Apple Spice Waffles

You guys. I have a dilemma. If you’ve been around here for any period of time, you might know that my weekend breakfast of choice is homemade buttermilk pancakes. I love pancakes so much that I’ve got them as an answer to a security question with one of my online billing accounts. When I go out for brunch I scan the restaurant’s menu for their version of pancakes, even if I don’t feel like ordering them. I could go on for hours about the best types of pancakes and debate the merits of box mix vs. scratch made. Homemade vs. restaurant. Restaurant vs. restaurant.

I like pancakes, y’all.

So when I had a weekend guest a while back and knew I wanted to throw together breakfast for us in the morning, my mind immediately went to pancakes. However, this particular guest had already experienced my homemade pancakes and I didn’t want to repeat myself too quickly. So what’s the next best thing to pancakes?

Waffles. After all, they’re pretty much just pancakes with built in syrup receptacles.

And these waffles are a lot like the pancakes that I’ve been making for years so it was like second nature to throw them together. I wanted to give them a little something extra and was feeling all sorts of fall that weekend so I peeled and diced up a couple apples and stirred them into the batter along with cinnamon and nutmeg. I actually might make another batch of these this weekend. I went apple picking last week and the local apples I have are amazing.

The necessities: Milk, flour, eggs, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, fresh ground nutmeg, two apples, juice of a lemon.

Peel and chop the apples into small dice. Toss with lemon juice to avoid browning. Forgive me, but I don’t remember what kind of apples these were, but really almost any variety will work. Something tart yet sweet and not super crisp will do very nicely.

Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside. Separate eggs. Whisk whites until stiff and stir yolks together with brown sugar and vanilla. Melt butter in microwave, and measure out milk.

Whisk together butter and egg yolk/brown sugar mixture, and stir into the dry ingredients along with the milk. Whisk until mixture just comes together. It will still be lumpy.

Add egg whites to mixture and fold together gently. Add chopped apples and stir until combined.

Pre-heat waffle iron and brush with more melted butter (or spray with cooking spray). Pour batter onto waffle iron (I used a little less than a cup worth of batter for my iron, and it was a tad too much as you’ll see). Close iron and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes, until waffle is at desired doneness.

I think this was only the third or fourth time I’ve actually used my waffle iron, so I had some trial and error here.

But they still came out pretty damn good.

Serve with some more butter (if desired), and your choice of syrup.

So good. Crispy on the outside, tender and just a little moist on the inside, with a nice sweet/tart/slight crunch from the apple, and great spice. They’re perfect for a lazy fall morning. Another bonus?  These freeze beautifully. Make a double batch and save some for a busy weekday morning – just throw them in the toaster!

Apple Spice Waffles (Adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 11/2 cup milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 apples
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Peel and chop apples into small dice. Toss in a bowl with lemon juice and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

Mix egg yolk with brown sugar and vanilla, add melted butter and combine.

Whisk egg whites until stiff (can be done with a hand or stand mixer as well to save time and your arm).

Mix dry ingredients with egg yolk, sugar and butter mixture. Stir together with milk until just combined – will still be lumpy.

Gently fold in egg whites and stir into batter. Fold in diced apples.

Heat up waffle iron and brush with melted butter or spray with cooking spray. Pour batter onto waffle iron and close. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes, until browned on the outside and cooked through. Try to avoid opening the waffle iron too much!

Serve waffles with butter and your choice of syrup.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheese Steak Frittata with Chunky Tomato Sauce

I have a strange relationship with eggs. I enjoy them, but only in certain – okay, two – forms. Scrambled and omelet. No egg sandwiches. Not hard or soft boiled. Not poached. And certainly not fried. “Dippy” eggs? Really, Pennsylvania? ::full body heaves::

So, yeah. I’m weird with eggs. I have, however, recently discovered that I am a fan of the frittata. Which is basically just a big-assed omelet that’s started on top of the stove and finished off in the oven, so I guess I’m not as adventurous as I’d like to make it sound, but hey. It’s another kind of egg dish so I win.

