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Cooking With Myra: Waffles - they are not just for breakfast

By By Myra Starkey
March 20, 2012 at midnight
Updated March 19, 2012 at 10:20 p.m.

Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Waffles

Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Waffles

13/4 cups flour 11/2Tbsp. sugar 2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. kosher salt 3 large egg whites 3 large egg yolks 11/2 sticks of melted butter 11/2 cups buttermilk Non-stick vegetable oil spray 1 cup thinly-cut strips of ham 3/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar Maple syrup Waffle maker

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat waffle iron until very hot. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a medium bowl until medium-soft peaks form. Whisk egg yolks, melted butter, and buttermilk in a medium bowl; gradually whisk into dry ingredients. Gently fold in egg whites until they are incorporated.

Coat waffle iron with non-stick vegetable oil spray. Pour batter onto iron, spreading it into corners (Scatter 1 rounded Tbsp. ham and 1 Tbsp. white cheddar over each waffle). Cook until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to cookie sheet to keep warm in the oven. Serve with butter and warm maple syrup.

It had been a really busy Friday at the clinic, so I was happy to be driving out of the parking lot. I needed to grab a few things from home before taking off for the weekend to Rockport. Taylor and I were ready to recharge and relax.

Since we were getting away late, we decided to prepare something for dinner once we arrived. I planned a simple meal of seared tuna served with a side of ribbon-sliced zucchini tossed with mint leaves, olive oil and lemon juice.

By my calculation, I could have the meal ready within a half hour after arriving. Taylor unpacked the car and I scrounged through the cabinets in search of a sharp knife or maybe a mandolin. A mandolin is a slicer, which makes thin shavings of almost anything.

I found just what I was searching for and took out the hand-held mandolin and cut the top off my first zucchini. After I had made green ribbons of the first three, I had only one more to go, so I heated a skillet with a touch of olive oil.

I ran the last zucchini evenly over the sharp blade, except was a little too close and sliced off a part of my thumb and middle finger. I could hear Taylor outside shutting the car doors and then the screen door. I looked down at the fingers on my hand.

Quickly, I wrapped my hand in a clean towel and raced to the bathroom sink. Surely, I had Band-Aids available, and hoped I had not cut myself too deeply to require medical care. This was not a good way to start the weekend.

My misfortune reminded me of our youngest son, Spencer. He was very active and just loved jumping into the middle of things in a physical way. Because of that, he had more cuts, broken bones and bruises than the average kid.

He would tend to get hurt on the first day of family vacations. He wasn't intentionally careless, he was just having a good time. Once he gashed his forehead on an outdoor fountain at a restaurant the day we arrived and on another beach trip knocked a toenail off on the first day.

Taylor, the doctor/dad, started carrying a suture set and bandages when we traveled, just in case.

I hesitated before calling his name since I knew he would not be happy. Although a doctor has the ability and talent to correct the problem, they do not necessarily like to showcase their talents at 9 p.m. in the evening, especially when we had an hour drive back to the clinic. He shook his head, told me to show him the damage, and I reluctantly unwrapped my bloody dish towel. He told me he couldn't fix it with Band-Aids. We packed up what we needed and headed back to Victoria.

It was a fairly silent hour-long drive. I told him that I didn't do it on purpose. He just looked forward down the dark highway and said he knew I didn't. I recognized that he was only tired after a long week and so was a little low on compassion.

And maybe I was in too much of a hurry and not being as careful as I should have been. One's vision is obviously clearer in hindsight. Still, I would have appreciated a little light conversation as we drove. He switched the radio to classical music and just stared out the front window. He knows I don't like that station.

Once we got to the clinic and turned on the lights, he seemed to relax. I think that he really likes to sew up cuts, even as much as he likes to tinker around in the garage and fix things.

It's probably all the same to him. In less than an hour, I had my fingers put back together and my wounds bandaged neatly in snug beige band aids. I marveled at his talent of making order from the previous mess. He cautioned me more than once to be very careful with that hand since he had to graft the piece of my middle finger back on that I had retrieved from the slicer.

Most people hear their doctors tell them something, and it goes in one ear and out the other, but when you live, breathe and sleep next to the doctor, he watches you like a hawk.

The remainder of my weekend was spent reading a book because it seemed like there was not much else I could do with just one hand available.

The good news is that there are places people can go who cannot cook because of an injured hand. These are called restaurants. We dined out for the remainder of the weekend. By Sunday night, my hand had ceased to ache, and I was able to use the computer to type in my article and cook, as I tend to do every Sunday night, so my faithful readers can know exactly what is happening in my exciting life, such as cutting my fingers on the zucchini slicer.

I decided to prepare a ham and cheese waffle for Taylor's supper, since it did not involve the use of any sharp instruments. I saw the recipe in a magazine over the weekend and could almost taste the crunchy waffle filled with ham and cheese and drizzled with maple syrup.

Waffles are all the rage these days, and restaurants are serving them paired with chicken, foie gras, lobster or maple-braised pork belly. The sweet breakfast waffles are often topped with blueberries, lemon curd, whipped cream and even grilled peaches. Put very simply, waffles are not just for breakfast anymore.

I am healing fine under the doctor's direct supervision and, hopefully one day soon, will be allowed back in the kitchen to slice (more carefully) once again.

I prepared the waffles with two different waffle makers to see which one was better. The Belgium waffle maker made a crispy thick waffle while the traditional maker tended to make a softer version, which was crisp on the edges. While oil is commonly used in place of butter, I tend to prefer the latter.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email myra@vicad.com.

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