It’s mid-November, a time for home-cooked, hot breakfasts that make mornings on the South Shore memorable. Belgian waffles, here or abroad, are an American favorite. Think a large, circular shape made with wholesome batter and a grid pattern with deep squares or “pockets.” As the story goes, the roots of Belgian waffles do not link to Belgium but to a man from Brussels. And he deserves kudos for a hearty treat enjoyed by people of all ages around the globe.As a busy, longtime Tahoe local, I admit it. I fell victim to being a fan of those easy-to-fix, whole-grain Belgian frozen waffles. A few years ago, the love of my life paid me a visit before snow days hit. (Then I’m on my own, solo like John Steinbeck was with his two dogs in a snowbound cabin.) In the morning, I got up and turned to my instant coffee and frozen waffles. At the time, I thought it was a nice and easy fail-proof breakfast (kind of like the ones you get at discount hotel buffets). While we munched on the small round and crisp waffles I thought, “I can do better than this.” While the meal sufficed, it was nothing to write home about. It was a cut above of getting fast food at a drive-in chain.This week I opened up a package, a belated birthday gift, that contained a waffle iron — a modern, nonstick kind that was more modern than the one my mom used. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy it is to whip up homemade batter and make waffles in a heartbeat. Within minutes, the waffle mixture was ready to pour into the hot iron. And in less than five minutes I was greeted with a picture-perfect Belgian waffle. Home-style Belgian Waffles2 cups of whole-wheat flour1/4 cup sugar1 tablespoon baking powder1 large organic brown egg2 cups organic low-fat milk1/4 cup European-style butterTopping:2 cups fresh berries (cranberries or strawberries)2 tablespoons honeyPure maple syrupEuropean-style butterPreheat waffle iron. In a bowl combine dry ingredients. Mix in wet ingredients and blend till smooth. Pour approximately 2/3 cup batter onto hot waffle iron. In about four minutes, remove the golden brown waffle. Top with butter, syrup or honey, and fresh berries mixed with honey to taste. Serves 4.Without doubt, these hearty waffles look and taste better than the frozen kind. And it’s easier and healthier (she used white flour, white eggs, and oil) than the ones my mother made on Sunday mornings back in the day. These days, with a modern waffle iron and all-natural ingredients, it’s amazing how you can do it yourself and enjoy. So, my days of frozen waffles are over. My plan is to have a long-lasting affair with my waffle iron and create a breakfast that is worth savoring.Motto: Repeating tradition is gratifying. Tweaking tradition is unforgettable.— Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include "The Healing Powers" series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. (The Healing Powers of Honey and Coffee are offered by the Good Cook Book Club.) “Animal Attraction: A Collection of Tales & Tails” will be released this fall. Her website is www.calorey.com.
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