Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Asparagus-Parmesan-Quinoa Waffle

Asparagus, Quinoa, and Parmesan Waffle

It was the Sweet Potato Gruyère waffle that first caught my eye, and it was love at first bite. It was the first time I'd heard of a savory waffle and I haven't looked back since: Parsnip, Pumpkin, and now Aspragus and Quinoa. Why is the Birchwood Cafe the only place that seems to know that savory waffles are the answer to all your problems? Well, all your waffle-related problems at least...

Hopefully the deliciousness of the savory waffle will spread, but until then, you'll just have to try it at home. A few weeks ago I had breakfast at the Birchwood Cafe: An Asparagus, Paremsan, & Quinoa Waffle served with Lavender-Rhubarb Butter and Kiwi-Kumquat Salsa, topped with bacon lardons and an egg with a perfectly runny yolk. While I was eating it on their patio on a beautiful May morning, I decided that I needed to recreate it down to every last detail and, if I may say so myself, I did a darn good job. The photo above is my savory waffle and the one below is what I had at Birchwood:

Savory Waffle

Yes, there are a lot of steps, but the two garnishes take about 5 minutes to make each, can definitely be made ahead of time, and are well worth the effort.

Lavendar-Rhubarb Butter

Lavender-Rhubarb Butter

1 stick of butter
1 tbsp edible lavender flowers
1 tbsp rhubarb stalk, finely chopped

Put all ingredients in a food processor and mix until well combined. Wrap in parchment paper and store in the fridge for up to 10 days. Other than on the waffle, it's great on your favorite slice of bread and smells absolutely amazing.

Kiwi-Kumquat Salsa

Kiwi-Kumquat Salsa

1 kiwi, chopped
5-6 kumquats, chopped (including the peels)
1/4 of a red onion, chopped

Simply combine all the ingredients in one bowl. Enough to garnish about 3 waffles. Feel free to adjust the quantities to your liking.

Asparagus, Quinoa, and Parmesan Waffle

Asparagus-Parmesan-Quinoa Waffle

1 bowl of your favorite waffle batter (I used Mark Bittman's but in the future I plan to try either one of the recipes that Molly of Orangette just posted here)
Quinoa flour (optional, substitute up to 25% of the flour in your waffle recipe)

6-8 asparagus stalks, chopped into small pieces with the tops left in tact
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

To serve (all optional):
1 egg (per waffle)
1 strip of bacon (per waffle)
Lavender-Rhubarb Butter
Kiwi-Kumquat Salsa
Maple Syrup
Powdered sugar

Preheat your waffle iron.

Saute the asparagus in olive oil over medium heat until tender. Mix into the waffle batter along with the cooked quinoa and cheese. Pour into waffle iron and cook as you normally would. Keep waffles warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon and eggs. Once the waffles are done, top each with one egg, chopped bacon, a small scoop of lavender-rhubarb butter, kiwi-kumquat salsa, and a dusting of powdered sugar (which I forgot, even though I had some). Skip the bacon and it's vegetarian. Enjoy.

Asparagus, Quinoa, and Parmesan Waffle

PS- Join the waffle revolution at WAFFLEBLAWG

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spring Eggs with Asparagus

Spring Eggs

I stumbled upon this recipe last night from The Perennial Plate and decided to try it for breakfast since I had almost everything I needed.

The Perennial Plate is a weekly webseries in which chef/activist Daniel Klein explores different aspects of food in Minnesota. Topics so far include foraging for morels, making cheese, and butchering a Thanksgiving Turkey. I highly recommend the series. They also host Harvest Dinners as a sort of underground restaurant. Alex and I attended the most recent dinner and had a fantastic meal, every part of which was local. If you are in the Twin Cities, you should definitely check one out.

Anyway, I didn't quite have all the ingredients, plus I added some morels, because the other day I was at the grocery store and decided I felt like spending over $7 on two mushrooms (they were pretty big, but still, these things are $40/pound). Needless to say, they are totally optional.

