The Silence Spoke Volumes Or Why The Crickets Chirped - Swampy's Kitchen Blog at - 230427

Swampy's Kitchen

The Silence Spoke Volumes or Why The Crickets Chirped 
Apr. 4, 2011 10:48 am 
Updated: Apr. 12, 2011 5:43 am
“So who wants some more pancakes ?”

*Crickets chirped*

The silence spoke volumes but how did this happen and most of all, how did this happen to me ?

48 Hours Earlier – Friday morning

It was Friday morning and I was taking a quick break from pushing piles of paper around my desk in order to make it somewhat look like I was being busy & productive here at the paycheck factory. I was on the phone with my wife and we were trying to finalize the weekend plans. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered wanting to try to make a new kind of pancake that I was calling a “Smoothie on a Plate”. My wife thought it sounded like something fun to try so she suggested that I could give it try on Sunday morning. Going over the plans in my head helped kill off at least the next five minutes of my day and I started to mentally make a list of things I would need from the store. I was excited, this was going to be my “NEW & IMPROVED” signature dish since most people out there are still afraid to try the chili that bites back – my alligator chili.

24 Hours Earlier – Saturday morning

Shopping list in hand, I bought the last items I needed at the grocery store. I was psyched. I was ready. This dish was going to put me on the map. All I could do was think about how awesome it was going to be and how cool the pictures would look with the back slapping blog I was going to write. I almost wanted to go to bed early so I could wake up and start cooking.

Breakfast Time – Sunday morning

Now before I start in on the rest of my tale, I wanted to reflect back a little. As I have mentioned on other occasions, I have been known to overthink a thing or two. When we were recently, I couldn’t help but notice the banana pancakes and the macadamia nut pancakes that were on the breakfast buffet as well as the coconut syrup that sat next to the maple syrup. It got me thinking about different kinds of pancakes beyond the normal Bisquick pancakes I make by the flipperful every few weeks. When we got back from , I made banana pancakes and blueberry pancakes and banana blueberry pancakes and they were good but they weren’t that “signature” pancake I was looking to create. I started to think some more and the more I thought, the more the cobwebs in the vast recesses of my brain began to smolder. I could almost see my vision through the clouds of mental cobweb smoke and I just had to act on it. I was going to create and make my “Smoothie on a Plate Pancake”.

If you read one of my earlier blogs, you probably skimmed over the section where I talked about this particular pancake because it was buried somewhere as an afterthought and to be honest, I don’t really read my blogs either so it would just as easy for me to miss it too. That being said, I had envisioned the “Smoothie on a Plate” as being a Banana & Coconut Pancake with Strawberries inside topped off with a Pineapple Syrup and Whipped Cream (Home Run ! Overtime Goal ! Winner !) and that is what I made.

I have to admit that I cheated right off the bat by grabbing a box of Bisquick rather than making the making the pancake batter from scratch. I did that more for the sake of convenience than laziness though I will admit, I don’t really have a good pancake recipe from scratch. I normally would have used 2 cups of Bisquick but I figure that since I was going to have some extra liquid in the form of some crushed bananas, I should use 2 ½ cups instead. (Mistake # 1 – too much bisquick – made the pancakes taste doughy). I threw in 2 eggs and 8 ounces of light coconut milk (Mistake # 2 – too thin – should have grabbed REGULAR coconut milk) and began stirring, mixing and beating with an old fashioned egg beater. I then mixed in a dozen chopped strawberries (Mistake # 3 – you will see why)in hopes that it would come out looking like blueberry pancakes. Alas, the extra half cup of Bisquick really thickened up the batter and probably was not really needed. In an attempt to thin the batter a little, I over poured the remaining 4 ounces of lite coconut milk into the batter and finished stirring. The batter was now a little too thin but I really didn’t want to add more Bisquick without adding another egg and I thought that adding another egg would just make it thin again. So I left it as is and focused my attention quickly back onto the pineapple syrup I was trying to make.

I forgot to mention that I had had a vision of pineapple syrup being drizzled over a stack of these pancakes when I first started thinking about them. Only in northwestern New Jersey, it isn’t exactly as easy finding pineapple syrup as it is in Kihei at Tutu’s Pantry ( and I couldn’t find any of the pineapple topping like I associate with a Dairy Queen Banana Split in the ice cream sundae section of the store so I grabbed a jar of pineapple preserves in the jelly & jam section and decided to improvise from there. I put the whole 8oz jar of preserves into a sauce pan with a half cup of maple syrup, some lemon juice, sea salt and a splash of water. I set it to a medium low heat and stirred it occasionally as it cooked down to what turned out to be an awesome syrup that could be used as a glaze on pork or ham too.

