the greek burger

for the final entry of our unofficial burger week, we decided to go with classic mediterranean flavors. it's like a lamb kebab and a greek salad together on a bun and we call it the greek burger. it was so much fun coming up with different out of the box burger recipes that we're thinking we will definitely need to post more of our creations throughout the summer, so stay tuned. we are off to the hot sun of palm springs for the weekend - have a great weekend!

The Greek Burger

cracked wheat bun
ground lamb patty with crumbled feta
cucumber, yogurt and mint tzatziki
thinly sliced red onion
mache or arugula
sliced tomato (optional)


the pig burger

when planning out a burger week, i think we might have had a list of choices twelve to fourteen deep.  when narrowing them down, we had a discussion about whether a burger has to be beef or if the only suitable substitute is turkey or veggie.  we came to the conclusion that if its ground, it can be a burger.  well, to a point i guess.  here we wanted to bring a variation of a sort of pulled pork sandwich, but with a burger twist.  in our minds we nailed it, but it is all up to personal interpretation.  again we just have a list of what we had involved, but feel free to add and take away as you wish.

The Pig Burger

onion bun
honey mustard
ground pork and chorizo patty (2 parts pork, 1 part chorizo)
thick & sweet bbq sauce
sweet dill pickle slices


all american

happy memorial day everyone!!!  since it looks as though the entire editorial world is burger happy these days, we decided to do a little burger week here at pictures & pancakes.  today is a great day to kick it off with all the grilling going on, and we thought it fitting to have our all-american burger be the first.  a simple, juicy burger to satisfy your bbq needs.  we are also experimenting for the first time in a long time with a friend's 4x5 camera - thanks megan.  it couldn't be more fun, i think i just fell in love with photography all over again.  so this week will feature 4x5 images of different burgers.  we hope this inspires you to eat and fall in love with something of your own!

The All-American Burger

sesame seed bun
thousand island dressing
thick sliced beefsteak tomato
ground sirloin patty, seasoned with salt & pepper
sharp cheddar cheese
applewood smoked niman ranch bacon
caramelized onions


maple almond popcorn

in keeping with the easy snack theme of the week, we decided to whip up some of our favorite salty & sweet treat - maple almond popcorn! this popcorn is similar to caramel corn but much easier and we've substituted maple syrup for traditional sugar. feel free to sprinkle the finished product with even more salt to up the salty & sweet factor. this stuff is dangerous though - once it's cooled, we can't stop eating it!

Maple Almond Popcorn

4 cups popcorn
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp kosher salt
in a large bowl, toss popcorn and almonds together. prepare a sheet pan by lining it with foil and lightly oiling. in a small sauce pan, melt butter. add maple syrup and bring to 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer without stirring. quickly pour over popcorn and mix well with an oiled wooden spoon to coat evenly. spread the mixture out on prepared sheet pan and let cool before breaking into pieces. enjoy!


quick & easy

everyone needs a few simple but beautiful go-to appetizers to throw together at the last minute. or a little something to nibble on with a nice glass of sauvignon blanc when 5 o'clock rolls around. these are two snacks we've been making lately. the white bean dip is a nice change from hummus, which we love but eat way too often. it's always a good idea to have a few cans of cannellini or garbanzo beans in the pantry for just such an occasion! mixed olives are so easy and available everywhere and this is a nice way to make them a little more unique. enjoy!

Marinated Olives

10 oz mixed olives in brine
4 kumquats or 1 small tangerine, sliced
4 sprigs rosemary
1/2 cup olive oil
drain olives reserving a few tablespoons of brine. in a small bowl, mix olives with sliced kumquats, rosemary and olive oil. refrigerate for 2-6 hours and bring to room temperature before serving.

