Few things bring me greater culinary recreational pleasure (yes, that’s a thing) than vintage cookbooks. I love hunting for them in antique stores, thrift shops, and yard sales, and then curling up to time travel through generations of menus. Regional and community cookbooks are my favorite (bonus points if they’re from New England), because I love the complex melting pot of American home cooking, but any vintage cookbook with colorful recipes, interesting anecdotal intros, and charming artwork is enough to turn my head — room on the bookshelf be damned.
New England food comes in many forms, and Brooke Dojny has included them all in the newly revised edition of “New England Home Cooking.” The book is a true pleasure to peruse – not just for its wealth of over 350 recipes, but the back story and detail given to each dish. I am always interested in the story behind the recipe, and clearly, so is Dojny.
In addition to the “classic” New England dishes like Rhode Island Red Chowder, Maple Baked Beans, and Steamed Boston Brown Bread, special attention is paid to the regional ethnic dishes that cover New England like a delicious patchwork quilt. Dishes like Portuguese Sweet Bread in Martha’s Vineyard, Hungarian Egg Dumplings in Fairfield, Connecticut, and the recipe I chose to make for my Saturday morning breakfast this weekend – Scottish Oat Waffles. Thanks to my 6-month stint in Edinburgh in 2004, I am sentimentally partial to anything Scottish (even haggis), so I was delighted to learn that there is a large and thriving Scottish population in northern Vermont. The area around Barre attracted Scottish immigrants with work in its granite quarries, and they brought with them the Scottish love for all things oatmeal.
A thick oatmeal is generously buttered and added to a batter enhanced with the tang of buttermilk. I picked up my tiny waffle iron for $2.98 on the clearance shelf at Target. I think it was part of the avalanche of “dorm essentials” they try to get rid of at the end of September.
After a few minutes in the waffle iron they come out crispy, hot, and ready for butter and syrup.
Lots and lots of butter and syrup.
Because I wanted to use up all of the batter before eating, I put the waffles on a wire rack after they came off the iron. That way they didn’t get soggy from the steam. When it was time to eat, I just popped a few in the toaster for a minute to heat them up and add a touch of crispness.
Then it was time to get serious.
Homemade waffles feel like an extra treat, because you need to invest in that bonus step of a waffle iron to have them at home, but you’re rewarded with pooling squares of pure maple syrup and melted butter.
These waffles were very tasty. The oats lended a hearty texture just right for a morning meal. I only wish I had thought to put some fruit on top.
This recipe, and many others, are overflowing in “New England Home Cooking” – I know I will be referring to it again for both inspiration and instruction.
Thank you to the fine folks over at the Harvard Common Press for sending me a copy to enjoy! The book was complimentary, but of course, my opinions are my own.
Scottish Oat Waffles
Adapted from “New England Home Cooking” by Brooke Dojny
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 cups water
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
- Combine the oats and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes, whisking often. Oatmeal will be very thick.
- Remove from heat and add the butter, whisking until the butter melts. Set aside.
- Preheat your waffle iron.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs, then whisk the egg mixture into the oatmeal mixture.
- Add the oatmeal mixture to the flour mixture, and stir until just combined.
- Spray the pre-heated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray, then spoon the waffle batter into the center of the waffle iron, smoothing to almost the edge with the spoon. Close the lid and cook until steam stops rising or a light indicates doneness. For me this took around 5 minutes.
- Repeat with the remaining batter, then serve waffles hot with plenty of pure maple syrup.
Makes 8 4-inch waffles.
Now that we are finally enjoying some beach and picnic weather, I thought it would be a good time to celebrate that most famous of portable meals…the sandwich!
Are you a sandwich fan? Of course you are. The beautiful thing about sandwiches is that they are for everyone – young or old, rich or poor, peckish or famished. Whatever or whoever you are, right now there is a sandwich with your name on it.
Not sure what you’re in the mood for? I suggest you peruse the informative, entertaining, and beautifully photographed new book “The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches” by Susan Russo, with photos by Matt Armendariz.
This book is right up my alley…portable, crammed with historical fun facts, full of bright photos, and inspiring enough to make me hungry. It covers the basics (peanut butter and jelly, egg salad, grilled cheese, hamburger), the adventurous (egg and pepper, Spamwich, prosciutto and fig, Dagwood), the mysterious (muffuletta, Croque Monsieur, Bánh Mi, Jucy Lucy) and the just plain magnificent (banana split, baked bean, frittata, ice cream).
I was only on the C’s when I started making my grocery list.
Behold my first EOS-inspired lunch – the Caprese sandwich! It couldn’t be simpler, but simple is all you need for one seriously delicious sandwich.
Split a crusty baguette and layer on the plum tomatoes.
Add some fresh mozzarella.
Then fresh basil, salt, pepper, and drizzle of olive oil.
Pick your beautiful creation up…
…then close your eyes and experience sandwich heaven in the form of juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and aromatic basil.
Within a crusty baguette, of course. This is a sandwich, after all.
I can’t wait to eat these all summer with fresh tomatoes.
Are you thinking about your favorite sandwich now? What is it?
Stay tuned for more of my favorite sandwiches this summer!