I don’t do breakfast café’s much here in South Florida and here’s why. Since alcohol is the fuel that drives South Florida, most folks here consider breakfast the meal that is served upon waking…around 4pm. It is coincidentally around the same time they start drinking again.
So with a mouthful of chemically dulled taste buds, burnt home fries and under cooked eggs slathered in cheap cheese does just fine for this meal. That is unless you’re one of the few that rise with the sun… as I do.
South Floridian’s almost never eat lunch. (it gets in the way of their beer). On the other hand, did you know there are more school trained chefs here than in the rest of the entire universe? So what are South Floridians doing with all these chefs if they don’t do breakfast or lunch? Why dinner of course. South Florida is famous for its fine restaurants…by fine I mean expensive. So why bother with a five dollar breakfast or lunch when you can open at five and close at eleven and make more money in one day than a politician gathers in ten fundraising events?
I think most 6am to 2pm eateries here are ones that failed in the evening meal circuit and must stay open due to a building lease agreement.
It isn’t until you approach the heavily forested northern part of the State, that real honest to gosh breakfasts’ are started to be found. From there it’s just a hop, skip and jump into breakfast heaven… Alabama and Mississippi.
My favorite greasy spoon is across the street from a Piggly Wiggly grocery mart in Alabama. I wanted to say it’s name and exact where about but in return for the recipe below, I promised the owner I would not give his name or place of business out. Something about a copy write legal issue involving an expensive recipe book containing this recipe. But I digress; I want to talk about real old fashioned buttermilk pancakes here.
Now you can do box mixes such as Aunt Jemima or Krusteaz (if you’re a restaurant) but take a second and look at the ingredients! What is all that junk? Much of it is so that the flour beetle eggs found in most flour don’t hatch while stored six months in your pantry. Other ingredients prevent the oils from turning rancid or the baking powder from losing it’s oomph.
Please, it takes only a minute to mix your own pancake mix up and you get the benefit of knowing all your ingredients are fresh and no preservatives are involved. So without further blab, here’s the heritage pancake recipe I brag about.
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
2Tablespoons of sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 cups of buttermilk (powdered can be used to make two cups liquid)
¼ cup of sour cream
½ teaspoons of vanilla
3Tablespoons of melted butter
2 teaspoons of oil
Mix all dry ingredients together first. ( If you are going to use powdered buttermilk, add the water to make a liquid then include it with the wet ingredients.)
In a second bowl, whisk eggs by themselves, then add buttermilk, sour cream, vanilla and melted butter and whisk together.
Scoop out a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mix. Stir but do not whisk or use a mixer. Batter should be somewhat lumpy so don’t over mix it. Set aside mixed ingredients for a couple of minutes to activate batter.
Preheat and grease up your pan or griddle then add oil or bacon grease. Remove any excess grease or oil first with a paper towel, leaving a thin film behind. This prevents uneven baking as oil is cooler than the pan or griddle top. (uneven baking makes a splotchy light and dark pattern on the pancakes surface, kind of making it look like a world globe rather than a nice even browning)
Using a ladle, pour enough batter to make a fist size pancake. When bubbles are bursting throughout the pancake and the sides are a bit firm, turn them over gently with a pancake turner. When done, remove and stack on a wire rack within a warm oven. Replace oil or grease only as needed. This should make about 12 pancakes or so.
For those who want to try making their own syrup, here’s an old recipe I found while out west. In the old days, Maple syrup was a rare item out west. Most maple sap products were in the form of candy, not syrup. JW
Home Made Pancake Syrup
1 cup of water
2 cups of sugar
¼ cup of brown sugar
¼ cup of corn syrup
1 teaspoon of maple extract*
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
In a saucepan simmer all ingredients except maple extract for 15-20 minutes (about 200 degrees) *Remove from heat and only then stir in the one teaspoon of maple extract.
Over time, sugar crystallizes. This in no way ruins the syrup just reheat it.