White Bean Dip

15 oz cannellini (white kidney beans), drained
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
2 green onions, chopped
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
2 tbs white balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
in a food processor, combine beans, garlic, lemon juice, green onions, parsley and vinegar and pulse to chop. with processor running, slowly add olive oil and puree until smooth and creamy. adjust seasoning with salt & pepper to taste. serve with assorted vegetables and crackers for dipping!



we were inspired to make cupcakes when we saw these adorable paper liners from martha stewart crafts at michael's recently. almost too precious to use! we love most flavors of cupcakes - chocolate, vanilla, red velvet, coconut - but one of our favorites is definitely carrot cake. we even had them at our wedding! this carrot cake cupcake has a traditional cream cheese frosting (my favorite part) but a few nontraditional additions like banana and chopped candied ginger. hope you like it as much as we do!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
makes 1 dozen

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups shredded carrot, about 4 carrots
1 ripe banana, mashed
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. in a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. in another bowl, combine eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla . add carrot and banana and stir until smooth. mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened and combined. fill lined muffin cups about 3/4 full, using all the batter. bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. let cool completely before frosting.

cream cheese frosting

8 0z. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
with an electric mixer, whip cream cheese and butter together until combined. add vanilla. add sugar 1/2 cup at a time, scrapping down the sides of the bowl. use frosting immediately.



i grew up in a house that holds many different food traditions and some of them happen to be danish. frikadellers are danish meatballs and common in most scandinavian countries - if you've ever been to ikea, i'm sure you've seen the swedish meatballs in the frozen foods near the lingonberry jam, creamed herring and that awesome soft serve ice cream! we make frikadellers every christmas eve but i was recently reminded of them in gourmet's may review of this cookbook which sounds great. has anyone gotten it yet? i think everyone probably makes their frikadellers a little differently but this is my favorite way - enjoy them with some boiled red potatoes and chopped dill!

Danish Meatballs

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 egg, beaten
1 small red onion, diced
1 tbs ground cardamom
4 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream
lingonberry jam for garnish
in a large bowl, combine beef, pork, egg, onion and cardamom and season with salt and pepper. form into small balls about the size of walnuts, rolling them between your hands. heat 1 tbs butter and 1 tbs oil in a skillet and fry the meatballs in batches, turning to brown on all sides. transfer the cooked meatballs to a small sheet pan and set aside. continue to fry, adding remaining 1 tbs butter and 1 tbs oil, until all meatballs are cooked. add remaining 2 tbs butter and melt. whisk in flour and cook for a few minutes until golden brown. remove from heat and very carefully add 1 cup water (pan will bubble and splatter). return to the heat and whisk in sour cream and season with salt and pepper. add meatballs and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until sauce thickens and meatballs are cooked completely. serve frikadellers with sauce, lingonberry jam and boiled potatoes. enjoy!


happy mother's day

our second post for mother's day comes from the same amazing woman who gave us mom's famous chili recipe. my mom is a wonderful cook and always let me help in the kitchen growing up - i think i owe a lot, if not all, of my passion for food to my grandmas and mom. growing up in arizona, there were plenty of hot summer days that my mom didn't feel like turning on the oven or cooking at the stove. this salad is part of a vivid memory of dinner on those 115 degree days, right out of the pool, sitting at the kitchen table with my mom and dad in the cold air conditioning. the original recipe is from this classic cookbook but my mom put a few of her own improvements on it. it's refreshing, crunchy and wonderful! enjoy & happy mother's day on sunday to all those great woman out there.

Chicken Chow Mein Salad

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp grated ginger
2 cups bean sprouts
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 5oz can chow mein noodles
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup snow peas, sliced
in a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, lemon juice, soy sauce and ginger. refrigerate until ready to dress. in a large bowl, combine bean sprouts, chicken, noodles, green onion, bell pepper and snow peas. toss with dressing to combine and serve immediately.


