Saturday, April 27, 2013

Strawberry Buttermilk Waffles With Wanna-Be Strawberry Coulis

Sunday is waffle day in our house.

When I was growing up it was always pancake day, but Geeky Dude is not a pancake fan unless they're full of stuff, like chocolate chips or fruit, and even then he's hard pressed to love them because they get soggy too quickly. 

Waffles on the other hand are the creme de la creme of the breakfast foods that you can smother in butter, powdered sugar and maple syrup. (This is actually a lie, waffles are a second to crepes, which I have not attempted to make despite having received a very nice crepe-type-pan (I actually think it's a fajita pan, but it would totally work for crepes!) last Christmas from Geeky Dude's sister. Geeky Dude's mom is an epic crepe maker and there really is just no living up to that). 

This whole wedding thing has been so very stressful on...well...everyone and Geeky Dude has been amazing, so I promised him waffles this weekend. He of course didn't want to wait until Sunday once I even suggested the idea so I woke up bright and early this morning and went out to the store while he slept in to purchase some key ingredients we were missing. 

The recipe is our go-to from our favorite food blogger, Deb over at Smitten Kitchen however, after making it several times, I've adapted it ever so slightly. 

Like our awesome plates? I'll link to the potter at the end of this post!

Strawberry Buttermilk Waffles with Wanna-Be Strawberry Coulis

Serves 4 to 6
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 cups buttermilk* or 1 1/2 cups sour cream or plain yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint strawberries, hulled, purred and set aside
Canola or other neutral oil for brushing on waffle pan (I used Pam baking spray)

Combine the dry ingredients. 

Mix, Black Betty, Mix!!!

Mix together the buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt, egg yolks and 1/2 of the strawberry puree (or as I like to call it wanna-be coulis). It will look like funky strawberry milk. I don't recommend trying to drink it, however. 

Mmm, buttermilk strawberry milk!

Stir in the butter and vanilla.
Brush the waffle iron lightly with oil and preheat it. 
Stir the wet into the dry ingredients
Beat the egg whites with the whisk or electric mixer (You will hate life if you are not using an electric mixer) until they hold soft peaks. Stir them gently into the batter.

Spread a ladleful or so (depending on the size of your waffle iron) of batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. 

Cook me!!
Serve immediately with remaining "coulis" and maple syrup or keep warm for a few minutes in a low oven.

* The buttermilk can be substituted with 1 1/4 cups of milk at room temperature, mixed with two tablespoons white vinegar, left to clabber for 10 minutes.

Pottery courtesy of  Brickyard Pottery

My Grandma's Baked Mac and Cheese

Every holiday or birthday when my Grandmother was still alive it was a tradition, she would ask us "What do you want me to make for "such and such" and without fail we would always answer "baked mac and cheese, baked mac and cheese!!"

You have to understand that her baked macaroni and cheese isn't like Stouffer's or Velveeta or some crap like that (I apologize if you like it, but seriously, my Grandma's mac and cheese is like something sent from the cheesy, starchy heavens).

She also cooked enough for an army, which is I suppose, where I get it from. If you Google baked mac and cheese you get many images of yummy looking dishes in "small" casserole dishes or even ramekins!

Pft, ramekins. That's for amateurs. When my Grandma made baked mac, she made it in a 7-8 qt. cast iron dutch oven. 3 POUNDS of pasta folks. That's how it's done....and let me tell you, she made the best damn mac and cheese ever. 

The worst thing about trying to get the recipe from a Grandma is that they never write anything down....or measure anything, have you noticed that?

"Oh, I just throw a little of this and a little of that until it tastes right!" 

Thanks Grandma....that's helpful to your 15 year old granddaughter who can't cook worth a damn....Luckily,  your now 29 year old granddaughter has learned a few things and figured out the secrets of the internet and finding recipes with all the components of your original recipe and how she remembers you making and thus, can now replicate your AMAZING mac and cheese for the masses!

Before I could replicate said amazingness however....I had to get the right baking dishes. So, I went on a shopping trip for a 7.5 qt cast iron dutch oven.

Like this, but red!

She is a thing of beauty, and makes juuuuust the right amount of ooey gooey mac and cheese. However, if you're a normal person, making normal proportions and not feeding an army of hungry people and wanting leftovers for over a week....a casserole dish will work just fine :)

I could just die of happiness, right here, right now.


1 (8 ounce) package macaroni

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded good quality
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, buttered


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside.
3. In a large saucepan melt butter.
4. Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended.
5. Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly.
6. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly).
7. Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) 10 minutes.
8 .Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.
9. Turn off flame.
10. Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.
11. Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish.
12. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
13. Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Changes/Alterations: My only changes are that for my bread crumbs I use Panko bread crumbs which I toast with butter in a frying pan until golden brown before step 12. Also, while using cream makes it oh so deliciously creamy...holy heart attack waiting to happen! I replace the whole milk and cream with straight up 2% milk and it's still amazing. Yum! This recipe is for 4 servings. If you are like me, quadruple all ingredients to feed an army with leftovers. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

When you have 10 lbs of Mung Beans.....

You have way, way too many mung beans....obviously.

What would possess a person, you might ask to have so many mung beans? Well, that's a good question. You see, as I might have mentioned before (*scoff*) I'm getting married, and mung beans are actually quite pretty, so I got it into my ridiculous little head that it would be a good idea to use them as decor.

