Monday, October 18, 2010

Our Journey in a Cake

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 Anguillan Johnnycakes!

 Even the local kitties know what's good for breakfast

 Marcia.  Chef extraordinaire!

Welcome to the Island!  Johnnycakes, salt cod, plantains and local eggs.
 The view was almost as good as the food.

We traveled far away from home.  I came from New England.  Ray journeyed from Santa Fe.  We'd not seen each other for months and had the great fortune of staging a reunion in the most glorious of tropical locations accompanied by family and friends.

We ate and laughed and sunned.

And then we ate some more.

And what I found, as I often do when half way around the world from home, that I can always find a culinary lodestone that can connect a glorious, tiny tropical island in the caribbean to my home in the cold, green mountains of New England.

Johnnycakes, or journey cakes, are an ancient North American staple.  I like to think of them as reality's equivalent of the Ring Trilogy's Elven flatbread Lembas.  It's a delicious leavened treat that travels beautifully on a long slog.  It's rare to find a johnnycake on a menu these days, the rare exception is in the caribbean and New England.
local spiny lobster and crawfish!


I thank Marcia, an Anguillan chef and culinary magician, for bringing journeycakes back to my table in the north country.

Vermont Made Johnnycakes

North Country Johnnycakes

INGREDIENTS


2 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons maple sugar
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons baking powder
3 tablespoons cold butter cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups water

Extra cornmeal for forming the cakes.


PROCEDURE

In a food processor, pulse together dry ingredients until just combined.  

Add cold bits of butter, pulsing until the butter is incorporated and starts to look like cornmeal.

With the processor running, slowly add the water until the dough comes together and is uniformly processed.

The dough will be sticky, sprinkle a layer of cornmeal on a plate.  Scoop cornmeal into small golfball sized blobs.  Cover the blog with a small amount of cornmeal and roll into a uniform ball in your hand.  Flatten the dough.

Fry in a few inches of hot oil (325º) until the cake starts to bubble and the bottom side browns, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Flip the johnnycake carefully and cook for about a minute more until brown on both sides.

Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.  
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