Father’s Day is fast-approaching and I am brimming with excitement. Just as I was daydreaming about all the fancy-schmancy things I was going to make for the whole family, I got a message from my sister that our dad does not want us to make a huge fuss.
Something simple will do. Trademark Dad, he just wants us to spend some time together. I know Shawn agrees.
And, so, a simple breakfast is in the works with a pot of freshly brewed Earl Grey tea, espresso (a must for the Flintstones) and the FLUFFIEST pancakes on the planet, drenched in a warm maple syrup infused with a dizzying orange aroma, because only the very best will do.
My dad is my hero. He places us before anything else, always standing by to see us through the hard times. He is a talented writer and artist. Most recently, he makes chokers, handbags, knife sheaths, moccasins featuring intricate Native American beadwork. His knowledge of the world is astounding. He’s an accomplished academic, well-respected in the scholarly community and yet maintains a hearty sense of humour and humble posture. We call him The Mayor because everyone loves him. He radiates a positive energy. Even strangers stop to say hello to him.
I love spending time with my father. He is a gentle soul who loves the serenity of Nature, but also the wild excitement of motorsports, especially car rallies. We take the windy, scenic route on our family road trips that compose my best memories.
Time at home is also a treasure, even if we’re just watching M*A*S*H* or an old western. We have fun cooking together. Dad’s palate spans the range, from fine French cuisine to simple cowboy grub, both of which are founded on meat and taters. He is a big advocate of good butter which he stockpiles just in case Armageddon’s peeking around the corner. He believes the simple things, like sharing a delicious meal with people who are meaningful to you, are what make every day count.
Now that we have Daisy, Father’s Day is extra special in that we have two dads to honour. Shawn is ever so loving a father for our little sweetheart. She revels in starting her days with him, playing hide-and-seek under the covers or making “capseeno” together.
There is always competition for who gets to sit in daddy’s lap. She could be off, in another room, playing with her toys. As soon as Daisy finds out that Milou is in Shawn’s lap, she comes charging into the kitchen, asking to be picked up. Sometimes Shawn has to balance both of them!
In the mornings, they snuggle in front of the TV for a while, then he gets her ready for the day. Daddy gives her the spa treatment with a luxurious shampoo, gently brushes her curly locks, then dries her pretty hair. Then off they go to Grandma’s, sometimes riding his bike all the way there. She has so much fun with her daddy.
Always willing to drop whatever he is doing to spend time with her, Shawn loves pushing Daisy on the swing he built for her, riding her bike around the yard and tending to the veggie garden, looking for fresh strawberries or carrots to eat together. They are just the cutest duo, reminding me so much of my relationship with my own dad.
In keeping with their wish for a relaxing Father’s Day together, pancakes are in order. After years and years of trying different recipes, I have finally found one that I can whip up by hand in minutes and get the most airy, spongy pancakes of my dreams every time. Even my picky feathered friend agrees.
The batter for this recipe can be made the night before for a no-stress morning. And, to really take things over the top, the usual maple syrup gets dressed up with fresh orange peel, Dad’s favourite.
The goal in making any sort of batter, whether for cakes, crepes or pancakes is to avoid stirring too rigorously which develops the gluten in the flour and makes for a very stiff end-result. The trick to getting delicate, spongy pancakes to just let the lumps be. As the batter sits, the lumps will gently collapse on their own. This is a job for Daisy, who does a fantastic job stirring.
The Night Before:
Heat a couple tablespoons of butter just until melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Beat egg and milk together.
Add vanilla, lemon zest and butter.
Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a big bowl.
Pour the egg mixture into the center, stirring very gently until just combined.
Transfer batter to fridge and chill overnight.
The Next Day:
Remove batter from the fridge and allow it to warm to room temperature.
Measure maple syrup into a small pot.
Add zest of a medium orange and a pinch of salt.
Heat over a very, very low flame.
Set a large non-stick pan/griddle onto medium heat
for a minute or two.
Pour batter onto hot pan.
After about one minute, pour a tad more batter over the top
of the pancakes, to create a double-decked look.
Wait patiently until bubbles form on the top layer, then gently flip to cook the other
side, another minute.
Transfer to a heatproof dish with a lid, cover until ready to serve.
Continue cooking the rest of the batter.
Serve with warm syrup.
Days seem pass in a blur, faster and faster every year. These are the happy days that we sometimes forget to enjoy. Sunday, the clock will stop. There will be nothing scheduled on the calendar, nowhere else to go. We will gather around the table to celebrate Dad and Shawn and stuff ourselves silly with those fluffy pancakes.