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08/17/2009

Joel’s Moderately Fancy Meal: Savory Bacon-Cheddar Waffles and Another Waffle That Will Not Get as Many Hits as One with Bacon!  »

A couple days after the family vacation that gave rise to that freaking awesome black bean and peach soup HAVE YOU TRIED IT YET I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT, I found myself trapped in the limbo between CSA deliveries. Not a lot of fresh veggies in the house, but the bread I was getting ready to bake wouldn’t be done until the next day*, and a man’s gotta eat. One thing I always have is various forms of carbohydrates—flour, rice, big spoonfuls of sugar in a pinch—so carbs it would be. I took stock of what little I had in my fridge, took a look out the window at my planter garden, and made today’s recipes based on two principles: (1) breakfast for dinner is perfectly acceptable, and (2) why settle for “perfectly acceptable” when you can fancy shit up, Moderately Fancy Style.

Please to note, you don’t have to be some kind of crazy sourdough-bakin’ fool to follow these recipes!** I made them by modifying my stock sourdough waffle recipe, but you can just as easily add the extra ingredients to a plain old baking powder waffle recipe and it will be almost exactly as delicious. You won’t have that tang of sourdough, so you may want to add a little vinegar (which will also help your waffles get big and fluffy), but that’s up to you and the flavor you’re looking for!

Savory Waffles Two Ways (serves 4)
Ingredients
Waffle batter
1 cup unfed sourdough starter
2 cups soy milk (you can sub any other non-dairy milk or even water, in which case omit the vinegar)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Savory additions
2 large onions
1/2 cup shredded bacon-cheddar Cheezly
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. sea salt

As with everything sourdough, the waffle batter is a long process (though nearly all of it is waiting). The morning of the day you’d like this for dinner, combine the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and let sit for a few minutes to form an ersatz buttermilk. Then add the starter and sugar, stir well, and stir in the flour. Loosely cover the bowl (I use a kitchen towel), and let rise until bubbly. This should take about eight hours.

When the batter is ready, add the oil and salt. Stir to combine. Then heat a little olive oil in a pan on low. While it warms, dice the onions. Add them to the pan and cook until the onions are translucent and starting to brown. Add them to the waffle batter and stir again.

Now we’re in the final steps. Begin to heat your waffle iron. (What? You don’t have one? That’s ok, this can also be pancakes!) Divide the batter into two equal portions (or more, if you’re making more varieties. Don’t divide more than four ways without increasing the recipe, or you won’t have enough of each). Add the Cheezly, the spices, and the Tabasco to one, and the basil, nutritional yeast, and sea salt to the other. Stir them both to combine (but not with each other). Then make waffles as usual.

To serve, dress the basil waffles with flavorful olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The cheddar waffles are flavorful enough that they should be eaten on their own, hot off the iron.

Variations
The largest omission in this recipe is that the basil waffles should clearly have a fresh tomato diced and tossed into the batter. I didn’t have one on hand, but if you do, go for it. If you don’t, add some tomato paste to the onions shortly before they’re done, and sauté it all together for a few minutes. Also, consider using balsamic instead of apple cider vinegar when making the batter.

I hope it’s clear that this is more a template with two examples than it is a set-in-stone recipe. There are hundreds of delicious variations on the savory waffle theme; I hope you’ll come up with some of your own. Here are some more suggestions:

mozzarella and marinara
sautéed wild mushroom
corn and jalapeño
black bean and peach (what, it is a very good flavor combination!!)
pepperoni and green olives
feta and thyme

Enjoy!

* Sourdough takes a long time, but you can’t rush perfection!
** Although if you want to be and don’t know how, leave a comment! More sourdough recipes could be arranged!

This has been an installment of Joel’s Moderately Fancy Meal, brought to you by Joel, of Joel and Nibbler.

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