Sunday, May 13, 2012

white chocolate macadamia nut pancakes & Second Empire recap

Dear Second Empire,

I love your Victorian-ness and your beautiful kitchen. I love your downstairs entrance and your swanky tavern. I love that your kitchen has a flat screen TV in the corner that allowed us to watch a basketball game during the plate-up. I love the sun room where people come to brunch and I love your wine cellar and hidden bake shop. You are fancy.

 A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to work in the kitchen of Second Empire for Blossoms of Hope, a luncheon benefiting  the Inner Faith Food Shuttle of Raleigh. It is a program that gives adults seeking employment culinary training and job opportunities. Every year, Second Empire opens its kitchen to some of the best restaurants in the city. The chefs of these restaurants each prepare a course that the generous sponsors of the Food Shuttle enjoy.

Four kitchen were represented at this event: Second Empire (the host restaurant, prepared a second course and the entree), the Inner Faith Food Shuttle (graduates from the program prepared a pre-appetizer),  Sitti (brought a life changing sweet potato and lamb appetizer) and finally the catering company I work for, Centerplate. We prepared the dessert course.

This is our chocolate trio- chocolate mousse with a pistachio tuille, an espresso brownie tart, and a generous spoonful of mocha bread pudding with espresso whipped cream.

This is fancy-pants dessert.

When I am at home, I don't wear fancy-pants. I cook (mostly) un-fancy and (mostly) delicious foods.

Batter up! Like the Nelly song... Country Grammar? Nobody? Ok.

Makes sure to toast the macadamia nuts. It makes a difference, promises.

These are my decidedly un-fancy, humble interpretation of cookies for breakfast. 

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pancakes
1/4 c macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted
1/4 c white chocolate chips
1 egg
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and milk to equal 3/4 c (or just 3/4 c buttermilk)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 c AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
butter&syrup for serving

1. In a small bowl whisk together eggs, milk and vinegar mixture, and almond extract
2. In a larger bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking soda and powder and salt
3. Combine wet and dry ingredients, whisking until smooth
4. Over medium heat, melt butter in a large skillet (or coat well with cooking spray)
5. Pour 1/4 c batter into heated skillet and sprinkle exposed batter with macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips before flipping; cook for 1-2 minutes per side
6. Repeat with remaining batter
7. Serve with maple syrup, butter and garnish with extra toasted macadamias and chips

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