Waffles, Waffles, Waffles

I haven’t had a waffle iron in years, since I last lived with my mother.  She had my grandparents’ old one, which was heavy and beautiful and well-seasoned and had lovely little squares and was imbued with lots of history and emotion.  So I just haven’t wanted to buy myself a soulless heartless one.  Until now.  I decided that the siren call of the homemade waffle was finally to be heeded (it helped that the already cheap waffle iron at Target was on sale, making it too good a deal to pass up) and I bought myself a brand-new, soulless, heartless, light-weight machine.  But as I excitedly made the fist batch of waffles (plain batter with chocolate chips), announcing the whole time how excited I was – thereby exciting my small children – it gained a little soul, a little history, a little seasoning.  And with each consecutive batch it stopped being as exciting and took its place in the pantheon of Important Kitchen Implements in my house.  It is very doubtful that my cheap-o waffle iron will last long enough for my children to inherit it but they might inherit my love for a good waffle.  Here are some waffle recipes; some are simple and expected, some are surprising, all are yummy.  Enjoy.

Simple Breakfast Waffles and Variations

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain, vanilla, or maple yogurt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or oil
  • 2 cups flour (try 1 1/4 white, 3/4 whole wheat)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sugar

Beat eggs then add in milk, yogurt, and oil/butter.  In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.  Stir into wet ingredients.  Cook in waffle maker until golden brown.  Variations: stir into batter 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped nuts; add to batter 1 grated apple and 1/2 tsp cinnamon; add to batter 2 mashed bananas and 1/2 tsp nutmeg.

Buttermilk Bleu Cheese Waffles

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup full-fat buttermilk
  • 1 Tbs melted butter or oil
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (try 1 cup white and 1/2 cup whole wheat)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs snipped chives
  • 3-4 oz bleu cheese*, crumbled

Whisk eggs until frothy.  Add in buttermilk and butter/oil.  Mix together all the rest of the ingredients, except the bleu cheese and chives.  Mix the dry into the wet.  Stir in the bleu cheese and the chives.  Using less batter than you would for other waffles, cook in waffle iron until lightly browned and crispy.  These are best served hot, you can hold hot or reheat in oven. 

*A word about bleu cheese.  Use what you like – if you like Gorgonzola or Roquefort best, use those.  If you like a really strong bleu, use that.  It is best here, though, to use a cheese that crumbles well as opposed to a creamier, gooey-er cheese.

Gingerbread Waffles

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 Tbs melted butter or oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour (try 1 1/4 white to 3/4 whole wheat)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger (or use fresh grated, even better)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Beat eggs then beat in milk, butter/oil, molasses, and sugar.  Mix together all the dry ingredients then mix them into the wet.  Cook in waffle iron and serve topped with whipped cream or yogurt. 

Wild Rice Waffles

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbs plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups flour (try 1 1/2 cups white to 1/2 whole wheat)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup cooked cooled wild rice
  • 2-3 green onions, cut very fine

Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks then beat in the milk, yogurt, and honey.  In a separate bowl beat the whites until stiff.  Mix together the dry ingredients, except the rice and onion.  Mix the dry into the wet then stir in the rice and green onion.  Fold in the egg whites.  Cook in waffle iron until the waffles are lightly browned and crispy.

Vegetable Borscht, All The Way

Did you ever see that wonderfully funny mock-u-mentary Best In Show?  One of the best lines is when the young woman is explaining what she has in common with her old man husband.  “We both like soup,” she says.  It’s funny because we all know that *that’s* not a reasonable basis for a happy marriage.  And yet…it kind of is.  Well, it is a simplistic way of saying that similar tastes help in successful relationships.  I think my grandparents were married to each other for over 65 years because they both liked soup.  Thankfully, so do Jim and I.  Here’s a recipe for the one we had this weekend.  The All The Way refers to it having noodles, matzah balls, rice, and beans.  Eat soup with your sweetheart and go all the way, it might indeed be the basis for a long life together.

Vegetable Borscht, All The Way

  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 small or 1 large carrot
  • 2 small or one large onion
  • 1 medium beet
  • 1/4 small head purple cabbage
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup short grain brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (great northern or cannellini)
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked fine egg noodles
  • 1 batch herbed matzah balls (recipe below)

Peel or scrub carrots and cut into rings, half rings, or quarter rings depending on size.  Trim and cut celery into thin full or half slices so they match the carrots in size.  Peel and cut beet into small bites.  Chop and finely shred the cabbage.  Peel, cut and slice the onions.  All the vegetables should be the same general size.  Peel and slice the garlic.  Put all the vegetables, the rice, the cooked beans, and 12 cups of water into a large soup pot.  Cook at a low boil, covered, until the rice is cooked and the vegetables are soft.  Zest then juice the lemon and add both the zest and the juice to the soup.  Cook for at least 15 minutes.  Season with salt and black pepper.  Serve hot – ladle soup into bowls with noodles and matzah balls already in them. 

