Pro's Pantry delivers exclusive recipes by Christopher Lee, executive chef of three well-known St. Louis restaurants: Café Ventana, Chuy Arzola's and Sanctuaria. We share his made-from-scratch dinners - featuring whatever ingredients he has on hand in his pantry - in our weekly e-newsletter. Sign up at HERE, so you never miss an installment!
As a child, my mom always turned to breakfast when she was out of ideas for dinner. We'd often have waffles, omelets and what became my all-time favorite: pancakes.
This week's recipe might not be my mom's, but it gives you the foundation for some seriously good griddlecakes - ones I now whip up with my wife for dinner. Keep in mind that you could add pecans, chocolate chips, fruit, cooked bacon or sausage crumbles. The sky's the limit.
By Christopher Lee
Yield | eight 4-inch pancakes |
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder (Chef's tip: I use double-acting.)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 Tbsp Meyer lemon zest and juice from ½ the lemon (optional)
| Preparation | Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. In separate bowl, beat together milk, egg, oil and lemon, if preferred, then stir the mixture into the dry ingredients until just moistened to avoid tough pancakes. For thinner pancakes, add a little more milk.
Heat skillet to medium high and lightly grease. Spoon batter onto the skillet and let cook. The griddlecakes are ready to turn when bubbles appear on the edges of the surface and do not close. Flip the griddlecakes and cook until golden on the other side. Serve warm with blueberry compote (recipe follows).
When fresh blueberries come into season, try this as a complement to griddlecakes, waffles or even savory dishes like pork chops.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- ¼ cup sugar
- juice from ½ a lemon
| Preparation | Cook ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat. When blueberries have popped and sauce has thickened slightly, serve as a warm compote.
Christopher Lee, executive chef of Padda Enterprises, has more than 23 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He currently serves as the executive chef for Cafe Ventana, Chuy Arzola's and Sanctuaria.
He apprenticed under the late Jean Claude Guillossou at L'Auberge Bretonne. Working at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, Lee had the opportunity to work with some of the finest chefs in the world, including Wolfgang Puck and Nick Stellino and chefs from the Casino de Ville in France.
At the Ritz, he contributed to awards such as the DiRoNA and awards from Wine Spectator and Gourmet Magazine. Lee was the executive chef for Kirk's American Bistro, which was listed in the 2004 Zagat guide as one of St. Louis' top restaurants. He also was the opening executive chef for Mélange, where he was recognized by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as one of St. Louis' Top 10 Up and Coming Professionals.