As the butter scattered about the waffle grid, I thought of all the scattered thoughts and feelings I experienced in the chaos of the preceding four months. The quiet morning was the restful prescriptive I needed. Time in my kitchen would, as usual, allow me to relax and ease into the day. Making waffles was healing.
Particular, not obsessive, is my attitude toward waffles. My waffle maker was a birthday gift to me because I had made the decision store-bought waffle seemed to have too many preservatives and artificial ingredients, but I still wanted waffles. (Confession: It took six months before I used the waffle maker.) While not every waffle recipe has been grand, overall, they have been good and these latest waffles are the best.
The waffle recipe had been in the back of my mind: Bacon Cheddar Apple waffles. The apple would be local and organic, the bacon would be local and smoked, the cheddar would be an organic raw milk cheese, and I would clabber raw milk to use for the preferred buttermilk. This waffle would have a bit of sweetness, a cheddar flavor not lost to the smokiness of the bacon, and a nice texture. That was the dream, the reality was different.
The plan changed due to laziness. I was; too lazy to drive forty-five minutes to the only farm I knew sold raw milk and raw milk cheese. Sitting in my kitchen was an apple from a box lunch served at work, there was some hickory smoked bacon, but more was needed. For the items which were needed, a trip to the store was necessary.
The original recipe comes from Within The Wild, a lodge in the Alaskan wilderness. How I stumbled on the recipe, I no longer remember, but I the recipe lingered in the back of my mind for some time. No matter how much I would love a stay at the lodge, it is not an option. Thankfully, the lodge kindly provides the recipe on their website so homemade waffles can be had. The key to these (now renamed) Apple Bacon Cheddar waffles is to take the time, use patience, and dice the apple in a proper manner.
The waffles do not disappoint. Each flavor – apple, bacon, and cheddar – compete successfully with the maple syrup. Why had I waited so long to make these waffles? I have no idea. The delicious flavors on my plate were worth the wait, but why wait for delicious? If it were possible to kick myself, I would. My recommendation is to not wait and to assemble the ingredients, heat your waffle maker, and make waffles.
The recipe I provide has more detail than the one from Within The Wild; the steps are laid out for the beginner or forgetful cook. This expansion occurred after I was a bit neglectful and did not bring ingredients to room temperature. It was while cooking the bacon (in the oven) did I realized the eggs and the buttermilk should have been coming to room temperature. No problem, there was still prep work to be done which would allow them to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, dry ingredients were measured, the apple diced, cheese shredded, bacon cooked and crumbled, butter melted and added to honey, the waffle maker heated, and some clean up completed. Once the eggs were at room temperature, the assembly process began. One could say, it was as easy as ABC.
The bacon used was a split between smoked and non-smoked which resulted in the perfect amount of smoke flavor. A greater proportion of smoked bacon would have meant too much smokiness in the waffle. Initially, a whole apple seemed it would be overkill and there was a lot of diced apple on my cutting board, but the resulting apple flavor never overpowered, never dominated the waffle. The extra-sharp cheddar was subtle, but it did come through and I plan to use raw milk cheese next time.
It smelled so good in my kitchen that I ate the first waffle while the second one was in the waffle maker. As I stood by the smoking-hot waffle maker with its red light telling me not to open the top, I was cutting the butter and syrup covered waffle with a fork because I could not spare a second to pick up a knife. Every bite of waffle was good. The kind of good where you close your eyes, relax your shoulders, go silent, and savor.
Thank you Trickling Springs, not having to clabber the milk made my life easier. Last, I thank Chef Kirsten and Chef Mandy in Alaska for this wonderful recipe which is really a gift. The beauty of the web is the shared community created which allows people who will never meet the opportunity to share an interest and to exchange recipes which are gifts.
Note: Several people have asked about my absence from the blogging world. Work responsibilities cut into my leisure time more than anticipated, hence no warning from me that I would be on hiatus. Life has settled and I look forward to reaching out to you through Food, Farms, and Farm markets.
As always, no company has asked for promotion in my blog.
Lately, I have had a dilemma. Do I take a chance the road leading north to Tinicum CSA farm will be open? Or closed? If open, great! If closed, it will not be discovered until total drive time will be rather long and require so much backtracking I will wonder why I attempted the route. Not wanting to deal with a turnaround, I have opted to take an alternate route. The shorter alternate route means traveling to New Jersey and on a highway which parallels the road on which I normally travel, but offer very few river views. The longer alternate route will take me on a highway, through a state park, and along the river with several miles of beautiful river views. There is no dilemma, really, The beauty of this route, the longest route, is something I have enjoyed and embraced. It provides the opportunity to relax and reduce my stress level after a long work week. With the beauty of a GPS system guiding me, one lane bridges are crossed, old stone farm house are passed, curves in the road to move through, shade to enjoy, creeks to cross, and the reward of a general store as the farm nears.
