Friday, January 20, 2006

Jon-Minh's House of Chicken & Waffles

I don't know how people do it. How do people come home from work and prepare full-on dinners on a regular basis?!?

We made an attempt last night (starter, entree, side, dessert), and I think that won't be happening again -- on a school night -- for a while. This was the menu:
  • Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries and Balsamic Vinaigrette
    (Point Reyes blue cheese and crumbled bacon, optional)
  • Finger Lickin' Chicken
  • Mashed Potato Waffles
  • Scharffen Berger Brownies
Here's the waffle recipe, from Dorie Greenspan's Waffles: From Morning to Midnight:
Mashed Potato Waffles

2 russet potatoes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finally chopped
⅔ cup milk
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

Makes about six 6½-inch waffles

1. Peel and wash the potatoes. Cut them into small, evenly sized pieces, and put them in a large pot of cold, well-salted water; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook until you can pierce the potatoes easily with a fork. Drain and reserve about ½ cup of the potato water. Transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl.

2. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over low heat and saute the chopped onion just until it softens a bit. Pour the oil and onion over the potatoes, then add the milk to the still-warm skillet -- just to take the chill off it. Pour the milk over the potatoes.

3. Mash the potatoes with the oil and milk. Add ¼ cup of the warm potato water, reserving the rest, and continue to mash until the mixture is smooth and looser than mashed potatoes you'd serve as a side dish. If it seems stiff, add more potato water, little by little, until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and season liberally with salt and pepper.

4. Preheat your waffle iron. If you want to hold the finished waffles until serving time, preheat your oven to 200°F.

5. Finish the batter by beating the eggs into the potatoes. Whisk together the flour and baking powder and fold them into the potatoes with a rubber spatula.

6. Lightly butter or spray the grids of your waffle iron, if needed. Brush or spray the grids again only if subsquent waffles stick.

7. Spoon out ½ cup of batter (or the amount recommended by your waffler's manufacturer) onto the hot iron. Smooth the batter evenly almost to the edge of the grids with a metal spatula or wooden spoon. Close the lid and bake until brown and crisp. Serve the waffles immediately or keep them, in a single layer, in a rack in the oven while you make the rest of the batch.

The recipe recommends a garlic-rosemary oil as a topping, but anything else that you would serve over mashed potatoes will do as well.

And in case you're interested, the Scharffen Berger Brownies recipe can be found here. Warning: They are really rich and dense!