Belgium Liege Waffles

IMG_4601Belgium Liege Waffles

 When we think of Belgium waffles, we envision the large fluffy, waffle made from batter similar to pancakes. But the waffles sold on the streets of Belgium are crispy treats wrapped in paper. There’s no need for whipped cream or fruit topping. They are sweet enough just as they are.

What makes them unique? The batter is actually dough, made with yeast and when you place the dough in the waffle iron, it’s much thicker than a runny pancake batter. The other secret ingredient, and the one that makes all the difference, is pearl sugar. Mixed into the dough, the sugar pebbles caramelize, giving the waffle its crispness.

After the first time I made the Liege waffle, I never again made the kind more familiar to Americans. I don’t make them often, but when I do, it’s a “look forwarded to” treat. Yesterday was my daughter’s thirtieth birthday and I invited our family for a birthday brunch. I made scones, home fries, eggs, French toast, avocado toasts, brown sugar glazed bacon, and Liege waffles. Below is the recipe. I encourage you to try these. It’s my favorite breakfast food. I’ll warn you, they are not low fat, but indulging occasionally is one of life’s pleasures.

Liege Waffles

1 package (¼ ounce) of self-rising yeast

1/3 cup lukewarm water

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar

2 cups flour

3 eggs

1 stick of melted butter (8 tablespoons)

2 teaspoons vanilla

¾ cup of pearl sugar

Mix the yeast, salt, sugar and water in a small bowl and let it sit for 15 minutes in a warm spot.

Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture in the middle and mix on medium speed until blended. Do not over mix.

Add the eggs while mixing, and then slowly add the melted butter and vanilla. The batter should be thick and sticky.

Let the batter rest in a warm spot until it doubles. Fold in the pearl sugar and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

Heat the waffle iron and spray with vegetable oil. Spoon the dough in the center of each waffle iron section until the light indicates they are done. (Approx. 3 minutes)

QUINOA BREAKFAST – DELICIOUS AND HEALTHY CHOICE FOR LENT OR VEGAN DIETS

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Today was the day the Christian Orthodox community begins Lent. For many of you, your Lenten season is about to end with Easter being less than two weeks away. The Greeks refer to this first day of our holy period, Kathara Deftera – Clean Monday.

During this forty-day period, many of us are searching for new meals to cook, which don’t include meat or dairy.

Whether you’re fasting for religious reasons or adhere to a vegan diet, many of the recipes I will be sharing in the weeks to come will hopefully spark some new ideas for menu options.

For me, fasting for long periods is very difficult because my protein options are limited. During this time meat and fish are not permitted, but seafood such as crab, lobster and clams are fine. Those of you, who are acquainted with me, know I do not eat fish or seafood of any kind. I don’t like the taste at all and I believe I am allergic to some seafood.

Finding protein in other sources has become easier over the years, though. Non-dairy milks such as soy or almond milk has given me options that I didn’t have years ago. Quinoa has proven to be a super food, containing five grams of protein in a single serving, as well as other important vitamins and minerals.

For a simple breakfast, quinoa is more filling and satisfying than most cereals. I cook a batch of quinoa according to the directions on the package and store it in the refrigerator. Here’s a simple recipe:

1 cup cooked quinoa

¼ cup chopped walnuts

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon sugar or brown sugar

Mix all the ingredients together. Heat in the microwave for thirty seconds. That’s it! It couldn’t be faster or easier.

*I reserve a little of the mixture I use to make baklava filling, and keep it on hand to mix into the quinoa.