For the Kids

Ever watch Gilmore Girls? If you read my blog, the answer is probably yes. Do you remember the episode where Lorelai and Sookie decide to do small, private parties, complete with catering by Sookie? They’re charged with planning a kid’s birthday party, and Lorelai gives Sookie explicit instructions to do mac and cheese and pizza and all sorts of kid-friendly foods, and Sookie makes jalapeno mac and cheese and all sorts of adult foods, and it’s a complete disaster?

Lilli in the Yard

We nearly had a similar incident at a brunch we hosted on Sunday. I should make it clear that the meal wasn’t a disaster, and everything worked out in the end, but only because Rich played the role of Lorelai to my Sookie. We hosted a friend from college and his family. His daughter Sara is about four, and his son Alex is just a touch younger than Lilli. I was thrilled at the chance to set up a Sunday morning spread and was quite pleased when I reviewed the menu with Rich on Saturday night: Broccoli frittata, a salad of greens topped with maple roasted pears, walnuts and blue cheese, with a brown sugar vinaigrette, breakfast potatoes, hummus and crackers. (There was also a pumpkin bread that I forgot to serve, so we’ve been working on that during breakfasts this week.)

“Waffles. You need to serve waffles for the kids,” Rich responded after my menu review. Annoyed, but in agreement that he was probably onto something, I got out Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book, his birthday gift from a few years ago. We’ve done the waffles before, and thought they were really great. They’re a yeasted waffle that’s done overnight, so it take a bit of planning.

Turns out Rich made the right call, and little Alex went nuts for them. He loved them so much when they left he was holding an entire one in his hand for their road trip back to Philadelphia. His dad wrote me this afternoon for the recipe, which reminded me it was time to share it with you guys.

As Cunningham explains, the recipe is from an early Fannie Farmer cookbook, and “is still the best waffle I know. The mixing is done the night before and all you have to do in the morning is add a couple of eggs and some baking soda. These waffles are very crisp on the outside and delicate on the inside.”

Raised Waffles from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

Ingredients

½ cup warm water

1 package dry yeast

2 cups milk, warmed

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs

¼ teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Use a rather large mixing bowl – the batter will rise to double its original volume. Put the water in the mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand to dissolve for 5 minutes.

Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar and flour to the yeast mixture and beat until smooth and blended. (Cunningham often uses a hand-rotary beater to get rid of the lumps.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Just before cooking the waffles, beat in the eggs, add the baking soda, and stir until well mixed. The batter will be very thin. Pour about ½ to ¾ cup batter into a very hot waffle iron. Bake the waffles until they are golden and crisp.

This batter will keep well for several days in the refrigerator.

 

Weekend Edition

Weekday breakfasts are usually solo affairs around here. I’m not a coffee drinker, so while Rich starts his day by grinding his beans and setting up his French press, I’m usually out the door with breakfast (sometimes leftovers from dinner, lately it’s been yogurt) in my sack to be eaten at my desk while checking emails. Weekends, however, are a different matter altogether.

We have a ritual for our Sundays mornings: Rich is the official breakfast maker at our house. Sometimes he’ll pile a platter high with French toast made with challah leftover from Shabbat, sometimes there are waffles, and sometimes, like this morning, there are pancakes. We eat our breakfast at the dining room table while listening to Will Shortz’s Sunday Puzzle on NPR’s Weekend Edition. When I stop and think about it, I realize we’ve listened to hundreds of puzzles together. We’ve never sent in a postcard to play on the air, but we always listen for the piano’s notes announcing the segment, and shout, “Puzzle!” when we do hear it.

This morning I made the executive decision to add some of the blueberries from this week’s CSA box to our pancakes.  We had buttermilk in the house from making this cobbler, although we changed out the apricots, cherries and ginger for nectarines, blackberries and sage. The pancakes were something else. The heat of the griddle softened the berries into puddles of warm jam. Each bite was special.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Adapted, ever so slightly, from The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook, by Sharon Kramis & Julie Kramis Hearne

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

½ cup whole milk

¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted, plush additional melted butter for serving

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more if needed

¼ cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, milk, and melted butter until well blended. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk just until combined. Fold in the berries.

