You’re going to want waffles in 12 hours, right?


I ate a Liege Waffle from a food truck at a festival a few weeks ago. Oh my gosh! Rich, and sweet, with little nuggets of pearled sugar. I only had enough tickets to get a plain one (By the way, I hate the tickets at a festival thing- you have to stand in line for tickets, then stand in line for food, then you have either too many, or not enough.) But even the plain one was delicious.
It made me want to research the whole Belgian Yeast-raised waffle deal. I went to Smitten Kitchen  and the scary thing was just how much fat these things have. I’m not against fat, if you can take it, but we’ve got some health issues around here. Pancreas don’t care if it’s butter, or coconut oil, or crude oil, too much is too much. These recipes call for (full stick?) of butter. Ummmm…that winds up being more than Kate’s allotment for the whole day in one waffle.

mmmm...waffles

mmmm…waffles

Now, I have played with fat reduction and replacements in baked goods- apple sauce makes waffles a bit too sticky, so I decided to try pumpkin. And as long as the waffles are orange…why not add pumpkin pie spice? The pumpkin adds moisture and replaces some of the fat- notice that these are low fat, not non. You could use egg whites, and no butter at all. We tried one batch that way with apple sauce, and they were disappointing. I mean, we still ate them, but if you are standing over a waffle iron, you want something worth your time.
The ingredient that has me stumped in these recipes is the pearled sugar- it was in the festival waffles from the waffle truck, but it is not a pantry staple for me. Maybe it should be… anyone know where to get it?
So, the set up the night before, is to make a sour dough, essentially. I have done sourdough before, with a jar on the counter, then in the fridge, then you periodically make a loaf of bread…I have gotten off the sourdough treadmill, honestly. My kids don’t like sourdough bread much, and I don’t like it enough to have a loaf every week. But a facebook comment from a friend who makes sourdough waffles made me think about getting back on the treadmill- I wouldn’t have to make bread every week, I could do waffles, or pancakes… that’s another blog post.

Lowfat Pumpkin Waffles
1/4 cup warm water
packet yeast
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted, then cooled
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1/4 cup canned pumpkin ( I used the kind with pie spice mixed in already)
2 teaspoons baking powder
Bloom the yeast in the warm water, stir in the milk, butter and the flour. Let rise overnight (or during the day- brinner, am I right?)  When ready to make waffles, beat an egg, add the baking powder, egg and pumpkin to the flour, yeast and milk mixture. The batter will be pretty runny. Cook according to your waffle iron directions. I love these topped with peanut butter and apricot preserves, the kids eat with syrup, obviously.

(does anyone know where to get the pearled sugar? the interwebs tell me Ikea has it, but I really don’t want to go all the way to Ikea for sugar?)

Edited to add: scouts report (no, really, actual scouts, like they have uniforms and everything) that the Ikea south of Denver (is it technically the town of Superior?) does not have pearled sugar. Any ideas?

Mocha Borgia


IMG_0328While in Taos on vacation, I had a Mocha Borgia at a communist cafe there (not so communist that it the coffee didn’t cost 4 dollars- to each according to his need didn’t extend to “this woman really needs a good cup of coffee”, and maybe it was just “progressive”- there were sure a lot of bumper stickers on the ceiling). The Mocha Borgia was a latte with chocolate syrup and orange zest. When I read it on the menu board, I visualized a sprinkle of orange zest, rather than the worm-like pieces of peel they topped the drink with, that snaked out through the drinkhole of the plastic lid (drinkhole? is that a word?). I sat on the bench on the porch, with the kids, waiting for DH to track down the burrito stand where we had some amazing breakfast burritos on our honeymoon in 1996.
I sat in the sun, sipping the tasty coffee, but with every couple of sips, a little worm of orange zest would ooze out, and I didn’t want to take off the lid and fish around for the chunks, because by this time DH had found his burrito stand, purchased his burrito, caught up on old times with the owner of the burrito stand (her sister was Mary Jane, the former owner, who had sold us burritos 6 years ago when we were last in Taos, and 17 years ago.) and I was back in the car.
It got me thinking, though, chocolate and orange is such a great combination, but why not do it with extract, instead? A long time ago, Starbucks used to have a Mocha Valencia, then they got rid of it because I am apparently the only person who liked it. What about making a chocolate syrup, and using orange extract instead of vanilla?
Alton Brown has a recipe for chocolate syrup, and the only alteration I have made is to use orange extract instead of vanilla.I also didn’t have as much cocoa powder as called for, so I made a 2/3 batch, which made about 3 cups of syrup. This recipe has the original Alton Brown measurements. You could totally divide the batch, and add different extracts- peppermint, cinnamon, almond?

