I actually tried making these waffles a few weeks ago, but made a fatal reading mistake – instead of 1/3 c of warmed Nutella, I somehow decided to include ¾ c warmed Nutella. Now, while more Nutella usually isn’t a bad thing, in this situation, it led to a waffle that was half Nutella, and a bit crispy. I finally did these this morning using the right proportions, and the resulting waffle is lovely. This recipe doesn’t make that many waffles (5 total), so you may want to consider doubling the recipe. 

Nutella Swirl Waffles
Makes 5 waffles

Ingredients

  • .75 c flour
  • (original recipe recommended .25 c cornstarch, I found it didn’t need it)
  • 1 t sugar
  • .5 t baking soda
  • .5 t sea salt
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c Nutella
  • 1 T vegetable oil

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and sea salt, followed by the buttermilk, vegetable oil, and egg. Let the batter sit for twenty minutes.

Towards the end of the twenty minutes, heat your waffle iron according to its instructions. Scoop the 1/3 c of Nutella into a microwave safe glass measuring cup, along with 1 T vegetable oil, and heat for about thirty seconds to warm and thin. Drizzle and swirl it into the batter (see pic 2 for what this looks like). 

Then, make your waffles according to your maker’s instructions, and enjoy!

Tried this on a whim last weekend, as I’ve been on a creme brulee kick lately, or at least the idea of it, and the idea of that plus french toast sounded grade A amazing. I think this needs another go around to get it perfect, especially with the topping. Maybe caramelizing the sugar will work better under a broiler, or with a blowtorch? Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

Seriously, though, be sure to flip the toasts to get the perfect goldenness to it, and and have some fresh berries to make it even more amazing (these are Tay barries, a cross between raspberries and blackberries). I also used a loaf of shokupan (a type of Japanese milk bread) instead of brioche, and I still think it tastes amazing. Plus, odds are you’ll have some left over, for some lovely breakfasts during the week. 

Creme Brulee French Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf rich bread of choice (again, Deb recommends brioche, I used shokupan, sliced to about an inch or so thick)
  • 1 1/3 c whole milk
  • 2/3 c heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 c white sugar
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 T alcohol of choice (original recommended Grand Marnier, I went Kahlua)
  • 1 T vanilla extract

Topping

  • 2/3 c white sugar

If your bread isn’t already sliced, slice it into generous, thick slices – Deb recommends 1.5 in thick slices, my loaf was cut into 1 in slices, about 9 slices total. Whisk together the milk, heavy whipping cream, eggs, white sugar, sea salt, booze, and vanilla extract. If you want to use a vanilla bean, you can do so – just follow Deb’s recommended steps for whisking in the vanilla bean scraping in the linked recipe. 

Preheat your oven to 325. Take a rimmed tray or pan that will fit as much of your bread as possible (I ended up going with two separate glass pans, and even those weren’t the greatest fits, as you can see), lay out the bread, and pour the custard over it. Let the slices absorb the custard for a half hour, flipping over about halfway through to ensure every side is soaking up the custard evenly. (You can also toss this in the fridge overnight to soak if you’re so inclined, and you won’t need to flip them if that’s the case.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper if you have it (I do because the people before me in this apartment left a lot of stuff, hallelujah), and space out the french toasts so that there’s juuust enough space that they can breathe a bit. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, flipping halfway through so that each side gets a lovely golden sear to it (I didn’t flip them, and I think they look better with both sides seared). You’ll know they’re ready when you lightly slice into the center of the bread and twist, and no wet custard comes out. 

About five minutes out from the toast being done, take a small, heavy, completely dry pot and melt 2/3 c white sugar over medium heat, stirring with a fork, and until it’s fully melted and the color of honey (see pic five). Time this so that this happens as soon as the toasts are done. Remove the bread from the oven, and then drizzle about 1 T of the caramel over the toasts, attempting to do so evenly (I just ended up doing a fancy drizzle). 

Add berries, and voila – a lovely, decadent weekend breakfast. 

(If anyone’s tried the broiler method for caramelization that Deb mentions, please let me know if it worked for you – I want to try that next time. Or maybe the hot spoon method would also work.)

These are a lovely, quick, simple treat, especially with asparagus available cheap and in large amounts at the farmer’s market, and prosciutto available over at Trader Joe’s. It just requires the oven going up to 450, which, with how hot it got yesterday, wasn’t an option until later in the evening. However, the end result was absolutely worth it. 

Kevin also recommends dipping these in a soft boiled egg, which I can absolutely see improving this even more. I’ll give it a try later. 

