By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
I love cooking shows. Truly, they are one of my guilty pleasures. But ironically, I'm not actually great at cooking. My friends enjoy reminding me of the time I managed to ignite a tray of Christmas cookies in 2012. They were the Pillsbury roll-out kind. All I had to do was use a cookie-cutter, slap them onto a baking tray, shove them in the oven, and watch to make sure they didn't burn.
Apparently, I wasn't watching carefully enough; about six of the tiny sugar cookie Christmas trees went up in flames.
But like many, during the pandemic, I have taken it upon myself to cook and bake a little bit more. I'm not the only one. Over the last few weeks, the Dover Town Library (DTL) has been creating several easy-to-follow cooking tutorials for patrons to learn some new twists on some classic recipes. On October 3, the DTL aired "Stealthy Healthy Cooking: Pink Pancakes."
I tuned in to this virtual event, as I have for every library event I have covered since March. I will admit, there is something somewhat nice about switching from Zoom to YouTube, where I can rewatch the video again and again. As someone who needs to reread directions, again and again, I found this quite helpful. It's also somewhat amazing that the library is now able to host these cooking classes, something I don't picture them ever doing in a non-COVID situation. After all, how many libraries have a functional kitchen large enough to host them?
The tutorial begins with a list of ingredients needed to make these healthy pancakes. The list includes some normal ingredients like pancake mix, cinnamon, and vegetable oil. Added to it are some interesting ingredients, including grated apple, ricotta cheese, and beet puree. I'm not going to lie, whenever I see beets mentioned in a non-savory recipe, I flinch a little. On a day I was feeling a bit adventurous, I once tried to make red velvet brownies, using a recipe that called for a cup of beets. Except I misread it and put in one pound of beets. Have you ever tasted dirt? Well, I'm going to guess it tasted like my take on red velvet brownies.
"Pink Pancakes" begins as Chef Niki introduces herself before jumping right into the tutorial, with all the necessary ingredients laid out. Ironically, she starts by making the beet puree, using canned beets and water, and adding in the ricotta cheese, vanilla, and cinnamon. The grated apple is added and mixed in with a spoon. The batter is a pink color I associate with strawberry smoothies.
Soon, it's time to cook the pancakes. Their vibrant color pops against the gray pan. After one minute, Chef Nikki flips the pancake, and after only a couple minutes it's ready to eat. She takes a bite and explains to the audience how it differs from a standard pancake. "It tastes very similar to a regular pancake, but it's much sweeter; it has like a creamy taste to it, probably from the ricotta cheese, and it's got a nice sweet taste. Now, when you think of beets, you don't normally think of sweet, but I couldn't tell this was beets," explained Chef Niki.
Though I'm hesitant to admit it, the pancakes looked pretty good and I felt an urge to try to make them. As of yet, my irrational fear of beet puree has confined me to my regular recipe.
Should I ever work up the courage to attempt these lovely pink pancakes, though, I know where to find the recipe.
The cooking tutorial in this article can be found here.