I am also a fan of cheese steaks in any form, so much so that I previously made a cheese steak egg scramble on a (much, much) older version of this blog, so this is perhaps not such a new recipe as much as it is a “re-imagining” of an old one. But I deleted that post because the pictures didn’t show up anymore(which is just as well, because they were TERRIBLE). Besides, “frittata” is just way more fun to say.

Morning light is weird in my kitchen.

Start with the necessities: Eggs, thinly sliced steak (you can use Steak-umms or what have you, I found this thinly sliced sirloin in the freezer at the grocery store), bell pepper, onion, cheese. For the tomato sauce, just a can of diced tomatoes, some fresh onion and garlic, and a little fresh basil.

Preheat oven to 375. Slice the onion and bell peppers thinly. Saute them in a large nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat with about two tablespoons of olive oil approximately eight to ten minutes, until they are golden brown and softened.

Add minced garlic and allow to cook until just fragrant, about 30-60 seconds, without letting the garlic get too brown/burned. Add the sliced steak to the pan and cook about another five to seven minutes until the meat is cooked all the way through (very important for frittatas or any egg dish, because you don’t want to overcook the eggs while waiting for the filling to cook). Season thoroughly with salt and pepper.

While filling is cooking, crack eggs into a large bowl, add half and half (or milk, or whatever you have on hand), and whisk, whisk, whisk until light and frothy.

Add butter to the pan with steak, onions, and peppers and allow to melt, spreading/swirling it around pan to ensure the frittata will release from the pan when you take it out of the oven. Spread the filling out around the pan and slowly add the egg mixture to the pan, swirling it around to make an even layer of egg and filling.

Top with cheese. For this I used an extra sharp provolone from the deli department (just cut up the sliced cheese a bit before adding it to the frittata), but any kind of cheese you prefer is fine.

Cook on the stove top for three to four minutes until the edges get just cooked then transfer to the oven for 8-10 minutes, until cooked through.

While the frittata is in the oven, prepare the tomato sauce. Dice the other half of the onion finely. Sautee over medium high heat in a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pan for a few minutes, until just translucent. Add a clove of minced garlic and stir again for about 30 seconds. Add a can of diced tomatoes, reduce to low heat and bring to a simmer. Add some fresh basil, if desired.

Turn the frittata out of the pan onto a cutting board.

I probably let my frittata bake in the oven a touch too long, but I like my eggs a little more well done than most. I’ve mentioned I’m weird about eggs, yes?

Cut into slices and serve with tomato sauce, if desired.

But plain is good, too.

I certainly have no room to judge.

Cheese Steak Frittata with Chunky Tomato Sauce

  • 8 eggs
  • 6 oz. thinly sliced steak
  • 4 oz. sliced or shredded cheese (if using sliced, cut into smaller strips)
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion – 1/2 thinly sliced, the other 1/2 diced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and separated
  • 1/2 cup milk or half and half
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomato
  • 3 TB olive oil, separated
  • 2 TB butter
  • 3 leaves fresh basil, julienned
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. In a large pan, sauté onion and bell peppers in 2 TB olive oil for approximately ten minutes over medium high heat, until softened and lightly browned. Add 1 clove minced garlic and sauté another 30 seconds until fragrant. Add sliced steak to the pan and cook thoroughly, an additional 5-7 minutes (depending on thickness of steak). Season with salt and pepper. Spread mixture around the pan in an even layer.

Whisk eggs and milk together until light and frothy. Add butter to pan with filling and allow to melt, swirling around the pan to coat it. Slowly pour egg mixture into pan and stir it around a bit, making sure the egg and filling is again in an even layer.

Add cheese to the top of the egg and filling and cook on the stove top for a couple of minutes, until the edges of the frittata are barely cooked. Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until top of frittata is no longer “wobbly”. Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Loosen from pan and turn out onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve.

