Friday, May 18, 2007

Greetings from Italy

Greetings from Italy. I am sitting here in an internet cafe, having been in this country for a full 48 hours (I think? It is very difficult to keep track of time here). I do not have a way to get pictures off of my camera, so no photos for this yet, but I thought I'd say something about how our time has been so far.

In a word, fantastic. I think I love this culture, just as I knew I would. Accordian players on the tram, friendly, welcoming people, wonderful food, amazing sights everywhere - wow. We have been doing typically touristy things so far, trying not to be too typical. Tomorrow our families will be here and I know they will enjoy it too.

Best part? Well, aside from the guy, the gelato.

Check back in, as I might be able to post photos and I'd love to keep a more thorough visual journal of this trip. Either way, Greg convinced me to take a photo of every meal we have, and so far I've kept up with it! New recipe ideas already.

'Ciao', I suppose!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Waffle House

Here we are, approximately 36 hours from departure to my honeymoon, and I am posting about waffles. Waffles? Waffles, you say? "Oughtn't you be packing, or organizing, or calling someone on that very long to-do list of your's?" Well, yes. I should be doing those things. But these are good waffles!!

I think you already know that Greg and I are both particularly fixated on Saturday morning breakfasts. They come in a variety of flavors, quantities and calorie loads: from the super healthy egg white only and vegetable omelets to hash browns with free-range, nitrate-free bacon, I'm game for anything on a lazy weekend, and I tend to make interesting things on weekday days as well. Yet despite this vast repertoire of daily experimentation, I must admit that until several weeks ago I had never, in my life, made waffles. See I didn't own a waffle maker. But then, what with wedding registries and all, one magically showed on my front doorstep. I gave it a shot with minor modifications to the recipe that was included.

Perhaps this is why there are wedding registries. This waffle recipe is so good that if Greg and I ever find ourselves in a marital slump, I'll just make the waffles and they'll be so delicious that nothing else will matter but soft blueberries and pillows of butter and syrup. We'll ignore our argument for the sake of bran, whole wheat flour and soy milk that combine together to make a complex, fluffy, wonderfully flavored waffle, good tasting and healthy waffle. I swear! I would quite definitely pick these over Belgian or buttermilk waffles any day, and I think I've made it five times in three weeks already.

I have included my version of the pamphlet recipe, as well as the original version itself. This last Saturday was the first time I included peaches, and I enjoyed it though the flavor was subtle. I whipped the egg whites for the peach version, to help lighten it, but I think it'd be almost as good without that step. You could just as easily take out the peach puree and bring the soy milk up just over 3/4 cup - with that modification there would be no need to whip the egg whites. Treat this batter gently and it will reward you - over-zealous mixing will make the waffles tough instead of cloud-like. Enjoy.

Peach-Bran Waffle Clouds
Makes 4-6 waffles, serves 2
Modified from Cuisinart pamphlet

Dry Ingredients
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Heaping 1/2 cup wheat bran (the large flake kind, found in bulk containers at health food stores)
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients
3/4 cup frozen peaches
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup soy milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg, separated

1 cup frozen blueberries, optional

  1. Warm peaches in microwave until soft. Puree with handheld blender.
  2. Mix generous 1/2 cup peach puree, sugar, soy milk, oil and egg yolk together. Reserve remaining peach puree for topping
  3. Sift dry ingredients together into wet ingredients. Gently fold together
  4. Whip egg white with handheld blender until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter.
  5. Let stand while waffle iron preheats. Add 1/3 cup batter to each side of the iron and cook until lightly browned. Serve with butter, syrup, yogurt, blueberries and extra peach puree.
Basic Waffle Recipe
Makes 10-12 waffles, serves 4
Original version from Cuisinart Pamphlet

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup lowfat milk
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs

Place ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine until well blended and smooth. Let batter rest 5 minutes before using. Preheat waffle iron and prepare waffles.

Calories per waffle in original version: 174