My kids love waffles – making them in a cast iron waffle-maker on the stove is a very unique experience. Waffles come out very crispy outside and nice and soft inside with the earthy aroma of home ground flour.
When I was a child I spent a few of my summer breaks with my aunt’s family in a small Russian village. The house they lived in was made of logs, had a huge wood-burning clay oven, a barn for animals, a beautiful garden with green peas and carrots, an orchard with apple trees and of course a banya – the Russian sauna.
Although I was not happy back then to spend my summers with cows and chickens, now as I look back, I can truly say that was the best time of my life and I miss the simple life in the country. I used to wake up every day smelling the aroma of freshly baked bread and other breakfast pastry my aunt baked in the morning. She got up very early at sunrise, with the rooster’s crow. She milked the cow, fed the animals and started to burn wood in the oven to warm up the house and cook the food. She cooked with cast iron pans. Everything was so simple and so delicious. My afternoons were spent mostly in the garden – walking around, looking for bugs and tasting fresh vegetables and berries. Fishing took place later in the day when the sun started to head down towards the horizon and the heat subsided. Bringing fish and crawfish home was always a treat. We used to make an amazing fish stew on the open fire using a Dutch oven. As you can see, my memories are grand and as I am getting older and have a family of my own, I cherish those moments from the Old World with old family traditions that I’d like to pass on to my kids. It is so important to do that; to tell them stories about gathering wild berries, making pies, milking cows and making butter and cottage cheese. Our kids have very different lives now, so do we, but we should not forget where we came from and what is important in life.
The discovery of Pleasant Hill Grain has immediately brought me to a special place in the heart. I found so many amazing things in the store: cast iron pans, grain mills, herbs and seeds, a press for apples to make apple juice, a smoker etc. I have spent so much time just browsing their website, planning what I am going to get for our future house in the country. And yes, we are planning to move and spend years in the country with chickens and goats in our own garden. After all, my heart belongs to trees and rivers.
I got some outstanding items from Pleasant Hill Grain company; everything that I need to make a hearty breakfast for my family on a Sunday morning. I start with my favorite & exciting new kitchen gadget – a grain mill. I used the Komo grain mill to make buckwheat flour from organically grown buckwheat. Oh, the mill – the craftsmanship of that item is so sophisticated! It has such an elegant design. It was handmade in Austria from solid beechwood. The mill got a very special place in my kitchen. I am planning to use it for many grains and to cook and bake only with fresh ground flours.
My new Cast Iron “Swing” Pepper Mill is designed by Carl&Carl of Denmark and handmade in Sweden. I used it for grinding some sweet spices for our waffles. We added some cardamom and vanilla seeds in our recipe. I love to play with flavors; it brings extra magic to the family meal.
I would love to hear from you about what kind of interesting and unique toys you have in your kitchen and what would you like to add to your collection. Is it a pasta maker or perhaps a stone oven or maybe even a food dehydrator? I want them all but that is me – the old soul in the modern world.
Buckwheat Waffles Sweet and Savory
Everyone loves waffles, but you will need a cast iron waffle maker to make your own.
- For the waffle batter:
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. superfine sugar, plus extra pinch
- pinch of salt
- 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 2 eggs, separated
- generous 1 cup half-and-half or milk
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or orange flower water, or a little grated lemon zest (for sweet waffles)
- 1/2 tsp. fresh ground cardamon (for sweet waffles)
- To cook and serve:
- butter, softened, for waffle maker or cooking oil
- maple syrop or honey
- fresh fruits and berries
- lox, smoked salmon
- cream cheese with chives and garlic
- cucumber, sliced
To make the waffle batter, combine both flours, sugar, salt, melted butter, egg yolks, and about one-third of the half-and-half or milk in a bowl. Whisk lightly until smooth, then gradually whisk in the rest of the half-and-half or milk. Add your chosen flavoring, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside while you heat the cast iron waffle maker ( We heated the pan several minutes directly on a gas stove before using any batter).
In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of sugar to a thick foam ( but not to peaks). Gently fold into the waffle batter, using a balloon whisk.
Lightly brush the cast iron waffle maker with softened butter or spray generously with cooking oil, then ladle in enough batter to cover the griddle. Close and cook for about 90 seconds on one side, flip over to cook 90 seconds more. Cook the rest of the batter in the same way.
Serve the waffles immediately on warm plates or a large platter. Serve with cream cheese and lox or berries and honey for a sweet version.