Pico de Gallo is a quick snack made best with fresh ingredients. Teri Robl whipped up this batch on April 5, 2020, in her Homer, Alaska kitchen. (Photo by Teri Robl)

Pico de Gallo is a quick snack made best with fresh ingredients. Teri Robl whipped up this batch on April 5, 2020, in her Homer, Alaska kitchen. (Photo by Teri Robl)

Kachemak Cuisine: Sourdough pancakes are an Alaska classic

What makes you forget about this insanity right now?

It’s the little things helping me get through this crazy, weird and scary time. How about you? What makes you forget about this insanity right now? I’m going to share a few things that bring me joy.

• Watching grow the little herb garden my Mom sent me right as all this broke out.

• Seeing my begonia and fuchsia plants coming back to life after their long winter’s nap in the root cellar. Each afternoon when the Other Fisherman comes home from work he pauses to take in their progress. I believe he enjoys seeing them leaf out and return to life as much as I do.

• A little brown fuzzy caterpillar on the deck railing.

• Seeing pictures of the cutest grandbabies sent daily to Papa and Nani.

• Hearing returning songbirds.

• My three organized spice drawers. I can actually find what I’m looking for now.

• Riding my bike down the road.

• A book I ordered from the Homer Bookstore wrapped in recycled paper, printed with a map of Homer awaiting my pick up on a table on the front porch of the bookstore.

• Eating the delicious chicken bacon ranch pizza I nailed making.

• Listening to Dave Webster share a saxophone concert on Facebook.

• Peanut M&Ms.

• The Other Fisherman coming home with a 10-pound bag of flour.

• A new apron sent to me from my son.

• Singing along to Hobo Jim performing a concert on Facebook on a dreary Sunday evening.

I always have sourdough starter bubbling on the counter. I know a lot of you have been making bread and now have your own starter. I hope you continue to keep it alive. Besides bread, you can make many other delicious goodies with it. We make sourdough waffles every Sunday and serve them with melted butter, real maple syrup from Wisconsin, good bacon and farm fresh eggs.

The recipe can be found in cookbook entitled “Alaska Sourdough,” by Ruth Allman, who was raised by Judge and Mrs. Wickersham, Alaska pioneers of the 1900s. The book was published in 1976 and cost $4.95. It’s handwritten and illustrated, I presume, by Ruth. The book is chock-full of sourdough recipes and accompanying recipes, such as Sitka Rose honey and birch syrup. It’s full of history and fun facts about sourdough, Alaska roses and rose hips.

Basic Recipe for Sourdough Waffles or Pancakes

Makes 10 waffle squares from a waffle maker that makes 1 sheet of four waffles at a time.

3-4 servings depending on your waffle eater’s appetites.

Ingredients

2 cups sourdough starter

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons cooking oil, such a canola

1 egg

½ teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon (scant) baking soda

Directions

Add to a medium-size mixing bowl the sourdough, sugar, egg, oil and salt. Mix well.

Dilute baking soda in warm water in a jigger shot glass, stirring with the pinky of your little finger. Fold soda gently into batter. Do not beat. Stir with easy rhythmic motion turning the spoon. Notice the deep, hollow tone as batter thickens and doubles in volume with bubbles.

Dip batter immediately onto hot waffle iron.

Serve immediately while waffles are still crisp and hot.

Here’s another tasty recipe using the basic recipe for sourdough waffles and pancakes; this one is savory.

Sourdough Cheese Hotcakes as appetizers

Use basic sourdough recipe. Before adding in the baking soda and water, stir in:

½ cup tangy, grated cheese

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Dash of Tabasco or hot sauce of your choice

Fold in 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water in shot glass just before baking.

Make silver dollar size sourdough pancakes.

This is a wonderful accompaniment served with fish and lemon butter, spread with dip or topped with a cooked shrimp and dollop of cocktail sauce. Try a little slice of deli roast beef folded to fit and topped with horseradish sauce.

Now, more than ever, I am enjoying having more time to cook dinner, with lots of successes in the kitchen lately. I wish I could whip up a vaccine for the corona virus as easily …

When we first came to Homer, we lived in a fourplex and met the most wonderful people. One of my new neighbors from California showed me how she made her version of a fresh salsa or Pico de Gallo. I won’t ever forget the incredible taste of tomatoes and peppers in her salsa.

One weekend afternoon the stars were all aligned in the vegetable department at our hunkered down house for me to make an impromptu fresh and bright tasting pico de gallo. I had tomatoes ripe on the windowsill and a stash of tortilla chips. I ate most of the pico myself standing at the kitchen island.

Fresh Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

2-3 ripe tomatoes, diced

½ red or yellow pepper, diced

½ green pepper, diced

¼ red onion, diced fine

Fresh jalapeno pepper — to your taste

Juice of half a lime

1 tablespoon white vinegar (more to taste)

Salt — takes more than you think, so to your taste

A few grinds of black pepper

Cilantro

A little glug of olive oil

Directions

Mix and taste and adjust seasonings to your palate. Enjoy!

I still have a good stash of berries in the freezer. Any recipe with berries is a winner in my book, for they taste good and are good for you.

Raspberry and Blueberry Cake Bars

If you use frozen berries, thaw and dry them as best you can.

Ingredients

2 teaspoons butter, plus 4 tablespoons, at room temperature, divided

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ canola oil

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup milk

1 cup fresh raspberries or blackberries

1 cup fresh blueberries

¼ cup finely chopped almonds

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with 2 teaspoons butter.

2. Beat the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, granulated sugar and oil in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth.

3. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well until halfway combined. Add milk and mix just until combined. Do not over mix.

4. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the raspberries and blueberries over the top and lightly press them into the batter. Sprinkle with almonds and turbinado sugar.

5. Bake until puffed and golden and a toothpick comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

6. Let cool slightly and cut into 9 squares.

Until next time, stay healthy by staying safe and take care of yourself and each other. I love you.

Reach Teri Robl at easthood.queen@gmail.com.

Ruth Almann’s sourdough pancakes are a classic Alaska breakfast, as seen here in a batch Teri Robl made on April 19, 2020, in her Homer, Alaska, kitchen. (Photo by Teri Robl)

Ruth Almann’s sourdough pancakes are a classic Alaska breakfast, as seen here in a batch Teri Robl made on April 19, 2020, in her Homer, Alaska, kitchen. (Photo by Teri Robl)

Eat dessert first with these Raspberry and Blueberry Cake Bars Teri Robl made on April 21, 2020, in her Homer, Alaska kitchen. (Photo by Teri Robl)

Eat dessert first with these Raspberry and Blueberry Cake Bars Teri Robl made on April 21, 2020, in her Homer, Alaska kitchen. (Photo by Teri Robl)

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