Simple Food

“We do know that people have always found ways to eat and live well, whether on boiling water or bread or beans, and that some of our best eating hasn’t been our most foreign or expensive or elaborate, but quite plain and quite familiar.”

– Tamar Adler An Everlasting Meal

Food often becomes the grounding element of each day in my house. I love to cook, this activity often becomes the framework around which I organize my other commitments. The time and planning it takes me to cook well also seems to leave me in a position to be more flexible. For two years I cooked, almost without fail, new recipes every day (excluding leftover days). But this year has been different, I have set aside many of my favorite cookbooks, having gleaned a myriad of techniques and ideas, and resorted to pantry shopping and meal plans that rely on weekly grocery sales and local/seasonal produce as a template from which to craft our daily meals. Fortunately Allison stumbled upon Tamar Adler’s book during her last visit to CO and Tamar’s thoughts on cooking have given me lots of good food writing pleasure and cooking inspiration as I explore this different approach to food. Her summary at the end of a chapter devoted to beans (the quote up top) made my heart sing. For indeed this ‘simpler’ approach to food has lent itself to to many happy meals, some of warm bread and a large pot of well seasoned black beans others of pasta mixed with whatever vegetable I have on hand to roast or stew. And if dinner wasn’t a particular winner. . .well then it’s probably best to whisk together a yeasted waffle batter and leave it overnight on the counter so tomorrow you can start fresh with the lightest, crispiest, whole-wheat, waffles you can imagine

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Marion Cunningham’s Overnight Waffle (adapted for whole wheat) Makes 4 10″-  belgian waffles

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/8 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups warm milk
1/2 cup warm water
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick butter, melted and cooled)
2 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoons baking soda

Night Before

Whisk together flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl (at least 3-quarts in capacity). Make a well in the center and pour in warm milk, water, and melted butter. Whisk all ingredients to make a smooth batter and cover with plastic wrap (or lid if you recently acquired mixing bowls with lids as I did). Leave the batter on the counter overnight to ferment, it will balloon to three times its size and collapse again.

Next Morning*

Heat and oil your waffle iron per instructions. Beat the eggs into the batter then sprinkle on the 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and stir until well mixed. Don’t worry that the batter seems very thin, the waffles will be marvelous. Pour 1 cup (plus a little more if the first one comes out poorly formed) on a 10″ waffle iron and cook until crispy and golden. Top with your desired adornments, we opted for a sprinkle of cocoa powder and powdered sugar, a drizzle of maple syrup, and blueberries garnishing the plate. But I can imagine whipped cream and strawberries also being wildly popular.

*The batter can be refrigerated for several days and cooked straight from the refrigerator. If you are only cooking a couple waffles at a time and wish to keep the batter for several breakfast just sprinkle a smidge of baking soda on top and stir in before cooking to neutralize some of the acid from the fermenting yeast. I used 1/8th teaspoon on the second morning and all was well in waffle world.

Love from CO,
Bethany