Over the summer, I ended up working on campus one to two days out of each weekend, so I got in the habit of going to brunch at places around campus. Now that summer is over and my life has resumed more normal day to day operations, I found myself without brunch plans this weekend. It didn't matter yesterday, because I had a 5K, but today I woke up kind of hungry and mostly out of groceries. I thought about going out for brunch, but couldn't remember the name of the place I went to one time with my friends so that I could google their menu, and I didn't want to ask my friends because then they might think I wanted to go to brunch with them. I like my friends, but my plan for today is to see no one, if possible, since I have to go back to work tomorrow.
I was still hungry, though, and I need to go to the grocery store, so food options that will also fulfill a brunch craving were a little bit limited. I pondered this for a moment, and then thought, Hey, did you ever make those sesame pancakes that you bought the stuff for?
Back in July I read a pretty funny book called I'll Have What She's Having, which I laughed out loud repeatedly while reading. The author spends a week or so at a time trying out various celebrity diets, and she started with Gwyneth Paltrow's. Now, I can sum up the things I know about Gwyneth Paltrow in a pretty short list (pink Oscar gown when she won; got in a fight with Martha Stewart; consciously uncoupled from Chris Martin; broke up with Brad Pitt; practices some celebrity form of kabbalah; says "Namaste" a lot), but the author said that Gwyneth's sesame pancakes were delicious. When she reached the end of the diet, she still craved the sesame pancakes. I'm no stranger to celebrity recipes, so I was intrigued by these mysterious sesame pancakes. I wasn't intrigued enough to buy Gwyneth's cookbook, but some googling revealed that someone else had already posted Gwyneth's intellectual property online.
I helped steal a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow.
The recipe seemed fairly simple, with the only thing I actually needed to go buy being rice milk. I have never purchased rice milk, and don't really know anything about it (they probably make it from rice?) or if they would have it at my regular grocery store, so I skipped the possibility of disappointment and headed straight to EarthFare, as that seems like the kind of place where vegan hippies who are nebulously spiritual like my impression of Gwyneth is would go to buy something like this.
Sorry for lumping Gwyneth in with you, hippies.
I bought the rice milk, but then August turned out to be the kind of month that August always turns out to be if you work in higher education, and I never got around to making the sesame pancakes.
My adventure started by immediately deviating from the recipe. I have regular flour on hand, but I didn't have unbleached flour, and I didn't feel like buying it special just for this recipe. Sorry, Gwyneth. Namaste. I measured out my regular bleached flour:
and felt a little bad for not at least trying to stick to the recipe. I decided to try to get myself into a more Gwyneth mindset, and switched my Fitbit band to a red one, in honor of Gwyneth's red Kabbalah string bracelet, after which I immediately felt more centered and able to prepare Gwyneth's sesame pancakes.
I also tried saying "Namaste" a lot while I was working. Now I'm not sure I can stop.
I measured out the rice milk, which looked like white water:
Curious, I tried a little after I mixed up the batter. It doesn't taste like milk, but it doesn't taste terrible. It was kind of like sweetened water.
Anyway, I mixed up the flour, rice milk, sesame oil, and salt, and ended up with a pale, thin batter:
I bet Gwyneth's is browner. Because of the unbleached flour.
Shut up. Namaste.
Batter ready, I tried the first one, and discovered that turning the pancake was a bit of a struggle:
It seemed to be done, but it was a disappointing, torn lump of pasty dough:
Despite the fact that there are starving children in foreign lands, I threw it away without tasting it. Namaste.
The recipe said that the first one would be kind of a disaster pancake, so I tried again, but the second came out even worse. When I attempted to flip it, it curled in on itself into something I can only describe as the "pancake fetal position":
That one was also swiftly dispatched into the trash. Namaste.
I looked at the recipe again, and decided that maybe I was making them too thick. I halved the amount of batter that I was putting into the skillet at a time, and things seemed better:
Not perfect, but better. Could this be the bad first pancake that the recipe mentioned? I cast my eyes heavenward, murmured a quiet "Namaste", and tried again.
It looks like a pancake! Hallelujah! Namaste! In only a few more minutes, I had a stack of tiny, thin pancakes, and I promptly poured a healthy dollop of syrup over it.
The syrup pooled down the sides.
The sesame pancakes did not absorb any syrup. Even after sitting in that pool for a few minutes, the plate appeared unchanged. I was still hungry, though, and I'd already come this far, so I decided to try the sesame pancakes.
They are not delicious.
They were rubbery, and they tasted like glue with a hint of sesame oil, despite the presence of butter and syrup. The author of that book raved about how good they were, but I realized as I ate my fourth one that the author of that book had also been deprived of most kinds of food for over a week when she ate them. She'd probably have thought a saltine cracker was good at that point.
I ate enough of the sesame pancakes to not be hungry any more, and then threw the rest away.