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Posts tagged ‘strawberry’

Corn Meal Waffles with Fruit

Breakfast is served!

Corn Meal Waffles with Fruit

Did you know that corn meal is a whole grain? Now, I’m not secretly an advocate for Big Corn – high fructose corn syrup needs to die in a fire, and corn products show up way too much in processed foods and snacks. However, the closer to the source corn is, the more I approve – my general rule of thumb for any whole foods! While corn meal is not exactly at the source, it is still considered a whole grain and definitely adds a boost to a bread-y entree like waffles (or muffins).

To start, I first measured out some almond milk and whisked in some apple cider vinegar, which, as mentioned in my previous corn muffin recipe, creates buttermilk. Just let this sit until ready to use. I then sifted together a blend of corn meal, corn flour, and whole wheat flour, along with baking powder, salt, and cracked black pepper in a medium bowl. Black pepper, you say? Yes, I say! I love the combo of corn and black pepper; and the addition of this spice adds a nice zing to these waffles, one that’s especially nice when paired with the fruit!

See the cracked black pepper flakes? They signal where the goodness is

I then added the buttermilk and a bit of maple syrup to the dry ingredients, mixing until smooth. Then, it’s waffle-making time!

I have a Cuisinart waffle iron, which has numerical settings of 1 through 5 in terms of heat adjustment. When making these waffles, I cooked them on “3.” I’m not sure what your waffle iron is like, but I suggest cooking these on a medium heat. When pouring, pour enough batter so that it’s about the size of a small coaster. You could probably use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop and pour, but I just poured directly from the bowl. This size created a nicely-sized, smaller waffle; and the whole recipe made about four.

But what’s a waffle without a topping? I decided to eschew (more) maple syrup in favor of fruit – always a wise choice! I defrosted some frozen strawberries as well as some frozen blueberries and raspberries; using frozen helps give them more of a compote texture without all the heavy syrup. However, you can also use fresh fruit! I then added the tiniest sprinkle of powdered sugar, just to sweeten it up a little more; but again, this is optional.

These waffles are great for a weekend brunch, or even a weekday breakfast when you have time to make a little something nice for yourself. Dig in!

Corn Meal Waffles with Fruit (Serves 2-4)

3/4 cup nondairy milk

3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup corn meal

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

2 TB corn flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

Salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

1 TB pure maple syrup or agave nectar

Whisk the nondairy milk and apple cider vinegar together in a measuring cup. Set aside and allow to curdle.

Sift together the corn meal, corn flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and cracked black pepper. Add the milk and maple syrup, then mix until smooth.

Cook waffles according to your waffle iron’s instructions on medium heat. Serve with fruit and powdered sugar.

2 for 1: Strawberry Basil Jam and Strawberry Arugula Salad

As I mentioned on Monday, last week I loaded up on strawberries which were on sale. This week I came up with some strawberry-based dishes: Strawberry Basil Jam and Strawberry Arugula Salad!

Strawberry Arugula Salad with Slivered Almonds and Balsamic Vinaigrette

The first thing I made was the salad, a delicious and refreshing Spring salad which was great for lunch. I started by cutting up some fresh arugula which came on the stem, then quartering some strawberries to go in. I love the way greens and fruits go together, and strawberry with arugula is no exception. It almost makes a salad taste decadent or dessert-y (or it could just be because I love fruit so much).

While fresh arugula only lasts about 5 days, it still holds up better than the bagged varieties!

I also threw in some slivered almonds for a protein and healthy fat punch, then topped it off with balsamic vinaigrette. This simply involves me putting 2 parts balsamic vinegar, one part olive oil in a bottle and shaking it to emulsify before pouring it on a salad. After tossing everything together, I topped the salad with a blend of black and pink cracked pepper for a little extra zip.

But I still had lots of fresh strawberries left, as well as a craving for some fresh jam. Enter Strawberry Basil Jam!

Strawberry Basil Jam

Homemade jams, I’ve discovered, are a food item that seems way more complicated to make than it actually is. Fortunately I found a recipe a few years ago which had you make jam in under ten minutes by using corn starch as a thickener instead of pectin. Brilliant! I’ve been making jam this way ever since, and I don’t taste a difference.

Similar to my love of fruit in salads, I love basil with fruit. Basil and strawberries make an excellent combo in smoothies, popsicles, and sorbet; so I thought, why not add some fresh basil to a homemade jam? So Marvin lost a few more hairs and I got an amazing Spring/Summer jam made from scratch in ten minutes.

I started by pulsing the strawberries and basil leaves in a blender until well-chopped. You can mash the strawberries if you want, but since you have to chop the basil anyway, I just prefer to chop them all together in a way that gets them really pulsed down for proper jam texture. Once pulsed, I put the mixture in a small saucepan and added agave nectar, heating it on medium to get it bubbling.

Not the prettiest photo but it shows the bubbly goodness of the jam mixture

Once the mixture started bubbling I added some arrowroot powder (a good sub for corn starch) and a bit of water, then lowered the heat to low and simmered for about six minutes. It got nice and thick really quickly; I simmered for this long to let the flavors cook and meld. Now it’s sitting in the fridge chilling away!

Strawberry Arugula Salad with Slivered Almonds and Balsamic Vinaigrette (Serves 1)

2-3 cups fresh arugula, chopped or torn

1 cup fresh strawberries, quartered

2-3 TB slivered almonds

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Cracked black and/or pink pepper, to taste

Toss the arugula, strawberries, and almonds together in a bowl. In an empty bottle or jar with tight-fitting lid, shake the vinegar and olive oil until emulsified. Pour over the salad and toss. Add pepper and serve.

Strawberry Basil Jam (makes about 1/2 a cup of jam)

1 cup fresh strawberries

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1 TB agave nectar

2 tsp arrowroot powder

1 TB water

Pulse the strawberries and basil in a blender or food processor until well-chopped and almost smooth, like a sauce. Transfer to a small saucepan and stir in the agave nectar. Heat on medium until bubbling.

Dissolve the arrowroot powder in the water, then add the mixture to the jam and stir it in. The jam will look white-pink but the color will deepen as you cook it, so don’t worry. Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 6 minutes. Transfer to a jar and allow to cool a bit before putting in the fridge to cool completely.