Wednesday, June 25, 2014

VIVA our Vital Vito with Pancakes Special and Fancy

When slave was researching information on Vito Russo, it came across a piece written by the Rev. Malcom Boyd that described a trip the he and Russo made with friends to Disneyland in 1978:
We arrived just as the gates of the Magic Kingdom were opening. In a short time we found a Carnation breakfast shop. So, as part of a tourist's fantasy, we ordered pancakes with blue berries, swimming in syrup.”
So slave's mind was made up! The tribute to Vito Russo would be pancakes! Not just any pancakes, but special fancy pancakes! Besides, MASTER LOVES BLUE BERRIES!

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 eggs, separated
2 5oz containers plain non fat yogurt + enough skim milk to equal 2 cups total
4 tablespoons melted butter (but NOT hot)
butter or cooking spray, for greasing the pan

(to keep pancakes hot while you finish the whole batch, preheat oven to 200 and lay a clean dish towel on a baking sheet. As you finish each cake, lay on half of the towel, fold towel over the top and slide in oven)

Heat your pan to 330 degrees (if you do not have a temperature control, keep the heat medium high, to test if hot enough, sprinkle just a drop or two of water, careful with this! It will dance when pan is ready.)

In a measuring cup spoon out one of the containers or yogurt. Then enough skim milk to reach the 1 cup mark, Carefully pour that milk out into a medium bowl and repeat with more skim milk. Now spoon out the yogurt from both the cup measure and from the other container. This will give you the equivalent of 2 cups. Many recipes call for buttermilk, which can be made by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk and waiting 5 minutes. However slave believes that You will enjoy the rich and thick taste using the yogurt and skim milk!

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Keep in two small bowls.

In a large bowl, measure in the flour, sugar, salt, baking SODA, baking POWDER. Mix until combined. Remember you will get better results anytime a recipe calls for a cup of flour, to weight it out. 1 cup equals 126g.

Whisk the egg whites until fluffy.

While that is whipping, in another bowl stir the yolks and melted butter into the yogurt mixture. It will look so rich and have such a great taste!

Pour that liquid on top of the dry mix in the large bowl. Using a fork, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don't try to work all the lumps out.
TIP: The more you work a pancake batter, the flatter and thinner they will turn out, not what you're looking for!

Fold in the fluffy egg whites carefully with a spatula. Just until mixed through. Then ladle into the pan. Don't get carried away and fill the pan! Make a few small ones first just to get the hang of it. Remember even the best chefs will tell you that they throw away the first one!

When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden (lift an edge with the spatula to check) Then gently flip the pancake.

If you have never done this, don't worry! Messes can be cleaned up! It may take practice to do this well, but it just takes time, OK? Don't be ashamed if you can't flip them with the saute pan like you see on television. It will be fine.

Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set. Transfer to the towel-lined sheet, and put in oven. Spray or wipe the pan with a buttered paper towel. Only use a little bit, it will quickly turn a very dark brown and your fluffy pancakes will not be as pretty!.

As you go along, your cakes will get to be the right size and look very nice. It is all just a matter of doing it.

If you like to sprinkle some blue berries into the pancake, do it when first ladled into pan and please remember – less is more!

Serve either with a dusting of powered sugar, or the old fashioned way and let them butter and add syrup themselves.

Doesn’t some crisp bacon sound good with this? Or maybe sausages links? If so: cook them up first and keep them warm in the oven along with the pancakes.

Then you can add all of the blue berries you wish!
You get the picture. Don't worry about making too many. Put wax paper between each, wrap them well with plastic wrap and freeze them!

Slave is so damn lucky to be serving my Master Indy;

To satisfy and restore.
To nourish, support and maintain.
To gratify, spoil, comfort and please,
to nurture, assist, and sustain
..I cook!

Please buy slave's cookbook:

The Little Black Book of Indiscreet Recipes by Dan White via @amazon

Now let's find out about the man of the hour: Vitto Russo!
Vito Russo was just another baby boomer growing up in East Harlem. A skinny, geeky kid that was no good at sports! Nobody would have ever guessed he was to become one of the most powerful and influential voices of the LGBT Civil Rights Movement.
If you would have ask him, his only real interest at the time was MOVIES. What he saw on those big screens was a magic that captivated him.

