Go to Home Page

perfect cornmeal waffles

November 5th, 2011 | 2 Comments »

It’s November again. And this morning when I arose, in the dark still silence, to the hum of the furnace and an noisy, eager cat face, the air smelled definitively of the impending winter. Never mind that it might reach near 60 today, or that the sun burns bright in that kind of blue sky that hurts your eyes, the wind that touched my face when I let out our early riser told me ‘You know, I could snow at any minute.’

We’re pretty fortunate that our Fall has been both spectacular and snowless. The only month without recorded snowfall in Minnesota is July, and with the frost that came so early in September, I felt certain that a drifting white mass would come sooner or later. I’ve been happy to be so, so wrong.

These Cornmeal Waffles are a favorite cold weather breakfast. First crafted and enjoyed on a crackling, numbingly cold day in January of 2010, they’ve gained a permanent foothold in my breakfast rotation, the waffle recipe I turn to time and again. With their crisp edges, and the sharp tang of buttermilk contrasting with the deep, rich maple syrup, it’s a dance of flavors to awaken you and set you upright, not to mention bolstering you against cold and wind.

The inevitable Winter is just around the corner. Shore up your weekends with foods that bring warmth to your home and fuel for the internal furnace. These waffles freeze beautifully. I always make a double, or even a triple batch so that we have lots of extras on hand.

Do you have a preference for Waffles or Pancakes??


Buttermilk Cornmeal Waffles

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stoneground
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
6 tablespoons vegetable oil plus additional oil for brushing waffle iron

Into a large bowl sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Repeat sifting 2 more times.

In another large bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Add flour mixture all at once and whisk just until combined.

Preheat a waffle iron and preheat oven to 200 °F.

Brush waffle iron lightly with additional oil. Spoon batter into waffle iron, using 1/4 cup batter for each 4-inch-square standard waffle and spreading batter evenly, and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm, uncovered, in middle of oven. Make more waffles with remaining batter in same manner, brushing waffle iron with more oil before adding each batch.

Serve waffles with syrup.


(from Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Recipes, slightly adapted from Gourmet magazine)


What’s on YOUR plate this month??

build me up, butternut

November 19th, 2010 | 4 Comments »

(photo from “That’s Yummy”)

We’re woefully into November’s gray and flat winter light. The cloud cover expanse across the sky is leaden and heavy and daylight begins to fade around 4:00pm, yet even in the best of midday light, the ability to take a good photo often is a crapshoot. I don’t really mind the changes that come around this time of year, this first adventure into winter, the shorter days and descent into wool sweaters, layers, warm socks and extra blankets on the bed. The coziness of it is good, it’s necessary, and there’s a lot of it that can be so soothing- like the leaping blue flame under the daily tea-kettle, the ritual of a warm steaming cup to carry me through the late afternoon; there’s the presence of the strands of tiny twinkling lights we’ve used to adorn certain areas of our home- the stairwell for those dark, dark mornings, the top of the cupboard in the kitchen, and the fancy festooned bakers rack in the corner of our kitchen.

The tiny lights are nice in those early mornings before the dawn when Mike is awake; it provides enough light to get the coffee pot going and the cat dishes filled without having that eye-burning glare that we encounter when first out of bed. The stairwell lights guide him safely down in the darkness. We put these lights up many years ago at Christmas time, and they’ve proven to be so useful that we never removed them. In those gloomy November afternoons they add a warm touch to our home, along with the singing tea kettle, and those steaming cups. Add a candle or two and you can chase those dark hours away a lot easier.

A good warm oven and simmering pot on the stove does that too. I recently came across a recipe for Butternut Squash Pasta, in Gourmet magazine’s Best of 65 Years cookbook. It was a simple process of cooking cubed squash then tossing it with garlic and pasta, but I thought to take it one step further and create an awesome squash puree to mix in with pasta, creating a saucy topping that clung to every single bite.