Spring Eggs

Spring Eggs with Asparagus
Adapted from The Perennial Plate

2 eggs
1 1/2 tbsp butter
4 asparagus spears
Olive Oil
Red Wine vinegar
Morels or other mushrooms(optional)
Wild Ramp Pesto

Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and pour into a cold pan. Heat, along with 1/2 tbsp butter, over low heat and stir constantly.

In a skillet, sautee the mushrooms in butter, then set aside. Add olive oil to the pan and when hot, add the asparagus spears and cook until bright green. Add the rest of the butter and a splash of the red wine vinegar, cover, and cook until tender (1-2 minutes).

Serve with a dollop of ramp pesto.

Golden Yolks

PS- These are the eggs this blog is named after. Just LOOK at those yolks. They are from Prairie Pride Farm in Mankato and I have yet to find any other eggs that are bright and delicious. Check them out at the St. Paul Farmers Market.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wild Ramp Pesto

Wild Ramp Pesto

This morning, I saw the Amateur Gourmet's post about making pasta with the Wild Ramp Pesto from Food52. Cut to a few hours later when I found myself wandering up and down the aisles of the Seward Coop without a grocery list. I saw ramps and decided I would make the same thing for dinner. I ended up going out for dinner, so the pesto will have to wait until tomorrow, but I wanted to share this since ramp season will be over soon and I wish I had known how fantastic ramp pesto was a few weeks ago. I would've been eating it by the spoonful until there were no more ramps to be found. If there are still ramps near you, grab them and try this! Next spring I'll be more prepared!

I'm planning on using it for pasta, similar to Adam, or maybe mixing it with some quinoa and doing something like this recipe, which was a favorite of mine this winter. Or maybe both!

Wild Ramp Pesto

Wild Ramp Pesto
Adapted from The Amateur Gourmet/Food52

1 bunch ramps (about 6-8)
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
A handful toasted walnuts
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice from half a lemon
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Roughly chop the ramps and pulse in the food processor along with the walnuts and cheese.

Wild Ramp Pesto

Then slowly add the olive oil while the processor is on low. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Wild Ramp Pesto

Pulse a few times, taste, and add more salt or pepper if needed.

Makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Homemade Vanilla Extract (An Update)

Homemade Vanilla

You may remember when I made my own vanilla extract. Well it's finally done! Actually, it has been done for over a month, but keep forgetting to post about it. Even when it's 'done', it still has a strong alcohol smell, but don't let that put you off. I've used it several times and it works just like any extract you would buy at the store.

The little jar on the left is made with bourbon and the one on the right is rum. It might make a slight difference in some recipes, but so far I haven't been able to tell. And now I have enough vanilla to last me until I die. Or probably more like a year with how much I bake...

Sautéed Bananas

Sauteed Bananas

Ninety-percent of the time I make pancakes, it's for the bananas. Warm, slightly caramelized bananas. I can't think of any other time I eat warm bananas and I have no idea why because they are delicious. Well, actually I get warm bananas every Christmas Eve when my father makes Bananas Foster. In fact, this dish reminds me a lot of that, but (I assume) much healthier. I had it last week when I was visiting them in Illinois and made them dinner from one of my mother's Moosewood cookbooks (or Moosehead, as my father repeatedly called it). The sidebar suggested I serve this for dessert after the curried chickpeas and coconut rice I had chosen. Since then, I've made it three more times.

It's. Good.

The recipe is incredibly fast, simple (as in under 5 minutes), and healthy, yet tastes like something much richer. It's great served on top of vanilla ice cream or on its own with a dollop of whipped cream. Or eat it straight out of the pan like I just did. In your pajamas. I won't judge.

Sautéed Bananas
Adapted Moosewood Cookbook (I can't remember which one it was)

2 bananas, sliced
1 tbsp butter*
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tbsp orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier (optional)

*I'm sure you could easily veganize this and use Earth Balance instead, but I haven't done it myself.

Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon and stir until incorporated. Add the orange juice concentrate and stir until melted. Stir in the liqueur, if desired. Add in the banana slices, stir until coated, and cook for about 30 seconds. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake (Foodie Book Club: A Homemade Life)

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with Creme Fraiche

As I mentioned earlier (when I made bouchons au thon), this month's selection for the Foodie Book Club was A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette.

If you are not familiar, this book is an autobiography of Molly's life. Each short chapter tells a story and ends with a recipe. The stories span from her childhood to college to Paris to her father's death and finally her romance with her now husband Brandon, whom she met through her blog. I think what I love most about this book is although it is definitely about food, it is actually more about the people in her life. Each recipe is tied to a specific person or a specific memory and Molly invites you into her world and describes it so well that the recipes end up being an added bonus.

And what an added bonus they are! The first time I read the book last summer it seemed that at the end of every chapter I was making a mental note: "Must make this soon!" Soon, I was wondering if I would come across anything I wouldn't want to make. Since then, I have made several recipes from this book, as well as her blog, and not a single one has been disappointing. I made her Banana Bread with Crystallized Ginger at Christmas, the Tarte Tatin, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, roasted rhubarb, the bouchons au thon earlier this month, countless others I can't recall at the moment, but mostly, her Buckwheat Pancakes.

The Buckwheat Pancakes have become my go-to pancake recipe. I make them maybe once every month or two (in fact, I made them this morning before dropping my little sister off at the airport). I almost always make them with sliced bananas and sometimes, when I'm feeling indulgent, a few dark chocolate chips. But that was a complete tangent. I'm not writing about those pancakes today, but the Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake with Creme Fraiche.

I made creme fraiche for the bouchons au thon and knew I would have some leftover. I happened to flip past this recipe and decided it would be the perfect way to put that extra creme fraiche to use, along with the buttermilk I used to make the creme fraiche in the first place. It fit perfectly. Molly's version actually includes glazed oranges, but I decided to omit them. The cake turned out perfectly. Tangy, light and not too sweet. Molly says that it is best on the day it's made, but leftovers "make a nice 'dessert' after breakfast." I actually kept the cake around for maybe even 5 days. It did dry out slightly but was still delicious. I wasn't sure about this after-breakfast dessert thing, but every mid-morning that the cake was around, I found myself cutting off a thin slice, so I think she was definitely onto something.

Coconut Macaroons
(The macaroons pre-chocolate ganache)

Just as the bouchons led to this cake, this cake led to Molly's coconut macaroons with chocolate ganache. The cake calls for 4 egg yolks, leaving you with just enough egg whites for her recipe, which yielded rich, chewy sweet macaroons dipped in a bittersweet chocolate ganache. A definite must if you make this cake and are feeling naughty enough to go for something indulgent instead of the usual healthy Leftover Egg White Omelet.

All in all, I am a huge fan of Molly/Orangette. We are actually going to Seattle for our honeymoon and I am definitely making sure we eat at Delancy (her and Brandon's restaurant) while we are in town!

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with Creme Fraiche

Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake with Creme Fraiche
From Molly Wizenburg's A Homemade Life

4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 cups cake flour (I was too lazy to make my own and used whole wheat pastry instead)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

Creme fraiche (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line with parchment paper and grease the paper as well.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and set aside.

Put the sugar in a medium mixing bowl and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the bowl. Use your fingers to rub the seeds into the sugar and break up any clumps. Add the flor, baking powder, and salt and beat at a low speed for a few seconds to combine.

Cut the butter into pieces and add to the dry ingredients along with the rest of the buttermilk. Beat on low until moist and then medium to combine for about one minute. Add the egg mixture in 3 doses and beat well inbetween each addition. The batter will be thick, airy, smooth, and pale.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

Pour into the ban and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes before removing and then cool completely. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with Creme Fraiche