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Monday mornings are for waffles

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15 May 2008

Monday mornings are for waffles

corny waffles I

Mondays are Sundays around here.

I don’t mean that to sound as Alice-in-Wonderland-down-the-rabbit-hole as it does. (I can’t wait to read that book to Little Bean, but I’m counting on it being perplexing the first dozen times.) We just don’t live days like most people do.

Most people think of Friday night as the great release. When I was teaching full-time, Friday afternoon felt like summer vacation starting, like the beginning of a long break. Anything seemed possible. I sat outside, at beloved restaurants with friends, chatting slowly and hoisting glasses to the weekend. Back then, I never realized just how hard the chefs and waiters were working, or that Friday night was crunch time for them.

Friday night is generally the busiest night of the week for the Chef.

Waking up Saturday morning used to feel like decadence, with warmth pouring through the windows onto my feet in the bed. Two days lay before me. And even though I knew those days would fly away as fast as early spring warmth in Seattle, I still believed, every Saturday morning: this weekend I could fully relax and achieve everything I thought I needed. Coffee in bed, reading the paper, dreaming of longer vacations — Saturday morning.

On Saturdays now, we read the paper in bed together, and feel the warm cups of coffee in our hands. And watch Jamie Oliver, of course. But Saturday mornings mean another work morning around here. We climb in the car and drive to the farmers’ market, never being able to linger long and talk to farmers the way we like. We’re gathering food for the restaurant, and it’s time to go. The Chef has just dreamt up a fish special with pea vines, pickled asparagus, and petrale sole. We drive to the restaurant, say goodbye, and he starts another ten hours of working without once sitting down.

Saturday nights are pretty darned busy these days, too.

By Sunday morning, I could feel the dread slip in, the palpable sense that the weekend was coming to an end. After an entire day off from grading, I traded plans for languishing and laughing with friends for hours hunched over the kitchen table, marking up papers. I rarely made it through them all. No matter how hard I worked, I could not keep up. I sipped juice and watched episodes of Sex and the City to bribe myself back to working. Cooking was my only release, the evening place where everything else turned off, and I could just be.

I hated Monday mornings.

But now, around here, Sunday is usually our Saturday morning. We languish and laugh, read the entire paper slowly, and still make it out of the house sometimes to meet people for brunch. Our first day of the weekend intersects with our friends with regular jobs, like those circles we had to study in high school algebra. Sunday is the circle on the left, Monday the one on the right — and there’s a small semi-circle where our Sunday meets other people’s with the day off.

And Monday? It feels like real decadence. You see, I keep the same hours as the Chef. I don’t stand in the kitchen ten hours in a row, creating food and feeding people. But I spend his work days doing work as well: writing, researching, coming up with new recipes, running errands. My weekend is with him, on Sunday and Monday.

By Monday, most everyone else has gone back to work. We can go to the movies in the middle of the afternoon and be the only two people there. We stroll through the Market in the late morning without having to sidle through hordes of tourists. We can drive on the freeway in non-rush hour traffic and not have to battle other cars. No matter how hard I work or how long I write, I’ll always feel a little bit like I’m playing hooky by having Monday off.

Lately, however, we haven’t had two days off in a row with each other. Poor Chef. He’s utterly exhausted. For reasons that are the purview of his work, and not this site, his former assistant turned duplicitous and left him in the lurch for weeks. Without any help, he turned to friends, and even me, to come play sous chef for days, while he searched for someone better. (Working with him for three weekends was a glorious experience, but it’s not one I would recommend to anyone else who is six months pregnant.) This has meant he worked Sundays again, the last six Sundays. His hours increased to twelve hours a day, most of the time not sitting down once and forgetting to eat. And for the first few of those weeks, his only day off, Monday, seemed to fill up with making decisions about the baby, childbirth classes, and the cooking classes we have begun to teach together again.

The siege is over. He found a tremendous sous chef this week. Soon, he will sleep again. Soon, we’ll have an entire weekend together.

But in the meantime, I am making Mondays as filled with rest and good food as I can, for him. He has rediscovered naps, like a small child with his favorite blankie. We sometimes stay in bed for hours, just watching movies and holding hands. And we remind each other — this is the restaurant business. Life moves in phases. This too shall pass.

And this Monday, to feed him, I made us waffles for breakfast.

There’s something deeply satisfying about waffles. Fluffy pockets, crisp to the first touch of the fork, soft inside with warm dough, the little indentations filled with melted butter and thin syrup, ready to be topped with rhubarb compote or whipped cream. Something about waffles feels like a slow Sunday morning, even if we do eat them on Monday mornings.

