Weekday Waffles

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You might think of waffles as a weekend-only breakfast ordeal, but when you make the batter the night before, weekday waffles are easier than frying eggs!

I woke up on Wednesday morning to the buttery yeasty smell of overnight waffles. My boyfriend was in the kitchen perfecting his technique with our brand new Belgian waffle maker (we finally grew tired of the Hello Kitty one I bought when I was 20, with its tiny kitty-shaped waffles). The pull of sleep is strong––I'm not naturally morning person––but the pull of waffles is stronger, especially when their toasty aroma and the sound of a kettle clanking onto the stove draws you from your pillow to the kitchen table.

Here's the recipe, so you too can wake up to waffles. If there's not already someone in the kitchen making them for you, it's ok, because all you have to do is scoop batter into the waffle iron and sip your coffee while they cook. You'll have prepared the batter the night before (and dreamed sweetly of waffles all night). If you're solo, or the family doesn't have a big appetite, leftover waffles can be frozen to be toasted at a later date. Or you could eat them for lunch with savory toppings like sharp cheese and sweet cherry tomatoes.  

Get out the measuring cups to night, and you'll be able to make waffles with your eyes closed tomorrow. Not only does thinking ahead make the morning cooking easier, rising the batter overnight develops a rich bready flavor unlike any other waffle you've had.

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Overnight Waffles

adapted from the Fannie Farmer

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm whole milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1. Make the batter the night before. Put 1/2 cup tepid water in a large mixing bowl (the batter will double in size), add the yeast and stir. Let stand for 5 minutes. 

2. Add the warm milk, melted butter, salt, sugar, and flour (everything except the eggs and baking soda). Beat with a whisk until the batter is smooth.

3. In the morning, plug in your waffle iron and heat it up. Beat the eggs. Stir the eggs and baking soda into the batter. Cook the waffles according to the waffle iron manufacturer's instructions. Generally, when the steam subsides, the waffle is ready. Waffles can be kept warm in a 250 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 15 minutes. Extra waffles can be frozen.

I say frittata

Fritatta, Spanish tortilla, flat omelet–whatever you want to call a skillet of beaten eggs baked with stuff–this is my favorite dish to serve last minute guests. Brother and his friends stopping by on their way through town? Potluck to attend? Fridge looking nearly empty? If there are eggs, you can make a fritatta.

Here’s how I do it. Look at what’s on hand and gather some ingredients: potatoes, greens or parsley, cheese, eggs, olive oil. Heat the oven to 375°F. Pour about 1/8 inch of olive oil into a cast iron skillet. Coat the sides with some of the oil. Thinly slice the potatoes, lay them in the skillet, and put it in the oven.

Now you have some time to fix your hair or wash the dishes while the potatoes soften. Check them after 15 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven when the potatoes are fork-tender but firm.

Chop up the parsley or greens (unless you’re using salad mix or baby greens), then scatter it over the potatoes. Shred or crumble a cup or so of cheese and sprinkle that on. Beat some eggs (I use about 8 for a ten inch pan) with a little salt and pepper, and a splash of milk or cream if you want. Pour the eggs over everything. I like to sprinkle a little more cheese on top.

Bake this until the eggs are nearly set, but a little wiggly in the middle. If it seems like it’s taking forever, turn the oven up to broil. Cool for a few minutes before slicing. You can serve frittata warm or at room temperature. It’s fine to make it hours ahead. I like to set out salt & pepper, hot sauce, and fancy ketchup and let everyone season their slice of fritatta as they like.

Pantry really really bare? Just onions and dried herbs will do, especially if you have a sprinkle of parmesan for the top. Just sauté sliced onion in the pan until translucent before adding anything else. Mix the herbs into the beaten eggs. Proceed as above.

You could also add leftover cooked vegetables instead of greens, or stew some canned tomatoes in the pan for a few minutes with sautéed onions. It’s hard to go wrong. And the leftovers make great sandwiches.