Now it was finally time to make the pancakes. With great fanfare in the kitchen, I spooned the first pancakes into my ancient non-stick electric griddle and rather than watch them hold their shape and begin to puff, they continued to run seep beyond their desired borders and didn’t really start to fluff. I had to use my spatula to keep the first batch from running into each other while I studiously checked to make sure they were browning on the bottom (without sticking) and bubbling in the center. They were doing bother but again without the puffiness or cake like appearance I am used to from my regular pancakes. (I was blaming the coconut milk). Eventually I flipped the pancakes and they looked just about perfect in the pan. A nice golden color and they started to rise slightly in the middle. You could even hear strawberries starting to sizzle. This was a sound I didn’t remember hearing when I made blueberry pancakes but I ignored it. I got the 5 pancakes out of the pan and immediately spooned in 5 more so I could serve 2 to everyone to start. This pan didn’t run as much and I let them bubble a touch longer in hopes that I was making them just a little bit better than the first batch. I flipped the pancakes in the pan and got the now cooling pineapple syrup ready for it’s debut.

The second batch of pancakes came out of the pan and onto the plates and I was feeling good. I grabbed the sauce pan of slightly warm pineapple maple syrup and drizzled spoonfuls on top so that they ran down the sides. Finally I gave them each a shot of whipped cream on top. All that was missing was the parasol you find in so many tropical drinks. Everything looked great.

Looks, however, can be deceiving. The pancakes were then and a bit mushy in the center. The strawberries were mushy and seemed to lack flavor. The moisture from the strawberry pieces had soaked into the pancakes and helped contribute to the mushiness of the pancakes. The banana and the coconut milk were there but that’s all they were. They didn’t announce themselves in any way shape or form. The pineapple maple syrup rocked but as I mentioned before, we were already talking about what else we could use it for before I was even done making the rest of the batch of pancakes. I figured I just needed to cook the pancakes a little bit longer in the pan and that the kids would still eat them all up so I asked…

“So who wants some more pancakes ?”

*Crickets chirped*

I turned to daughter # 1 but she had already cleared her plate from the table. Daughter # 2 was still inexplicably working on hers and my son, the bottomless pit, said “No thanks Dad. I’m full” as he threw away his paper plate & napkin. Even my biggest fan, my lovely & adoring wife, just looked at me. I was in shock. How did I screw it up so bad ?

In looking back at it all, I realized that I made a lot of mistakes. I overcompensated with the Bisquick thus causing the doughy, biscuit like taste to the pancakes. I should have used regular coconut milk instead of lite coconut milk in order to give it a little more flavor & heft . I should have cooked the bananas in brown sugar & butter to sweeten & condense the banana flavor a little. I also should not have put wet cut strawberries into the batter. I would have been better off macerating the strawberries in some sugar and or fruit juice or Grand Marnier or Cointreau to give them a little more flavor and then poured them over the pancakes with the pineapple maple syrup. And the pineapple maple syrup is the one thing that I will not change a thing the next time I try to make these again.