When I was a kid, my favorite night was Breakfast for Dinner. Even if we had eaten well for breakfast that morning, I never grew tired of the excitement of eating scrambled eggs, plump sausages that gristled under the fork, and a little pool of maple syrup, well into the evening. And in my family, the best Breakfast for Dinner event was waffles night.

Mom made up a huge batch of waffles with Bisquick. For one course, we had the traditional waffles, with margarine and Mrs. Butterworths. After I had cleared my thick brown Pfalzgraff plate. I received the savory course: waffles with chicken, sometimes with green chiles from a can, and sour cream. Last — and the most anticipated — were the chocolate waffles, evenly brown and crispy on the edges, topped with ice cream and chocolate syrup. To my memory, the vanilla ice cream gleamed a rich yellow color, and it came to us in a rectangular package, which meant we cut squares onto our waffles, and watched them melt under the weight of the cloying chocolate syrup.

God, we loved waffles night.

It didn’t matter that the waffles came from a mix, or the syrup from a can, the brown liquid flowing from a tiny triangular opening in the top. We felt well fed. We felt loved.

So this Monday morning, when the Chef and I had a few hours together before he would need a long nap, to prepare for our cooking class that night, I slipped into the kitchen and made up a batch of waffles. I played with flours, opened a can of coconut milk, and gently warmed some maple syrup. The first waffle emerged, fluffy, with a thickness I had never seen in gluten-free waffles. I walked into the room where he sat, at the computer, and placed a plate of waffles in front of him, butter melting, syrup filling all the indentations.

He looked up at me, surprised, the sleepiness leaving his eyes. “Hey! Thanks, sweetie.”

I turned toward the kitchen, happy to pass on this tradition. Monday mornings are for waffles around here.

corny waffles II

GLUTEN-FREE CORNY WAFFLES, adapted from Joy of Cooking

As much as the Chef liked these waffles, he said he would probably like them more as a savory dish. When I mentioned barbequed chicken, cheddar cheese, salsa, and chiles, his eyes grew wide. I might make those later this week.

But I happen to like the fact that these are slightly savory. I’ve been making so many corn tortillas lately that I threw in some masa flour to the mix. I’ve noticed that all the Italian gluten-free baked goods I love have corn flour in the flour blend. Why not? They have a distinct corny taste, and some of you might not like that. That’s okay. I’m the one who used to eat movie theatre popcorn with Milk Duds melting among the kernels. I love that sweet and savory combination.

I will say, the masa made these waffles the thickest yet fluffiest waffles I have ever eaten. Try them. See what you think. Also, I made pretty thick waffles, which called for stiff batter. You might want to thin these out and make them stretch more. And feel free to play, entirely, with the flour combinations. Waffle nights should be your own.

1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup teff flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1 cup masa harina
2 teasoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried buttermilk powder
12 ounces coconut milk
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs

The dry ingredients. Combine all the gluten-free flours together. Sift them into a large bowl. Add the baking powder, salt, and dried buttermilk powder.

Meet the wet ingredients. Whisk all the wet ingredients together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in all the wet ingredients. Stir until the waffle batter is coherent.

And become waffles. Heat the waffle iron. When it is hot enough to go, brush canola oil on the surface, and then plop enough batter onto the waffle iron to cover 2/3 of the surface. Put the top down and wait for the waffle to be done.

Feeds 4.


At 10:25 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

You have just inspired me to make gf bacon waffles for my almost five year old. She loves waffles, she loves bacon. She loves real maple syrup.

And I have always loved bacon waffles (Salmon Bay Cafe, circa idea if they still make them).

Thank goodness you reminded me. Thanks.

At 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the way you wrote this...very beautiful and memorable.

At 4:05 AM, Blogger sweetpea said...

I share a similar work schedule, heading into my work week every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, a routine I have had for the past 5 years. I have a love hate relationship with the weekend work schedule. Sometimes I feel like I am missing a great deal of fun, but I love the freedom of my week Monday - Thursday. Labor, we work round the clock all year long, we are the people who cook for you, keep your streets safe, nurse your sick family members. Since my partner is an academic and works a more traditional schedule I must admit, the one thing I miss is waking up with her in the morning, although there is some of that during her acadmic time off, all summer for example. When I have a rare day off on a weekend, Tina makes the best gluten free pancakes for me. We might have to try your version of waffles however, they sure look good. I think spring has finally arrived here in the tundra of MN!