Crispy Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 4 oz prosciutto, torn into strips

Preheat your oven to 450. While your oven heats, tear your prosciutto into thin strips (about three or so strips from a piece), and wrap each of these strips around an asparagus spear (see pic one). Wrap until you run out of asparagus or prosciutto, whichever comes first. Bake for about ten minutes, until the prosciutto is nice and crispy (see pic two), and then enjoy the savory greatness. 

I want to start this recipe with a disclaimer. Tieghan makes amazing recipes. A lot of her stuff is in my arsenal, or on my to-try list. HOWEVER. I usually end up cutting out upwards of three or four ingredients of hers per recipe, because as nice as those things are, they’re there more for garnish, and don’t really add anything to the dish. Here, I cut… three things, but we’ve still got a damn amazing recipe here. 

The most expensive things you will likely have to get are the cherry tomatoes and the feta, but the rest you likely either have in your pantry/fridge, or can find them nearby for reasonable prices. You can still make this for a pretty reasonable price, and it makes enough for you to have leftovers and then some. 

Twenty Minute Mediterranean Hummus Noodles with Blistered Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 6 baby bell peppers (I used about half of what the original recipe recommends, found them cheap at my local grocery, look for sweet snacking peppers)
  • pinch sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • .75 lb thin spaghetti, or your personal preferred thin pasta (I went angel hair here)
  • .75 c of your favorite hummus (roasted garlic, here)
  • 1 c pasta cooking water (drain this off right before you’re done!)
  • 1 c fresh basil (I tore it, Tieghan isn’t really clear on if it needs to be chopped, diced, left whole, etc)
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • .25 c kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 T oregano, chopped
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 4 oz feta crumbles

Take a pot of water, salt it, and bring it to a boil.  While the pot warms up and begins to boil, take a large grill pan, pour 2 T olive oil in, and heat over high heat. Once heated, add the cherry tomatoes, baby bell peppers, and a pinch of sea salt and pepper, and grill until the cherries begin to wrinkle and grill marks appear on the peppers, flipping from side to side. The difference between pictures one to three here is about 10 minutes’ time, and pic 3 is what it should look like at the end of that time. Remove the pan from heat and set aside.

Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to instructions, until al dente. Right as it finishes, scoop off one cup of the water the pasta’s cooked in, and add it to a medium sized bowl. Then drain the pasta, and let it sit a minute while you get the next part ready. 

To the pasta cooking water, add the hummus, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes, and whisk together until you’ve got a thin sauce (see pic five). Let it sit a bit to thicken. Then, take your pasta, and toss it to coat with the sauce. 

Take 1 c of your blistered cherry tomatoes, put them in a small bowl, and smash them lightly with a fork, so that the juices are released. Stir in the oregano, chopped kalamatas, remaining 2 T olive oil, a bit of sea salt and pepper to taste, and balsamic, and toss to combine. 

When ready to eat, take the sauced pasta, add the tomato-olive mix, a few blistered tomatoes and peppers, and feta, and toss to combine, and then enjoy the amazingness!

“You begin to suspect your bowl is a portal to the meat dimension… In order to finish this bowl, you must have Understanding of your limits, Knowledge to control your pace, Courage to face this unrelenting tide of beef, and Diligence to persevere against this colossal challenge." 

So, one of the things you can do to raise your stats in Persona 4 is to take the Aiya Bottomless Beef Bowl Challenge. On rainy days, you go to the Chinese restaurant, and for 3000 yen (~$30), you get a huge ass beef bowl that you have to try to finish. You can’t actually finish the beef bowl until you have all five stats maxed out (and then it’s free), so typically when you do it, you get three of four random stats increased, which is super useful in game. 

This is basically a combination of two existing recipes (Pixelated Provisions, and the now defunct Gourmet Gaming), but I like the end result I got better than the other two recipes. (I’ll likely include the onions on another run through, but I mostly just wanted the meat, egg, and rice for this.)

I’m thinking of trying something similar with reverse engineering recipes from the Odin Sphere remake, so any tag suggestions for this kind of thing would be great!

Aiya Bottomless Beef Bowl

Ingredients

  • Steak, sliced thin (note: I got chuck steak for this, about a pound and a half, and that lasted for two servings; get something reasonably priced that you can get in large quantities)
  • 3 T mirin
  • 3 T sake
  • 3 T sugar
  • 9 T aged dark soy sauce
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 3 T grated ginger
  • rice 
  • egg

Whisk together your mirin, sake, sugar, and soy sauce. Take your steak, slice it thin to your taste (you can see the approximate size I got from my photos), and marinate in the mirin/sake/sugar/soy sauce mix in the fridge. I let mine sit covered in the fridge for the better part of a day; you should marinate it for a minimum of fifteen minutes. 

