Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Potato Waffles

I haven't made waffles for ages! I gave up on my old waffle iron, which always seemed to produce limp, floppy waffles, assuming I could even pry them from the waffle iron at all, in spite of the "nonstick" coating. However, my brother-in-law has given up eating much in the way of carbohydrates, and so I now have his old waffle iron, dating back to the 1940's by the look of it, which he acquired in a yard sale. It works much better, and without any of that nasty nonstick coating!

These are not a traditional light, fluffy waffle; they are more like boxty or potato scones, cooked into a waffle shape.  All the better to hold the butter. I don't think they go with syrup - bacon or sausage sounds like a much better idea - but Mr. Ferdzy likes them with applesauce.

6 waffles; 2 to 3 servings
40 minutes to make mashed potatoes
plus 30 minutes to make the waffles

Make the Mashed Potatoes:
500 grams (1 pound) russet potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup buttermilk or thin yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wash, trim, and cut the potatoes into even chunks. Put them in a pot with water to just cover them and boil them until tender; about15 to 20 minutes. Drain them, and let them sit in the pot with the lid off for a minute or so to get quite dry. Mashe them with the butter, buttermilk, and salt.

Or, use 2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes. 

Make the Waffles:
mild vegetable oil
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1/2 cup soft unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
about 1/3 cup buttermilk or thin yogurt

Brush the waffle iron lightly with oil, and heat it.

Clean, dry, and chop the chives very finely. Put them in a mixing bowl and mix them with the flour and baking powder. Beat in the eggs. Mix in the mashed potatoes, and the buttermilk. Add a little more if the batter is to thick to spread out easily.

Cook the batter in the waffle iron in 2 or 3 batches, depending on the size of the waffle iron. Each batch will take about 10 minutes to cook; they are done when the amount of steam coming off them diminishes to a noticable degree. Re-oil the waffle iron between each batch, and keep the prepared waffles hot in a 200°F oven.

Last year at this time I made Spicy Parsnip & Tomato Soup.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Creamy Sorrel Soup

I promised the first new vegetables of the spring in my next recipe, and here they are! It's official! Spring and a new season are here.

You will be lucky to find leeks, but there may be some at the farmers markets. That's what I  used; but they come from my garden and I don't mind that at this time of year they need a fair bit of trimming. I would think shallots would work fine too. The green onions were walking onions, but welsh onions would also work, and I suppose if you could get your hands on them wild leeks (ramps) would be an excellent choice as well.

The butter, red lentils and yogurt make this soup seem quite creamy without the use of any actual cream, and the sorrel and yogurt give it a lovely delicate sour tang. We enjoyed this very much.

4 servings
40 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

2 small leeks
OR 4 to 5 shallots
3 or 4 green onions
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup red lentils

2 cups chicken stock
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups loosely packed sorrel leaves
1/2 cup thick yogurt

Wash and trim the leeks or shallots, and chop them finely.

Heat the butter gently in a heavy-bottomed soup pot, and cook the leeks or shallots until softened and reduced, but not browned. Add the lentils and chicken stock.  Season with salt and pepper, keeping in mind how much, if any, salt is in the chicken stock. If there is none, I suggest about 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Simmer the soup, with the lid on, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are quite soft. Stir regularly. This can be done in advance, if you want. The soup can then be puréed, if you want as well, although I didn't bother. It's fine with a bit of texture.

Wash, trim, and chop the green onions. Add them to the hot soup. Wash the sorrel leaves, and remove any tough stems or other undesirable bits (such as snails... yeah, they're already at it). Chop it finely, and add it to the hot soup along with the yogurt. Stir well, while the sorrel wilts and cooks, but do not let the soup boil again - just get it steaming hot. I suppose you could purée it at this point too, if you wanted a very smooth puréed soup. I liked the little bits of green though, even though the sorrel quickly turns brownish.

Last year at this time, I had just had my gall bladder removed, and my life was about to go completely to pot, although I didn't know it yet... how quickly time flies. I guess.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Endive & Mushroom Salad

Well, here I am. Trying to get back into a routine that includes this blog.

Everyone is back from their winter vacations meaning that Mr. Ferdzy and I have much more chauffeuring and visiting of parents to do, and on top of that there is a quarantine in the nursing home while we make an attempt to sell the cottage belonging to Dad and his partner. It makes arranging for the offers and counter-offers to be signed a bit of production, but hopefully it will happen and we can get on to the next project, whatever that will be.

I'm struggling with my usual late winter/early spring depression, but I expect that to lift fairly soon. We've started cleaning up the garden, and have planted peas, along with lettuce and spinach. We planted spinach and lettuce in the fall, too, which is when we usually plant it, but it didn't come up. Or rather, I suspect it did come up but was eaten by last years bumper crop of slugs and snails so quickly that it seemed like it didn't. The rhubarb is starting to unfurl and the welsh and walking onions, parsley, and sorrel are all coming along nicely; in fact I believe this will be the last "winter" recipe of the year, and the next one will use some garden greens. I may be a bit overly optimistic about that, but we shall see.

2 to 6 servings
20 minutes prep time

Make the Dressing:
1/4 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon apple butter
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Make the Salad:
200 grams (1/2 pound) Belgian endive (2 medium heads)
100 grams  (1/4 pound) button mushrooms
2 cups finely shopped Savoy cabbage
50 grams (2 ounces) chopped walnuts
50 grams (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
2 to 4 tablespoons dried cranberries (optional)

Wash, trim and chop the endive. Clean and slice the mushrooms. Finely chop the cabbage.

Mix all the ingredients in a salad bowl and toss with the dressing. Reserve a few of the cranberries and walnuts to sprinkle over the top of the salad.

Last year at this time I made Lamb Steak & Kidney Pie, and Rhubarb & Carrot Muffins.