Happy Valentine's Day!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, you style mavens!  I hope you are being spoiled by someone today - if not your boyfriend, husband, mom or gal pals, then by YOU!  Take a few minutes to take care of yourself today.  Go get a manicure.  Buy some lavender oil at the drug store and rub a few drops into your desk at the office.  Take a hot bath tonight by candlelight, scented with something heavenly like lemon verbena.  How you celebrate doesn't matter as long as you take a quick second to relax and feel loved!

Peter and I aren't big subscribers to the Valentine's Day frenzy.  I think we really celebrated only once, thanks in part to the awkwardness of starting to really like eachother in beginning of February.  We started dating in January of 2010 and Peter was really 'pulling out all the stops,' as he put it then.  Our Valentine's Day date was probably only the fourth or fifth time we'd been out together, and I think Peter felt like it might be a make or break moment.  We ended up at Colicchio & Sons for a picture perfect dinner.  He was just getting used to the idea that I like to share things when eating out, and so he dutifully shared the monkfish with me (he didnt tell me he didnt like fish - a fact we've since remedied).  Anyways, that dinner was evidently lovely enough to last a lifetime.  Nowadays we celebrate with a bouquet of flowers and a kiss.

This weekend though, I thought it'd be fun to get into the Valentine's Day spirit and make Peter some heart-shaped pancakes.  He loved them!  This recipe is that perfect, thick, fluffy, delicious pancake you've been dreaming about since childhood.  Make them this weekend!  If you don't have dinner plans - make them tonight!  I didn't have an official pancake mold on hand so I stopped by crate & barrel and picked up some heart-shaped cookie cutters for just over $2.  The process was super easy and the result was both pretty and delicious.

Happy Valentine's Day!  How are you celebrating?



Annie's Valentine's Day Buttermilk Pancakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine liquid ingredients in another bowl.  

Mix liquid ingredients into dry ingredients with a few large turns of a whisk or spatula.  Do not overmix.  The batter should be lumpy and thick, but the flour should be fully integrated.

Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium heat.  Place a greased, large-size, heart-shaped cookie cutter on top of the skillet.  The skillet is at the correct temperature when a few drops of cold water sizzles and bounces.  

Pour the batter into the cookie cutter (not too much - you dont want the pancake to be too thick) and cook for 2-3 minutes.  You'll see bubbles forming and beginning to break on the surface of the pancake.  Test the pancake by sliding a spatula under the cake/cookie cutter.  If it's ready to turn, set aside the cookie cutter and flip.  Cook 1-2 minutes more.

Serve right away if possible.  But if not, keep pancakes warm on an ungreased baking sheet in a 200 degree oven.  

Garnish with butter, pure maple syrup & strawberries!

Tips: make sure your buttermilk is room temperature.  If it's cold, your butter will seize up into cold flakes.  If you forget to set your buttermilk out in advance, melt the butter in a double boiler and add the buttermilk after the butter is melted.  The mixture will get a tiny bit warm and will be fully integrated. If your batter is too thick, thin it out with some water.