I started this topic last week with the basic Dutch Baby, or Pan Plano recipe. Now we are going to look at some refinements and embellishments that can be done when not squatting around a campfire.
A Short Philosophy of Food
Before we cook, let us ponder for a moment the role of meals and food in our lives.
Is food simply something to stuff down our gullets so we can continue to play video games or be otherwise entertained by television? Or is a meal and food something to be planned, prepared, served, and enjoyed?
I’ll admit, sometimes preparing meals is a chore – especially at the end of a long day. But.
But as I stand at the cutting board, slicing onions and chopping herbs, I have a chain of memories of doing the like many times before. It gives a measure of continuity to my life. And connectivity to my past self. It also connects me to all my ancestors who have been doing the same for eons.
Connectivity is important. Think family dinners at Thanksgiving. Consider how eagerly people reach for the ingredients to make the Christmas cookies grandma used to make. Why should you celebrate that connectivity to your roots only once or twice a year?
Family History of Dutch Babies
I first had a Dutch baby made in a Dutch oven, over a campfire, at about age 12, in Vermont. It was toasty and delicious beside the fresh trout we caught that morning. Dad’s friend Tim made them and told us they were called “Dutch baby” because it was made in a Dutch oven, but he said it with that twinkle in his eye that told me he was kidding. I got home and hunted for the recipe in our cookbooks – without success – so I knew that it had to be a joke. This was the days before the internet.
My next encounter with Dutch Babies was a decade later and a continent away, with a different friend of Dad’s. We visited Steve in Hollywood, and had a potluck brunch al fresco beside his pool. Steve’s neighbor Jane stopped by and joined us – Jane Fonda that is. I had no idea who she was, and besides I was more entranced by the plants. Dad was entranced by the beautiful lady, brother Terry was entranced by Space Invaders on Steve’s computer, and Eliza played in the pool. But back to the Dutch Babies – Steve served them with sliced fresh strawberries, powdered sugar, and a squeeze of lemon off his tree (which impressed me!). Tasty!
As I mentioned last week, I also learned about “dutch babies” from Carlos, a descendant of a Spanish land grant family. He had memories of his Grandfather making them. And thus, his family food story and my family food story connected and intertwined. My stream of connectivity to the world around me grows into a river with many tributaries, gently carrying me along.
Dutch Baby Embellishments
Pan Plano for Lunch or Dinner
Mix 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning – or other herbal blend – into your batter before cooking. Include 1 /2 cup shredded cheese or queso fresco. Too much cheese and it doesn’t cook right.
Spice it Up
To the basic batter add up to 1/4 cup diced green chilies and up to 1/2 cup queso fresco.
Serve with refried beans and the Sonoran Cabbage Salad from our cookbook “Using Honey in New & Savory Ways.”
To the basic recipe add:
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
Top with fresh fruit and sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Baby Dutch Baby – for one
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup milk
tiny pinch of salt
I tell you this recipe because next week we will share some very tasty experiments with gluten-free flours that turned out really well and are highly recommended.
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