Pumpkin-Sage Savory Waffles


I’m the very lucky owner of an industrial waffle-maker that I believe was once stolen from a waffle house, and many years and owners later, gifted to me. It’s gigantic, unwieldy and makes incredible waffles. Unfortunately, I always prefer savory breakfasts (and lunches, and dinners) and so I like to play with savory waffle recipes. My friends still talk about the cheddar habanero waffles I made one Easter (wowsa!).

My super-handy and wonderful father was in town last weekend, and gave me some much-needed help with difficult home projects. Before he jumped in has car and headed away, I wanted to make him a special brunch, so I got out the waffle maker.

It’s still pumpkin season to me, so I used the Bittman “How to Cook Everything” waffle recipe, pumpkin variation, which adds 1 cup of pumpkin puree to your recipe (and I ALWAYS whip the egg whites separately). To mix I also added the last of my fresh sage, chopped, about 6 Tbs. And what do you top a savory pumpkin sage waffle with?

– Sherried baby Portabella mushrooms (butter, garlic, mushrooms, sherry, touch of cream)

– an over easy egg – blue cheese cream

– crumbled blue cheese

– more fresh sage , course sea salt

Of course, I buttered the waffle, too, and dad added maple syrup to his for a touch of sweetness. Feeling a bit guilty about richness of the meal, we had carrot-orange juice on the side, and my version of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s kale salad from The Pump Room.

While I can’t share all of the recipes with you, I can share the Blue Cheese Cream, because I made it up on a whim. 

Blue Cheese Cream

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream


Heat is a small saucepan, stirring often, until the blue cheese melts. Cool in a metal bowl in the freezer, until the cream mixture is COLD. Begin whipping with an electric mixer on the highest setting, slowly adding half-and-half until the cream reaches the consistency you desire (about 1/4 cup for the thick cream pictured above). The cream will begin to melt on contact with your hot waffler (or anything else). Delicious.


Chard and Saffron Omelette

This unique omelette recipe from Plenty uses piles of shredded swiss chard, a handful of herbs, garlic, and lemon juice to put a very savory spin on the traditional omelette. Finely chopped potato is cooked with saffron, and then swiss chard is added, just long enough to soften. The herbs are beat with egg, and then, when the omelette is just solid – mine got a little “golden”- it’s slid out of the pan and filled with creme fraiche (or greek yogurt) infused with fresh garlic, then filled with the potato/chard mixture and folded. More than filling, very delicious.

Brunch-Run to Ants Pants

A few West Philly friends and I have come up with a new way to get that oft-forgotten weekend run. We pick a location, run there, eat, and then walk or take public transportation home. It’s a great “club” because we have an excuse to eat brunch, can eat as much as we want without thinking about running home, and have a fun, healthy late-morning with friends.

For my first brunch-run (with the great Bryan Moody) we ran from Clark Park over to Ants Pants in Graduate Hospital. Not that far, but a great way to start off! One of the best things about running to brunch is that you tend to not be as hungry when you get there. I ordered a lunch sandwich – a big brunch departure for me – on whole-grain bread with avocado, roasted red pepper, and pesto. Of course, it being brunch, I had them throw a fried egg on it. The sandwich was great. The pasta salad side unfortunately, was bland and unnecessary. Next time, I’ll be sure to ask for fruit instead!

Ants Pants Cafe on Urbanspoon

Fresh Fig Tart with Sage and Gorgonzola

The Co-Op sent out a message this week about a stock of fresh figs from South Philadelphia. Many Philadelphians have fig trees, and I’m so jealous of them! I ran out and bout all of the figs, with which I made some delicious brandy fig preserves for my morning yogurt and the above tart for a special brunch this weekend.

I started with a puff pastry crust, pre-baked for about 8 minutes, brushed with a fig and butter sauces, topped with sliced fresh alsatian figs, drizzled with the rest of the sauce, sprinkled with gorgonzola, and topped, at the very end, with fresh sage from the garden. I love the green of the fig skin against the dusky sage, and those bright pink, ripe centers.

I’ve included the recipe below, but take plenty of liberty, as I did, with the distinctive fruits of the season.

Fresh Fig Tart with Sage and Gorgonzola

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed

3 oz. fig preserves
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. high quality balsamic vinegar
pinch of sea salt

1 lb. fresh figs, washed and sliced in quarters
3 oz. crumbled gorgonzola
3 – 5 Tbs. sliced fresh sage
a few sage leaves for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut either in a round, or leave square and place on an ungreased cookie sheet and generously prick with a fork. Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes, until the crust starts to puff, but before the edges start to brown.

Warm the fig preserves until they soften to a thick liquid. Take off the heat, add the butter, and stir until melted. Add the balsamic and salt, stir again. Remove the crust from the oven, and brush with the preserves. Top with the fresh figs, and sprinkle with the gorgonzola. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, and then, when the preserves bubble and start and thicken, top with the fresh sage. Bake for another 5 minutes and remove from the oven. Garnish with the fresh sage, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Baked Eggs with Yogurt and Chili

This weekend we had a hurricane move up through the East Coast, and I spent most of the weekend holed up in my house, watching bad movies, checking the weather report, baking 10 dozen cookies, and eating. Luckily, we never lost power and I was still able to use my kitchen!

The above dish makes a very comforting, and rich, brunch with a toasted English muffin or a big bowl of ripe melon. Another recipe from the Plenty cookbook, I substituted some wilted baby spinach for the arugula I didn’t have. I may be difficult to tell from the photo, but the dish involved wilted greens, and egg soft baked directly in the pan, topped by a stream of paprika/chili/fresh sage olive oil and a generous dollop of Greek yogurt tossed with sea salt and fresh, chopped garlic.

Shirred Tofu at Local 44

Local 44 has a great beer selection, but in the past, I found their menu a lacking – a little too bar munchie. While they still sway towards comfort food, they’ve really upped their meal game, and like the other restaurants owned by this duo (Resurrection Ale House, Memphis Taproom) there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. AND a dedicated brunch menu – hurray!

As an avowed egg lover who usually follows my own golden brunch rule (eggy, spicy, fatty), I hesitate to order tofu for brunch. It’s not tofu’s fault – oh no – but too many restaurants throw together a poorly seasoned, dry and disappointing tofu scramble in a misguided effort to appease their vegan customers. No thanks. But the description for the shirred tofu sounded intriguing: Garlic tofu, sautéed spinach, mornay sauce, roasted potatoes and toast.

Would it be rich enough? Exciting enough? Worth the $9? Yep. This is one seriously delicious breakfast dish, topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and served with a pile of greens. Local 44, I no longer doubt your tofubility.

Sweet Potato Spoon Bread

Sorry loves. It been a long long holiday season, with a lot of travel and spotty internet service, but I plan to make it up to you with some tasty comfort food and a heap of foreign foods.

As I mentioned before the holiday, I’ve been slowly working through the easy, healthy and so far, delicious recipes in “Super Natural Cooking.” As the recipe mentions, this dish is incredibly easy of you have extra cooked sweet potatoes hanging around, but it’s tasty enough to make from scratch. For those of you unfamiliar with spoon bread, its very soft, almost a pudding, so don’t be upset if it seems too “jiggly.” And while the recipe tells you to layer the goat cheese under another layer of potato “dough,” you could skip this step and just put the cheese on top of you like your goat cheese on the brown and toasty side. A light lunch or dinner, even a brunch with a good salad, I served mine with some reheated spicy curried sweet potato soup with greens.