The unfortunate thing about buying mung beans in bulk is that you have to get them in 25lb increments. While that seemed like a fantastic thing at the time, because hey, I would use 25 lbs of mung beans to decorate with, right? As it turns wasn't, and I didn't. I am with 10 lbs of mung beans and not a huge plethora of recipes to choose from in my repertoire, because...well...I'm white.

So with that I decided to scour Pinterest for some Mung Bean recipes. I was lucky and found a simple one that required ingredients I already had in the kitchen (no trip to the local Asian market this time). Without further ado, I give you Mung Bean and Kale Soup! (So tasty!)

Mung Bean and Kale Soup

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup mung beans
  • 7 cups of water
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander, toasted and grind
  • salt and pepper
  • Directions
    In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the mung beans, spices, salt and pepper, stir well to combine. Add water, cover and cook until the beans are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Check the beans after 20 minutes to make sure they have enough water. When the beans are ready, taste and adjust salt and liquid if needed. Add the kale and cook for 5 minutes more. Serve with bread

    .***Changes/Alterations*** We used 3-4 cups of kale, 6 cups of chicken stock and 3 cups of water and an entire onion rather than 1/4 an onion. We also doubled all the spices as well.  This soup was great! Loved it!!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Meatless Monday...a day or two late

I used to be a vegetarian. Actually, that's a lie. I was a Mainer. I ate fish, and seafood. Though, not copious amounts of lobster as non-Mainers seem to think we do, but enough to qualify me as a non-vegetarian. They call -those- types of vegetarians, pescetarians. (Actually,I'm lying again, because if we want to get REALLY technical, I was an ovo-lacto pescetarian, which is apparently an important distinction to some vegetarians/vegans when saying you're of that dietary preference to them...but that's another story entirely)

When I moved to Wisconsin all that ovo-lacto pescetarianism went right out the window. I blame bacon. Tasty, tasty bacon. What the hell Wisconsin? I can walk into a bar and order a basket of bacon?!? Why...I mean..who...I...what happened to just ordering french fries, people?!?!?

Yeah, I wasn't kidding- It's a real thing

Ugh, my poor arteries clog just LOOKING at that photo. So in an effort to help my poor, poor clogged arteries, I instituted meatless Monday's in my household.

The nice thing about Meatless Monday, is that when cooking for two people, you often have several days worth of leftovers, so it becomes Meatless Tuesday and Wednesday as well, therefore continuing the healthy food streak for days.

Today's recipe is delicious Red Lentil Coconut Soup adapted from Scaling Back

  • 2 cups red split lentils
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 fresh jalapeno or serrano chili, finely chopped, including seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh peeled and minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 can unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • lime wedges for serving
1) Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pan and add the onions, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables have softened and start to take on some color.  
2) Add the garlic, ginger, spices and tomato paste and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the mixture is toasty and fragrant.  
3) Add the water, coconut milk, lentils and chickpeas and cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes adding the lime juice at the end of cooking.  
4) Taste and adjust with more salt or more lime juice if desired.  
5) Serve with some extra limes on the side.

Changes/Adaptations- The original recipe called for cilantro. I completely omitted this ingredient because cilantro is the devil. Feel free to add it back in if you would like to (it's a garnish with the lime at the end).  I doubled both the onion and the red pepper as this my second time making it and I was disappointed the first time at how little the pepper was showcased in the soup. Two bell peppers was perfect. I also added a second jalepeno for an extra kick of spice. The end result was amazing!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Apple, Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble

Before moving to Wisconsin I had never baked a cake from scratch in my life. I undertook my first cake from Smitten Kitchen for Geeky Dude's 30th birthday, a chocolate cake with peanut butter cream cheese frosting and a chocolate ganche glaze...3-layers. No big deal, or anything.

Amazingly, the cakes didn't fall, the chocolate ganache didn't seize up, and the cream cheese frosting wasn't lumpy. I had succeeded, and thus began my love for baking...and my stalking of Deb over at Smitten Kitchen....because seriously, her recipes are amazing.

Today's recipe is an adaptation of her Pear Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble which I've also made and found amazing. I didn't have pears, however so I changed it to apples and made an Easter Apple Crumble which everyone gobbled up with some vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Soooo tasty!

Apple, Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup  granulated sugar
1/4 cup  packed dark or light brown sugar
1 cup gingersnap crumbs (about 16 cookies)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon table salt
Pinch of white pepper, important if your gingersnaps aren't particulary...gingersnapish? (White pepper is used for looks, if you don't have it you can use regular black pepper)
1/2 cup  unsalted butter, melted and cooled

This is the hard way...the easy way is with a food processor
3 pounds granny smith apples (about 5 fairly large apples)
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoon cornstarch

Just a few ingredients on the way to tasty!

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, gingersnap crumbs, ginger and salt. Stir in the melted butter until large crumbs form.

In a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish, mix the pears, cranberries, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together then toss it with the fruit mixture in the pan. 

Sprinkle the gingersnap crumble over the fruit. Set the crumble on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake it for about 45 minutes, until the crumble is a shade darker and you see juices bubbling through the crumbs.

***Changes/Alterations***  We didn't have ground ginger. Oops! Oh well, we added extra gingersnap crumbs and it was still quite tasty. :)