About an hour out from when you’re looking to eat, toss together your rice according to its instructions in your rice cooker, and let it do its thing. 

Fifteen minutes out from when you’re looking to eat, take a large pan, heat it to medium high, and add the sesame oil. Take your grated ginger and garlic, and fry for about two minutes tops, until fragrant. Then, take your steak and marinade, and cook for about ten minutes, until your steak is browned on all sides (see difference between pics 4 and 5). 

As your steak gets close to being done, heat a small pan and a dash of olive oil over high, and fry your egg until you get your desired doneness (I like having a sunny side up with a runny yolk). 

Scoop out your rice, add a bunch of the steak, and then drop the egg on top, and open your portal to the meat dimension!

Candied bacon plus brown sugar based waffles? Uhm, yes please. 

I halved this recipe, as the boy doesn’t really do meat, but this still gave me five waffles, so the recipe as I’ll write it below will likely give you something around 10 waffles as output. 

Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles

Ingredients

Candied Bacon

  • 10 slices of bacon
  • .25 c dark brown sugar

Waffle Batter

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • .25 c dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 c cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2.5 c buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375, line a baking sheet with foil, and place your bacon slices on the foil, sprinkling with the brown sugar. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the sugar caramelizes, and it’s beginning to brown and get crispy (see pic 2). Take the bacon off the baking sheet as soon as it’s out of the oven with tongs, and let it cool on a cutting board. 

While the bacon cools, whisk together all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients, and once well blended, fold into the dry ingredients. Once the batter’s almost fully mixed, heat your waffle iron, and take your cooled candied bacon, and chop (or, frankly, you’ll be able to break it apart with your fingers) into small pieces, and add straight into the batter. Don’t overmix the batter, or the waffles will become too tough; lumps in the batter are completely fine. 

Cook your waffles according to your waffle iron’s instructions, and enjoy the bacony brown sugar goodness!

This is definitely a weekend recipe. Why? Because it takes a minimum of overnight prep, and a lot of watching of the waffle iron (because these waffles are LOADED with sugar, and a special type you might have to pick up from Amazon at that). 

Are they worth it? They were pretty sweet, and I’m not entirely sure they turned out properly, but the result was pretty damn neat. (I am sure there is someone here who has more experience with these waffles who can tell me if I fucked up.)

Liege Waffles

Ingredients

  • .5 c whole milk
  • .25 c water
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 3 2/3 c flour
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 14 T butter, softened to room temperature, and separated into quarters
  • 1 1/3 c pearl sugar (you can find this on Amazon easy)

Take your milk and water, heat until lukewarm, and then add your brown sugar and active dry yeast, letting sit about five minutes, until foamy. Whisk together your eggs and vanilla, add the milk in, and then slowly add all but one cup of flour, and mix until well combined. Add the salt in, and mix until combined again

If you have a stand mixer, this is the part where I hate you, as you have things significantly easier – all you have to do is use a dough hook here. The rest of us, in adding in the 14 T of butter, will have to knead it in by hand. It’s going to take a long ass time, but the stretchy dough that results is worth it. Then, work in your last cup of flour. 

I used the fridge first method for making the dough rise – check the linked recipe for the other method. Take your dough, cover it with plastic wrap, and then put in the fridge for a minimum of overnight. The day you want to make the waffles, bring to room temperature for an hour, stir the dough to deflate it, and then let it rise for another two hours (see the difference between pics five and six). 

Once you’re ready to cook the waffles, knead in the pearl sugar. It’s gonna seem like a fuck of a lot, and it is. Trust me. You can do it, and it’ll be worth it. Heat your waffle iron while you’re doing this. Once the iron’s ready, break off a small piece of dough, stretch it out a bit, and cook until golden brown (usually about the same time as instructed by your waffle iron instructions). 

Keep any waffles you make warm (ideally in a 200 degree oven), and then enjoy the molten sugar caramelized amazingnes.

This recipe is… I’m not entirely sure. One – caramelizing onions is touch enough. Two, add in conversion from metric, and a slight vagueness to the original recipe, and it’s a bit ???.The rice turned out solid, if not that flavorful, and the onions probably got a bit burned. Probably gonna workshop it – take a look at the recipe, both how I tackled it and the original, and let me know if you have any suggestions. 

Rice with Cardamom and Caramelized Onions

Ingredients

  • 1.5 c rice (original recommends basmati, I went with the short-grained I had on hand)
  • 10 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed (original alternately recommends 6 black)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 T butter, halved
  • 2.5 c water 
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 4 cm piece ginger, grated (I used grated ginger here, as my ginger is frozen; original recommends a 4 cm piece of ginger peeled and sliced into matchstick sized pieces)
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 t honey

Put your water, crushed green cardamom pods, bay leaves, butter, and water into your rice cooker, and let it cook for the prescribed amount of time. If you don’t have a rice cooker, consult the original recipe.

