I am happy it’s Monday! (When was the last time you heard that sentence!?) Today as a teacher and (sort of) employee of the government, I have been gifted a day off! Martin Luther King Jr. Day. To celebrate: I just finished sharing some french toast with my husband (also off of school today! yay!) and watching the inauguration of President Obama and Beyonce’s national anthem.
WOW. I’m officially looking forward to the Super Bowl.
Why am I so glad for Monday, you ask? Besides the french toast, Beyonce, and inevitable grading of papers that will ensue upon my finishing this post, it’s a day just the two of us have at home. A day to relax, sleep in, wake up and realize what I’d normally be doing on a regular Monday (chugging coffee and preparing my classroom for the week), and turn over, going back to sleep for another (at least) hour. We might squeeze in a trip to the gym, and I plan on trying a new recipe for dinner. And writing here, of course.
After a beautifully busy Christmas/New Year’s season full of a road trip home to Wisconsin, family/friend bonding time and so many fantastic meals and desserts (is that possible?), we capped off our holiday season the last two weekends with hosting company!
Let me tell you, I love being the hostess. My mom is the hostess with the mostest. I am an aspiring hostess with the mostest. Getting the guest room ready, dusting and vacuuming (let’s be honest, company gives us a motivating cleaning spirit), planning places to visit that show off our new city and our driving savvy all make me giddy. Seriously. There is something sweet and homey about reconnecting with loved ones and catching up on old memories while making new memories in a new place.
Over the past two weekends we’ve been to at least three different shopping areas, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and countless restaurants (to name a few: Blue Door Pub, Summit, Freestyle Yogurt, Edina Grill, and Pad Thai on Grand). Talk about Tornado Aly.
I just received a copy of Joy the Baker’s new cookbook in the mail, too, which brought me joy (haha! Just noticed the pun) as I battled a cold/virus this past week. It’s the first cookbook I’ve read from cover to cover. I now plan on trying as many sweet recipes as possible, many of which I’m sure will become McCann family classics. I also plan on buying this as a gift for everyone I know. It is a “celebration of butter and sugar.” What better reason to celebrate?
I began implementing my Joy the Baker cookbook journey when our cousins were here visiting from Milwaukee. I successfully appeased all palates with the Black Pepper Bacon Waffles recipe. It is a recipe sure to make any guest feel at home. I made a couple substitutions to healthify the breakfast, namely whole wheat flour and turkey bacon, but of course topped the waffles with all natural to-die-for Wisconsin Maple Syrup (Thanks, Grandma!).
The combo of salty bacon, peppery pepper, and hint of sweetness in the waffle batter was out of this world. Bacon in waffles?! The ultimate breakfast! I am one who can never decide between eggs and bacon and pancakes or waffles. Savory or sweet? I no longer have to choose! Meat eaters, try it. Recipe is below. Vegetarians, there’s an alternate recipe for you at the end of the ingredient list!
Our guests loved it, especially served with piping hot black coffee and a side of (yes, you guessed) bacon.
Here’s to enjoying your Monday off, or your Monday at work. And here’s to being a hostess with the mostest!
Black Pepper Bacon Waffles
For the bacon:
10 slices bacon (whatever kind your heart fancies or is on sale)
2 teaspoons fresh, coarsely cracked black pepper
For the waffles:
3 cups all purpose flour (or do half whole wheat flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh, coarsely cracked black pepper
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
2/3 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (applesauce substitutes here well)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups buttermilk (piece de resistance)
Vegetarian side note: If you don’t eat bacon, subtract the black pepper and bacon and add 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the batter for a warm, spicy waffle.
To make the bacon: position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange bacon in a single layer across sheet. Sprinkle generously with black pepper. Place in the oven until bacon is brown and crispy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place bacon slices on a plate lined with paper towels. Once cool enough to handle, chop bacon into bite-sized chunks and set aside while you prepare the waffle batter.
Set your waffle iron on a level, clean surface and turn on to preheat, according to waffle iron instructions.
To make the waffles: in a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk. Add the buttermilk mixture, all at once, to the flour mixture. Stir until just incorporated. Fold in the bacon. Try not to overmix the batter. If a few lumps remain, that’s okay.
Cook waffles according to waffle iron instructions. Serve with butter and warm maple syrup. Waffles are best served immediately!
Side note: If you don’t eat all of the waffles, you can freeze these waffles and eat throughout the week for a cozy breakfast sure to improve your Monday. Definitely did this. Allow waffles to cool completely. Store them in pairs in sealed freezer bags and store in the freezer. In the morning, reheat waffles in the toaster (I put the defrost setting on). Best toaster breakfast EVER.