weeknight gourmet

Category : Breakfast

What My Waffle Maker Means to Me…by Jessica Ogilvie

I have a deep sentimental attachment to my waffle maker.  I am sure that raises some questions.  Do I eat waffles often?  Was it given to me by a very special person?  Did I win the waffle maker in a waffle making or waffle eating contest?

I eat waffles twice a year at most.  While I received the waffle maker as a bridal shower gift back in May 2004, it was given to me by one of my mom’s friends.  In other words, not someone I am particularly close to.  And, lastly, I have never entered any type of waffle contest.

You may not believe this but the waffle maker represents a really wonderful phase of my life — when Tim and I started to build a life together.

In October 2002 — when we were boyfriend and girlfriend of almost three years — Tim and I bought our land in the Berkshires.  The 2.67 acres our house sits on represents the first big decision we made together and a clear indication that we planned to share our life going forward.  Neither Tim nor I had ties to the Berkshires, so the location in and of itself marked that we were comfortable charting our own course together, independently of our families and friends.

Ground was broken on our house  just before our wedding in the summer of 2004 and we moved into the house 5 years ago last weekend!  On Friday, February 25, 2005, we drove out from Boston — where we were living at the time — with an air mattress and some other necessities — and started the wonderful process of decorating, landscaping, and making this place our own.

So, where does the waffle maker come in?  Well, when we first moved in, while the stove had been delivered, but it was not set up to properly convert the propane to gas.  So, all we had to cook with was a microwave, small outdoor charcoal grill, and, you guessed it, a waffle maker!  Our house is in a somewhat remote area so takeout wasn’t an option.  We ate a lot of waffles during those early weekends at our house.  Even though we didn’t even have a kitchen table to sit at, those early breakfasts will always be among my favorite meals at our house.

Five years later, we have bought the adjacent land giving us 17 acres of wooded beauty, planted countess bushes, flowers, trees, and other plants, refinished furniture, put on an addition, built a greenhouse, and decorated and filled every room and closet (to the point, I think I need to purge to make room for the baby).  We have a wonderful place Tim and I both love coming to, where we can truly unwind and do the things we love to do outside of New York City.  Tim is an avid gardener and likes to drive around in his 1952 Ford truck; I love to cook in my more spacious kitchen; and, we both love to hike and swim with the Berkshires’ biggest fan, Angus.

While Tim and I have since made decisions much bigger than the house — starting a business together and having a baby to name two small ones — the house was one of our first big wins as “Team O”.  Even after we sell the house down the road, I will always cherish and be proud of 67 Cherokee Road.

In honor of 5 years in our house, I made waffles for us this morning.  They were delicious and brought back some great memories!

If you are interested in bringing this wondrous waffle maker into your home, you can buy it at Williams-Sonoma.  One of its best features is that it makes chirping noise when the waffles are cooked to your desired doneness.  I typically take a shortcut when it comes to making waffles and use a mix.  Some of my favorites are below.  These tend to be pricier mixes but since I only make waffles a couple times a year now, I figured it was worth the splurge.

Golden Malted Pancake & Waffle Mix

Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake and Waffle Mix (the blueberry is also quite good!)

(By the way, this happens to be my 250th post!)

Kitchen Cabinet Coffee Cake

I decided we deserved a nice breakfast treat on this snowy weekend.  Coffee cake came to mind, but all the recipes I looked at would have required me to go to the store to pick up an ingredient or two.  I really didn’t want to get out my pajamas quite yet so I pulled together this recipe based on a quick perusal of 10 or so different coffee cake recipes and the ingredients I had on hand.

Many of the recipes I looked at called for blueberries.  We didn’t have any fresh or frozen blueberries in the house but did have some very nice blueberry jam.  I decided I would swirl the jam through the batter for a nice marbled effect and blueberry taste.

I also didn’t have whole milk but learned a good substitute.  Pour 1.5 tablespoons of heavy cream into a 1 cup measuring cup and fill the remainder with skim milk.

The cake was amazing!  Great light texture, with nice blueberry taste from the jam, and a delicious crumb topping.  This will be a great go-to recipe when we entertain in the Berkshires.

Tim jokingly asked who the other 11 people coming over for breakfast were, but I have a feeling the cake won’t last long!

Kitchen Cabinet Coffee Cake

•    2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
•    3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
•    1/2 cup walnuts chopped
•    1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
•    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•    1/2 teaspoon salt
•    1 cup sugar
•    2 large eggs
•    1 cup whole milk
•    1/2 cup blueberry jam (at room temperature)

Combine 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter (cut into pieces), walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl. Mix until moist and crumbly. Set topping aside.

Preheat oven to 357°F. Butter and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Sift remaining 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt into small bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat remaining 1/2 cup butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Mix dry ingredients into batter alternately with milk in 3 additions each.

Transfer cake batter to prepared baking pan. Swirl the blueberry jam into the batter using a knife.  Sprinkle topping evenly over batter.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool cake slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Frittata with Asparagus, Tomato, and Fontina

Looking for a Sunday brunch recipe?  Here is a delicious and easy frittata!  I made this last Sunday for Tim’s family and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

I doubled the eggs and whipping cream — I had made the recipe once before and it really only serves 4 as written.

I sauteed a diced shallot before adding the asparagus.  And, I also added some grated parmesan before putting the frittata under the broiler.

Serve the frittata with a side salad or some toast for a delicious breakfast!

Frittata with Asparagus, Tomato, and Fontina
Giada De Laurentiis

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 12 ounces asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tomato, seeded, diced
  • Salt
  • 3 ounces Fontina, diced

Preheat the broiler.

Whisk the eggs, cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a 9 1/2-inch-diameter nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the tomato and a pinch of salt and saute 2 minutes longer.

Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus mixture and cook for a few minutes until the eggs start to set. Sprinkle with cheese. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the frittata is almost set but the top is still runny, about 2 minutes.

Place the skillet under the broiler. Broil until the top is set and golden brown on top, about 5 minutes. Let the frittata stand 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittata from skillet and slide the frittata onto a plate.