Waffles. Need we say more?

I have no idea what is wrong with me this week.  I have been allowing myself a maximum of five to six hours of sleep per night the entire week. All week I have had trouble waking up.  I have been tired, and grumpy.  My normal brainpower has been very impaired and I’ve felt horrible all week.  This morning, with no responsibilities and no expectations, I slept and slept a luxurious sleep that allowed me to wake naturally at a quarter to ten this morning.  Mmmmm.  It felt so good.  My boyfriend was very patient and did not try to wake me up.  But after I dilly dallied browsing a Gourmet magazine and the internet, the pleasant sound of my boyfriend’s guitar gave way to a low rumbling chanting of “pancakes, pancakes, pancakes, pancakes…”   It must be time for the poor guy to be fed.  Time to set to work.

 

I was reading the February issue of Gourmet this morning when I noticed that I put a crimp on a certain page weeks ago when I got it.  The page had four different kinds of breakfast yummies on it.  By some chance of fate, I had sour cream in the house (my boyfriend dislikes sour cream so we don’t use it as a topping for anything, it is usually a rare ingredient in my actual cooking).  The recipe that caught my eye was for Cardamom sour-cream waffles with lingonberry preserves.  I had all of the ingredients except lingonberry preserves.  I do however; have a really exceptional jar of raspberry and cranberry preserves, which I thought should be tart sweet enough to stand in for the berries in the recipe.  I consulted with my boyfriend and he felt adventurous enough to give them a try.

 

The recipe was a hit.  The only problem I had was my normal problem that I can’t seem to make a crispy waffle to save my life.  I’m not sure if it is me, the phase of the moon or my waffle maker but my waffles always come out soft.  I suspect it is the olive oil that I fill my mister with.  I should probably oil the waffle maker with polyunsaturated oil.  But the waffles were sooooo good anyway!

 

Boyfriend:  These are so good.  You won’t forget to write this recipe down, will you?

As I shake my head and chew, I’m thinking: I hope I’ll remember to make these again.

Boyfriend:  Aren’t you going to blog these?  Will you remember to make these?

Chewing, I get up and find the camera.  As I keep thinking, I don’t want to get up, I don’t want to let these get cold, I already blogged a couple of days ago, grrrrr….

 

Click

 

Click

 

Click….

 

Cardamom sour cream waffles

 

Cardamom Sour-Cream Waffles

Adapted from the February issue of Gourmet Magazine

 

1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp salt

1 cup lowfat milk

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp dark honey

2 large eggs

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

 

Serve the waffles with yogurt, maple syrup and preserves (lingonberry if you can find them, if not any tart berry preserves such as raspberry cranberry preserves will do nicely.  You want a good berry flavor to compliment the floral flavor of the cardamom)

Preheat your waffle iron.

 

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt.  In another bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream, vanilla, honey, eggs and melted butter.  Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just well combined.  Spray or brush the waffle iron with oil.  Cook waffles according to your waffle iron’s instructions.  Store waffles in a slightly warm oven until all of the waffles are cooked and you are ready to serve them.

     

An ode to brownies

Moo

Chapter one

 

I decided to push my luck a little this week.  What is so controversial that I feel like I have to push my luck?  Chocolate.  I love, need, want chocolate.  My boyfriend tends to avoid it.  Why?  I suspect it is childhood trauma.  In fact, I would almost say it is child abuse (but I’m just kidding you, so don’t get all riled up). 

 

Here is some background about the chocolate situation in this house.  My boyfriend grew up with a Mom who studied nutrition during a time in our history when people were very keen on health food.  She not only taught her kids that sugar was very bad but she was convinced that my DBF had an allergy to chocolate.  This could be true, he seems to be sensitive to milk so milk chocolate could be a problem… but… his Dad, I suspect, did not like chocolate and used this as an excuse to ban the substance from the house.  When the mention of chocolate comes up within the family it is jokingly referred to as that stuff nobody can eat because of my poor BF and his problem with it.  His Dad grins from ear to ear when the subject comes up.

 

Well, he has no physical problem with it.  He can eat it and I have seen him eat it and he does not get a rash, his lungs do not explode and he does not fall over in a coma.  He just doesn’t eat it because his Mom’s good habits are severely ingrained into his psyche. 

 

Chapter two

 

I missed Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend this year due to my family crisis.  My Boyfriend promised to make it up to me.  He asked me what I wanted and I told him that I wanted a box of expensive chocolate from a local chocolatier.  He obliged by buying a larger box than he would have and he filled it with half of what I would love and half of what he would want to try.  He ate 95% of his share of that box of chocolate.