According to him, he never once believed that being gay was wrong. On the inside he knew he was different and that it was alright! If all he did was to articulate that to future generations, his position as a leader would be assured.

Vito Russo had no intentions of becoming political at all. In fact he literally did sit in a tree watching the Stonewall riots. It was interesting, but it did not hit home to him until a few months latter. However when it did, the spark lit a blaze that fired a new generation of activists!

Out of the established Mattichine Society had come the Gay Liberation Front led by Craig Rodwell of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Book Store. The GLF was working a whole list of issues. A few of the members felt they would have a stronger effect if they focused on just one. By Dec of 1969, they broke off and formed the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA). Their issue: “secure basic human rights, dignity and freedom for all gay people”. This group led by Jim Owles was best known for its form of protests known as “Zaps”. Where their group would take over the office of their target.

Russo was one of GAA's earliest members. The organization rented an old fire station as its headquarters for meetings and planning. Russo saw the possibilities as a Gay Civic Center and organized dances there. Then he stumbled onto a way to merge the two things he loved most in life: “tricking” and watching movies!

One night he came in with a sheet to hang on the wall and a stack of movies to show. It was an instant success. Remember this was long before the advent of videotapes and players, long before DVD's and YouTube downloads. After a movie had played around the theaters, it was shelved until the advent of television that resurrected a few of them, to run late at night between the advertisements.

Vito immediately noticed a whole different magic watching as a group with other gays. He became almost obsessed with the images of gays on screen, the way Hollywood portrayed them both before the “Morality Code” and after. He was lucky enough to have a job where he could study films and started a ten year effort to write a book that became “The Celluloid Closet”.

Russo did not give up his activism. While he gave speeches on gays in films he also gave speeches demanding basic human rights for the LGBT's. He had a way to develop friendships with people from any class. His long lasting relationships with the likes of Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin were well known.

In 1973, Vito was MC for the rally following the New York’s Gay Pride Parade. He was quickly forced to quell what threatened to become a melee! Different groups had started verbally fighting. The lesbians did not feel as if their voices were being heard. The drag queens were loudly “boo”ed and jeered. Russo worked frantically to hold things together, finally calling on his friend Bette Midler to make an appearance singing her hit song “Friends” to calm things.

Latter that night, word began to reach New York that a horrendous fire had destroyed a gay night club in New Orleans. Out of that tragedy, leaders of the community pulled together.
The “Zaps” continued for a few years and Russo burred himself into his lectures and in 1981 his book was published.

The Celluloid Closet” was extremely important because it forced people to look at the messages being taught. After the “Code” which forbade ANY mention of homosexuality, slowly the gay characters were reintroduced (they had been there since the first Edison films). The big difference now is that they had to be portrayed as a menace and had to die. If not by the hand of the hero, then they had to have the good sense to kill themselves! The message to any questioning youth or to any LGBT watching films was “You have to DIE”. This was a powerful almost hidden suggestion that slipped deeply into the public psyche.

The Celluloid Closet” showed scene after scene of how this was drummed into the viewers. It was an eye opener.
The book was an instant classic and Russo was more in demand than ever.
1983, Russo wrote, produced, and co-hosted a gay community TV series called Our Time for public television. It was the nation's first LGBT hard news and documentary on the small screen.

In 1985 Russo had been diagnosed with AIDS. He understood, perhaps more than most, about how media portrayals defined the public view on an issue. Russo co-founded Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, (GLAAD). Immediately they protested against The New York Post's defamatory and sensationalized coverage of the new disease.
To this day GLAAD continues to pressure news media to end homophobic and defaming reporting. GLAAD lobbies the movie and music industries and keeps a close monitor of how LGBT's are treated. GLAAD has developed what it calls “The Russo Test” to index how a character is portrayed.

Russo became a co-founder of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in March of 1987. This organization forced the CDC and the FDA to change the way they approached life threatening illness in general and forced a change in the way AIDS was treated medically.
The film “How to Survive a Plaque” documents the history of ACT UP.
In November of 1990 Vito Russo passed of AIDS-related complications.
Russo left us a legacy few can match. His story is the story of the LGBT movement. We may not notice, but his imprint is on every new movie or TV show we watch.

Vito we still hear your voice and your tireless energy brings a lift to our steps. We are PROUD!

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