moms days

since mother's day is coming up, we had an idea pop into our heads - why not get our moms to pick their favorite recipes they cooked for us growing up. they are after all the reason why this blog works so well. they were our teachers and early enablers. as they flipped through recipe boxes, lots and lots of tasty memories came floating to the surface.  one dish that came to the forefront of my (andrew's) culinary memories was my mom's unreal mint bars.  it's a little bit cake, a little bit chocolate and a lot of taste.  it reminds me of mint chip ice cream flavor, in a nice bite-sized hand held treat.  it's been a long, long time since i tasted these, but they are really amazing, simple yet amazing.  

chocolate mint bars
makes about 28 bars

for cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 16 oz. can chocolate syrup
mix all ingredients together in stand mixer with paddle attachment.  preheat oven to 325 degrees.  pour into 9x13 baking dish.  bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.  let cool to room temperature.

for peppermint filling
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbs unsalted butter, softened
2 tbs milk
1 tsp peppermint extract
about 3 drops green food coloring(use to desired mint coloring)
whip all ingredients together in stand mixer with whisk attachment.  spread onto cooled cake. allow to set, about 1/2 hour.  

for topping
4 tbs unsalted butter
4 oz. semi sweet chocolate 
melt butter and chocolate in a small pan over low heat stirring constantly.  pour over top of peppermint filling.  Let cool. we like to put them in the fridge or freezer and eat cold.  


lavender and orange

little delights should be a part of everyone's day.  whether sneaking of a bite of chocolate or a kiss from your kids as they go off to school, i think we can all agree that the more smiles on your face per day really make it better.  we would like to think that these cookies fall into that little bit of goodness to brighten your day category.  light and flaky, subtle but addicting, we think these cookies are the perfect part of any coffee break in your downtime. but be careful, this subtle delight can turn into major delight if you keep the whole bag of cookies within reach.

lavender & orange shortbread
makes 22 cookies

1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp fresh lavender
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
in the bowl of an electric mixer w/ the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar.  add flour, salt, lavender and orange zest.  mix until this forms a ball.  put in fridge for 20 minutes. preheat oven to 350 degrees. between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out dough until a thickness of a 1/4 inch thick.  place dough on a sheet pan and back in fridge for 20 more minutes.  with a 2" round cookie cuter, cut round cookies and place on an ungreased sheet pan.  when all cookies are cut out, use remaining scraps of dough to form new ball and return to fridge for 20 minutes, roll out and repeat.  place cookies in oven for 18-20 minutes or until slightly browned.  transfer to wire rack and let cool.


spring rolls

we're experiencing some warm humid weather in southern CA today and it's making me think of hawaii, the beach and anything tropical. this is a nice light dish, simple to prepare and easy to impress. there are plenty of fried spring roll recipes out there, which i consider an egg roll, but these vietnamese spring rolls use tapioca sheets and plenty of fresh crunchy vegetables. they are easy to make ahead of time and keep in the fridge wrapped in a damp paper towel until you're ready to eat. rolling takes a bit of practice but once you get the hang of it, it's a lot of fun!

Chicken Spring Rolls with Sesame Peanut Dipping Sauce
makes 12 rolls

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
14 oz light coconut milk
2 keffir lime leaves, bruised
1 small red bell pepper, julienned
2 carrots, peeled & julienned
1 persian cucumber, julienned
3 green onions, julienned
1/2 cup micro greens
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves only
6 large tapioca sheets
1 cup sesame peanut dipping sauce (see below)
in a small saucepan, combine chicken breast with coconut milk, lime leaves and 14 oz water. bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked. cool completely and shred. fill a large rimmed sheet pan with 1/4-inch warm water and dip 1 tapioca sheet in the water for a few seconds until it softens. carefully lay wrapper flat. in a row slightly below center and about 1-inch from the sides, place a small handful of chicken. then layer with a few strips of bell pepper, carrots, cucumber and green onions and top with a little of the greens and cilantro leaves. bring bottom of wrapper up and over filling, then fold in sides tightly and roll upward until sealed. repeat with remaining ingredients and sheets and slice in half with a sharp knife. serve with dipping sauce.

Sesame Peanut Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup water
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs lime juice
2 tbs creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp chili garlic paste
combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend.