Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

For those lucky enough to live in the twin cities, there is this amazing restaurant called, Hell’s Kitchen, it’s downtown Minneapolis.   We had been there quite a few times now.  It has amazing food, comfortable atmosphere one of my favorite places to go have brunch with friends.   Last year when my brother was visiting we took them there as a treat, and I recommended my nephew get the pancakes.   I think we actually all had a bite and ‘helped’ him finish them off.

I have been wanting these pancakes for a very very long time, we had plans to go there for brunch today but plans changes so I went digging and brought brunch to us!  These lemon ricotta pancakes are light, sweet, filling, and just oh so amazing, only complaint is after preparing the batter letting it rest in the fridge for an hour? argh! hard to resist not making them early.  The acid in the berries make this go from great to amazing!  These pancakes are so moist and light you will not need syrup just a little dust of powdered sugar and its the best thing to add to your brunch menu since mimosas!


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

  • 6 Egg Whites
  • 9 Egg Yolks
  • 1/3 c Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 1/2 c Sugar
  • 1 c Whole Milk Ricotta
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • Zest of 3 whole lemons
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2/3 c Cake Flour, sifted

In a mixer beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.   While your egg whites are working in a bowl combine and whisk by hand until well blended, egg yolks, melted butter, sugar, ricotta, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice.   Once your egg whites are formed, slowly on medium speed add the egg yolk mixture, once all in stop and scrape down sides, and mix for one(1) minute.  Slowly add in the cake flour a few tablespoons at a time.  Once all in, stop and scrape down the sides again and mix for another minute making sure it is very well blended.

Seal the bowl and transfer to the refrigerator for at least one hour, this will give the butter time to firm up so when you cook your batter it will not thin out as much.   Cook over medium heat on skillet, turn when bubbles begin to break through the batter, about 3-5 minutes, they will be very soft so be VERY careful when turning.  Cook for 2 min on flip side.  Serve with fresh berries and lightly dust with powdered sugar.  Makes 10-12, 8″ pancakes.

Adapted from: Hell’s Kitchen Cookbook

Spaghetti Carbonara

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to make when I don’t know what to make and don’t really want to spend a lengthy amount of time in the kitchen.   Not to mention that it does well as a left over for next days lunch, my husband is a very big fan.

The combination originally was something that I was slightly apprehensive about, cream and bacon?  However after a few changes to the original I love this!  I know you will too!  The recipe originally was for a large amount of people.  However, being as I only need to feed two people and even have made this for a quick lunch for one it is easily altered to serve 1 or 6!  This recipe below makes 2-3 Servings.

Spaghetti Carbonara

  • 3 oz of Thin Spaghetti
  • 4 Slices of Bacon, diced
  • 1 Shallot, diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1/2 c Heavy Cream or Half and Half
  • 1/2 c Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c Frozen Pea’s (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Parsley, finely chopped (reserve a pinch for garnish on each plate)
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan, grated for garnish

Your sauce takes little to no time to make so make sure you start you’re pasta first.   Bring 2 quarts of lightly salted water up to boil.   When you’re water is at a slow simmer in a sauce pan over medium heat start to brown off your bacon.  Once it is brown and crispy, depending on the fat content you may want to drain a tbsp or two of the oil out.  At this point your water should be boiling, drop in your pasta.  Add the shallots and garlic to the bacon and saute till the shallots become translucent.   Take about 1.5 cups of the hot starchy pasta water and set aside, drain the pasta.   Add the cream to the bacon mixture, once mixed in and heated up add in the Parmesan, once melted add around 1/4 c of the starchy pasta water & parsley and bring to a light simmer.   If you chose to at this point add in the peas before you toss the pasta on top of sauce mix.   Toss the pasta with the sauce if it looks too thick like it’s not going to coat the pasta add about a tbsp of the pasta water at a time until you get the desired coating consistency on your pasta.    Serve and garnish with remaining cheese and parsley.

Adapted from: Martha Stewart – Great Food Fast

Baking Pans

The darker the pan the faster it cooks.  Glass also cooks quickly, with the quicker cooking your baked goods tend to overcook or get brown bottoms and edges.  Generally when you use a dark or glass pan you should drop the temperature by 25°F

For baking evenly with even color go for light aluminum pans will give you a nice color and cooking without brown edges.  I am a fan of the Nordicware or Fat Daddy bakeware for cakes, cookies, quick-breads, or yeast breads where you don’t want a thick dark crust.  The cakes don’t dome up, which means a lot less waste when leveling the cakes out for layering.  Also, the cookies cook evenly without darker edges and a nice consistent color.

However! in regards to cupcakes or muffins where you want that dome effect I would and do suggest going with a dark colored pan.  It will heat up faster and rise higher giving you a lovely dome shape.

Parmesan Risotto

It’s been a while since I have cooked something new as been so busy we’ve had old stand by’s and some awesome sandwiches.  I was very excited to make this!  Mostly because I wanted to cook something new but really yummy.  I have been dying to try my hand at risotto, and so i went for something easy for a first attempt.  Just simple Parmesan risotto to start with now i got all kinds of combination’s going through my head!  I did use a technique that I learned watching Masterchef Australia, about how to agitated the pan and not stir with a spoon as it will break up the rice and make it gluggy and just not a nice smooth texture.  It’s kinda like making Jiffy Pop pop corn from when you were a kid just shake the pan in circular motion over the burner and then front to back to gently stir the mixture with out a spoon.

Parmesan Risotto

  • 6 to 8 cups Chicken Stock, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Clarified Butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots, (about 2)
  • 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 4  tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for grating or shaving
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat stock in saucepan over medium heat; keep at a low simmer. Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots to oil, and cook, stirring, until translucent. Add rice, and cook, stirring, until rice begins to make a clicking sound like glass beads, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add wine to rice mixture.  Mix by gently moving the pan in small circles and then in back and forward motion to very gently stir, if your rice sticks then only in this step use a spoon, mix every 30 or so seconds until wine is absorbed by rice.  Using a ladle or measuring cup add 3/4 – 1 cup hot stock to rice. While keeping the pan on the flame, mix by gently moving the pan in small circles and then in back and forward motion to very gently stir every 1-2 minutes should mix at least twice before you add the next batch of stock.  When the rice has absorbed about 75% of the liquid add another 3/4 to 1 cup of the stock.
Continue adding stock 3/4 cup at a time and stirring constantly until rice is mostly translucent but still opaque in the center. Rice should be al dente but not crunchy. As rice gets close to being done, watch carefully and add smaller amounts of liquid to make sure it does not overcook. The final mixture should be thick enough that grains of rice are suspended in liquid the consistency of heavy cream. It will thicken slightly when removed from heat.  Remove from heat. Gently fold in the butter and Parmesan cheese season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture among four shallow bowls, mounding risotto in the center, and grate or shave additional Parmesan over risotto, sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately.

Adapted: Parmesan Risotto – Martha Stewart Recipes