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Reporters' Cookbook

We invited Monitor writers, editors, and staff around the world to send in their favorite, it-wouldn't-be-a-holiday-without-it recipes. Give us the time-tested, family dishes to share with readers, we said--and say a little about what they mean to you. Here is a selection. A Holiday Recipe Dispatch

NO one knows how eggplant pancakes came to Huffman, a stretch of oak thickets and cypress-lined bayous on Houston's northeast edge. My great-grandmother, Kate Huffman Scott, probably learned the recipe after one of her 11 children married into the Smith family. My wife added the 20th-century innovation of blending the boiled eggplant pieces to pulverize the seeds; before, they had to be strained out with great effort.Neither a breakfast dish nor a dessert, eggplant pancakes are offered at lunch and dinner (dinner and supper, as my grandma - Kate's daughter-in-law - would say). They are received enthusiastically every time they're served, especially at "family" meals which easily gather 14 of us. Properly cooked, eggplant pancakes are dark brown, if not black. If gooey in the middle, they are either underdone or short of flour. Experiment and enjoy!

1 eggplant 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup molasses 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 2 tablespoons oil 1 cup flour

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Peel eggplant. Cut into cubes. Boil until soft, about 10-12 minutes. Drain. Process in blender until seeds disappear. (Recipe is based on a yield of two cups of pureed eggplant; adjust accordingly.) Pour puree into a mixing bowl. Add salt, molasses, baking soda, and oil. Put flour in another bowl and add liquid to flour gradually. Beat until smooth. Lightly oil your griddle, heat to medium-high, and cook. Yields about two dozen three-inch pancakes. Serve plain or with butter. I've never had them with maple syrup. Good cold, too.

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