As I traveled through a Pennsylvania state park during one of these trips I pondered what to make for the members of the AAUW who would come over to discuss an upcoming presentation. Rarely do I crave chocolate cake, but there had been multiple chocolate cake references in my life that week. There was the mystery books reference, the classroom discussion of the $75 cake, and the appearance of the Ruth Reichl Giant Chocolate Cake recipe in the New York Times. This chocolate
cake will feed twenty five people, but not needing to feed such a large crowd and knowing the dangers of left over chocolate cake, I opted to cut the recipe amounts in half. A good decision as this cake gets rave reviews because it is very good chocolate cake.
Not having many cocoa choices at the grocery store (and having a low checkbook balance), run-of-the-mill cocoa was purchased, but I did opt for the Ghiradelli unsweetened chocolate for the icing. (Brands are not suggested in the recipe.) Additionally, there was no whipped cream cheese available so regular cream cheese was used for the icing.
Given these limitations the cake was easy to prepare (why do people make box cakes?), did not require much time to make, and the
frosting came together with ease. I won’t bore you with the details of assembling a cake. My only change would be to note on the recipe to wait until the cake is fully cooled before making the frosting in order to have an easily spreadable frosting.
I had made the frosting while the cake was in the oven, then placed the frosting in the refrigerator due to the cream cheese. So the
frosting had to come to room temperature before it could be easily spread.
This is no humdrum overly-sweet cake from a box or a store, no this cake has flavor and wonderful texture. Therein lies the danger. Remaining pieces of cake will not long remain in my home. It will make it to my tummy. Luckily, while at the hardware store, discussion turned to this cake and so a majority of the remaining cake to the guys at the hardware store and I froze three pieces for me.
I suggest you find a reason to make this cake as soon as you can.
Last: I do not get any compensation for any product or store which is mentioned in any blog posting, including this one. The names I mention are done only to identify, not promote, a company or product. I engage in no promotional consideration from any of the companies mentioned in my blog.
The flat land of North Dakota possesses a beauty in its seemingly never-ending expanse that allows a person to see this
country unbroken by the intrusion of man. Yet, there is a beauty in the hills and valleys of the land found in other areas of our country. Like the land of this country, life is not always smooth. There are hills and valleys which provide a beauty to this life of ours when we choose to enjoy the view. Fudge is like the land of this country. It has hills, valleys, and flat areas and it is all beautiful if you choose to see the beauty in it.
This post is about the fudge I make which is beautiful despite the fact it is not formed into perfectly shaped pieces ready for their close-up.
One night, I had a craving for peanut butter fudge. As a child, copious amounts of peanut butter fudge were made in my mother’s kitchen. That fudge contained peanut butter, corn syrup, and other now-forgotten ingredients. I knew I needed a recipe, but could initially only locate recipes with chocolate in the mix. Not that there is anything wrong with chocolate. Purists would argue fudge must contain chocolate. Nonsense I say! Yet, I yielded to a peanut butter chocolate combination.
After a bit of a search, I located the How Sweet It Is recipe which I deemed perfect: 3 ingredients and the use of the microwave.
After making, eating, and enjoying the first batch of fudge, I opted to make a second batch. The strange thing occurred in the grocery store isle. I saw a large display of Herr’s Extra Thin Pretzels at the end of an aisle. I would put pretzels into the fudge! Into my cart went a bag of pretzels.
A few days later, with the fudge ingredients in an old Pyrex mixing bowl and already in the microwave, I was crushing pretzels. These crushed pretzels were added to the warm fudge mixture, stirred and were ready to be place into a pan to cool.
After a thirty minute period in the refrigerator the fudge was set and I was hungry. One taste and I was a happy. I trotted to bed knowing peanut butter pretzel fudge wait for me. The next day a coworker confirmed the fudge was good and asked for the recipe (another confirmation). I had a winner. I suggest keeping the ingredients on hand so you can make the fudge whenever you want. Consider making a batch to give as a gift. Maybe a gift to a particular blogger. I can send you my address. Here’s the recipe.
It is hot, who wants to cook? Plus, it is my birthday week and I want to pamper myself by making some element of each meal a bit more special than normal. Since peaches were left over from the Peach BBQ Sauce, I opted to make a peach crisp.
While cobbler may be the go-to option for many with left over peaches, the crisp is a better option in my single person household. A crisp works well for me by limiting the food waste ( a cobbler is too much) and they are a way to get fruit into my diet (always a struggle).
