March 31, 2009

The waffles! Oh the waffles!!!

After weeks of rain and far to cold for my taste weather, we woke up Sunday morning to find the sun shining. Beyond the fact that I had some major much spreading, weed clearing, onion set planting to do, the sun was a welcome treat because our little cooking/dinner group had decided to have brunch this month and Sunday was the day. Evelyn and Briton got to wear new spring outfits picked out by my mother when she visited last week so they looked sparkly and bright and we were bringing Mimosa's which, frankly, are the best way to start of a sunny Sunday.

Steve and Nell had thoughtfully brewed a huge pot of coffee AND made plain waffles for the kids so while they ate, we chatted, woke up with some excellent strong coffee and watched Steve make the most WONDERFUL waffles I've ever had. The other Steve, who arrived on crutches due to a bicycle accident a few days prior (when his bike slammed into the first Steve's car, as a matter of fact, I tell you, this is a SMALL town!) and Stephanie had made a beautiful fruit salad with strawberries, blueberries and kiwi. And can I just say, I love a fruit salad that has loads of the good fruit, you know what I mean. I'm always a little disappointed when a fruit salad has like ONE strawberry cut up into tiny bits and the rest is grapes and banana. Not that I don't like grapes and banana, I love them, but I REALLY love strawberries, blueberries and kiwi, so Stephanie's salad was perfect!

In addition to Mimosas, we also brought along some gin and had Champagne Fizzes from a recipe I found in Will's old Bartenders Bible. I was sorely tempted by a drink called Skip and Go Naked, but it contained a lot of pink things, in fact, I think it was described as coming out hot pink. And while my daughter is a big fan of pink, it just didn't seem like a first thing in the morning kind of drink.

But Back to the waffles. I'm a huge waffle fan. WE had them all the time as a kid and up until this weekend, I had though the best waffles in the world were the street waffles in Paris with their thick, almost yeast like dough. But I think I've moved onto greener pastures. These were seriously good. We ended up with a choice of blueberry, maple and huckleberry syrup but honestly, I think they would have been awesome on their own as well. Steve used a Belgian Waffle Maker but I imagine it would do just as well with a regular one. I hope so, because I plan to try it out when Will's family visits week after next.

Gingerbread Waffles

2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 Cups fat free buttermilk
3 T canola oil
3 T molasses
2 tsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
2 large egg yolks
4 oz applesauce
3 T minced crystallized ginger*
2 large egg whites

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and stir with a whisk. Combine buttermilk, oil, molasses, fresh ginger, egg yolks and applesauce in a small bowl and then add to dry ingredients. Stir just until combined before adding crystallized ginger

Beat egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form and gently fold into batter

Coat waffle iron with cooking spray and preheat, spoon about 1/3 cup per 4 inch waffle and spread to edges. Cook for 5 minutes or until steaming stops.

*Crystallized ginger is really expensive if you buy it in the spice aisle at the grocery store but is pretty affordable if you buy it in bulk at the health food store. I've also gotten big packets of it in Asian food stores.

Champagne Fizz

3 ounces orange juice
3 ounces champagne
1 ounce gin
1 ounce lemon juice
Serve cold

Really, this is just a mimosa with a ounce each of gin and lemon juice. So I made a pitcher of mimosas and then set out the gin and lemon juice so people could choose.

Also, on the subject of waffles. One of our favorite weekend lunches is waffle sandwiches. We used to go to a great waffle sandwich stand in Portland but since we're here, we have to make do with homemade versions. Our favorite combination is gouda, maple syrup and bacon but we've also done muenster and breakfast sausage, ham and cheddar and peanut butter and jelly which is simply divine.