Alton Brown’s Chocolate Syrup

1 1/2 cups water

3 cups granulated  sugar

1 1/2 cups cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 tablespoon extract of choice (or divide the batch in 3, and use 1 teaspoon each of various flavors)

Boil water and sugar together in a small pot. Whisk in cocoa, salt and corn syrup until solids have dissolved. Cook until mixture is slightly reduced and thickened. Add extract and stir to combine. Strain into a spouted measuring cup and let cool to room temperature, then pour into squeeze bottles and refrigerate.

Chris Kimball comes through again!


Because of a need to go lower fat, I was looking to substitute the foods we love with lower fat versions.

Spaghetti and meatballs is a meal we have in the rotation regularly-for years I have just been buying a bag of frozen meatballs, and microwaving a dozen or so while the pasta water boiled.  Then I read the label, and was astonished by the amount of fat.  This was low-hanging fruit- surely I could make meatballs with less than 12 grams per serving!

I borrowed a low fat cookbook from a colleague, and made calculations and adaptations for a meatloaf recipe. I was so proud- it was only 1.5 grams of fat for an entire serving of 6 meatballs. I used texturized vegetable protein, and 95% lean ground beef, and…Ummm…yeah. They were….really…I should have taken pictures of people eating them- glum. We did eat the whole batch, but not happily.
The thing is, the good people at Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchens have done the math, and done the experimentation, and come up with a recipe for meatballs that aren’t as crazy lean as my experimental meatballs, but they are really tasty.
Because that is the thing- at only 1.5 grams of fat per serving, no one wanted to eat them. So, what’s the point?
The two secrets of CI’s recipe are buttermilk and gelatin. The buttermilk totally makes sense to me- tang and richness and mouthfeel. The gelatin was a surprise- they explained that sometimes meatballs are made with veal, which I guess naturally has more gelatin, so you get a creamy texture. It gives a velvety feeling without being greasy.
I tried them, and they are so good. The original recipe called for 2 pounds of beef, and 1 of ground pork. I didn’t want that many meatballs floating around the first time I made the recipe, so I used just 1 pound of 93% lean beef. Another modification was to use leftover Christmas ham rather than the finely chopped prosciutto called for in the original. This was pure laziness- we had the ham, didn’t want to go out for specialty deli meats.  I think the ham also adds saltiness and umami, without adding fat.  The original recipe would make around 120 meatballs, which seems like really a lot- more than my oven could handle, but I suppose if I were having a big spaghetti party, I might make that many.

(Weird note about Cook’s Illustrated/ America’s Test Kitchen- I had a dream that Chris Kimball lived in our town, and all his quirky small town New England stories were really about here, and he was giving cooking classes and we went and he wore his little bow tie and everything.)

Meatballs- based on Cook’s Illustrated, with adaptations

3/4 cups bread crumbs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup egg beaters

1 pound 93% lean ground meat

2 oz chopped ham

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons italian seasoning

1 clove pressed garlic

1 packet unflavored gelatin dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Dissolve the gelatin in water according to directions. In a large bowl, mix the buttermilk, egg and the breadcrumbs. Add the other ingredients, and mix together by hand, thoroughly incorporating the gelatin.  Form into balls- you could weigh them…I guestimated and came up with about 40 of them that seemed about the right size. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  At this point, you can bag them and put them in the freezer, or simmer some in sauce until the pasta is ready, and freeze the rest, or maybe you are having a big enough party, or you have a big enough family, to serve all of them at once.  Go for it.

Sorry, no photos…every time I cook something, I find myself admiring the photographers who take pictures of food. My photo shot of this recipe just turned up pink pasty stuff, then, you know, brown balls…of meat…