Saturday, May 29, 2010

Comfort me with waffles

I don't relate to the Song of Solomon line, "Comfort me with apples." (and title of a Ruth Reichl book) Perhaps in the warm afternoons of September, I would feel comforted by an apple. But on a cold and rainy day, that apple would have to be baked and served with brown sugar and cream.

I am waiting for summer. Spring is carrying on with rain and chilled evenings. The farmers markets are in full force, but I am still feeling the need to bundle up and eat comfort food. I bought a beautiful artichoke and some lovely little brussel sprouts at the grocery. I roasted the brussel sprouts with eggplant and topped with basil and peanut sauce. (from Mai's in Newport, Oregon) Soon enough I'll be ready for crisp radishes and fresh green salads, but in the meantime...

Last week, my sister's boyfriend made a fantastic chili. He wowed us with stew a few months ago. This rendition had tender chunks of beef, kidney and black beans, multiple veggies, and a nicely spiced tomato base. He cooked it on low for 12 hours. He apologized for using canned beans. I have very few friends that know how (or bother) to soak and cook beans. Bravo.

When I studied in Austria, my host family bought milk directly from the dairy. We drove up to a dispenser, put in some coins, and out poured milk, straight into our canister. Josh lives two blocks from a dairy, but this is no rural operation. No cows in sight. Everything comes and goes in big trucks and tankers. You can't even buy a carton at the facility. However, at the grocery down the road, I bought some of their buttermilk and we made some dandy waffles, topped with glazed bananas and maple syrup.

Belgian Buttermilk Waffles with Glazed Bananas
Gourmet, June 2005

For waffles
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • Vegetable oil for waffle iron

For topping
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 firm-ripe large bananas, cut diagonally into 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • 1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup

Make waffles:
Put oven rack in middle position and put a large metal cooling rack directly on it. Preheat oven to 250°F and preheat waffle iron.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs in another bowl, then whisk into flour mixture until just combined.

Brush hot waffle iron lightly with vegetable oil and pour a slightly rounded 1/2 cup of batter into each waffle mold (see cooks' note, below). Cook waffles according to manufacturer's instructions until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer as cooked to rack in oven to keep warm, keeping waffles in 1 layer to stay crisp. Make more waffles in same manner.

Make topping:
While last batch is cooking, heat butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then add banana slices in 1 layer and cook until golden, about 1 minute per side. Remove from heat and add syrup to skillet.

Spoon bananas over waffles, then drizzle with warm syrup before serving.

Monday, May 10, 2010

cinco de mayo potluck #8

My friend Drew and I have been having an annual cinco de mayo potluck for years. We embrace the holiday for the food and spirit of the celebration. And cinco de mayo is a good underdog story. Who doesn't like to toast to that? Sometimes there's a bit of competition to our potluck - a homemade salsa or beans cook off. This year, we had distinct dishes, sweet desserts, and plenty of Negro Modelo.

Homemade dulce de leche sauce. I felt giddy making this. It makes the whole apartment smell sweet. (Bon App├ętit - January, 2003 recipe, available on epicurious)


Mexican Coleslaw with Black Beans. I made this to lighten up the buffet. Thinly sliced red cabbage, cilantro, black beans, and a spicy sour cream dressing (sour cream, hot sauce, cider vinegar, lime juice, salt).

Elizabeth's Posole: Mexican soup with tender pork and hominy.

Drew's famous beans. One year I accidentally turned up the wrong stove top dial and burned his beans. Accidental sabotage, mind you, but he lost the competition that year. I didn't interfere this time and they were just right.

Elizabeth goes all out with this bread pudding. When I woke up the next morning, I wished I could have some for breakfast.

Basic chocolate cake takes on a new meaning with dulce de leche.

Margarita and Tostada-themed cupcakes by Jade and Amy.