Sunday, February 12, 2012
Plate of Blini Bedtime Snack
As a byproduct both of being profoundly lazy and having a small apartment, Heather and I do a lot of our eating in bed, right before going to sleep. It's probably bad for us in some health type way but we've been doing it so long it seems totally normal. I'll knock something together at midnight and we'll polish it off while talking about how our jobs are annoying or our friends or ancestry.com or whoever that was just now on TV or how it's snowing to suck four dicks right now or that one dude needs to not take so many pills or cancer, boy cancer sure sucks, or what was the name of that one band, you know they had the girl in the outfit? Had that one song? Went "na na na na" making a little ukulele gesture because you can't do full air guitar in bed don't be ridiculous.
Tonight's snack was a plate of blini, little potato pancakes you can garnish with all manner of things. I made a batter in the food processor of raw potato, fresh corn cut from a cob, sour cream, egg, salt, pepper and a little flour. I added baking powder to lighten the batter, but just a dab because when the batter is really wet like this it can overdo the fizz and make the final pancake bitter. I cooked them on the cast-iron griddle, of which I don't get nearly enough use. Cast iron is a fantastic cooking surface, but I never think to pre-heat it while I'm preparing the food, otherwise I'd use it all the time. Tonight it occurred to me, so the griddle was ready when the batter was.
Normal pancakes get semi-solid prior to flipping, but the heat transfers much more gradually in blini batter, so you have to flip them while the tops are still quite liquid. If you wait until the top is covered with pinholes like a conventional pancake, you will have scorched the first side. Blini retain heat off the griddle, so it's important to let them rest before garnishing, both to avoid the garnish liquefying and so the interior can complete its cooking. I stack mine on a plate in a kind of overlapping spiral. I am sometimes tempted to try to make a tower of blini, but not enough to do it. Tower of blini. Ridiculous.
When I had a plate of the little guys I poked around in the fridge for garnish, having neglected to acquire a bunch of caviar. Caviar, man that's a whole thing we could talk about. Like most ostentatious trappings of wealth -- Hummers, speculative investment capitalism, collagen injections -- it is both disgusting and unsustainable. Caviar brought an ancient species of fish to the brink of extinction. For snacks.
Anyhow, we had some nicely sustainable Greek yogurt, so I blopped a spoon of that on a couple. We had some spinach dip from a plastic tub. I don't go for that, but Heather dips chips in it when I'm not around to make little potato-corn pancakes for her. What the hell, I put some of that on a couple. Heather hates Marmite, but I adore it for things like this, so I spread a molecule-thin layer of Marmite on a couple. I drizzled some olive oil on the whole plate and grated parmigiano over everything. The yogurt ones looked a little sad and monochromatic, so I sprinkled some paprika on them and they instantly became quite festive. I finally found a use for paprika.(v)