Crispy Yeasted Waffles with Cocoa Whipped Cream

yeasty waffle

Yeast isn’t sexy. I get that. But it will work to give you a better batter. Yeast makes bread happen. It improves cinnamon rolls and at times, cake. This time, yeast is here to step up your waffle game.

Embrace the yeast.

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This is another recipe from Aida Mollenkamp’s “Keys to the Kitchen” and it’s something new for us. I’d never added yeast to a waffle, but now I know it will offer up the crispiest waffle you can make at home. I’ll admit the batter is a bit fussy in the beginning, but we own a thermometer and I went along with the instructions to heat milk to a certain temperature. After that, everything’s simple. Mix nearly everything and then let the batter hang out in the fridge overnight.

That’s kind of my favorite part. By morning, most of your work is already done, and you’ll feel like you’ve treated yourself. It’s good to be good to yourself. In the morning, brew some coffee, heat your waffle iron and go.

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Braised Radishes with Shallots and Bacon

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I’m here to report that after more than two years together, Danny and I are still learning new things about each other. Thankfully.

He had the best laugh of his week yesterday in, of all places, the cleaning supply aisles of Target. I joked about toilet paper. Why the heck do people need so many options? Cozy roll? Double roll? Whatever, let’s get this 12-pack of Charmin, I said, and he laughed. Hard.

I pronounced it “CHAR-min” like chair, but apparently Danny and the rest of the world say this word with a soft “ch—” as in ‘should.’

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It felt like the time I stood at Fresh Market asking for a piece of salmon, and the lady behind the counter corrected me. The L is silent, she told me, and my face probably turned a bit red. This was not the first time it happened. I’ve always been a great speller (you’re looking at an elementary school champion!) but sometimes, I guess because of the way things are said in Spanish and the way words were pronounced in the house I grew up in, we have a salmon with a hard L situation.

Anyway, it was something new he learned about me and it was funny, and hopefully, he finds it’s part of my charm. (Couldn’t resist).

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Espresso Banana Muffins

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Just a simple breakfast muffin today because I’m grateful this morning and should be more conscious of my good fortune to wake up every day. To be here. The saying may be trite, but you really never know which day is your last. There’s no guarantee. Try to celebrate each one and find the happiness in each day. Start the day off right with a good attitude and breakfast, maybe this espresso banana muffin.

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for probably three years or so. Noelle inspired me with her resolution to try one new recipe from each of her cookbooks, which is a very good idea. Sounds simple enough, right? The truth is I haven’t tried most of the recipes in most of my cookbooks. Maybe this is the year to change that. Will you join us?

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Blood Orange-Braised Pork Shoulder

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How many blood oranges does a girl have to squeeze to get 1 1/2 cups of juice? Nine. I won’t forget it because I bought eight the day I’d braise this pork shoulder and on the last orange, the juice squirted into the bowl, yes, but also across onto the page that held this recipe, christening this new cookbook of mine. As if to say, no, you’re gonna need that other regular orange in the fridge, too. Nine it is.

The cookbook is Aida Mollenkamp’s “Keys to the Kitchen” and I’m pretty sure the page for this recipe is not the last one to get stained. I’ve got about a dozen other pages bookmarked. Her cookbook is a wealth of information, and it’s already taken a spot in my section of essential cookbooks, very close to Mark Bittman, Yotam Ottolenghi, and the classic “Joy of Cooking.” Actually, in one of the Amazon reviews, someone referred to her book as a modern, updated version of that classic cookbook. And I can see why.

Before she even gets to the recipes, Mollenkamp walks you through the grocery store and explains the different cuts of meat on different animals and the ways to cook each piece. She explains the proper way to store foods and the basic equipment for a home kitchen. More than 100 pages in, she gives fundamental recipes (basic and short) for things like mashed potatoes, roasted garlic, and basic tomato sauce.

On her website, Mollenkamp says this of her cooking style:

My cooking style is west coast eclectic as I combine fresh, seasonal, whole ingredients with the ethnic flavors of contemporary California. Though my food is rooted in European techniques and Mediterranean ingredients, I take artistic license to mix things up for recipes that are creative, reliable, easy, and healthy.

 

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There are more than 300 recipes in this book rife with tips and helpful illustrations. With each one, she aims to teach you a technique and ways to riff off of that technique and recipe. There’s oatmeal souffle, a coconut chai coffee cake, and a spring herb pasta with peas. The braised chile chicken with raisins and almonds could happen soon. Or maybe the rosemary-lemon oven-fried chicken.

She calls this “the essential reference for becoming a more accomplished, adventurous cook.” I like that a lot. Who doesn’t want to be those things? And let me tell you, as I lugged a 4-pound piece of pork shoulder, beautifully browned on all sides of course, from the pot to the plate, I felt accomplished. I felt like I’ve come a long way from the tough scrambled eggs coming out of my freshman dorm.

How many cookbooks does a girl need to cook? I love my growing collection and wouldn’t give it up, but I could definitely get by for a while on this one alone.

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Five Things

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Happy Friday! My sisters are visiting this weekend, and I can’t wait for them to arrive. A cold front came in yesterday, which will probably make it feel like they’re even farther from Miami.

I had a serious craving for something healthy this morning, so I started my day with a green juice and purchased a few types of oranges. It’s “winter” and I need more citrus in my life. Look for a blood orange recipe here soon. Have a great weekend! Here’s this week’s five things.

(1) Epicurious gives you your food horoscope for the year. Who knew! Each astrological sign gets a recipe. I’m serious.

(2) Bon Appetit found the 9 weirdest food TV shows. Don’t think they can be topped. And that Cooking with Beefcake show? Pretty sure that’s Blanche (from Golden Girls, of course) if she cooked.

(3) Bittman says.

(4) Warm salads for winter from FOOD52. I can get behind that, especially that first salad. Our 80-degree days are gone for now… It was 43 degrees this morning!

(5) Let’s put homemade chocolate bars on the big to-do list.