At 4:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmm, Shauna, those look amazing! Your post filled me with an even deeper sense of cameraderie; you see, Sundays and Mondays are our weekends around here, too. I work long hours through the rest of the week, and Sundays are the day we sleep in, have a long, lazy morning, and then I make waffles! There are a few different recipes I play with (we're free of gluten, soy, corn, and dairy), and even though we have them every week, there's nothing quite like sitting down with a hot, crispy, chewy waffle, straight from the iron. They're so cozy for your stomach.

(Oh, dear, my stomach is growling.)

I'm so glad the Chef will have more time for the three of you soon.

Also (this is getting long, I can see, but I have to add this), I want to thank you so much for your dedication; your dedication to living life to the fullest, to being gluten-free, to keeping up this blog. You have helped me through many adventures sans gluten, and I appreciate you so much. Thank you, Shauna.

At 5:06 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I make waffles every Sunday, but mine have a rice/buckwheat flour mix.

6 eggs well beaten
⅝ cup canola oil (0.625)
1 ½ cups soy milk (1.5)
1 ½ cups water (1.5)
2 Tbsp Honey
2 cups brown rice flour (white rice OK)
2 cups sweet brown rice flour (sweet rice OK)
½ cup buckwheat flour (0.5 cups)
3 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Salt

This is a big batch (triple the Fannie Farmer recipe it's based on), but we use leftover waffles for PB&J sandwiches to pack for my son's lunches.

Note: Sweet rice is sometimes called glutinous rice. It does NOT contain wheat gluten, just more sticky starch than regular rice flour.

At 5:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason I do not have a waffle iron right now is that I will not buy one with Teflon...But I love the idea of savory waffles. I have been eating bunless burgers, but a nice, round waffle would go perfectly underneath.

There is a local chain of restaurants here in the northern Virginia area that have gluten-free chococate waffles for dessert! They sell them on the regular menu as "flourless." It is a rich, dark, soft, moist chocolate waffle, from scratch of course. They fold it in half, and put hot fudge in the middle. Then serve it ala mode. It is decadent! If you are ever in the area, the company is Great American Restaurants, and they own Arties, Sweetwater, and Coastal Flats, and some others.


At 6:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice blog... Keep up the good work! God Bless!

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Peter said...

Masa makes great waffles and pancakes. I've been using about half masa in my GF flour mixtures for years. It really does make them soft and fluffy. And the corny taste is mild, not as strong as corn meal. I recommend people here take their favorite flour mixture and use half that and half masa and make the pancakes or waffles as usual. I think they'll like the results. And a corn flavor goes great with ample syrup ( we use to put it on our corn bread as kids!).

Masa is readily available and cheap, so this approach can really cut down the cost of GF eating.

At 7:18 AM, Blogger rebelgirl7 said...

mmmmmmm waffles! I love them with real maple syrup and some runny (not whipped)organic cream on top.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger Gluten free Kay said...

Before I started cooking for college students, I worked in restaurants. So I worked weekends. I always had parties at home on Monday nights. My restaurant pals loved it, and the 9-to-5ers made do. My Monday-before-Christmas party has become a 20 year tradition.

Pickled asparagus, mmmmmmm. Wish I could stop in and taste the Chef's special.

At 7:40 AM, Blogger Shannon B. said...

Oh, I absolutely adore savory waffles. One of my favorite pleasures is still chicken and waffles. Strange but so delicious it hurts.

At 10:02 AM, Blogger pinksuedeshoe said...

I have been reading your blog for weeks now, you are absolutely inspiring. I don't have to eat gluten free, or dairy free or anything else, but I love the way you write, and I love your recipies. I love good food, I don't think you should just put any old thing on your plate and call it dinner. It is nice to "meet" someone who feels the same way. Thank you for your positive outlook on your life. It is so refreshing. Congratulations on your book deals and your new baby. You are already an inspiring mother.

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love waffles. I've been using Bette Hagman's bean waffle recipe from GFG Bakes Bread, but this one looks good too. I put in almond meal which adds some body. I also separate the eggs and beat the whites with some cream of tartar until fairly stiff, then fold in, which helps them rise and stay fluffy, a trick my mom taught me.

I used to work swing shift with every other weekend off. It was a perfect schedule--I could wake up whenever I felt like it, and spend the day until my shift biking, swimming, reading, gardening, cooking, whatever my heart desired. (That was back before I was gluten free. Now I would spend it baking!) Then when work time came, I would get an extra burst of energy from going in to help women have babies in the birthing center.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Christina said...

