Springtime Dutch Pancake

I’m in love with chives this year! I’ve always liked them, but for some reason they are just shining this month. Chives chopped finely are the freshest green garnish of the season. They add a small bite, a nip of allium flavor. The tiny chive is a reminder of larger vegetables to come soon.

Some weekends growing up, my mom used to make what we called “special pancake,” which we served with Vermont maple syrup and a splash of lemon juice. I’ve also heard it called Jacob’s pancake, Dutch baby, and “failed popover.” The recipe is very simple, and similar to popovers, just two eggs, a cup of milk, a half-cup flour, and butter pre-melted in the pan while the oven’s heating up. Flavor it however you feel like, whether plain, or with thinly sliced apples & cinnamon, or shredded cheese. Today I have mixed in a handful of chives, fresh sage, one of the first yellow summer squashes, salt & pepper, and a small pinch of nutmeg. Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 400 F degree preheated oven. When it is approaching golden brown, and poofed up in random beauty, it is done. Serve immediately, or watch it deflate in a few minutes.

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Cinna-swirl Elephant Ear memories

Food memories are strong. I’ve been nostalgic for the bakeries of my Vermont childhood, and there are many great ones. As a teenager, instead of church on Sunday mornings, I took guitar lessons. Afterwards, while others were still in church, my mom and I drove to a couple of bakeries – sometimes glazed donuts, or powdered jellies. Most magical were the cinnamon twists and elephant ears that I couldn’t imagine how to make as a younger person. I ended up briefly interning at this favorite bakery in my senior year of high school. Some of my earliest memories are of making eclairs from scratch with my mom, a baker herself who would show me everything from pies to gravy. Her influence, as well as a few weeks’ worth of 2am mornings and cinnamon twisted into different pastry forms in jovial musical bakeries taught me to dream more of what is possible with baking. My mom passed away a bit more than a year ago, and I miss cooking with her, terribly. She is still present, honored, influential, alive, in my cooking. These days, a great Sunday is still complete with art and flaky cinnamon treats in a secular peace.