Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Part Whole Wheat Eggnog Buttermilk Waffles

These super-delicious eggnog waffles are fluffy, tangy and have a perfectly crisp exterior. They're an ideal weekend breakfast for those cold days when you want to hunker down and savor something decadent.

If you don't have eggnog, just omit it and use all buttermilk. They'll still be killer.

Part Whole Wheat Eggnog Buttermilk Waffles
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 Tablespoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup eggnog
4 Tablespoons salted butter, melted (plus more to grease the waffle iron)
2 large organic eggs, separated
a pinch of cream of tartar

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees so you can transfer the waffles in there to stay warm as you make them. 

Heat your waffle iron and set a little butter by it's side with a brush or paper towel so you can grease the iron between each waffle.

Whisk the flours, cornmeal, salt and baking soda together and set aside.

Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a medium/large bowl for later whisking.

In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk and eggnog. Add the butter in a stream, whisking briskly. Whisk in the egg yolks, so everything is well combined.

Add a pinch of cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat them with a whisk or mixer until stiff peaks form.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until just combined. Fold in the whites being careful not to lose too much air. It's ok if there are some streaks/lumps in the batter. 

Ladle the batter into your hot waffle iron. A regular size iron will cook about 3/4 cup worth of batter into a full sized waffle. These days the smaller, asymmetrical waffle is the style, so feel free to experiment to get the look you like. 

Cook each waffle for up to 4 minutes until golden and then transfer to your warmed oven racks. Be careful not to overlap them so they won't get soggy. 

I served mine with slabs of cold salted butter (there must be at least a visible speck of butter on each bite for it to be perfect), grade B maple syrup (our preference), and bacon.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

At last! Here's what I've been baking for 9 months!

After 9 months of baking, her timer went off on January 11, 2014 at 11:25am! Welcome to the world, Freya Corinne! 

Simple Black Beans and Rice

One of my favorite go-to dinners is black beans and rice. It's super healthy but absolutely provides that comfort food fix. It's also very versatile and can be made ahead of time.
I usually forget to soak my beans overnight, so when I want to make them I just cover them in water, bring them to a boil, cut off the heat, rinse them very well (crucial for the reduction of later gastrointestinal discomfort), and cover them with fresh cool water which I let simmer vigorously for about 45 min to 2 hours. The required cooking time for beans really depends on the type you buy. Goya will lean more towards the two-hour mark while better quality brands like Rancho Gordo will cook up closer to 45 minutes. 

The one to three some-odd hours required for cooking beans seems crazy at first (I mean heck, I can't even seem to remember to soak them overnight in the first place) but very little of that is active cooking time and it's so worth it (cheaper, yummier, healthier). Once you get the hang of it, you'll be hooked.

You can and should add lots of different vegetables and spices to your beans at the start of cooking (after the initial boil and rinse) as these ingredients will flavor the beans and liquid and make for some spectacular dinners. Canned beans be damned!

Here's what I added to this batch.

Simple Black Beans
Yield: About 5-6 cups of beans
1 package dried black beans
1 large red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
2 Tablespoons ground coriander
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon oregano
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon hot chili powder, I used a very hot chipotle powder from Frontier

Add all the ingredients to a pot after the initial boil and rinse. Simmer on low heat for about 1 hour to 1 1/2 until the beans are tender. Taste them occasionally to check for doneness and to adjust flavors as needed. 

Cook your rice per the package instructions and serve everything hot along with any or all of the following: a fried egg, salsa, a chimichurri-esque herb sauce, chopped cilantro, guacamole, a wedge of lime, sour cream, crema, crumbled farmer's cheese or plain (Greek) yogurt. 


Thursday, January 2, 2014

All Purpose Chimichurri-Esque Sauce!

This is an, I have a ton of herbs and not enough time to use them before they go bad sauce, and it is delicious. It's also raw and loaded with nutrients.

It's akin to a chimichurri in that it has lime juice and cilantro, but the flavors can go toward the Latin or the Mediterranean, hence it's all-purpose-ness. It tastes wonderful over rice and beans, eggs, tossed over couscous or pasta and, of course, as is traditional in Argentina, slathered over grilled meats. 

This sauce is super easy. The hardest part is cleaning the food processor afterwards, which is actually pretty easy. If you don't have a food processor, you can also use a mortar and pestle or molcajete to romantically coax the sauce into existence. You can also simply chop everything finely and mix/mash it together with a fork. No rules y'all. Bottom line, these kinds of raw sauces/pestos are super easy and should not be avoided. They add a fresh, light quality to any dish you serve them with and they are a super-food level condiment.

All Purpose Chimichurri-esque Sauce 
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 red or white onion, roughly chopped (you can also use 4-5 scallions here)
the juice of 1 1/2 to 2 limes, to taste
1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
about 4 cups of herbs/greens - I used cilantro, basil, parsley and a handful of spinach (note that you can also use fresh oregano, arugula, watercress, name it!)
1/4 cup olive oil or any oil you prefer
approx. 1/8 cup filtered water

Add everything to your food processor (see other method notes above) and run until you get a pesto-like consistency. The sauce lasts for about a week in the fridge and can also be frozen for up several months.