 

I suspect that he has had his fill of chocolate for a while.  A box of the finest chocolate available doesn’t really stop me from wanting more chocolate.  In fact, it probably feeds a flame that should be controlled or put out. 

 

Chapter three

 

I was shopping in Trader Joes last weekend and came across a bar of unsweetened baking chocolate.  Years ago I made the fudge brownies in the Moosewood Cookbook.  They were so delicious that my sister, who isn’t the happiest human being on the planet, and her wonderful husband (who we all wish was really our family’s brother/son ‘cause he’s so fabulous) ate most of them and my sister was happy.  Really happy.  Almost an entirely different person.  She was kind to me.  This was highly unusual and a most welcome turn of events.  It was unfortunately temporary.  But hey, that is the magic of these brownies that call for unsweetened baking chocolate, which is a rarity in my cupboard.  Once I had the chocolate in hand, I immediately thought of making brownies.  I started to fantasize about what kind of brownies they would be.  Why would I do that when I have a recipe?  Well the genius thing about the Moosewood fudge brownie recipe is that Mollie Katzen leaves the details and creativity to her readers.  Like her quiche recipe, it is a template that gets you started.  She provides the means to get to a moist yet cakey, fudgy good brownie.  She gives a few suggestions how to flavor them and then your imagination can run wild from there.

 

I made some other brownies one year for Christmas.  They were filled with raspberry jam and topped with hazelnuts.  The concept was good but the result was a dry brownie:  a disappointment for sure.  When I began to brainstorm my brownies, I decided I wanted to fill them with jam.  Brandy soaked tart dried cherries sounded like a good contrast to the chocolate so cherry jam would work well for the filling.  I wanted nuts.  Pecans sounded just right.  I set about to create my wonderful concoction.

 

Chapter four

 

My boyfriend had a bite of the brownies and declared them to be perfection.  That’s all he had and he suggested I donate them to my coworkers.  I decided to do no such thing!  I ate one last night accompanied by a cold glass of milk and I took one to work with me.  Will these brownies cause contention?   Will I gain ten pounds?  Will my boyfriend secretly scarf them down himself?  Only time will tell.

 

Epilogue

 

After reading this blog post hundreds of people made these brownies.  They were all very content.

Brownies

 

Cherry, brandy soaked cherry and pecan fudge brownies

Adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

 

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

 

5 oz unsweetened bitter chocolate, melted and cooled

 

1 ¾ cups dark brown sugar

 

5 eggs

 

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

 

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached white flour

 

1 cup tart dried cherries

 

½ cup or more brandy

 

6-8 oz cherry jam

 

1 cup pecans

 

Prior to making the brownies, soak the dried cherries in the brandy.  If you use just a ½ cup brandy you may need to stir the cherries periodically as you let them soak for at least one hour to make sure all of the cherries soak up the brandy.  When you are ready to use the cherries, drain them and reserve the brandy for another use such as drinking. (It gets flavored with the dried cherries and is something you won’t want to waste).

 

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over a high simmer.  Cool the chocolate before proceeding with the recipe.

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, F.

 

Butter a 9”x13” pan

 

Cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Add vanilla and then beat in the melted chocolate and the flour.  With a spoon or spatula, fold in the drained cherries and the pecans.

 

Spoon half of the batter into the pan smoothing the surface so that the batter covers the entire pan.  Spoon the cherry jam all over the top of the batter, carefully spreading it over the top of the batter so that most bites of  your brownies should get some jam.  Spread the remaining batter over the jam.

 

Bake the brownies for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool the brownies and then cut into squares.

  

On my way back to normal

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Over the past few weeks, this has been anything but a food blog and my diet has been anything but healthy.  During the weeks I was away, my Mom and I ate a lot of restaurant/fast food and hospital food.  The stress made us too tired to take care of ourselves properly and there was really no time to take care of the day-to-day chores like grocery shopping and cooking.  My Dad is back at home now and getting stronger every day.  I called him a couple of days ago and asked him how he was.  He boisterously replied “TERRIFIC!!!”  Which is his standard answer to that standard question.  I instantly knew things were now normal.  Things will be o.k.

 

I have been cooking a few things since I have gotten back but we have gotten into a bad restaurant habit again.  Work has been stressful since I have been back so I have been easing my personal life slowly back to that place called normal. 