This single crisp recipe is easy, contains ingredients easily found in my kitchen, and bakes in the toaster oven so my kitchen remains cool. Well, as cool as it can be when the evening temperatures are in the 80s.
You will need
1 peeled peach or baking apple, sliced
2 -3 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons long-cooking oatmeal
3 Tablespoons brown sugar (adjust according to sweetness of fruit and preference)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, more or less to taste.
2 Tablespoons chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
1 – 2 Tablespoons butter, in pea sized pieces, cold is best
Add the sliced fruit to an oven proof dish which is appropriate in size to the amount of fruit you have. If making an apple crisp, you may wish to add raisins and/or dried cranberries to the fruit.
Sprinkle about 1 Tablespoon of flour over the fruit and toss to coat.
Place remaining flour in a small bowl and add oatmeal, sugar, cinnamon, and nuts. Mix and sprinkle evenly over the fruit.
Dot the top with the butter.
Place in hot oven (350 degrees) for approximately 20-30 minutes depending upon amount and type of fruit.
Once cooked, let rest until the crisp is warm, not hot,
The 48 hours of stark contrasts began on a Tuesday morning when I woke having slept under a family quilt. The often-used yellow and white quilt had kept me warm on a cool night. That morning I was eager to start the day as it was In Service Day, the start of a new academic year. This year, there was a fresh food drive, the first for our school.
As I drove to work the morning sunlight was reaching through the leaves, the cloud-free blue skies were cheerful, and the cool morning air was peaceful, yet invigorating. My thoughts were on the watermelon, the chilies, and the eggplants packed for donation and I was thinking of the lemons I planned to pick up at the grocery store. i wondered what my coworkers would bring from their garden, the farmer’s market, or the grocery store. The fact I was in a position to make a donation made me thankful for the abundance of my life. I do not know the stress of the wondering how I will put food on the table or wondering how bills will be paid that week or
month. In other words, I was thankful for what I did have as well as what I do not have. In just an hour more than 200 pounds of food and more than $500 were collected. I was elated and happy at a successful food drive. That is, until…
Until the next day when The Worst First Day of School Ever occurred. Problems with unassigned assignments appearing in the course space. due date ranging from 2014 to 2017, problems with the publisher’s companion website no loading, and the two problems converging in one course. No course went unscathed. In short, problems never before experienced and requiring the assistance of a befuddled IT department. Not good. If I were a drinker, there would have been a bottle opened that night.
The first day of school has passed and I am back to feeling thankful for what I have and what I don’t have. The following is the post written after turning a negative into a positive.
When traveling to Saint Louis, I pass through western Maryland into West Virginia where all the scenery is beautiful, rest
stops give a person no reason to leave, and places to stretch your legs are few and far between. There is, however, a place I call Candy Land. It is a small market with half the store dedicated to penny candy; much of it chocolate. Here is a chance to walk the aisles and stretch my legs and an opportunity to pick up grocery items. On the most recent trip I opted to purchase candy, a few pieces of fruit, noodles, and a pack of dates. The perfect combination of nutrition-filled and nutrition-void car trip foods. OK, not the noodles, they would be cooked and consumed at home.
The next time you pick up date I hope they are fresh and delicious. In either case you just might want to make this bread and be thankful for all you have.
I had not intended to stop at The Tea Shoppe in Morgantown, West Virginia. Country Roads Quilt Shop was my destination. The free 2015 Row by Row pattern was the reason to make the detour into Morgantown. This pattern was of particular interest because it is the perfect companion piece to the Stitcher’s Garden Quilt by Linda Howell (I’m on month 6 -of 12-after 5 years!) A stop would allow me to pick up the pattern and stretch my legs after hours of driving. The Tea Shoppe was a pleasant surprise.
I wandered into The Tea Shoppe and was met by the nicest young college student. She told me about the tea offerings, inquired about my preferences, and helped me select a new-to-me tea, Scottish Breakfast. It is hearty and robust and makes a wonderful hot or iced tea and is beautiful in the summer sun.
Loose tea is not an indulgence, it is an ordinary purchase with an extraordinary resulting cup of tea. If you hesitate to purchase loose tea run the numbers; loose tea is not as costly as one might think, plus you have a
fresher, better tasting tea. (Not certain how to prepare loose tea? Just ask the employees in your local tea shop, they will be happy to tell you.) Keep in mind, 2 ounces of tea (about $7-8) will result in about 25 cups of tea if brewed only once. Just thirty two cents a cup. Less than a postage stamp and much more satisfying.