Meanwhile, while the rice cooks, heat your olive oil over medium high heat, and once heated, add your onion slices, and fry for six minutes, stirring here and there, until golden brown (see the difference between pics 2 and 3). Then add your ginger, and fry for two minutes, until fragrant (pic 3). Then add your honey and cinnamon (pic 4), turn the heat to medium low (which I didn’t do, whoops), and stir frequently, cooking another five minutes until they’re a dark caramel in color (pic 5). 

Once the rice is done, spoon some out, add the onions on top, mix a bit, and enjoy!

We are finally moving to the properly hot part of summer, so, as such, it’s time to break out the ice cream and popsicle recipes! And hopefully, this will be the start of a series of recipes like the waffles have been. 

I’ve been super into key lime pie lately, so I went hell yes to the opportunity to make it in popsicle form. And plus, popsicle molds are something like $5 on Amazon, so I might actually need to get a few spare molds before the summer is out so I can have even more in rotation, or bigger batches. 

Key Lime Pie Popsicles
Makes 6 popsicles, with a little extra leftover if you only have a set of 6 molds

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • .5 c heavy whipping cream
  • .5 c milk
  • zest of 2 limes (about 2 t)
  • .75 c fresh lime juice
  • pinch sea salt
  • several vanilla wafers, crushed

Zest your limes till you have about 2 t lime zest (this should take about 2 limes), and then add the rest of the ingredients, except for the vanilla wafers, and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Then, pour into your molds, and let sit in the freezer for a mimimum of five hours, or until you’re ready to eat them. 

When you’re ready to eat them, crush some vanilla wafers in a bag with a hammer until you have good, even crushed crumbs. (Mine didn’t quite turn out quite perfect.) Take your popsicle, run it under warmish water to ease the mold off, and then dip each side in cookie crumbs, and enjoy your sweet, tart treat!

This is something I threw together because the boyfriend really liked the sound of the recipe, and I had almost everything on hand, and what I didn’t was on sale. I accidentally used less honey than I should’ve on the glaze, so more of that will likely make the glaze cover better next time, and maybe use a bit less coconut on the coconut rice, but otherwise, this is a pretty solid dinner. And it’s also significantly quicker if you have an Asian marketplace (or a local producer) that does fried tofu. Getting everything to assembly is a long, involved process, and some of this was a bit out of my comfort range, but the boy really liked it, so that helped boost my confidence here a lot.

Mango Tofu Coconut Rice Bowls

Ingredients

Coconut Rice

  • 1.5 c uncooked rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • .75 t sea salt
  • 1 c water

Honey Lime Glaze

  • .25 c honey
  • .25 c fresh lime juice
  • 1 t lime zest, split
  • .5 T soy sauce
  • (you can use corn starch to thicken it, I passed on it)
  • 14 oz fried tofu

(note: I used packaged fried tofu here, so I’m skipping the instructions for the pan fried tofu; if you just have unfried tofu, click on the link above for the instructions/ingredients.)

Bowl Toppings

  • 1 mango
  • 1 avocado, sliced (had one on hand but chose not to use it tonight)
  • red pepper flakes
  • (optional: green onions, cilantro)

First, take your ingredients for your coconut rice, throw it all in the rice cooker, and set it to cook on the sweet rice or white rice setting (depending on your preference, I used sweet rice here because it gets it the right kind of sticky). If not using a rice cooker, please click on the link above for stovetop instructions.

While your rice is cooking, cube your fried tofu, and your mango. 

Don’t know how to cube your mango? Here’s how! (If I was smart, I would’ve taken pictures of this process.) Take your mango, and your largest knife available (trust me, if you have a chef’s knife, you’re gonna need it), and cut your mango just slightly off center to avoid the flat seed. Do the same just to the other side of the center; you will now have two halves of mango meat. To cube your mango, score a checkerboard pattern into the fruit, being careful not to cut all the way through to the skin. Push up on the skin underneath to invert the mango, and now, all you have to do is slice at the base, and you have lovely mango cubes for use!

As soon as you’ve got these ready to go, whisk together your glaze ingredients (only use half of the lime zest), and transfer to a pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and once it’s thickened, remove from heat, and toss your tofu and mango in it. (I ended up keeping it separate, and drizzling it over the tofu and mango once in the bowl.)

By this point, your rice will likely be done; take a bowl, scoop some rice out into it, add some tofu and mango, along with, if you should so choose, red pepper flakes, avocado and green onion slices, and bits of cilantro. And then, enjoy your lovely summery dish!