Heat a 10-or 12-inch cast iron skillet or cast iron griddle over medium heat. Add 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil to the skillet. Pour the batter into the skillet, ¼ cup at a time, forming small pancakes. When bubbles start to form, turn the pancakes over and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Continue until all the batter is used up, adding more vegetable oil as necessary. Serve with melted butter and warm maple syrup.

Sunday Lunch

Rich had an early morning meeting this week, which meant I had an early morning this week. He feels terrible if he wakes me, but on the bright side, it meant I had the time to make myself a nice breakfast — instead of what I usually do, which is sit at my desk and eat leftovers or a microwaved bowl of Cream of Wheat. Mind you, I have no complaints about my usual breakfast, but it really was nice eating something fresh and warm. On the weekends, Rich usually makes us challah French toast or waffles, but I lean towards savory when I’m on my own. So savory breakfast it was.

Breakfast was really based on what was in the fridge, which is how I suspect most people make their meals. I had fresh tarragon in the house because I made my favorite bean salad for Suzie and JoJo’s Jewish wedding potluck. I know, I know, you’re probably confused because we already went to their potluck wedding, but this was the Jewish wedding. (You may have seen the Instagrams of them under the chuppah – I was one of many posting in real time.)

But back to the tarragon, which I decided at that ungodly hour would be a great addition to scrambled eggs. I feel a little silly writing down a recipe for some scrambled eggs, but the breakfast was good enough to repeat in the same week, so I thought it worth mentioning here. In my defense, I scooped the eggs on top of some lentils that I had cooked up earlier in the week. They were done in my pressure cooker and took all of 10 minutes to do, and I’ve been adding them to salads since. If you have a pressure cooker, I suggest you do the same right now. But honestly, even if you don’t, go and put some lentils on. They’re a great legume because they need zero soaking, so you can cook up a pot of them in less than an hour. And they taste really good just plain.

I was so impressed with my creation that by the end of the day I had told both Sara and Sylvie. They both agreed it sounded delcious, but Sylvie thought that scrambled eggs with tarragon and lentils made more sense as a lunch, “with a nice green salad on the side.”

(Quick note: Shavuot, the holiday of dairy is at the end of the week, and my apologies for not posting the savory cheesecake I baked once upon a time with hopes of sharing, or the dulce de leche tapioca pudding I just came across. I just really liked this meal and wanted to share it with you.)

Scrambled Eggs with Tarragon and Lentils

Ingredients

1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and picked over

2 cups water

4 eggs

2 scant teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped

2 pinches kosher salt

2 Tablespoons milk

2 Tablespoons cheese (Really, whatever you have on hand. I had some yogurt cheese that I tore into bits the first time I made this, and grated Manchego for the second time.)

Directions

Cook lentils according to your pressure cooker’s instructions. Mine take 10 minutes. Or, cook them this way.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, tarragon, salt and milk. Heat a nonstick sauté pan on a medium flame. Because the pan is non-stick, I didn’t use added fat. But if you feel more comfortable adding fat, then melt a half tablespoon of butter in the heated pan. Once your pan is heated, and/or your butter has melted, pour the whisked egg mixture to the pan. Let the eggs heat in the pan for about 1 minute. Don’t touch them during this time. Let them do a little cooking. Once you see the sides start to firm up, use a heat-resistant rubber spatula to push the sides of the egg mixture towards the center of the pan. The eggs will start to firm during this time. Use the spatula to push the eggs from all sides of the pan towards the center. The cooking of the eggs will probably take no more than 3 minutes. As the eggs firm up into a fluffy mass, add the cheese to the pile and allow it to melt. Once the cheese has melted, remove the pan from the heat.

Place two-thirds cup of heated lentils into a smaller bowl. Top the lentils with half the eggs. Enjoy with a nice piece of toast, and, if it’s lunch time, a small green salad.

Serves two.