And Another Waffle

Yes my peeps - Yet another waffle post!

Are you getting tired of my waffle obsession yet? As you can tell, I'm not! I'm telling you this waffle maker thing is changing my life! At least you, my readers, are getting things other than just waffles on this blog.

This is my week people - March Break - and I'm taking full advantage of it. Blah, blah, blah. I know... it's sickening really. Who cares if I have a week off - and the weather is fantastic here - and I'm visiting people who I can cook for. Listen, next week I'll be back to my normal deadbeat self and you'll be missing all this attention!!!

Anyway, back to my waffles. This recipe is a second one from my book-club kitchen goddess Ahea. I wanted to make it earlier in the week but didn't have the required sour cream. Now... I do! The last batch of waffles are finished and in our bellies so it's time to refill the coffers AND to try this recipe out!

This looks exciting with the sour cream and the whipped egg whites. It produces a rich but also light waffle. However, it can get a little fiddly with the egg whites (and remember - I'm doin' it by hand folks! No mixer). I would definitely double the recipe so that there were leftovers. In all honesty though it tasted an awful lot like the Buttermilk waffles... but who can resist anything with sour cream? Next recipe to test run... Yeast Waffles. Any good recipes out there, m'peeps!!????

Rich Belgian-Style Waffles
(makes 5 waffles)
1 egg yolk
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg white, stiffly beaten

Place all ingredients, except egg white in large mixer bowl. Beat on low until moist, increase to medium until smooth (I did all this by hand people and it turned out just fine). Gently fold in the beaten egg whites (do not use a mixer for this - by hand only). Allow the batter to rest for a few minutes, until the waffle maker heats up.
Place about a 1/2 cup of batter on the waffle maker and enjoy!!!

Strudelling Around

A few posts ago I was talking about being inspired and one of my inspirations was to try a strudel. I haven't forgotten my inspiration... I just haven't had time to fulfill it. UNTIL NOW. I'm on March Break people! This is my third official March Break since I've been at my current job (which I love BTW) and I'm still getting used to the concept - I still get paid during vacation? Unbelievable! Now my thoughts for this week are something like, 'what can I get up to with the kids?', 'how much cooking can I cram in and blog about?', 'who can I get together with?'. Very different from the usual work-week questions that go something like 'how can I make it through this week and not become addicted to some kind of substance or other?' Just sayin'

Ok, so Phyllo pastry. I've used it quite a bit. Yeah, it can be a little finicky but all in all it's not too bad. It's very very thin dough. Paper thin. You have to make sure when you are using it that you work fast and/or cover the unused stuff with a damp cloth because this dough will dry out just that fast. It's also absolutely a must that you use some kind of butter or oil in between each layer of dough, otherwise it will get very dry and brittle while it's baking (I think - ah, screw it, it tastes good too - who's complaining). It's also pretty forgiving. For example, if you forget to cover it and leave it out too long - not like I've ever done that people! - and it rips when you pick up a layer it won't really matter in the long run. Ultimately, there are so many layers of this stuff that a few broken pieces here and there don't show up at all.

I honestly haven't had strudel much in my life (like try at all - unless you count the couple of times in university that I tried my hand at it) so I'm no expert on how it's supposed to look or
taste or even what's traditional to put inside the thing. Maybe that gives my a fresh take on the whole concept, who knows. I like the idea of this savoury, gooey stuff being hidden inside this crispy dough, like a yummy surprise - it's just waiting for a fork to crack it open, or forget the fork and just use your hands. I happened to find this combination of mushroom and asparagus in a free grocery magazine and, as we are coming up on Spring and all, it seemed like a good way to go. I had a little uncooked chicken that desperately needed a home so it got thrown into this recipe too. Also, I've added smoked Paprika. I found this little tin of heaven at a store on the weekend (note tacky picture). It was ridiculous, trust me, but I couldn't leave it there. It came home with me and I've been trying it out in this or that all week. Smoked Paprika! Yum!!!