 

Today was the first day I really felt home.  It was the first day that I really got excited about getting back into the kitchen.  I woke up and wanted to make pancakes.  If you have been browsing around this blog, you know that Saturday mornings mean breakfast at my home.  Saturdays are all about sleeping in late and then settling into a yummy plate of something sweet or savory and very filling, a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and a mug of something hot, bitter and steamy.

 

I wanted pancakes and after brushing off the remnants of a strange dream where I was traveling somewhere on a Greyhound bus and my Mother was loading an unending supply of plastic bags of groceries onto the bus for me, my mind was ready to use the energy from that dream state and come up with something beautiful in the real world.  For some reason, I began to think of carrot cake and how wonderful pancakes would be if they were carrot cake instead.  I found a small bunch of thin, sweet carrots in the vegetable drawer of our fridge.  They were too small to peel, so I scrubbed them well and shredded them.  Using a favorite recipe for sweet potato pancakes as a general roadmap, I came up with some fragrant dried fruit and vegetable pancakes that take getting your first serving of vegetables for the day to another plain of experience altogether.

 

Carrot Cake Pancakes

 

2 cups of shredded carrots

 

2 tsp. finely grated orange peel

 

2 large eggs, beaten

 

2 cups milk

 

1 cup currants

 

4 tbsp olive oil

 

1 tbsp dark honey

 

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

 

4 tsp baking powder

 

1 tsp salt

 

2 tsp cinnamon

 

¼ tsp nutmeg

 

¼ tsp ginger powder

 

½ tsp allspice

 

Butter for frying

 

Maple-cinnamon yogurt (recipe follows)

 

Toasted Walnuts

 

In a large bowl, combine shredded carrots, orange peel, eggs, milk, currants, olive oil and honey.  In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.  Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.  Let the batter stand for at least ten minutes.  (This will result in a fluffier pancake with softer currants).  If using an electric griddle, preheat the griddle to 350 degrees F.  Melt butter onto griddle surface.  Ladle batter onto griddle.  Cook pancakes until bubbles form and the edges begin to dry out about 3-4 minutes.  Turn pancakes.  Cook second side until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes more.

 

This recipe makes a lot of pancakes, even with a large electric griddle you will need to make two batches.  Keep the first batch warm in a covered dish or a preheated 200 degree F. oven  Serve these with Maple Cinnamon Yogurt, Maple Syrup and toasted walnuts to get the full effect of carrot cake for breakfast.

 

Maple-Cinnamon Yogurt

Maple-cinnamon yogurt

1 cup of plain nonfat yogurt

 

1 tsp ground cinnamon

 

1 tsp maple syrup

 

 Combine yogurt, cinnamon and maple syrup with a whisk until smooth.

Take a hike with me

I used to love to hike.  That was before I got a sedentary  job and then another sedentary job and promotions to more sedentary jobs.  My boyfriend has never let himself get unhealthy.  He is quite active.  I’m not.  He always asks me to hike with him.  My answer is usually, “ummmmmmm…..”.  The reason why boils down to the fact that I get halfway through a hike and my head turns hot and red and feels as if it is going to blow off.  This happens because my fit partner hikes at his speed, lets me stop occasionally to breath or drink water and then keeps going at his speed.  Today I learned how to get through a hike.  Bring a camera.  The time it takes to set up a shot is just the right amount of time to slow things down so that I can endure more hills and more distance. 

Trail

A favorite hike of ours here in Santa Barbara is Rattlesnake Canyon.  Some Southern California hikes can be dry and hot.  This hike follows a creekbed that has some water all year long.  The water supports a lot of pretty trees and vegetation.

Flowers

We had gotten a lot of rain over the past couple of weeks so flowers were blooming and the creek was running.  There were many pretty waterfalls to see.

Waterfuall

At a certain point in the trail, before you begin to gain a lot of elevation, there is a view of the hills above you.  There is a monastery up there and a few other homes, but I always like to see this round house.  It is further up the trail and by itself.  Something about the architecture and the landscape reminds me of some place older like the mediteranean.

Round House

Once you climb in elevation enough, you get a view of the city below, the ocean and the fog shrouded channel islands

View

As we hiked higher and higher, we saw so many pretty flowers blooming happily because of the moisture from the storm and the warmth of the first springlike day.

flowers3.jpg

Everything was so pretty and I felt happy to be up there after weeks of stress and worry. 

flowers2.jpg

Even the trees were in bloom.

