Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Waffle Wednesday (and a cat-nap)

Waffles. Jack and I love breakfast, and these are one of our favorite “breakfast foods”, so several years ago we declared every Wednesday to be (ta da!) Waffle Wednesday ! It takes very little to amuse us…

Anyway, since we both work from home it’s not a big deal to make a breakfast that is slightly more complicated than a bowl of cereal or defrosting muffins.. I would go through the preparation while Jack was in his office, then I would call him in to the kitchen.

For the past 5 weeks, it has not been that way.

Aware of our Waffle Schedule, my friend Jenni brought us enough waffles for the first few weeks after I broke my ankle. She made a multi-grain waffle recipe from Eating Well, then wrapped them individually and froze. Now these were excellent waffles. I didn’t realize that they could be frozen, reheated, and then still taste great. Alas, these were soon gone. As soon as I can get around the kitchen better I plan to make these repeatedly.

Today I had planned to make a pumpkin waffle recipe. In order to streamline the time it would take to prepare them in the morning I was going to mix the dry ingredients while Jack cleaned up the dinner dishes last evening. Unfortunately, when he went to the basement shelves to find a can of pumpkin, there was none.

I am also out of the pancake/waffle mix which I make in large quantities from a Mollie Katzen recipe.

And so we were left with a store-bought buttermilk pancake/waffle mix. Not bad, but not as healthy as we would like. I added some oat bran, a bit of baking powder & soda, cinnamon, cornstarch (my secret ingredient for making light waffles) and plain yogurt to bump up the nutrition quotient. The result was a nice crisp waffle, relatively low in fat (for a waffle!) with a bit of fiber. Not bad at all for a mix!

Um, a very plain waffle photo... Jack wanted to place a grape in each of the recesses!

Add-To-The-Mix Waffles

1 ¼ cups buttermilk pancake/waffle mix

⅓ cup oat bran

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon cornstarch

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix in a medium bowl.

Into a one-cup measure, spoon ⅓ cup plain fat-free yogurt. Add water to the ¾ cup mark. Mix well, then add more water to the one cup mark. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

Pour the water mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring slowly with a whisk. You may need more water. Now, here is the tricky part. The oat bran, as it sits, will absorb moisture so you need to make a rather thin batter. Not watery, but thin. Mix just until ingredients are combined and allow to sit for 5 minutes to thicken. Check and add a little more water if necessary, only (gently!) stirring enough to incorporate. Allow the batter to rest for another 5 minutes while the waffle iron heats up. You can’t hurry this 10 minutes’ worth of resting or there will be little crunchy bits of oat bran in your waffle!

Hopefully, you have made waffles before and know the consistency which the batter needs to be in. It will be slightly thinner than pancake batter but not at all runny.

This recipe makes 3 Belgian-style waffles.

Spooky, for a probably-around-12-year-old cat, is quite active. He has also had to adjust to my immobility since I was the one who would play with him and, yes you are reading this correctly, take him for walks. Having to take care of the house and meals, Jack simply doesn’t have the time. So I have put together some interactive toys for him which I can use from a seated position. His favorite seems to be a long thin dowel on to which I have attached a plastic handle with a bunch of feathers at the end. Or, rather, there were a bunch of feathers at the end. It’s currently down to two, and Jack will have to pick up a replacement feather-toy when he goes out grocery-shopping tomorrow.

So Spooky has had to increase his nap time. This is probably not too difficult for him. :)

He is stretched out behind me, on a pad on the living room radiator. I can’t resist ending this post with a cute “cat sleeping” photo.

Foodie BlogRoll and... I've been tagged!

Well. Two things happened recently which are pushing me to my limits of blogging knowledge. Yes, I have been writing this blog for a year now but up until now I have been a “write, post, go elsewhere” blogger. It has only been since I injured myself and am now faced with several potentially idle hours each day that I’ve discovered how fun it is to read other food blogs. And what’s really cool-- when I finish reading some posts in a blog, marking recipes as I go, then click onto another blog whose information is displayed at the first blog, then I’ve discovered a whole new person with new information and recipes!

First, I am now a member of the Foodie Blogroll which is a large list of links to other food blogs. I am finding this very dangerous since I lose all track of time as I click on links and read, read, read. I have to get these broken bones healed so I can get back into the kitchen soon. The “to try” pile of recipes is getting huge!

Second, I have been “tagged”! I had absolutely no idea what that meant until it happened. And there are rules as well, which are:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names, linking to them.
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Laura, whom I am familiar with from the Cooking Light forums, tagged me and I visited her blog . I am wondering how I managed to have missed this one— she posts a lot of information and recipes featuring Asian cuisine; Thai being my favorite. I anticipate finding a lot of new recipes in this blog.

I am, however, a bit stumped by the five facts which I am supposed to share. I am not looking for compliments here, but I simply am not that interesting. Deep breath, here goes:

1) I love to entertain. I love every part of the process—the planning, the cleaning and decorating, the cooking, the actual event itself. I even like cleaning up afterward because the adrenaline is still coursing through me and Jack and I discuss what all happened during the evening. I am quite at a pinnacle of happiness when the event is in full-swing and I can step back, see everyone enjoying themselves, and think “wow!”.

2) I can tear apart a 6’ x 3’, 140+-year-old wooden frame window, totally strip it down then rebuild it to be just as sturdy as the day it was installed (including cutting new glass panes); and have it all completed in 4 days. I’ve done this to most of our 21 windows.

3) Our cat, Spooky, is Master. I am Slave.

4) It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I finally tasted (and loved) olives, artichokes, goat cheese, gorgonzola, and avocados. It may seem like I grew up in a culinary black hole, but it really wasn’t that way. I lived in a small town until I graduated from college and wasn’t exposed to these foods or, if I was, I was a picky eater anyway and refused to try anything that was too different! Ahhh, how things can change! ;)

5) I practice frugality to the point where I think that something may be wrong with me (of course, when we have a party, that little personality quirk goes right out the window!). Does anyone else wash out plastic bags and foil to reuse them? :O

I have discovered a lot of blogs recently, and it’s difficult to choose my top 5. There are the big, well-known ones (kitchenmage, culinary in the desert, smitten kitchen, farm girl fare) which I read regularly, but I thought I’d post a few of the lesser-known blogs which I enjoy:

Cook Simple (Carrie)

Nick Snacks (Nikki)

For The Love of Cooking (Pam)

Indian Spice Trail (Sheela)