Asparagus and Mushroom Strudel
(serves 4 as a side dish)

8 sheets of phyllo dough
1/2 cup butter melted (might need a touch more - play it by ear)
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup red onion, diced small
4 cups of mushrooms, sliced
2 cups asparagus - ends romoved, rest of it chopped into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 cups of chicken, cubed
2 tbsp of bouillion (vegetable or chicken)
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
4 tsp corn starch
1/2 cup shredded brick or gouda (aged)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Get a baking sheet ready with parchment or silicon baking mat.

In a preheated Dutch oven add 3 tbsp of olive oil then add the onion, mushrooms and asparagus
(You could easily add a couple of cloves of garlic crushed. I didn't have any today so I didn't want to include it in the recipe yet). Saute about 5 min. over medium heat. Add the chicken and the bouillion. Saute for another 5 - 7 min. (until chicken is cooked if using raw chicken). Add in the spices and mix well. Add the sour cream and parmesan cheese and mix well. Finally add the corn starch. Check the taste and allow the mixture to rest briefly.

With a pastry brush, spread some melted butter on the parchment or silicon mat. Place one phyllo sheet on the baking sheet and spread with butter (just on the top side is fine). Continue adding sheets, one on top of the other and spreading each with butter until all 6 sheets are on the mat. Spread the filling lengthwise on the phyllo close to one side. Add shredded cheese on the top of the mixture. Fold the closest lengthwise edge over the mixture and butter that under side. Fold the ends up over the mixture and butter them as well. Begin to carefully roll the strudel, buttering with each roll, until the entire phyllo is rolled up. Butter the top of the strudel (you could sprinkle with a little coarse salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds - get creative!) and place in the oven for about 17 minutes.

When it comes out of the oven let it set for at least 10 minutes before slicing open. This sucker stayed hot (the filling that is) for a really long time. We waited at least 15 minutes!

I'm completely wingin' it here

This recipe idea keeps popping up. I've seen similar things here and there. I've even played around with something like it once before but never really taken it anywhere. It's been on my mind to try again and ... so said, so done. Also, you might think from my posts that I'm a hyper-carnivore but that is not the case. I know that there are a few veggie things sprinkled here and there on the blog but usually what happens is I've got some raw, green stuff on the side OR some roasted/steamed kind of concoction going on with the meat stuff OR I've dumped the veggies right in with everything else and called it a day (my favourite way to have veggies). I've been starting to feel bad though. Secretly, my mind thinks that veggies are for summer - fresh, brightly coloured at their seasonal peak, found at the farmer's market. I've also been thinking rather seriously about joining a farm co-op or getting organic veggies delivered. I'm kind of liking that local food/local farmer thing. Let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas - I'm all ears!!! But that's another story and today is about the Eggplant!

I also have to make sure that I don't go too 'hard-core' because then what happens is I'm eating the whole dish by myself and let me tell you... by the end of the week I'm pretty sick of millet! This recipe is a pretty happy medium for us. There is lots of cheese and there are lots of veggies... no dead carcass in sight! If you like though this would go well with grilled fish or plain grilled chicken.

I've gone completely off book here. I knew what ingredients I wanted in here and I just went for it. This recipe started as an eggplant lasagna but kind of morphed into what you see here. I added cooked rice to the filling, which as it turns out, adds a little more bulk to the texture of the entire dish. Still, this has all the requisite cheese and tomato sauce. Thanks to Nigella Lawson ('Feast' specifically) for the inspiration.

