Valentine's Day Treat: Red Velvet Pancakes

I whipped these lovelies up for Valentine's Day. Two hours of mixing and flipping (along with a terrible cold) made the preparation a bear, but it was worth it for the smile on my love's face. Plus, it was fun to wear my cute, vintage apron and pumps. Not interested in cooking? Grab a stack in Eden Prairie without the fuss.

Elizabeth’s Pick: Red Velvet Pancakes - Dara & Co. - February 2011 - Minnesota

I know. How’s that for a headline? Better than red velvet cupcakes if you ask me. These beauties are courtesy of The Herb Box, the Scottsdale-based chain that’s taken over David Fhima’s Zahtar at Eden Prairie Lifetime Fitness. Not only is the health-conscious restaurant open to the public, but the hotcakes are yours for the making—just in time for Valentine’s Day. (P.S. Other deceivingly indulgent items on The Herb Box’s menu include brown sugar pork ciabatta, market street short rib tacos, and smoked trout beignets.)

By Chef Becky Windels

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
1 c. organic white sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cage free large eggs, lightly beaten
3 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. crème fraiche
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbsp. all natural red food coloring
3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 c. rice bran oil

Directions: In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add wet and dry together and whisk just until combined. Heat a frying pan or griddle over medium high heat. When hot, add butter or oil to grease, followed by a small scoop of the batter. Wait for the pancakes to bubble (2-3 minutes), flip and cook for a minute or two more. Garnish with mascarpone spread and Grand Marnier syrup.
Yield: Approx. 18 mid-size pancakes

8 oz. softened mascarpone
4 oz. crème fraiche
1/4 c. organic white sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon zest

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together to combine.
Yield: Approx. 14 oz

2 c. organic sugar
2 c. water
1/2 c. organic orange concentrate
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 c. Grand Marnier
Slurry organic corn starch

Directions: Heat all ingredients to dissolve. Add cornstarch as needed to thicken.
Yield: One quart

[where: Sustainable Food, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, Minnesota]

Raji's Rocket - Superbowl XLV

Raji's Rocket
Originally uploaded by gergistheword
As the Packer season developed this year, talk of the Super Bowl began to cross our lips. Thinking of Super Bowls past, I recalled my time working at a sandwich shop when I was in high school and college. The Super Bowl meant one thing back then: I'd spend the majority of the day preparing 6ft hoagies.

While telling the story, I mentioned, "if the Packers make it to the Super Bowl, I'll make a 6ft sub."

It came to pass.

Where does one find 6ft loaves of bread in Minneapolis? Wuollet Bakery! With bread on hand and meat and cheese scored from Kramarczuk's, we built a colossal hoagie to celebrate the occasion, and we named it Raji's Rocket, after my favorite Packer this season. 3ft of it was Italian - cappicola, mortadella, and salami with provolone and mozzarella. The othr 3ft was a club - smoked ham, turkey, and bacon with Swiss and cheddar cheese. I even managed to sneak some of my favorite DragSmith Farms micro greens on it.

There was much rejoicing during and after the game, and commemorative Raji's Rocket souveniers, in the form of leftovers, were send home with rejoicing guests.