The College Bakery. The name of this blog definitely points to a baking theme. And yet, there's the whole "college" part of it, too. I have come to find through my posts that even if my long-winded paragraphs about my college experiences don't attract too many comments, they're the ones I most enjoy rereading. This is because my baking life and my college life are inseparable, and what I make (and if I in fact make anything at all) is very reflective of the mood I'm in.
That being said, I did something ridiculously cool yesterday, and I doubt that I've ever had a day quite as amazing as it thus far. What did I do? I biked ten miles through San Francisco, and ended the spectacular ride by biking across one of the most well-known symbols of the West Coast: the Golden Gate Bridge.
Biking in San Francisco is like nothing I've ever experienced, because the paths along the shoreline are a complete juxtaposition to the towering buildings and sensory-overload that occurs within the city. Instead, there are lush marshes and sandy beaches. Fields of knee-high grasses and glades of evergreen trees that constantly smell like it has just rained. It's a side of San Francisco that I've fallen completely in love with.
Biking up the incline of the bridge, my heart was racing. I couldn't believe that I was actually doing it. For a moment, I felt that the world was mine, and that I could do anything I wanted to. My friend and I stopped at the very center of the bridge and looked out at the city's skyline in the distance. It looked so small, and I just started smiling because that's where we started from.
We coasted down the declining side of the bridge and into Sausalito, which is a super cute town right next to the bay. The house are all stacked up on top of each other, so I felt that I had been transported to Greece. It was also the most beautiful day anyone could ask for, given that it's mid-November. There was a light breeze, but not a cloud in sight, and the only thing I could hear over the chatter of people was the bay's waves that were never more than 50 feet away.
After a lunch of cheese tortellini at a cafe, we boarded the ferry back to San Francisco, and were shocked to discover that credit card purchases of tickets could only be bought at the kiosk back on land. We panicked for a few minutes, because it was much too late to have that be an option, and we had only a few dollars in cash in our wallets - nowhere near enough for the boat ride.
Then, my faith in random acts of kindness was restored. A tourist from New York stopped next to us, and handed us enough money to buy our tickets. He said, "Next time you think all New Yorkers are mean, just remember this," then he walked away. It was the single nicest thing anyone has ever done for me, and I was so touched by his kindness that my eyes watered a little bit.
An amazing day ended by the kindness of a stranger was about the best thing I could ever imagine asking for. I woke up this morning ready to take on the world (and my homework), and decided that the best way to express my lingering feelings of happiness would be to bake pumpkin pancakes. It was definitely a good choice. Spiced and only slightly sweet, these pancakes made for an excellent food for reflecting on my adventure and preparing for the next one. I wonder what it will be? Oh college, you just have so many opportunities to offer...
Recipe: Pumpkin Pancakes
Adapted from Joy the Baker
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, powder, salt, and spices.
2. In another bowl, mix together milk, pumpkin, egg, and oil.
3. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients and stir until just combined (it's okay if it has a few lumps - overbeating it will make the pancakes tough).
4. Heat skillet to medium heat and let batter sit for 10 minutes. (I found my batter was a little thick, so I added some water to it. If you like thick pancakes, leave batter as is.)
5. When skillet is hot, add 2 tablespoons of batter per pancake. When bubbles start to form, flip.
6. Keep pancakes warm in a 200F oven until all of the pancakes are done. Then eat and enjoy!