We went to a dinner party last night with some friends, and while I knew the company would be really fun (what can possibly top a bunch of priests and their spouses, especially when 80% of the spouses were lawyers?), I also had a hunch that the food would be incredible as soon as we walked in the door. The smells coming from the kitchen were fantastic. As soon as we sat down, I realized that our hosts had bought Ina’s latest cookbook, and used it as their guidebook for the evening. Lucky us! It was such a treat to be the dinner guest when our host was cooking these fabulous dishes for us. They served the cauliflower soup, herbed pork tenderloin, and tres leches cake, all from “Make it Ahead,” and a stacked caprese salad that looked familiar from another cookbook. The appetizer course was a really yummy cheese dip that looked vaguely familiar, but I’m not sure it was a Contessa recipe. It was all really, really good, and now I really can’t wait to dig in to the rest of the cookbook.
Once we got home, I mixed up the ingredients for the Overnight Belgian Waffles from Make it Ahead. They were easy enough, but this morning I forgot to add the eggs and baking soda until I was halfway through cooking the waffles. Next time, I’ll make a note to myself so that I don’t have to think before my morning coffee.
Believe it or not, both the correct version and the egg-free version tasted just fine. If you’re feeding people who like plain waffles (without syrup or other add-ons), you may want to add a little more sweetness to the batter. But if you’re a syrup person (or, like my husband, a peanut butter and syrup person), these will be a nice solid base for toppings. I’ve seen recipes for yeasted waffles (which is what these are) all over the place lately – from Bon Appetit to the New York Times cooking section – so they must be trending right now. I liked them for their airiness and lightness, and they tasted a little bit like fresh bread right from the oven. If I had complete creative control here, I have to admit that I’d prefer a deeper waffle maker, to make thicker Belgian-style waffles, but the kids vetoed that idea for thinner waffles.
I recently replaced our old waffle iron, which had been a workhorse for years. It came from my parents’ lake house, which means it was purchased sometime between 1995 and 2001. I inherited a lot of the lake house kitchen tools when they sold the place, and the waffle iron was one of the many treasures from that haul. It was a cuisinart model, and it made square waffles. My favorite odd memory from that particular waffle iron was that I used it to make waffles a few days before our wedding in 2003. I must have been making waffles for my family, who came into town a few days before the wedding. I burned my right hand on the waffle iron, but comforted myself that the burns were limited to my right hand, and everybody knows that the photographer only takes the pretty picture of the left hand with the pretty rings on it, right? Wrong. We have no pretty ring finger photos (probably just as well, as I have strong-ish man hands), but he did get a great shot of my signing the marriage license and register, all with my burned right hand. Naturally.
Anyway, the old waffle iron fell off of a shelf in our kitchen a few weeks ago. It just about jumped off the shelf to its death. Did it know something we don’t? Or was it so ashamed of the hand burn from years ago? We’ll never know. I ordered a new one that week, and I have to say I’m pretty happy with its inaugural run this morning. It’s an All Clad model that I bought with a 20% off code at Williams Sonoma. Yay for waffles!