 2 lemons

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup finely ground toasted hazelnuts

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (plus more for cooking the pancakes)

2 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup ricotta cheese

honey, for serving

The day before, rub together the lemon zest and sugar in a bowl. Cover and set aside at room temperature. The next day, make the pancakes. Mix flour, lemon sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, butter, egg yolks, vanilla and ricotta. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whip the egg whites until stiff, then fold them into the batter.

Heat a pancake griddle or skillet or whatever you use to cook pancakes to medium heat. Lightly coat with butter, then use 1/4 cup to scoop the batter onto the heated griddle. Cook until dryish around the edges, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook for another minute or two. Serve with honey. Or nutella.

I actually made “Nutella” with the rest of the hazelnuts I toasted. I used this recipe for guidance. It turned out pretty well, but next time I will 1. blanch the hazelnuts and 2. not burn them when I am toasting them. I think that will make a big difference.

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