For the tomato sauce, sauté the diced half of the oven in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat for five minutes until translucent. Add remaining clove of diced garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds. Add canned diced tomatoes and lower heat. Bring sauce to a simmer. Stir in basil and serve over frittata, with additional basil for garnish.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes with Pork Sausage

If there is one food I love more than any other, it’s pancakes. Homemade pancakes. Pancakes from the diner. Pancakes from a mix. Pancakes from McDonald’s. Pancakes from the freezer. It doesn’t matter, I love them all. There’s something about warm, fluffy, ‘cakes smeared with butter and dripping with warm maple syrup that just calms my soul.

There’s no such thing as a bad pancake.

There is, however, such a thing as pancakes that are better than other pancakes, and these are just those pancakes.

Say ‘pancakes’ again.

Pancakes.

The basic recipe has been in my family for years. My grandmother and grandfather used to be caretakers for a private fishing club – doing the cleaning, cooking, and general maintenance; and when they moved on from the club, my gram brought it with her.  My mom had the recipe, but didn’t make them all that often. She always preferred the denser, cakier box mix ‘cake to these, their lighter, fluffier, and incredibly moist brethren. If I wanted these ‘cakes I either had to wait for Christmas morning or for my Gram to make Breakfast for Dinner (best dinner!) and invite us over.

So, yeah. Just an FYI: This ain’t no Bisquick nonsense. If you like your pancakes dense and thick and brick-like, you might want to add a little more flour than the recipe calls for, or just skip this version all together. If you prefer pancakes that float on your tongue like angel wings, well then darling, you’re in the right place.

Because I can’t have a good ‘cake without some Ron Swanson-approved breakfast meat, I started with some loose pork sausage purchased at the local farmers’ market. I seasoned it up with some Montreal steak seasoning, onion and garlic powder, and of course some whole fennel seed, but you can season according to your own tastes. If you can find loose sausage at your local grocery store and are feeling adventurous, go for it. You can add anything in that you like — so much better than packaged sausage, in my humble opinion.

Heh. I said ‘package’. And ‘sausage’.

I usually prefer a plain ‘cake, but I had some extra blueberries on hand this day and decided to add them to the cakes right on the griddle.  I’ve also gone the Jack Johnson route in the past and added some mashed up banana to the batter. I have plans for a pumpkin version later this fall as well, so keep an eye out for that.

I know I can’t wait.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes and Pork Breakfast Sausage

1 cup all-pupose flour

2 cups buttermilk

2 eggs, separated

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

For the pancakes: Mix flour, buttermilk, egg yolks, baking soda, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl until well combined. (The recipe calls for dissolving the baking soda in a small amount of boiling water, and you can absolutely do it, but it’s totally unnecessary and has no impact on the final product whatsoever.) Whip egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form, and fold into flour/buttermilk mixture until just combined.

Heat a pan (or griddle) over medium heat and grease with butter or non-stick spray (Gram uses shortening). Pour the batter onto griddle by 1/4 cup measuring cup (mine were…a bit larger). Add a small handful of blueberries. When the edges of the pancake appear dry and bubbles appear in the batter (about 3-4 minutes), flip the pancake. Cook for another 3-4 minutes and remove from pan. Serve with butter (if desired) and syrup. Makes approximately 8-12 pancakes depending on size. Recipe can easily be halved or doubled (or tripled!).

1 lb loose pork sausage (not Italian sausage)

1 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2-1 tsp whole fennel seed

1/4 tsp red chili flake, if desired

For the sausage: Add seasonings to loose sausage and combine completely. Form into round 1/4 lb patties, making a dent in the center of the patty with your thumb to ensure even cooking and so the patty doesn’t “puff up” in the pan. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for approximately 6-7 minutes on either side and serve along side pancakes. While you’re at it, go ahead and dip that sausage in that syrup. No judgments here, babies. Do what feels right.