Oh and there will be a next time. I refuse to be “one and done” with this idea. I have failed in the kitchen before so this feeling isn’t something new. It’s just a feeling that I don’t like to have every often. So come back next time, when we talk about frying up those crickets that were chirping earlier in the blog……or not.
Ingredients for Smoothie on a Plate
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Ingredients for Pineapple Maple Syrup
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The Smoothie on a Plate Pancake
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In the pan
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after the flip
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The Smoothie on a Plate Pancake - Top View
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Apr. 4, 2011 10:57 am
We all have our days! The concept is good-I bet next time it will be great. I like AR's "Fluffy Pancakes" recipe for a generic and easy pancake recipe.
Apr. 4, 2011 11:00 am
LMAO, it happens to the best of us. Crickets chriped, great visual. You have to hand it to the polite upbringing to just say they are full.
Apr. 4, 2011 11:01 am
Thanks Elle - I will go find that recipe for my base next time
Apr. 4, 2011 11:02 am
Hey redneck gramma - my son was back 15 minutes later asking for a banana and a cookie
Apr. 4, 2011 11:04 am
They look good! Sorry they were a bummer, I was wanting to get the recipe when I saw you mention it in an earlier blog! When you prefect it, and I am sure you will....I expect it to be posted immediately!
Apr. 4, 2011 11:09 am
Don't worry Brooke129 - I will prevail - these pancakes will be mine !!!
Apr. 4, 2011 11:11 am
I was hearing music from the old Perry Mason series in the background as I began the journey in your blog as you were figuring it all out in the office. The pancake concept sounds great and the syrup sounds wonderful. "If at first you don't succeed"... well, you know the rest!
Apr. 4, 2011 11:14 am
Hey chris k - we will try again - maybe with a video next time so you can all share in my success or more likely failure
Apr. 4, 2011 11:55 am
Well, they certainly look pretty enough. I love the idea of strawberry and banana pancakes. I'm thinking banana pancakes with strawberry topping. And well pineapple? Well that just sounds like you should add whipped cream and nuts and call it dessert. Maybe crepes next time for you?
Apr. 4, 2011 11:57 am
Good afternoon ~TxCin~ILove2Ck - it is almost a dessert already - at least it would be on CHOPPED. I was really trying to take my daughter's smoothie from our last vacation and turn it into breakfast - I'll keep trying - thanks for stopping in
Apr. 4, 2011 12:05 pm
This might be a good topping though it is very rich and doen't really remind me of a smoothy but it might make up for your oops!
Apr. 4, 2011 12:20 pm
That looks good Skuba - I may have to try that one anyway - thanks
Apr. 4, 2011 1:07 pm
That's always a bummer, but it makes for a funny just have to laugh it off and try try again. :)
Apr. 4, 2011 1:24 pm
And that I will do TexasTRace just to wipe the *smirk* off my wife's face
Apr. 4, 2011 1:39 pm
i LOVE LOVE LOVE that you wrote an entire blog entry based upon a kitchen mistake...we've all been there, but most don't have the guts to go public!
Apr. 4, 2011 1:51 pm
Hi GAHSMOMX3 - thanks - my wife & kids would have been all over me if I didn't fess up to my mistake. I really thought it was going to be great but I got CHOPPED. Make sure you come back when I finally get it right.
Apr. 4, 2011 2:19 pm
Doug, if it cheers you up, those pictures make my stomach growl. I would have had a second helping. I love pancakes. :o)
Apr. 4, 2011 2:28 pm
I was right there with you until we got to the strawberries. I was using those thin pancakes like crepes and rolling the strawberries inside. It was a great idea and with a bit of tweaking, I'm sure you will prevail.
Apr. 4, 2011 3:09 pm
In our house it's pancakes and muffins that I try to make host to all possible ingredients I can think of....and in our house it is my son who is "full" and my daughter who needs to rush off somewhere when my experiments go "off course". I enjoyed your story...I feel inspired!
Apr. 4, 2011 3:22 pm
Hi Melanie - Thanks - I have plenty of pancakes leftover. Whipped cream ?
Apr. 4, 2011 3:23 pm
Hi BigShotsMom - I love that idea and so did my kids when I read it to them just now.
Apr. 4, 2011 3:24 pm
Hi ellie - thanks & let me know what I inspired you do ? We want pictures & samples.
Apr. 4, 2011 4:25 pm
Hi Doug...Really enjoyed your blog, great reading and I know you will prevail. Have you ever tried this pancake recipe? I stopped buying bisquick when I found this one. Makes perfect pancakes everytime for me. Looking forward to your triumphant pancake blog! Take care!
Apr. 4, 2011 6:05 pm least you nailed the presentation. But I know you'll prevail and next time they'll be singing your praises and you'll be struttin your stuff and sayin "How do ya like me NOW!" It's just a bit quiet (crickets chirping) on the homefront right now.
Apr. 4, 2011 6:15 pm
Thanks Noemi - I appreciate the heads up on the pancake recipe. Make sure you check back to see how I did.
Apr. 4, 2011 6:53 pm
Thanks luv2cook - too bad we can't eat just with our eyes....I guess I got cocky after the kickbutt turkey burgers I did the night before
Apr. 4, 2011 7:36 pm
Oh Doug, I'm still laughing. That you "manned-up" is even funnier! Wouldn't it be halarious if everyone wrote a blub about their food blunders. We've all got one. I know I do. As always, great (and funny) blog. Pancakes Forever!!!
Apr. 4, 2011 7:36 pm
Leah Marie 
Apr. 4, 2011 8:06 pm
I've sometimes had luck when adding fruit to pancake batter when I freeze the fruit first and sprinkle it with a little sugar and sometimes spice. It slows down the whole mush factor significantly. Good luck on the next try.
Apr. 4, 2011 9:02 pm
Great blog Doug, you had me laughing the whole time. I think we have all had duds in the kitchen, but you had a great way of telling yours!
Apr. 5, 2011 5:08 am
Good morning Candice - it was a blog about a flub so I think BLUB may actually fit. Glad I could make you smile. I will be back after my next attempt.
Apr. 5, 2011 5:15 am
Thanks for the tip Leah Marie - I will give that a try.
Apr. 5, 2011 5:18 am
Hi Chicken - thanks and I have almost as much fun making fun of myself as my kids do
Apr. 5, 2011 7:16 am
