Saturday, February 11, 2012

Easy Weekend Waffles

A few years ago, my brother Ethan and I attended the Seattle stop of Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain's speaking tour. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I doubled-over listening to them rag on McDonald's and the Food Network. I particularly loved Bourdain's commentary on Sandra Lee's jaw-dropping white-trash catastrophe, "Kwanzaa Cake." (Watch the video for a little self-esteem boost. I guarantee you've never made anything this horrifying.)

I won't lie to you. I love me a Mickey D's cheeseburger, but Bourdain's idea to wrap things like lutefisk and limburger cheese in a McDonald's wrapper to forever turn your kids off their food is pretty brilliant. And ever since the news erupted about pink-ammonia soft serve getting pumped into Mcdonald's beef to make it edible, I barely can stomach the thought of that yellow wrapper, which used to make me drool like Pavlov's dog.

Anyway, one of Bourdain and Batali's biggest issues with the Food Network is their hocking of sub-standard fare, passing it off as haute cuisine so people at home will watch and say, "I could totally make that if I wanted to ..." Problem is, a big percentage of viewers will continue eating their Cheetos, guzzling their Coke, and feeding their families frozen dinners.

While I don't feed my family a ton of prepared food (Lucas doesn't ever get any), I absolutely am guilty of watching the Food Network, reading countless food magazines, and not making most of the things I tuck away in the back of my mind. Since we've had a baby in our lives, my cooking really has gone out the window. I make all of Lucas' food from scratch, but Morgan and I eat far more ghetto "crispy chicken salads" topped with Foster Farms chicken nuggets than I care to admit.

The older Lucas gets, the longer he can play independently while I cook. So when I do find a little bit of time to pull together a semi-decent meal, it has to be fast. Like, 30 minutes maximum fast.

I woke up this morning and decided that we were going to have a real breakfast. I pulled out one of my super cool, but far-too seldomly used fun kitchen toys, found a quick and easy waffle recipe and had a respectable homemade breakfast in about 25 minutes that both my little guy and big guy gobbled up.

I ate mine with a handful of frozen berries. I normally would have used some butter, too, but this recipe made pretty moist waffles and I'm trying to lose a few final baby-weight pounds, so I skipped it. (Most people probably would thaw the berries first, but I have a weird thing for the texture of frozen berries.) Lucas ate his plain with a side of pureed sweet potatoes and pears — he's fancy like that — and Morgan drowned his in maple syrup.

If I can find time to make these and have a nice weekend breakfast with my family, anyone can!

Tip: Make a double batch of waffles and freeze your leftovers to heat later in the toaster. They work just like Eggos. I freeze two waffles each in individual sandwich bags with a piece of wax or parchment paper in between to avoid them sticking together.

20-Minute Waffles

Adapted from Allrecipes Waffles I

2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat waffle iron. Whisk eggs in large bowl until fluffy. Slowly whisk in flour, milk, vegetable oil, applesauce, sugar, baking powder, salt, spices and vanilla, just until smooth.

2. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Keep warm on a cookie sheet in the oven at 300F until all waffles are cooked. (I have a Cuisinart Traditional-Style 6-Slice Waffle Iron and find that a scant 1/4 cup of batter is perfect for each waffle, otherwise the batter overflows and your time spent cleaning up will ruin the whole point of these being fast and easy.)