Flowers4

Life is good.

Mimi’s Meme

MimiMeme

Let’s be distracted together. 

 

I have been trying really hard to make virtual friends in the Blogosphere but the idea of jumping in and playing with my new friends and potential new friends has been a little intimidating.  Joining in on blogging events, you know, the ones where you do something like bake a treat each month was too much commitment for me.  I’m a little bit of a commitment-o-phobe.  I have been dreading that little thing called a Meme since I first discovered blogging.  It’s not that I don’t like to share things about my personal life; it’s just that I like to share what I want to share.

 

But I need a distraction from my problems.

 

Dylan from Sourdough Monkey Wrangler is my best blogging friend so far.  We have a shared love of goopy, gloppy, fermented things.  Dylan must have sensed something was up here at Delectable Tidbits when he didn’t see me posting as frequently as usual and he decided to tag me with my first Meme.  How can I say no to Dylan?  But wowsa!  What a Meme this is!  I needed to come up with 5 sordid facts about myself.  OK.  Deep breath.  Here goes.  Distraction is a good thing.  Distraction is a good thing…

 

First the rules:

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.
 And now without any further interruptions, 5 sordid facts about Mimi 

  1. I am debilitatingly shy.  If I don’t know you, I won’t have much to say to you.  I really want to meet you and have a big exciting intellectual conversation or maybe even just small talk but I can’t help it. I just clam up.  Therefore, I tend to love people who are the opposite of me (as long as they are nice people).  If you are friendly, funny and outgoing enough to talk to anyone you see, I will gladly gravitate towards you.  Unfortunately, you won’t notice me because I am the boring person who keeps annoyingly staring at you while my lower lip quivers as I keep trying to think of something to say to you.  It’s really a shame because I have a decent sense of humor.  People seem to like me if they ever get the chance to talk to me.
  2. I hide chocolate.  I don’t know where this behavior comes from but I do!  I hide chocolate!  When my boyfriend and I were first dating, I offered him some of my hidden candy.  If I remember the situation correctly, it was in a bag of candy under my bed.  He thought it was very strange that I would have candy stashed away.  He liked me anyway.  We are still together after a couple of decades.
  3. I am an orchid killer.  Not too long ago, I used to be an orchid addict; I owned a couple of thousand dollars worth of really nice plants.  My interest in them completely dissipated.  I was really depressed a few months ago and nearly stopped taking care of them.  Recently, after two weeks of not watering them and then three weeks sitting in a hospital waiting room, more of these orchids than I care to think about are dead.  Here is what they looked like when I loved them.  Don’t tell my estranged friends at the Garden Web orchid forum.  Shhhhhhh!
  4. I am a terrible housekeeper.  Even though I love to cook and you would think I would love to feed people, this problem coupled with sordid fact number one keeps me from inviting anyone over.  Ever.
  5. I love animals but I tend to dominate them.  When I was a kid, I used to catch things, mostly bugs and reptiles.  I taught my dog to pull me by his neck while I glided along behind him on my skates, I taught him to climb a tree and jump over our fence to escape (he was too lazy to escape on his own, he only did so on command).  I had an Amazon parrot that I taught to lay upside down in my cupped hands (play dead).  I used to make houses out of shoeboxes complete with doors and plastic windows and put my parakeets inside.  They would stare out the windows and chirp at me.  They loved to chew their way out.  My Rabbit would roll balls back and forth to me.  My guppy learned to hang out in my hand and my flounder would do back flips out of his tank and into my hand.  Before you get all PETA on me in the comments.  They all loved me and no animals were actually harmed in the making of this entertainment.

 

Memes are like chain letters or viruses so let’s pass this one along.  Tag you’re it:

 

  1. I’ll shoot this meme up to Alaska and ask my new friends, the Arctic Carbivores to share some sordid details with us
  2. Hey Germany!  Scholli2000, do you have 5 sordid facts for us?  (This blog is in German so here is a link to Google translate if you need it. It doesn’t work very well, but the results can be amusing)
  3. I love reading the Diary of a new old-fashioned Gal.  Normally, there’s nothing sordid happening there, just a fun read with good solid writing.  Let’s see what sort of sordid details we can get out of Becca
  4. I’ve never seen a meme on Baking with Sourdough Starters but hopefully Teresa will play along with us.
  5. Another blog that is the home of a wonderful writer is Baking and Books so I’ll tag Ari as well.