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pancakes with wild blueberry jam syrup and sour cream

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When the weather is warm and pleasant when technically it should be cold and dreary you would think one would want to be out-of-doors enjoying this late October gift from Mother Nature and not stuck indoors catching up on chores.   Not me.  I chose one of the last weekends in October to stay home and sort through my  older cookbooks in search of recipes.  I picked a cozy spot with the sun warm on my back and surrounded myself with stacks upon stacks of cookbooks , some I’ve had for close to two decades.   I like looking through my cookbooks, so I don’t consider this much of a  chore.   This is more reacquainting myself with friends I haven’t had the chance to sit down with in a  long while.  Friends I had forgotten how nice it was to be around. I like holding each in my hand and picturing the time and place of its purchase.  It doesn’t  matter how many times I flip through pages and make a random stop, I always recognize the recipe that appears.  I am very rarely surprised.  There is’nt recipe I have not seen,  no matter if I last looked at the particular book four months ago or four years ago.  Some have markings in the margin: make this soon!  sounds good!  My frequently used cookbooks have more markings and hand written notes alongside the recipe.  Next to a recipe for New Orleans BBQ shrimp the notes begin at the bottom near the recipe,  swoop up along the margin of the page, go back across the top of the page and then cascade down again to the bottom.  Obviously a favorite and frequent recipe.   If I ever decide to make the other recipes on the page I’ll have to use a sticky note to leave any comments.

 Some of these cookbooks  are so treasured  I don’t dare dog-ear  even a  single page and when I do use a recipe  the book is kept far away from potential spills or drips. I have international cookbooks that cover just about every region of the world: Europe, The Middle East, The Caribbean, Asia, South America.  And of course most of my cookbooks are good old US of A and they run the gamut from celebrity chef to little known chef.  I don’t have a system for choosing the cookbooks I buy-they just have to have interesting recipes and a good personal story or two is nice.  Pictures are optional-some of my favorite cookbooks don’t have a single glossy photo.  When I am in need of a recipe for anything I don’t automatically reach for the computer for a quick search of the internet I scan my  shelves and bookshelves knowing that one will hold a cookbook that has what I am looking for.  I take a certain pride in my eclectic cookbook collection so I was kind of dismayed to have this random cleaning bring to my attention, once again  that I own not a single  cookbook dedicated to breakfast foods. It makes me wonder-am I prejudiced against breakfast food?  Do I  think breakfast is so simple and uninteresting that I can be satisfied with the breakfast section of a cookbook and not an entire cookbook? No and No.  I’ve looked through many a breakfast cookbook, checked out quite a few from the library even. I’ve no idea why I never purchased a single cookbook dedicated solely to the art of breakfast cookery, and  especially since breakfast is the one meal where I am most creative.  I experiment with different types of egg dishes, quick breads, pastries of the sweet and savory kind.  If I think it’s because I have nothing new to learn in that area, well,  I could not be more wrong.
 I’ve been on a breakfast kick lately.  A few weeks ago I had a big Sunday family brunch where the highlight was a giant shredded potato pancake cooked to perfection-crispy on the outside with a tender onion-y center. High on my cooking to-do list is to recreate the fresh sage pork sausage that my mom used to make. I am a muffin and quick bread fanatic.  Banana and pumpkin two of my favorites.  Although I don’t eat scrambled eggs, my favorite thing to do is whip up a cheesy batch for my family on weekend mornings.  I prefer my eggs sunny side up with a soft butter basted yolk perfect for toast dipping.  I once looked through a great cookbook that was all about cooking different types of eggs and egg dishes for breakfast.  Now I wish I had that book in my collection.

Until that brunch I’d never made plain pancakes from scratch.  I make my pancakes one way-with buttermilk.  I never thought to make pancakes with plain milk until that was all I had on the day of the brunch.  How silly of me.  These pancakes are so simple to make and just the kind of home style recipe you’ll find in any diner or chain breakfast restaurant. And best of all you will most likely have every ingredient already: flour, milk, butter, eggs, baking powder, sugar, milk.  That”s  it.  You should never have to go out and buy boxed mix again.  I shouldn’t even have to include a recipe but I will only because I made this wonderful wild blueberry jam syrup to go with these pancakes.  This syrup came about completely by accident.  I have this very fancy wild blueberry jam, however it is too sweet for me to eat alone.  I mostly always have this jam on garlicky crostini  with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper sprinkled over the top.  I didn’t want to just heat up the jam to put on the pancakes-too standard.  So I mixed in syrup and butter to come up with something just short of decadence.  Needing something to balance the sweetness I used  sour cream which begins to melt as soon as it makes contact with the warm syrup.  The combination of the warm and cold was enough to make me swoon.  If you can’t find wild blueberry jam experiment with other good quality mostly fruit jam.  I promise it’s worth seeking out because this jam syrup is so good.  I must say I havent purchased a cookbook in over a year but I have promised myself that the next cookbook I purchase will be one all about breakfast.
Recipe: basic pancake mix 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 large egg lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
butter or vegetable oil for the griddle
 
Directions:
Have ready a heat proof dish and place in a oven set at 200 degree.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Make a well in the  center of the flour mixture and add the egg, milk, and butter.  Whisk slowly incorporating the wet ingredients into the dry.  Be careful not to over mix.
Let batter sit 30 minutes.
Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and add a small amount of butter or vegetable oil.  Wipe away excess with a clean paper towel.  Pour 1/4 cup of mix per pancake and cook until bubbles rise to surface. Flip and cook other side about 1 minute more.  Place pancakes on platter in oven.
Continue cooking pancakes this way until all batter used up placing cooked pancakes on warming platter in oven until all are done.  
You can serve these as I did with wild blueberry jam syrup and a dollop of sour cream or with butter and syrup.
 
Wild blueberry jam syrup
I purchased Wild blueberry jam from Williams Sonoma. It is a high quality jam chock full of fruit.  If you choose to make this syrup use this jam or a high quality equivalent   You won’t be disappointed.  
Put 1/2 cup blueberry jam into a small saucepan and on low heat cook until most of liquid evaporates and mostly fruit left in pot.  Add 1/2 cup maple syrup to pot and cook until warm.  Remove from heat and swirl in 1 tablespoon of cold unsalted butter. Keep warm until ready to use. 
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