Last summer, I had the opportunity to get back to my educational roots by working with Worcester Shakespeare Company as the Production Stage Manager. I don't know if I've discussed this, but even though I work at the fabulously glamorous electric company in customer service, I actually started out as an English major studying Shakespeare. I have a Masters in English and wrote a crazy long comparative literature-style thesis where I talked about Eastern religious themes in King Lear, because that's how I roll--putting things together that have no business being together :) Anyhoodles, I have been out of school for quite a while now, but Shakespeare is still my first love. So when I finally crawled out from under a rock and realized that there was a summer Shakespeare company here in Worcester, I was thrilled to be able to get involved.
One of the most unexpected and wonderful things about working on the play was that I ended up meeting such an excellent and eclectic group of people, of whom Cassie was one. We did Taming of the Shrew, with Cassie in the title role. And although I've seen probably a dozen different productions of that play, I can very honestly say I don't think I've seen a better Kate. Cassie perfectly managed to capture rage-Kate while at the same time showing the vulnerability within, and she did it with a sense of humor. And that is probably because her own greatest quality is her ability to know that you don't always have to take yourself seriously. For as many Facebook pictures as she has like the beautiful one above, there is always something like this one to balance it out:
And as if all that wasn't enough, she gives me super-cool vegan recipes and doesn't yell at me for not posting them for three months!
Cassie's German Blender Pancakes
1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 medium banana; overripe is best)
4 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
Combine ingredients in your blender and run until well mixed. The mixture should be very thin--almost runny. Allow mixture to sit for a few minutes until frothiness subsides. In the meantime, heat up a nonstick skillet over medium heat. (If your skillet still tends to stick, you should use a small amount of cooking spray before each pancake.) Once the skillet is hot, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan and rotate the pan to allow the batter to spread. You are looking for a thin, crepe-like pancake about 8-10 inches across. Cook until the edges are golden brown, resisting the urge to flip too early. When the edges are golden brown, use a spatula to gingerly lift the pancake and flip it. (A good tip would be to tilt the pan vertically and slide your spatula underneath.) Cook the other side for a few additional minutes until it is browned. Repeat the process to make an additional 3-4 pancakes. Keep cooked cakes warm on a plate in a 200 degree oven.
These would be amazing on their own, but when you roll them up around strawberry jam and drizzle with a little maple syrup, they become absolutely gourmet. Cassie also reports that she (and her equally phenomenal boyfriend Dan, who also deserves effusive praise for being an all-around awesome, super-talented dude) consider this recipe one of their staples not only for breakfast, but also for dessert, by replacing the jam with Nutella. Nutella is sadly not vegan (although you can find or make a vegan version without too much trouble), but I do think these pancakes would like to be introduced to cashew cream or a vegan chocolatey spread to become a dessert course made in heaven. And if all that isn't good enough, remember that this is an oil-free recipe, unless you have to use a tiny bit of cooking spray to make sure your pancakes don't stick. I have made this with all purpose flour and with whole wheat pastry flour, and it works just as well either way, so you don't have to sacrifice health quality for flavor. And why should you have to? As Cassie proves, it's always a good idea to balance out your "serious" with a healthy dose of "silly."