To make the matzah balls:  in a bowl beat 2 eggs with a fork.  Beat in 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup oil.  Then stir in 1/2 cup matzah meal, 1 Tbs dried dill, 1 Tbs cut chives, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 tsp baking soda.  Mix well then allow to sit for at least half an hour in the fridge.  When you are ready to cook them, bring a pot of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, form the mix into little balls – you should get 20 from this much.  Carefully drop the balls into the boiling water.  Reduce heat to a low boil, cover pot, and cook balls for 20 minutes.  Drain the balls and set aside until you are ready to serve them in soup.

Cinnamon Apple Bread Roll Thingy

It must be the cold weather as I have been wanting to bake bread and yeasty treats.  Yesterday, I was inspired to make cinnamon rolls but instead invented this de-lish-us rolled loaf bread with cinnamon and apple filling.  It was a hit at the book exchange we had, among the under 10 set and the moms, too.  It makes your house smell great while baking and is good the next morning toasted for breakfast.  As it isn’t very sweet it goes well with tea or coffee.  As it is a little sweet it feels like a treat.

Cinnamon Apple Bread Roll

for the dough:

  • 1 cup very hot water
  • 2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
  • 3 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2-3 cups white flour
  • 1-2 cups whole wheat flour

for the filling:

  • 1 large apple
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

for the topping:

  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Put the hot water into a large bowl.  Add the yeast and the brown sugar and stir gently.  Mix in 1 cup white flour.  Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes then stir in more flour.  Start with half a cup white then half a cup wheat.  Mix well after each addition until you have dough then knead, adding more flour as needed.  This dough will feel a bit sticky even when it has enough flour because of the sugar, you will have to judge by the texture of the dough.  It should be like bread dough – firm but not dry, elastic and smooth.  Allow to rise in a buttered bowl for at least 2 hours, punching down and gently kneading every half hour.  When you are ready to bake the roll butter a cookie sheet then flour a surface.  Either use a rolling-pin or your hands to stretch the dough into a rectangle a little shorter than the cookie sheet and about half as wide as it is long.  Since the dough is sticky you will need flour to do this.  Grate the apple, without peeling it, and mix with the sugar and cinnamon.  Put the filling evenly down the middle of the dough, lengthwise.  Fold the dough over on itself, you will end up with a long tube of dough with filling inside.  Sprinkle the remaining sugar and cinnamon on top and put on the cookie sheet.  Pinch the ends shut.  Bake at 350F until it has started to brown lightly and sound hollow when you tap it with a fingernail.  Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, slice and eat.  Some of the sugar/cinnamon might leak out but if you have buttered your pan well it shouldn’t matter.  If you like you can throw some finely chopped nuts into the filling for more texture or use half apple and half pear.

Egpyt, Oh Egpyt

For the first time since the rescue of the Chilean miners last year I turned on the tv in the morning to see the news.  Usually we stick to a constant flow of NPR news on the mornings and we watch very little television so my children are very excited to see it on.  My 2-year-old asked if we were going to watch the miners.  My 5-year-old told me he knew that there was something amazing happening near Israel – the street protests in Egypt.  We watched the peaceful rallies; the angry, joyful, strong, triumphant, amazed faces; we watched as old and young, women and men, political radicals and religious conservatives stood together and chanted for freedom from an opressive government.  Yesterday we woke up to hear that these peaceful protesters had been attacked by pro-government protesters.  What a sad, sad turn of events.  The lack of civility about which we talk about so much regarding our own, American, politics is nothing compared to much of the rest of the world where fair play and simple regard for human life is lacking.  My thoughts turn to those protesters who were so happy and peaceful a few days ago who today have not given up but instead shelter together under metal sheets, their resolve steeled by the attacks.  If the pro-Mubarak authors of this violence thought they could frighten the masses away they grossly underestimated the human spirit.  Regardless of your politics and hopes for the area (and, if you are like me and many others, you feel torn on the subject) it is uplifting to watch people rise up, without violence, to demand rights, and to face violence with persistence.  Here’s a little Egyptian inspired cake recipe, you can eat it while watching the new world emerge. 

Orange Blossom Water Cake with Baked Fruit

for the cake:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup oil (either regular olive oil or vegetable oil, something without much flavor)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 Tbs orange blossom water

for the fruit:

  • 2 cups fruit, a mixture as you like of chopped or sliced dried figs, dates, apricots, raisins, fresh apple, pear, orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • spices as you like: cinnamon stick, pinch of cardamom, pinch of black pepper, orange zest
  • juice of the orange you zested for the cake
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water

To make the cake, beat all the ingredients together, pour into a baking dish, bake at 350F until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean – start checking at 30 minutes. 

To make the fruit, toss together all the ingredients, put in a baking dish and bake covered until the fruit is soft, about as long as it takes to bake the cake.  

Let the cake cool enough to be able to cut and serve it, serve it topped with the warm fruit.  You can also serve with a spoonful of yogurt or whipped cream.