Let me state for the record; I detest red velvet pancakes. Being a fan of all things red velvet (or so I thought) I went to three restaurants to determine if it was my recipe that was flawed. But alas, my pancakes not only matched the restaurants’ bite for bite, they were better. I just hated them. And here I was, staring at two dozen sitting in my freezer. I had done it again.
For those of you just chiming in on the Hispanic experience, food is love. Through cooking and serving- often your most loved foods- to you, love is expressed. However for the hopeless (or hapless) romantic, food is also “like”, “infatuation” and “please approve me”.
And boy was I an offender.
See, I was the type of person who would learn what favorite dish your mother used to make you, and perfect it. By date four. Never mind if I loved it, could barely tolerate it or was allergic to it-if you loved it, I learned how to make it. And while I now appreciate my dexterity with international cuisine, there were quite a few…unintended consequences.
Take the pile of appliances I no longer use-like the waffle maker I ran out to get when a paramour of one month expressed his delight with my made-from-scratch pancakes ( the recipe for which came from another failed relationship attempt, mind you). “But, imagine how much better they would be as waffles-my favorite!” he mused. Before I could plug it in for the first time he’d moved on, but still I did not learn. It wasn’t until an ex-boyfriend confronted me with my 20-lb weight gain-due to switching exclusively to his favorite foods in an attempt to revive the dying-that it dawned on me I may want to examine what I was expecting for all of this giving.
We were in the middle of a drag-out fight that had lasted far too long when I wailed about all the things I had done for him-only to be met with, “I mean it was nice, but I never asked for any of it. So I don’t know what I owe you.”
I was floored.
See, I had always considered my cooking “selfless”. It had never occurred to me that it was my currency for approval. Much like women that have relations before they’re ready, or men that buy endless gifts for women that ‘love them like a brother’, food was my way to either “seal the deal”, or define my martyrdom. “Look at all I do for you. Want Me. Love Me.”
So it was no surprise that it was the first thing I fell back to when I felt insecure about being single. I was the cat with the mouse in my teeth..except this mouse was two dozen pancakes sitting in my freezer, waiting for a date that never happened.
They say the universe gives you the same challenge until you learn the lesson. Staring at my freezer I realized no food, poon or service rendered can make a person that does not want to be there stay around. I could do all the laundry in the world, bend my naked self into a pretzel and have a 5-star restaurant in my kitchen, but if who I am isn’t enough, it’s all moot. “Service” in love should not be “free”, and there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first until you get what you want. I am enough. The rest is gravy.
Le Potential came over to chill. “Hey there,” I said. “I made steak & spinach, want some?” He frowned, “spinach is not my favorite thing in the world.”
“Well, it’s mine. So eat up.”
And he did. And he didn’t go away. Maybe I’ll get this thing right one day after all.
So I had no idea when I posted this how many people would ask me for my actual recipe (ha!), so after much digging, here you go! I am one of those “organic” people, so I noted my changes to the recipe below as well.
RED VELVET PANCAKES:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (unbleached whole wheat is my preference)
2 tablespoons unsweetened (or organic unprocessed) cocoa powder
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)
1/3 cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Dash of cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk*
*¼ cup sour cream (optional, if not, use 1 ½ cups buttermilk instead)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon red food coloring
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted, or ¼ cup vegetable oil (I use 2 tbsp of each)
1. Pre-heat skillet or griddle over medium heat.
2. Mix all of the dry ingredients (flour through salt) together in a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine until all lumps are gone (please note, if using Sugar in the Raw, mix it instead with wet ingredients).
3. In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring (again, if using Sugar in the Raw, make sure to mix with wet ingredients). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk mixture. Stir until mostly combined. Add in the melted butter and fold gently to mix. Batter should be lumpy.
4. Pour batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto skillet/griddle and let cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. Serve with syrup, cream cheese frosting (dilute with a teaspoon of lemon juice) or just dust with confectioner’s sugar. Enjoy!