"Lumps are good."
That is the sign that hangs over the HUGE mixer in the IHOP prep kitchen, when I worked there. The sign was laminated, so you know this is important.
I think with cooking, one of the first things I learned (and continue to learn) is when to mix and when not to. Lots of dishes turn out best when you don't mix and don't fuss with it. Let's see....there are meatballs, hamburgers, and all things with ground meat. Over-mixing makes them them tough. Anything that you are browning or sautéing in the skillet. Whenever I cook with people, there is this tendency to always be mixing whatever is in a skillet. Scot, for one. As a result, whenever he comes into the kitchen, he will start mixing whatever is on stove. Then I slap him and send him on out. People love to stir things. Maybe because it makes you feel like you are working harder? Anyways, if you want your food to crisp up, it has to be touching the hot surface long enough to crisp up! If you keep moving it around, it won't happen. Obviously, this is a sensitive subject, so let me move on. Some other things you want to mix minimally include: pie dough or any pastry dough, anything with whipped egg whites, anythingwith delicate fruits and veggies, and pancake batter! I mean, there are a lot more but I am sick of thinking. Bottom line, lumps are good.
This is my favorite pancake recipe. It is from the Joy of Cooking cook book. I am not sure what it is about this recipe, but I have tried quite a few different ones and this one is kind of perfect. The pancakes are soft, light, fluffy, just sweet enough. Scot made them this morning (I made corned beef hash and eggs), and he is good! I told him I am slowly trying to get him to master breakfast, because I am sleepy in the morning. Plus, don't all dads make breakfast? Seems like it to me. If not, they should.
from Joy of Cooking
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. milk
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. In another bowl, combine butter, eggs, and vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients quickly into the dry ingredients. Don’t overmix. Lumps are good.
To cook, spoon/ladle/pour the batter in 1/4 cup portions, just a few inches above the pan, being sure to space the batter well apart to make room for spreading. When bubbles have appeared on the surfaces and are beginning to break, lift the edges of the cake with a spatula to see if the undersides have browned. If they have, slide the spatula under the pancake and turn it. Turn the cakes only once and cook only until the second side is done. The second side takes only half as long to cook as the first and will not brown as easily.
(Servings: 16 4-in pancakes, Prep time: 15 min., Cook time: 25 min., Difficulty: Easy)