Problem was, as delicious as it tasted, it looked just ghastly. Imagine, brightly colored orange squash mixed with cooked whole wheat pasta. Oh gads…. it was homely as all get out, but tasted glorious and superbly like comfort in my bowl. I do recommend it, even if I can’t show you the result. Roast your halved butternut squash until it’s good and soft. Scrape the flesh into a bowl, add a little broth or milk to help thin it, then mash it smooth. You can whiz it in the food processor too. The resulting puree should be thick, close to the texture of canned pumpkin, and can be used like canned pumpkin, which, after all, is squash right?

Having the use of pureed squash on hand made it a cinch to whip up a batch of muffins too, and after finding a recipe for Whole Wheat Muffins with Pumpkin and Quinoa on Fork, Knife and Spoon, I knew those had to somehow come out of my oven in the near future. With a little trip towards the healthy side of muffins, these little beauties came out bouncy soft, only the slightest bite of sweet and full of chewy nibs of quinoa blended with the sweet taste of roasted squash.

Touched inside and out with toasted coconut, they had a lot going for them. A bite for breakfast, a quick pick me up snack or a nice late night treat before climbing under piles of blankets, they fill in all parts of your day with a compliment for your tummy. Follow the link to Kate’s blog  ( I know! Another Kate! ) for the original recipe. I doctored mine up to utilize what I had on hand for my version.

Whole Wheat Muffins with Quinoa and Squash

2 c. whole wheat flour
1-1/2 c. cooked quinoa
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground allspice
1/2 t. sea salt
1 c. cooked butternut squash
1 egg
3/4 c. buttermilk
3 T. oil
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. shredded coconut, toasted

Preheat oven to 375 and spray muffin pans, or line with paper. You will get approximately 18 muffins.

To cook quinoa- measure one cup of water in a saucepan and place over medium burner. Rinse 1/2 cup of quinoa in a wire strainer under cold running water, shaking to rinse thoroughly. Place quinoa in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 10-15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove pan from heat and let stand for 10 minutes, then scrape cooked quinoa onto a plate and spread out to cool.

When cooled, measure flour and quinoa into a large bowl. With your hands, gently toss together until blended, and quinoa appears the size of tapioca pearls. Add in baking powder, soda, spices and salt and mix thoroughly.

In another bowl, measure buttermilk, then whisk in syrup, egg, squash, oil and vanilla. Whisk together, then add to dry ingredients with coconut. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold ingredients together until incorporated. Do not overmix. Scoop into muffin tins, about 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until tops are browned and spring back when touched. Allow to cool in muffin pans for 15 minutes or so, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

And without even realizing it, I’m more than halfway through NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month. It’s proven to be way easier than I anticipated, but with 4-1/2 years of archives to wander through and re-introduce, I’m never at a loss for material.

Maple Tapioca with Pralines

March 21st, 2008 | 3 Comments »


Maple Tapioca Pudding with Pralines
from Eating Well magazine, March/April 2007

1 cup low-fat milk
1 large egg, well beaten
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon quick-cooking tapioca
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg

1. Combine milk, egg, tapioca and salt in a medium saucepan. Let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil, 6 to 18 minutes (depending on your stove). Remove from the heat; stir in 1/4 cup syrup and vanilla.
3. Divide the pudding between 2 ramekins or custard cups. Let cool for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate until chilled.
4. Meanwhile, line a small plate with parchment or wax paper. Coat the paper with cooking spray. Combine pecans, the remaining 1 tablespoon syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small saucepan or skillet. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring, until most of the syrup has evaporated, 1 to 4 minutes. Spread the nuts out onto the prepared paper and place in the freezer until cool, about 10 minutes.
5. Crumble the chilled pecan topping into pieces. Serve the pudding topped with the maple walnuts.

<!–p><br /–> NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 301 calories; 9 g fat (2 g sat, 2 g mono); 113 mg cholesterol; 48 g carbohydrate; 9 g protein; 1 g fiber; 250 mg sodium; 169 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Calcium (20% daily value), Zinc (17% dv).

3 Carbohydrate Servings

Exchanges: 2 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1/2 reduced-fat milk, 1 fat