Thursday, January 12, 2012

Homemade Buttermilk Waffles

Traditional homemade buttermilk waffles make a great breakfast for dinner option! Glass of wine optional. But recommended.

Food Lust People Love: Traditional homemade buttermilk waffles make a great breakfast for dinner option! Glass of wine optional. But recommended.

I’ve got to start out by saying, I am not a breakfast person.  Now that doesn’t mean that I am not a morning person, because I absolutely am.  Cup of coffee and I am good to go.  I just think that Western breakfast foods like eggs and pancakes and waffles are mere convention and other cultures would rarely eat those things, even for breakfast.  

I was delighted when I first traveled to Asia in 1981 and the hotel breakfast buffet included fried rice, fried noodles, various curries and even bowls of chopped chilies to add on to all three. My favorite breakfast is dinner from the night before. Leftover whatever: pork chops, curry, spaghetti Bolognese.  All joy on my morning plate.  That said, occasionally we do have conventional breakfast for dinner!  Which complicates matters for my breakfast the next morning. But never you mind.

First fry up some bacon. Not too crispy.  You want to be able to chew on it.  Okay, that’s how I like it.  Make it crispy if you must.

Then make up some homemade buttermilk waffles.  Glass of wine optional.

1 3/4 cups or 220g flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda or bicarbonate of soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 cups or 475ml buttermilk or 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and milk up to the two-cup or 475ml measure.
1/3 cup or 78ml salad oil
2 eggs

Preheat your waffle maker as per manufacturer’s instructions.  

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. 

Add in the buttermilk (or milk/vinegar mixture which is an excellent substitute for buttermilk) and salad oil and the eggs. Beat until thoroughly blended.

Pour batter into the center of the lower half of the waffle maker, being careful to leave room for when the batter spreads out as you lower the lid and also for when the waffle starts to bake when rising. 

Close the lid and watch for the signal that your waffle is cooking.  On my waffle maker, the light goes green when it is ready for batter, red when it is cooking and then green again when the waffle is ready. 

I leave the waffle in just a little bit longer after the light turns green so the waffles are nice and crispy.  Yes, I know, limp bacon, but crispy waffles.  I am a woman of contradictions.

Food Lust People Love: Traditional homemade buttermilk waffles make a great breakfast for dinner option! Glass of wine optional. But recommended.

Serve with butter and syrup with bacon on the side. And your preferred beverage.  Enjoy!  

Food Lust People Love: Traditional homemade buttermilk waffles make a great breakfast for dinner option! Glass of wine optional. But recommended.

Pin these homemade buttermilk waffles! 

Food Lust People Love: Traditional homemade buttermilk waffles make a great breakfast for dinner option! Glass of wine optional. But recommended.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Creamy Broccoli Soup

Finally, soup weather!  For the last 10 years we have been living in equatorial Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.  And while KL is near and dear to my heart, and Singapore holds a special place as our very first overseas posting as a married couple, frankly, the weather doesn’t change much.  We had rainy and warm, and less rainy and warm.   So for a soup person like me, really rainy days become soup days.   But Cairo is cold right now! (I had to go out and buy slippers and I can tell you, although you might not believe me, I chose the most demure ones on offer.) This is one of my favorite soups and it’s the starter for dinner tonight, since IT’S SOUP WEATHER HERE.  Simple, easy and delicious.

Biggest broccoli ever - almost 1 kg or 2lbs
One head of broccoli
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 chicken or vegetarian stock cube
Sea salt
Black pepper

Cut the stem off of the broccoli as close to the florets as you can.  Then trim closer so you have only little bitty “heads” of broccoli left.

Peel the stem pieces by cutting into the stem just inside the hard outside and pulling down to pull the outside off.  It should come right off easily, like stringing a piece of celery.

Good inside stem to the left.  Hard outer peel to the right. 
Whenever I am chopping broccoli, Beso waits patiently. Usually he gets the stems. Sorry, buddy, not tonight. 

Chop the stem into small pieces.  Put the stem and half of the florets into a pot and cover them with water.  Add your stock cube and bring to a boil on the stove.  