Although it might be considered rough to admit the resteeping of tea leaves, it is done frequently in my kitchen. The morning cup of tea is the caffeinated first steep while the evening steep is decaffeinated, allowing the enjoyment of tea later in the day. The thirty two cents spend for the first cup of tea averages to sixteen cents.
Living in Philadelphia means I will pass through Morgantown only on occasion, I will remember The Tea Shoppe with their large selection of tea when traveling in the area.
Because I had not picked blueberries in early July as usual, I had to get berries in early August, after my return from vacation. Because it was so late in the season, blueberry picking was light and 90 minutes was needed to pick 2 quarts of berries. Essentially, I had to hunt down the few berries overlooked by others. But I have some blueberries in the freezer and I will be able to make the blueberry corn muffins I love so much.
On that trip to get blueberries, I had blackberries on my agenda. I opted to pick enough for a snack and return when more berries would be ripe and I was not tired from having stood in the August heat for over an hour. That next week I picked enough berries to last until next season. In the meantime, fresh blackberries are being eaten, banana-blackberry smoothies were refreshing during a recent heat wave, and I look forward to blackberry-chocolate chip muffins during the cold winters.
Each year I make Zesty Peach BBQ sauce, a peach cobbler, and eat sliced peaches on hot summer days. The Peach BBQ sauce was recommended to my cousin, Trish, who mentioned she peaches remaining after a day of canning. A few days later she posted she was making the sauce and a few people were requesting the recipe. The Zesty Peach BBQ sauce is an easy recipe made with common ingredients, and the goes well with just about any grilled meat. Note: I do not puree the ingredients, instead they remain chunky. Processing time in the water bath canner is the same as salsa recipes, so I do not alter the processing time. .
If you did not pick berries this year, I encourage you to put berry picking on your list. You will have fun, support your local farmer, and enjoy the berries all year long.
Oh, wondering about my blog post title? My sister has the best blackberries in her backyard, they are small in size, but big on flavor. The problem is there are copperhead snakes in the area. So the berries are left on the bush, but I think of those berries every summer.
My retro Simplicity pattern (3 styles plus a potholder!) comes to me from my friend Mary. Her mother was a wonderful seamstress who sewed all the clothes her family wore. this was evident when I visited the house and saw a room-full of boxes filled with patterns, sewing supplies, and fabric.
The pattern has a postal zone code, not a ZIP code which indicates it predates July 1, 1963. The cost? Just 40 cents (You have to sell out $9-11 for a vintage apron pattern from simplicity today- a 22 fold increase!)
Soon, the pattern will be used to cut a new apron to use in the kitchen-just in time for canning season. I just hope I make Mrs. Epperson proud.
Missouri is where my heart is, regardless of where I live.
Crossing the Mighty Mississippi River into Missouri means I have arrived home. The mile long drive across the span of bridge provides not only an unobstructed view of the tree-laden Missouri river bank, but also an emotional connection to where I have lots of happy memories. The light from the setting sun highlights the tree-laden bank of the river.
Plans to see family and engage in activities such as playing games, visiting restaurants, or dining at a favorite restaurant are made more real with the crossing into Missouri. A favorite restaurant is located in Florissant, Missouri in a century-old railroad station depot. While the train depot has stood over a century, but De.lish Bakery and Cafe has resided in the depot only a few years. Sadly, De.lish will close at the end of this month (see their announcement).
Small, locally owned businesses are important to me and to my family. The closing of De.lish is heart-wrenching. When a business experiences continued losses, businesses cannot survive and face the unpleasant task of shutting the business. The announcement of De.lish’s closing has me reexamining, yet again, what it means to support a business. It is not enough to follow them on social media, promote their social media posts. or talking with friends and family about how great a business is.
Support means cold hard cash removed from the wallet and spent at the business. Money is a fact of life, an unpleasant topic, but for small business owners money is a necessity. Without sales, profits cannot exist. Without profits, business cannot survive. The closure of a business is a loss for employees, customers, and the local community. Town character is determined, in part, by the businesses which reside in the community. It is the population who determines, through where they spend money, if the businesses are big box discount operations or locally-owned businesses. Too many towns in America have the same businesses as the next town, giving people in other towns no reason to visit.
It is my hope people will begin to take notice of the need to support local businesses in the town and embrace the principles of the 3/50 Project. The 3/50 Project encourages you to pick 3 local businesses and spend $50 each month at that business. The $1.67 daily cost is a small price to pay to support your local business. Think of the difference to your town and to your local business people.
Select one business to support this month and ask friends and family to do the same. You will be glad to get to know the small business owners in your community. Everyone benefits. Let me know about your experiences!