Thursday, May 7, 2015

Egg-Leavened Waffles

The first rule of waffles: Do not talk about waffles as if they are pancakes cooked in an iron. They are not. Waffles and pancakes have different culinary origins, even if Bisquick or Krusteaz would have you think they both just sprang ex nihilo from a corporate research kitchen. Think of the words you use to describe good waffles: crispy, puffy, tender, chewy; it's not the same as how you describe a good pancake. Waffles are special. They take more preparation, but they are worth it.
Ingredients (Makes 8-9 Belgian-style waffles, cut it in half for smaller groups)
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used fine sea salt)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3 fluid ounces oil (that's 6 tablespoons OR 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
6 eggs, separated
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, oil, and almond milk. Set aside. Using a standing mixer (or a hand mixer in another bowl) beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Set aside.
Mix and Cook:
Turn on the waffle iron to preheat. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, whisk together for 20-30 seconds, then let it sit for another 30 seconds. Slowly stir through the mixture to ensure there are no dry spots, but small lumps are OK. Now fold the whipped egg whites into the batter in two or thee batches. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray and scoop some batter on; I use two scoops from a #12 disher. Try not to overload the iron, or the batter will ooze out the sides as it expands. Cook until the steam stops coming out the sides of the iron and the waffle is golden brown. Serve immediately while still hot. You could try to keep them warm in a low oven, but I typically just start serving my family one or two people at a time as they come out of the iron.

Monday, March 30, 2015

In case you missed it...

We started to write a post on Waffles just over two years ago and saved it as a draft here in blogger. I finally got around to finishing it, but it has the date from 2013 on it. I figured I'd link to it here, so people who only check the front page would see it :)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

I made gumbo tonight. It was the best gumbo I have ever made. The recipe was requested and I am obliging.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, dredge 8 chicken thighs in 1 cup of flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper and saute until golden brown on both sides (my dutch oven holds 2 or 3 pieces at once - do not crowd the pan or they will steam instead of brown). Start each thigh skin-side down so you render as much fat as possible out into the pan. As they brown, move the pieces to a large plate or casserole dish.

After all the chicken is browned, you should have quite a bit of rendered fat left in the pan. If there's not enough to thickly cover the entire pan, add 1-2 tablespoons more oil. With the dutch oven over medium heat, whisk in 1/2 cup of the leftover dredging flour. Whisk constantly until the flour toasts and becomes golden brown. Stir in 3 ribs of diced celery, 1 large diced bell pepper (or 2 small ones) and 1 large diced yellow onion. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or a teaspoon of fresh thyme) and 2-4 cloves of minced garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the flour toasts a little more and the onions and peppers start to soften. Add one can of diced tomatoes (with its juice) and one can of chicken broth, scraping all the browned bits off the bottom of the dutch oven. Once the mixture starts to boil, put the browned chicken back in the pan, nestling the pieces so they each are surrounded by the broth. Add another can of broth (assuming there's still room - if there's not, add until the pot is full), 3 bay leaves, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes, stirring every few minutes to keep the bottom from burning.

During the last few minutes of the chicken's cooking time, slice 1 1/2 pounds of smoked Andouille sausage. Once the chicken is cooked, pull it out of the gumbo and put in a clean casserole dish or on a cutting board. Turn the gumbo down to your stove's lowest setting and heat a large skillet over medium high heat on another burner. Brown the sausage in the skillet and put it, along with any rendered-off fat, into the gumbo. By now, the chicken should be cool enough to handle; pull off the skin and discard (it's going to be very flabby and unappealing) and shred the chicken with two forks, discarding any bones or cartilage. Put the chicken back into the gumbo (along with any juices remaining in the casserole dish). Stir in 2-3 teaspoons of filé powder (also called gumbo filé, it is the dried and powdered leaves of the sassafras tree). The filé will thicken the gumbo, so it might be best to stir in a teaspoon at a time until it's as thick as you like. Serve over rice. You may add chopped scallions or parsley for garnish and flavor, and season with Tabasco sauce for heat (Crystal and Louisiana brand sauces may also be used if you must, but any addition of Frank's Red Hot will get you banned from Mardi Gras for life!)