They were covered!  They are just floating now. 
Turn the fire down to medium and cook until the broccoli is turning to mush.   Take it off the stove and allow to cool slightly.  We are going to blend this and we don’t want to burn ourselves.

Meanwhile, cut your larger florets in halves or quarters, depending on how big they are.  You are looking for bite-sized pieces that won’t take long to cook through. 

Using a hand blender or a regular blender, puree the cooked broccoli until smooth.

Put it back on the fire and heat till just boiling.  Add in the remaining florets and cook until they are done to your satisfaction.  Some people want them still a little crunchy; some want them tender. 

Add in your 1/4 cup cream – or more or less, as you like.  Stir and taste, adding salt, if needed and a good grind or two of fresh black pepper.

Serve with an additional drizzle of cream.  Enjoy!

And here are my slippers.  Go ahead, judge me. You didn't see the other choices.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bacony Garlicky Carrots and Green Beans

We are in Cairo and counting our blessings.  Not the least of which is having internet again.  And a Carrefour hypermarket about 20 minutes away from our new home.  

Years and years and years ago, we lived in a little oilfield town on the island of Borneo, called Balikpapan.  When I would tell people the name, they would say, “Oh, Bali!”  And I would have to reply, “Don’t I wish!”  They were worlds apart.  We didn’t really have a proper grocery store and there was no fresh milk or cheese unless we managed to get into the Huffco commissary, and even there, shipments arrived so sporadically that I caught them covering the expiration labels with future dates so that they could sell old stuff that had somehow just arrived or hadn’t sold.  We ordered meat from Jakarta and it came frozen, packed in dry ice.  There was only one decent restaurant at one decent hotel, the Benakutai. And the vegetables in the market were limited to local greens, potatoes, carrots and green beans. 

But you know what, those were two wonderful years!  Elder daughter was born while we lived there (not actually THERE, of course) and I made great friends.  One of them was an old friend of my mother-in-law’s from Peru named Clara Hart.  A sweeter, more gentle person, you could never hope to meet.  She showed me around and told me all of the places to get things we needed.  She tried to teach me Bridge, bless her.  She was also my pass to the Huffco commissary, until Vico took over and they finally made it open to the public just before I left Balikpapan.

I picked up this recipe from her.  I don’t know if I make it just like she did but this is how I remember her dish and how I have been making it ever since.  This is one of the things that gives me hope when I move to a new place, that I have gained something from every friend over the years and that gain accompanies me forever, even in a new place like Cairo, where I don’t know many people yet.  There will be much to gain here.  I just need to be patient.

250g or 1/2 pound green beans
1 good-sized carrot or two small ones
2 slices of bacon
2 cloves garlic
Olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper (optional)

Cut the stem ends off of the green beans.  Holding your knife at an angle, cut the beans into more manageable pieces.

Peel your carrot and cut it into pieces about the size of your green beans.  Rinse the green beans and carrots in a colander.

Slice the garlic very thinly.  Cut the bacon into little strips.

Fry the bacon and garlic in a little olive oil until semi-crispy making sure not to let the garlic burn.

Tip in the green beans and carrots.  Give the whole pot a good sprinkle of salt, black pepper and cayenne, if desired.  (I’m pretty sure that the cayenne is my addition and that Clara would have used only black pepper.)

 Cook, covered, until you are happy with the tenderness of your vegetables.

 The last two nights I was cooking with only the one saucepan and pot I had bought at Carrefour on the house hunting trip, so no lid.  But our AIR SHIPMENT ARRIVES TODAY! YAY!
 Give them a quick taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary before serving.  Enjoy!

The complete meal included mashed potatoes and roast chicken with onion gravy.
On biodegradable plates bought in Singapore. :) 

Here's a photo from our Balikpapan days.  Let's see how many people read all the way to the bottom!

With us is our first Boxer, Bogus (his father named him!) who traveled from Houston to Abu Dhabi to
Balikpapan to Paris. It's good to have a Boxer on one's traveling journeys.