Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Kitchen Catastrophe. I’m your host du jour Nathan O’Guin. Youngest and most superior of the O’Guin brothers, and self-proclaimed Baron of Breakfast. I’m not new to Kitchen Catastrophe. I’ve had “key roles” in the making of the Jambalaya, and that other one where Jon did a three part breakfast. I made the monkey bread. Today we tackle one of my favorite breakfast dishes, the humble waffle. Except these waffles are full of deceit, treachery, and a little bit of travel luck.
Last month I came home to visit my family for Easter. It seemed a good time as my father had his first round of chemo on the Friday prior, I had just left my job on that same Friday, and my brother wanted to see Rifftrax Live, the revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The one prior to the Netflix reboot of MST3K. So I decided to stay the extra day. I wish Jon would’ve told me that desire 10 hours prior as I had already booked my departure flight back to Spokane. But one relatively painless phone call later, I was set to leave a day later so we could enjoy ourselves.
Typical O'Guin "fun" on a typical Washington spring day.
Well the trip home was a little rockier than one could hope. Since I had my last day at work and Spokane airport is small and therefore very quick to pass security, I planned to arrive about 45 min before departure. I forgot to check-in to my flight and was running a bit late, so when I arrived 30 minutes before take-off, they put me on standby and told me to go up to the gate and see if they could get me on the plane. The gate couldn’t see me on their end, when I looked at the standby slip I noticed it was for the next flight out. Since I wasn’t checking any luggage, I was able to get on the flight. Pretty sure it was the last seat on the plane as I couldn’t see any empty ones. Travel crisis averted.
Except it wasn’t fully. The plane wound up departing late, I was in the back so getting off the plane took a while. I missed the train to the main terminal at Sea-Tac which delayed me even more, so I got on the last possible Light Rail, that could get me on the ferry I was planning on taking. It all ended okay because the ferry happened to arrive 10 min after it was supposed to be departing. Then Jon bullied JJ, the alcohol advisor of the site, to come pick me up from the ferry terminal and head back to the bar where they had just ordered a pitcher. After a bit of merriment, JJ drops my brother and myself off and the travel home was completely successful. And I learned my lesson…which I will most likely forget, or ignore next time I fly.
In the Morning, I’m Making Waffles!
My family members are not really morning people. My parents get up for work at 3:30-4ish in the morning. My mom’s sleep cycle as adjusted and even on weekends she’s up no later than 5. But my dad along with my two brothers, take the I’ve-been-getting-up-early-so-now-I-will-make-up-for-all-the-missed-sleep approach to weekends. I have always been on the side of the morning person. Not to my mother’s extreme. But I am almost always up 2 hours prior to everyone in my family, except my mother. So I’ve had a lot of practice making breakfast foods. Well this morning, as I recall the luck I had traveling to be able to be there that morning, she asks her second favorite question, “What’s for breakfast?” Her most favorite question is, “What are we doing for dinner?” I feel like the dinner question, only wins because they get up so early for work they can’t eat breakfast with us. While we were throwing around ideas, she brings up they recently got a new waffle maker. So I halt any further discussion and decide we are making waffles.
The new waffle maker looks kind of like Kirby. This is presumably a good sign.
Now the waffle maker came with some recipes in a little booklet, so I flip through those, read the title Fluffy waffles, and think to myself, “Who doesn’t like Fluffy Waffles?” The answer to that questions, is no one I want to be friends with. So the breakfast food and recipe decided, we set off to start making gold crusted joy.
An additional step has entered that battle
Anyone who knows me is aware that I do my best to not read anything I don’t need to read and I don’t like to change plans. So I made my decision for the recipe off of the name alone. Getting into the ingredients list, everything looks pretty normal. One part seems a bit weird, but if these waffles want just egg whites, who am I to judge how they do it? So my mom and I gather all the ingredients and separate the egg yolks, making a half decent attempt at mise en place. Then we start adding our dry ingredients to a bowl, mixing our wet ingredients in and I notice that the egg whites haven’t been used yet. I’m a little confused, but again, hey I’m just excited for waffles.