Love it. You know Doug....with few exceptions, the "stinker" stories are da best. Ny fav bomb was when I got my first gas grill about 30 years ago and I cooked marinated pork chops for company. When the first guest tried to cut the chop it shot across the room like a frikkin' hockey puck. Stunned silence followed by howling laughter. I am cracking up just remembering the scene. I believe we moved on to dessert immediately :)
Apr. 5, 2011 7:24 am
My dad was a dairy man and I have the best buttermilk pancake recipe from the Dairy Association. 2 cups sifted flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 2 eggs, unbeaten, 2 cups lowfat buttermilk, 1/4 cup melted butter. Sift dry ingredients together. Add remaining ingredients and stir lightly to just moisten the dry ingredients. Mixture will be thick and lumpy. Drop by spoonfuls onto a lightly greased griddle, spreading batter with spoon. Turn cakes as soon as lightly browned and cook underside until browned. Now the good part. I add flaked coconut to the batter. Cook as directed and top with toasted & chopped macadamia nuts. Coconut syrup on top and it's all good. I am going to try your pineapple syrup next time though. ONO!
Apr. 5, 2011 8:37 am
I ruin almost every soup I attempt to make out of the blue so I feel your pain. :) My husband made a batch of funky buttermilk/yeast waffles which sounds like they should be good weren't. They are still sitting in the freezer!
Apr. 5, 2011 10:11 am
LOL! Doug, your timing is impeccable! I rushed through a cupcake recipe Sunday afternoon/evening because I was making 95 to give to students on Monday. Well, the short of it is I completely left out the last ingredient on the list (in my defense, it appeared in the second column above the frosting recipe, so just assumed it was part of that). Anyhow, I ended up with a kicka$$ sour cream frosting on top of some seriously dry cupcakes (the forgotten ingredient was a cup of boiling water.) At least you were inventing a new recipe, I managed to mess up an existing one with clear instructions:) A male student asked for the frosting recipe and promised to make his mom's chocolate cupcakes with my icing!
Apr. 6, 2011 4:56 am
Aloha Mauigirl - great story and great recipe - I will keep that one stored away for future use. Thanks
Apr. 6, 2011 4:58 am
Hi Jenwee99 - I have a feeling that my wife snuck my pancakes into the trash last night since today is garbage day - then the kids will tell me they ate them all. So what kind of soup are you making today ? Have a great day
Apr. 6, 2011 5:01 am
Good morning Mangel -long recipe lists are like long grocery lists for me - I know I am going to forget something but I won't know what it was until I need it. That icing sounded good.
Apr. 6, 2011 6:11 am
Good morning, Doug! I'm sorry that the pancakes didn't turn out as you dreamed they would. But, you're going back at 'em, and I'm sure that they will be great the next time! :) I was wondering, after reading that the flavors didn't stand out, how it would taste if you included one of the flavors into the whipped cream...such as coconut whipped cream? Not to sub for flavor in the pancakes, but just to add a bonus punch of flavor overall? I thought, at first, about actual coconut in the pancakes, but there might be a texture problem with that. I'm not sure, though. I think that your idea for the bananas will work great. Or, add rum to the whipped cream, and no one will care how they come out...! ;) Good luck with the next round of, Man against Smoothie's on a Plate!
Apr. 6, 2011 6:29 am
Thanks & good morning Plumfairy1 - I like that idea of flavoring the whipped cream - that could add a nice touch. Of course just getting everyone drunk first might work better though I think my 5 year old son might make for a pretty messy drunk. Have a great day
Apr. 6, 2011 12:46 pm
Apr. 6, 2011 12:55 pm
Apr. 6, 2011 7:33 pm
mimi, not a big batch but I would say it will serve 4 to 6. The batter looks gloppy and thick, but that is why they are so tender.
Apr. 7, 2011 5:12 am
Hi mimi and thanks - if I nail them, I will make sure that EVERYONE gets the recipe
Apr. 7, 2011 6:03 am
LOL! It is a trying thing when the vision recipe in your head only produces "Crickets chirping" on a plate. BTDT!
Apr. 7, 2011 6:11 am
Thanks Cat Hill - I'm going to crush those crickets
Apr. 9, 2011 12:31 am
I always thought the important step in pancakes 101 or even an advanced course is to throw the first one(s) away. If you want to impress anyone, that is. First ones are rarely pretty.
Apr. 9, 2011 8:28 am
Hi Judy Lew - I appy the "Toss the first batch" to waffles since my waffle iron sticks. As for pancakes, my son and 2nd daughter usually fight for the first pancake. Thanks for stopping in.
Apr. 9, 2011 10:54 am
Kudos to you for your bold approach to the kitchen/laboratory...and to your family for being such polite guinea pigs. Hubs and I once went to a BBQ at a co-worker's home. It was time to throw the steaks on the grill, and our friend's wife, just arriving home from work, inspected the meat and chewed into him for defrosting soup bones for the BBQ! The side dishes were delicious, and then the entire affair was cut short by fallout from the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. What a day...we laughed about the BBQ'd soup bones for years! Anyhow, hang in there with the experiments. I know you'll break the code and be back with the new, improved Smoothie on a Plate!
Apr. 9, 2011 1:09 pm
Good afternoon PointerSister - I am loving the BBQ Soupbones - that is a classic - thanks for stopping by
Apr. 10, 2011 1:41 am
Wow, your story reminded me about the time I made a batch of muffins and following the recipe, added sliced fresh strawberries to the batter. What a mistake! The were tasteless and turned into a soggy mess. And I had so looked forward to eating those muffins after all my hard work! Well, we all have our sad stories of our kitchen mistakes, but your experiment s always make me smile. Keep at it, Doug!
Apr. 10, 2011 7:33 am
Thanks occoastalcook - I think it's almost more fun to write about the failures than it is to write about the good ones. If we all made everything perfectly every time, we would all be on the Food Network. Come back again.
Apr. 11, 2011 7:00 pm
This made me laugh out loud. Nice distraction from studying. Keep blogging.
Apr. 12, 2011 5:43 am
Thanks franalli - I'm working on another one right now
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Doug Matthews

