Visiting my Nana & Coffee Pancakes

I’ve been making solo biannual trips to visit my Nana for a few years now.  When I was young, my brother and I would go together, our parents would drive us to a rest stop in Northern New Jersey where we’d meet my grandma for lunch, and then she’d take us the rest of the way to Philadelphia.

I love all the glass trinkets in her windows.

Nowadays, she’s too old for a long drive like that, but I can manage it, as long as I have my iPod and cassette converter to sing along to in the car.  Her house is always exactly how I remember it, a quaint duplex in the suburbs of Philly with classic stonework, a charmingly tiny backyard, and an ever-welcoming invitation of food and beverage.

My Nana’s little backyard.

The minute I walk in the door, hugs and kisses and the offering of a stunning array of edible options bombard me, but I know how to stand my ground and not get love-bullied into being stuffed.  Ah, the quirks of a Jewish grandmother.

Once I’m settled, I immediately pounce on her collections of Better Homes and Gardens and Everyday Food like a hungry cat, tearing out any recipe that looks halfway interesting.  Yep, it’s an addiction people.

Nana has been very supportive of this blog, even though she claims she can’t make many of the recipes just for herself, so she doesn’t miss the recipes I take.  I made her banana pancakes during this visit, as apparently, she hadn’t had some in years!

When I was little, our activities during a visit consisted of going to the Philadelphia Art Museum, or the zoo, but now that I’m older, we have different traditions.  Whenever I visit, we always go to Edwards Freeman, which is truly the most wonderful place on Earth.

It’s a store in Conshohocken, PA that sells, nuts, nut butter, candy, trail mixes, chocolates, spices, dried fruits (basically all the things I love).  Everything is piled to the ceiling on wooden shelves, or in large barrels. The aisles are so narrow, only two people can stand across them, because the building is packed with so much merchandise.  I stock up on my favorites every time I visit, since there’s only this one store.  They do sell online, but their online store doesn’t have everything that the physical store does.

Some of my many goodies from Edwards Freeman

During this trip, we also went shopping for wedding shoes.  I got a pair of red heels, silver heels, black and silver flats and rain boots.  (I’ll take some photos over the weekend!)  But ugh…I don’t want to see another shoe store for the rest of the year.  I am not someone who enjoys shopping at all.  We also spend ample time chatting, watching a movie or two, and I help Nana learn a new trick or two on her computer.

My stays are usually only a few days long because of how long the drive is (about 6 hours from Andover, MA to Philly.)  Instead of doing it all in one go like I did on the way down, I’m crashing at my mom’s in CT for the night and heading back to MA tomorrow.

In honor of making pancakes with Nana, here’s another awesome pancake recipe for you.  Get your morning coffee in your pancakes!  I actually don’t drink coffee, as it’s way too bitter, and I’m not about to ingest five tablespoons of sugar and half a cup of milk every morning just to make it tolerable.  Coffee flavored things on the other hand, are very enjoyable to me.  Probably because it tastes like coffee, but sweeter, and I get the satisfaction of actually eating something.

Anyway, these pancakes are mighty tasty, especially with some Nutella spread on top.

Coffee Pancakes

Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

Makes about 12 pancakes

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.  In a small bowl, beat together the egg and buttermilk.

Next, whisk in the instant coffee until completely blended. In two batches, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The batter should have some small to medium lumps.

Heat up your griddle or skillet over medium low-heat and brush with 1 tablespoon of butter or oil. Using a 1/4 cup measure or a ladle, add the batter to the warm skillet and cook until bubbles form along the sides and in the center. Flip. And cook on opposite side until golden brown.  Transfer to a plate until you’ve gone through all the batter. Serve with your favorite pancake toppings.

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