Eggplant Roll-Ups
serves 6 - 8

2 large Eggplants, slices lengthwise top to bottom
olive oil (really hard to give an amount here)
coarse salt

1/2 onion diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
olive oil for the pan (2 tbsp let's say)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 tbsp lemon juice
4 cups baby spinach
1 475 gr tub of Ricotta
1 cup of cottage cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp basil
1/2 tbsp dill
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 - 2 1/2 cups of cooked rice
1 660 ml bottle of Passata (crushed tomato)
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 340 gr. pkg of Mozzarella cheese (if you can get fresh Mozz. even better), sliced.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Place sliced eggplant on a baking sheet - it will stick a lot so I actually used a silicon baking mat but parchment will also do, aluminum foil will not work - and using a pastry brush, brush each eggplant (both sides) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 - 20 min. or until the eggplant slices are wiggly. This will probably take two or three baking sheets to complete. Remove from baking sheet and set aside.

Heat a large Dutch oven on the stove and once heated add olive oil. Keep the stove at med heat (not too hot or things will burn). Add onion, pepper and celery to olive oil and saute until wilted (5 min). Add lemon zest and garlic and saute for another 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and spinach and saute until the spinach is wilted. Add ricotta, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, salt and spices - mix well. Add the rice and check taste, adjust as needed.

In a l arge baking dish (I used a 9x13) take each slice of eggplant, place a large spoonful (about a 1/2 cup or so) of filling in the middle of it and roll it up. Do this until all the eggplant is rolled up and nestled in the baking dish, ready to be covered with it's tomato and mozzarella blanket.
Taking the bottle of Passata (I literally did all of this right in the bottle) add the Worcestershire, salt and sugar (I think that I threw in a little pepper sauce in there too), close the lid and shake it around until everything is well mixed. Pour the contents over the eggplants.
Take the slices of mozzarella and place on the very top. Bake at 375 for 30 min or until bubbly and golden. Once removed from the oven, allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes before digging in.

When you invite me over...

It's not an option. It's almost a compulsion. I see it as an opportunity. If you invite me over People I'm going to bring something. I know that you probably don't need it and that you've told me not to bring anything but PLEASE! You have to understand. I NEED to bring something. I get to share. I get to make something Special. It's bizarre. It's not rational. But there it is and I'm not fighting it anymore. So...

Off we go to a friends for lunch (on a Monday! March Break is Awesome!) and coming with us is Banana Cake with Cream Cheese icing. After all, I did have the bananas in the freezer. They were calling me! We had much to celebrate after all! It's March Break right? As it turns out, our friends put a candle in the cake and we sang and everything. . . and why not?! These kids are so cute it should be their birthday everyday. See for yourselves:

I made this cake after comparing two recipes. I was checking both the Silver Palate Cookbook recipe and the Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. I ended up falling more on the side of Magnolia only because it involved Buttermilk more than anything else and I wanted to see what the result would be. I did cut the sugar content in the recipe from 2 cups to 1 1/2 and in future (after I've tried this one out) I would consider adding toasted walnuts to the cake batter as well.
Lastly, the recipe called for White Chocolate Cream Cheese icing. I've opted here for simple Cream Cheese icing alone. The thought of something a little tangier appealed to me.

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
makes a two tiered round cake

3 cups cake and pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3 large eggs (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas
6 tbsp buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
butter and flour two 9 inch round pans.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Combine the buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.
Cream the butter until soft and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time mixing each egg in completely.
Add the mashed bananas and mix well. Add half the dry ingredients and mix completely. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix well. Add in the rest of the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Pour half of the batter into each of the two pans and bake between 40 and 50 min. Test with a cake tester to make sure the batter is baked through. Cool completely before icing.


1 pkg (4 oz) of cream cheese (not the spreadable stuff)
4 - 5 cups of icing sugar, sifted
1 - 2 tbsp of butter

Making sure that all ingredients are at room temperature mix together until you get to the desired consistency. Yes Peeps - I didn't dress this one up at all today!

It was great for us to get together with new friends. Our kids had a great time.

We got fantastic burgers - we've all decided that the battle for the best burger is on... Now!

And after some great cake...

We went for a walk in the park. On a fantastic day! All around fantastic day! Thanks Fell family!!!

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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