So funny I actually made waffles this morning. I don't normally make waffles on Friday mornings--but today is my son's 5th birthday.

Love your blog. Enjoy the hours in bed holding hands, life will change. I do remember with my 1st son spending a lot of hours laying in bed with a little baby between. It is a different sort of sweetness.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Brj said...

Lord praise waffle days!


The sun is coming out!

I hope you, Chef, and LB get to enjoy it! Happy days in the Pacific Northwest.

Your blog is the only thing that can keep me inside on a day like I am off! To camp and be one with nature.

I'll post pictures from our hike to Silver Falls on my blog next week.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your site....i cant wait to make these waffles....mmmmmmmmm....check out my blog, GF girlies!

At 9:22 PM, Blogger Beth said...

When I was in London a few months ago, I noticed that a lot of their gluten-free products contained corn. They even had packaged corn cakes, like rice cakes but with corn.

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Very interesting use of masa harina, I bet they were wonderful. How about incorporating the cheese into the batter...or would that be a disaster with the waffle iron?

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Emily said...

I love the idea of using masa or cornmeal in baked goods. Is a pancake a baked good? I don't know, but you know what I mean.

It's been a while since I visited, but I'm not sure why. Just busy, I guess. You're a wonderful writer.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger Karin said...

Can these be made dairy free?
They look so delicious...but I can't have dairy, either.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Cutzi said...

This is my first time visiting your site - and I must say... while I could completely identify with your Monday morning waffles (we have swedish pancake mornings around here - and not necessarily on Saturdays as my husband has a unique schedule as well)and so appreciated your recipe.. what I enjoyed reading the most was how lovingly you care about and for your husband. It seems you support him in the things he loves and enjoy your days just being together - unfortunately rare in this age of busy-ness and marriage ending selfishness. Thank you so much for sharing.

At 7:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yum. Definitely going to try these. Waffles were one of my favorite pre-gf foods; I had always loved homemade waffles, and when we got a waffle iron as a wedding gift, I was thrilled, and we put it to good use. So far in this quest for happy gf, allergen-free living, though, I've been unable to find a waffle recipe that works really well without gluten or eggs. But I'll give this one a go with some flax egg replacer and see what happens!

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! Mondays are my Sundays, too - I work Tuesday through Friday planning for my Saturday at the "office" - running our beloved farmers' market. My office - outside, in the elements, talking to vendors and patrons, solving problems, accepting feedback, etc. I love it, but it's a busy, busy day.

I'm usually done by 2:30 PM (my Saturday starts at 4:30 AM), though, so my weekend - and the cooking - begins when I get home.

Sundays are spent with my husband and kids.

Mondays? Everyone's at school or work, and I'm alone to clean, do some work remotely, run errands, write, etc. It's awesome.

The best part? Everyone at work got their Monday out of the way while I was out of the office, so my Monday, which is Tuesday, doesn't have that Monday vibe about it.


At 1:53 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

I was referred to your site by my dietician. I just found out I am severely allergic to all wheat products. I was so worried, but thanks to all of you, it doesn't seem like it will be that bad. Glad to have found you! I am not far away and many of my docs are in Seattle so one of my trips over I will have to stop in and have a bite to eat at chef's place!
Take care,

At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I hope your family is well! What a great looking recipe! What would make a good substitution for masa harina? It sounds wonderful, but I can't find masa harina I trust locally.

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Peabody said...

The waffles look great. We have waffles pretty much every Sunday...will have to give these a try.

At 11:24 PM, Blogger Darci said...

I stumbled a crossed your book while looking for another. I grabbed it on the pretense to read it for my sister. Now I am making my mom and her read it. I am also going to change the way I shop and eat. I dislike cooking generally. But when I found your book it was the next step in my journey of natural foods and loving the small things in life. Plus weight loss through healthy eating!
Thank you for writing it. I shall be coming back day in and day out, to check out great recipes!

At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

these are the prettiest waffle pics i've think i've ever seen!

i just met another gluten free person. i'll share your blog with them. they'll love it.

At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shauna - this recipe looks so yummy - this weekend would be the perfect time to make some. Thanks for the recipe.

Shauna I have to let you know about a fabulous line of gluten free breads that are to die for. I have tried their Italian hite Tapioca Bread (in the freezer section) the pizza dough (when you are not in the mood to make homemade and their biscuits taste like real homemade biscuits. You have to try them. KINNIKINNICK is the company - I found them at Mother's market and Henry's.

It's for those lazy days when you just don't feel like make a homemade meal and it tastes pretty good....

Love your blog!!!!


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