Today marks the start of Lent. Lent is the forty day period preceding Easter where you prepare yourself for the whole Jesus-rising-from-the-dead miracle thing. Generally this is done by giving something up. This year, rather involuntarily, I am giving up the use of my right foot. You see, back in December, right before Christmas, I was taking Dexter out (at 4:30 am no less) for a morning walk. He may look sweet and peaceful here, but when he wants to go out, he is a noisy little snot.
Anyway, when I stepped off the last stair, it was bad. Very, very bad. I "sprained" it and I spent all kinds of time on crutches and in an air cast. But two days ago? I learned the truth. My ligament is torn and surgery may be the only option. Until surgery, I am supposed to wear the air cast. I have a surgical consult on March 10th, so maybe I'll have better news then, but for now, it looks as though for at least the next 40 days my right ankle will be pretty darn useless to me.
And because I'm such a glutton for punishment (or perhaps because it's impossible for two lapsed Catholics to raise a non-Catholic without imparting some shreds of guilt, martyrdom and self-sacrifice - no matter how hard they might try not to), I'm also giving up desserts.
But last night was Mardi Gras, so I walked on my poor injured ankle wearing pretty shoes, and I ate a nice gluttonous pancake dinner and I bought myself a delicious square of gingerbread from my favorite corner bakery.
The gingerbread and the pretty shoes are definitely out until at least Easter, but the pancakes, they just might carry me through.
LEMON RICOTTA PANCAKES
taken rather shamelessly from SmittenKitchen. Incidently, I hope the recipe works, because I reduced mine slightly to take into account how much ricotta I had left (so not 1 1/3 C) and my mental math was positively embarrassing. Who knows how much I added of what, but they turned out delicious.
4 large eggs separated
1 1/3 C ricotta
1 1/2 T sugar
1 1/2 T lemon zest
1/2 C flour
melted butter for brushing the skillet.
Separate the eggs. For those of you who are novices at egg separation, I you can buy a ridiculous, space eating contraption to help you. Or you can gently crack the egg on the side of a bowl. Discard half of the egg shell and pour the egg from the other half of the shell into your hand. Very carefully pass the egg back and forth between your hands, allowing the white to slip through your fingers and the yolk to stay in your hand. Then deposit the yolk in a different bowl than the one you let the white slip into. You may sometimes see people passing the egg back and forth between the egg shells to do this. I don't really like to do it that way for two reasons. First, if you're not a world class egg cracker, you may have tiny bits of shell that will come loose and drop into your bowl as you pass it back and forth. Second of all, you can puncture the yolk on a sharp edge of shell therefore completely negating any hard work you've done.
Now that the eggs are separated. Mix the ricotta, flour, sugar and lemon peel in with the yolks. Whip the whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks. You can do this with a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Pour a quarter of the whites in with the ricotta mixture and mix it in. Fold in the rest of the egg whites in stages. If you don't know how to fold in egg whites, check out this video. In the very beginning he shows how to separate eggs, and around 1:15 he gets to egg white folding in. Very helpful if you're not used to doing it.
Heat a skillet or griddle to medium and paint with the melted butter. The pan is warm enough when a drop of water splashed in sort of dances around. Pour in the batter (I made mine smaller for easier flipping) about a 1/4 C at a time and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. You can keep them warm in the oven when you're done. Yum.