This weekend was 48 hours of time-off I wish I could get back. Saturday was filled with down pours and almost hurricane-level wind gusts, but I ventured out early in the day anyway to stick with the weekend’s cooking plan. I was going to make Guinness Brownies and Irish Soda Bread for the first time, Tuscan Bean Soup from The Italian Slow Cooker, and I was going to attempt the homemade ricotta again.

As I was cutting the cheesecloth for the ricotta and about to bring out the Guinness, my power went out. This was at 4:30pm Saturday. It is 9:30pm Sunday and we are STILL without power. How am I posting? From Andrew’s family kitchen, where I’ve sought out light-filled refuge (allegedly by 11pm tonight we’ll back on). Anyway, Saturday’s cooking plan was shot to hell, and I ended up making dinner in the dark with flashlights, and trying to use up whatever was on its last leg in the fridge. I ended up making tacos, which were totally kick-butt.

I always have Smart Ground soy crumbles on hand since we try to not eat a ton of red meat, so I jazzed them up with 1/4 teaspoon of taco seasoning and stirred them up with red and green bell peppers. In the pantry I had these small taco-sized tortillas, so cooked them in a non-stick pan, put in some sour cream, my soy and bell peppers, sliced radishes (which adds a nice clean, fresh taste) and grated Vermont sharp white cheddar on top. Amazing, and simple, even with the lights off.

On Sunday, we had planned to head to Muscoot Farms in Westchester for maple sugaring, but again, mother nature had other plans for us. With no rush to get back to my sans-heat home, we made Classic Belgian Waffles (from Emeril’s recipes on FoodNetwork.com) for breakfast and still got to at least use our maple syrup.

Since the recipe makes 8-10 waffles, we cut everything in half, which perfectly yielded 6 waffles:

1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup milk
non-stick cooking spray

Directions
Preheat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In 1 medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a second bowl use the wooden spoon to beat together the egg yolks and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved and eggs have turned a pale yellow. Add the vanilla extract, melted butter, and milk to the eggs and whisk to combine. Combine the egg-milk mixture with the flour mixture and whisk just until blended. Do not over mix. In third bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter. Do not overmix! Coat the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and pour enough batter in iron to just cover waffle grid. Close and cook as per manufacturer’s instructions until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.



We didn’t have cake flour, so we substituted regular flour, which made them less fluffy (only a bit of a bummer), and they were still packed with sweet Belgian taste. We also dressed them with confectioner’s sugar, and of course, maple syrup. I think chocolate syrup, or if you are really feeling adventurous, melt chocolate with butter in a double boiler, would be even better.

Be on the look out for the Irish Soda Bread, Guinness Brownies, and the Tuscan Soup (it’s creamy without any dairy!). Soon as the power is back, I’ll be in the kitchen.

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