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Tuesday, August 15, 2006


On Sunday, Gahlord and I had four friends over for brunch. Everyone brought something, and I made multigrain waffles on a borrowed iron. In terms of starch, which I seem to be preoccupied with a lot these days, the batter contained all-purpose flour from Champlain Valley Mills in upstate New York, with a bit of cornmeal, wheat flour and rye thrown in. Before last weekend, my waffling experience was limited to a cast-iron stovetop device that was really not very fun to work with, but these modern waffle irons, with the light that tells you when your waffle is done? It's almost enough to make me run out and buy one of these dealies.

Brunch_table_3 Gridded griddle cakes weren't the only item on the menu, though. We had waffle toppings: a red raspberry and red currant sauce, a fruit compote of blackcurrants, blueberries and blackberries, and red currants, whipped cream with honey, and two different grades of maple syrup, A and B, for taste-testing.

Savory items included scrambled eggs, a potato-leek gratin, beet greens, fried onions, and oyster mushrooms from Colchester that were on sale at City Market. We also had wedges of fresh tomatoes and yellow watermelon. To drink, a choice of cider, water, milk, or an herbal tea christened '100-mile tea' by my friend Mandy, who blended it herself. I can't remember every single herb in there, but I know it contains mint, lemon balm, red rasperry leaf, red clover blossoms, and calendula — all grown within 100 miles of Burlington.

Waffles All in all, it was quite a repast, and since I made a vat of waffle batter, we've been eating leftovers from this meal for the past few days, plus finishing off the ratatouillle and a couple of salads that were in the fridge. Good thing there's no sugar in the waffles; it's easy to put them in the toaster and then use them as casings for leftover sauces, cold salads, or what have you. Breakfast is such a hopeful meal, and this week I've been eating morning foods a lot, it seems: Yogurt, granola, waffles, eggs. It keeps me going. Here's a closeup of the waffle action.

In bread news, the sourdough experiment finally yielded edible loaves, after a bit of fussing. I had to sprinkle a bit of yeast into it to jump-start it again, and nurse it along with rolled oats, milk, and white flour before adding any more heavy whole-grain flours (the previous two loaves were 100% whole wheat, and just didn't rise). The quantity of dough doubled as a result Done_bread of the cosseting, which was great: I gave two loaves away, and put one and a half in the freezer. Our second of four Red Hen localvore loaves was picked up today and is now in the bread bin, so the sourdough will be our emergency ration for next Monday's sandwiches. I'm not unhappy that I baked up all of the dough; I didn't really want to worry about killing it again.

Finally, a blueberry vinegar update: It worked! After a week of sitting under cheesecloth, the mushed-up blueberries and water had turned healthily sour, and I strained it into a jar. I'm excited about the prospects of fruit salads made with this stuff. The first week of the localvore challenge, blueberries, raspberries and currants were the available fruits. Now, only a week later, we have peaches and small yellow plums from Champlain Orchards (not listed on their website; maybe they only grow small batches for commercial sale?), the first local apples are coming in, and blackberries and several different types of melons are obtainable.

Dinner tonight was the last of the potato-leek gratin and some of the oyster mushrooms in an omelet, with a tomato-basil salad dressed in a garlic vinegarette.


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Nicole Carpenter

Your bread looks great! And a blueberry vinegar... I'm so impressed by your creative energies. It's like you're rediscovering all these foods and their potential. Way to go! I love it. Thanks for sharing your stories. Nicole

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