For a year in my twenties I lived with three lovely ladies (who I still adore) in a hilltop house that was perfect for entertaining… so we did. A lot. And, to be honest, we weren’t the best cooks ever – we rarely followed recipes, chose the most difficult things we could to make (with no practice rounds, naturally), and we nearly always had a substitution or two. BUT we were fabulous hostesses (if I do say so myself).
We were the Greenfield Girls, living on Greenfield Drive overlooking all of El Cajon, California – which, while not the most highbrow location on the coast (understatement), was awfully pretty when viewed from a distance. Like from our back windows and yard.
A brief Cliff’s note version of some of our escapades:
- cornish game hens that took six hours to make (the guests arrived two hours before they were ready)
- spaghetti sauce with waaaaaay too much pepper (finely ground packs a lot more punch than coarsely ground!)
- pumpkin pie made with the larger size can rather than the 15oz, making pies even starving boys wouldn’t eat (literally)
- too dry pot roast, recycled into chili
- packaged macaroni and cheese disaster (how do you mess that up, you ask? believe me, it’s possible)
Despite our various challenges, there were many lovely brunches, dinners, parties, showers… and I have a homemade cookbook to prove it (replete with pictures). Theresa and I decided to document it all when Michele got married, so recipes, stories and pictures were assembled together – just for the four of us.
A week or so ago this Italian lady I sometimes watch Saturday mornings on PBS was making palachinke, and it brought to memory a Greenfield Girl experience. Vanessa, the fourth Greenfield Girl, made these once – a little piece of her Yugoslavian heritage. Basically, I think, palachinke are crepes with a better name – thin, pancakey things you can slather with butter, sugar, jam, nutella, or your sweet of choice and then devour.
Never one to pass up an opportunity to cook something fun (that’s the Greenfield Girl way), these were our Father’s Day treat today. And, should you want an adventure, they can now be yours.
- 4 cups milk
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Blend all ingredients till there are no lumps.
- Let stand for 30 minutes.
- Heat a frying pan over medium heat.
- Melt a pinch of Crisco (butter flavor is great) in the pan.
- Pour a thin coat of batter into the pan, and move the pan around so it coats the bottom.
- Flip once the edges get good and browned and there are bubbles coming through; cook a couple of minutes on the other side.
- Serve warm with your choice of topping (we used cinnamon sugar and blueberries).
***And, because I simply can’t post this without it, here is the introduction Tee wrote for our cookbook:
As you venture into the cooking world, there are some important factors to remember. First, you survived a year of cooking in the Greenfield Drive kitchen. This means that you overcame missing ingredients, over-cooked and under-cooked food (but never dangerously so!), too many ingredients and not enough ingredients. You survived piles of dishes and improvising what dishes were to be used to carry all of the food. Remember: You are a survivor. Whatever disasters come your way, based upon your Greenfield Girl experience, you can rest assured that you will come through on the other side, and that you will be blessed with a true treasure: A MEMORY.