Home Town
Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Living In
Mendham, New Jersey, USA

Member Since
Mar. 2000

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Southern, Healthy, Kids, Quick & Easy

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About Me
My mother decided early on that her sons would never have to rely on someone to feed them so we all learned to cook at an early age. I really started to branch out when I moved out west to Denver, SF & Dallas. Combine that with extended business travel to Louisiana & my growing love of spices and you get a real mix of flavors.
My favorite things to cook
Love to make cajun food with my favorites being crawfish pie, alligator stew & alligator chili - I go nuts on Super Bowl Sunday
My favorite family cooking traditions
We didn't have a lot of traditions per se but you could count on pancakes or waffles on sundays - dad making scrambled eggs twice a year on christmas morning & mother's day - veal parmagiana on christmas eve, Thanksgiving with Grandma Matthews and any menu of your choice on your birthday. We weren't a spicy family so I learned a lot of good strong basics in the kitchen from Mom that I have carried over into my cooking today.
My cooking triumphs
I love to experiment with variations of dishes I try around the country. My biggest success is here on allrecipes where I had 2 recipes published in the same cookbook - Southwestern Turkey Soup & Curried Carrot Soup. I think my corn muffins are a great starting point and my alligator chili has become a much requested Super Bowl favorite.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few times in the past where I tossed everything and took everyone to a restaurant instead. I'm not too proud to say my cooking is awful when it really is.
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