Then I read the next step and I semi-regret picking these waffles, this recipe requires the egg whites to be beaten into stiff peaks and then folded back into the waffle batter. Now if I’m being 100% honest, this step is really not a big deal by any means, if you have an electric mixer. If you don’t, you can get a good look at the troubles you have by reading the very first kitchen catastrophe. Back when it was just a note on my brothers Facebook page. I was just expecting to make waffles the normal way of mix everything into a bowl and then place on the waffle maker and be happy forever. Or as long as you have waffles to eat. The happiness of eating good food is woefully fleeting. So when I had the additional step of beating the egg white, I was mildly irritated, since that meant more time prior to me being able to eat. I may have played it up and said things like, “Why they hell does this recipe exist?” Or “These waffles are the devil?” But I swear it wasn’t entirely out of true anger.
The Fluffy Home Stretch
With the beaten egg whites folded into the rest of the batter, we can start cooking the waffles. Which my time frame for how long a waffle cooks for is apparently skewed. Since I mainly got waffles at brunch at a dining hall on EWU’s campus, which took 1 minute to cook the waffle. So this recipe makes 8 waffles, I’m thinking "great, we’ll be eating waffles in 10 minutes." Well it turns out that our waffle maker, and this recipe have deemed that 4 minutes is the length of time that test waffles should be cooked. I’m beginning to think that this recipe was written intentionally to spite me and everything that I hold dear in the world.
"Meh, see, we're gonna mess up yer whole day!"
I don't know why the waffle is a 30's gangster, but Nate assures me that's accurate.
But I’m a rule follower, so 4 minutes a waffle it is, and that 10 minutes until I get waffles, turns into 40 minutes. To be fair, I could have been eating a waffle in 5 minutes, since this part of the recipe is literally, scoop batter into the waffle iron, close it and wait for the alarm. But we try to eat as a family whenever possible, so I delayed my desire to eat while I “cooked” the rest of the waffle batter. That didn’t stop my mother and me from grabbing the first “test waffle” out and eating pieces of that. It would have been cruel for us to have smelled the deliciousness cooking in the iron without any scraps to eating it. Though if I’m being real, that waffle turned into butter with a little bit of waffle to make it socially acceptable, since we aren’t just eating butter.
But the 8 waffles done, we rouse Jon from his slumber, with the familiar call of “Hey breakfast is ready, if you want food, get the hell up,” and enjoy the golden deliciousness that is the Fluffy Waffle.
"I do declare, I look absolutely scrumptious!"
Okay, Nate, how many goddamn personalities do these waffles have?
8. There are 8 waffles. What are you, some kind of waffle racist?
For the extra little bit of work that came from beating the egg whites, the payoff is pretty good. They were probably some of the best waffles I’ve had. The best part about it, is that lighter waffles mean you can put more topping on without it feeling too heavy. Any waffle toppings you want. Anything from strawberries and whipped cream, to my favorite, butter, peanut butter and syrup. Whatever you want on your waffle. As long as it is one of those to options. Those are the 2 best ways and therefore the only two ways you should top waffles and or pancakes. If you are allergic to nuts and/or aren’t feeling like eating anything too heavy, you can leave the peanut butter off. But that is it.
Makes 8 waffles
3.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsps baking powder
.5 tsp salt
3.5 cups milk
4 eggs (whites and yolks separated)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then whisk egg yolks, milk, and vegetable oil in a medium bowl.
- Whisk milk mixture into dry ingredients "just until thoroughly moistened" (whatever the fuck that means)
- Beat egg whites in separate bowl until stiff, using an electric mixer, or suffer.
- Fold egg whites into batter, stopping before fully incorporated, leaving some fluffs.
- Preheat waffle-maker (Shit, this should be in step 1. Goddamn it maker pamphlet.)
- Pour 1 cup batter into center of grid, close lid and flip, or however the hell your waffle maker works.
- Bake until brown and crisp, about 4 minutes, probably, look, I don't know how your damn waffle maker works.