What's up with this insanely warm weather? Deep down, I know that it's not here to stay. There's probably more rain in the forecast, because it's only May for gosh sake! It's one of those trick summer bull-shitty things that happens in May. Just enough warm weather to warrant a rustle through the boxes labeled 'summer clothes', daily evening ice cream rituals, and a few trips to the plant store, and then bam, it will be over with one fell swoop. Then I'll do that thing where I leave the house with no sweater or wake up and put on shorts instead of pants, only to be shocked that our early summer is gone and will return in July.
While the weather is warm, I've been working hella hard around here. The interior space has been put on hold for the time being (and we will continue to live surrounded by a pile of boxes and tools), as I try to reign in our backyard, also known as 'that mess'. We've got some pretty wonky stuff happening out there. Unfortunately, it hasn't seen much love these past few years. Last weekend I dug up enough crap from the corner of the lot to fill a wheel barrel full. The assorted variety of junk included some wire, chains, concrete, and a few plumbing fixtures. There is still a ton of stuff down there, and if I find any bones or a dead body, I'm done. I've also been slowly hacking away at the ivy, which has been creeping through and pulling down the fence for years. One of these days it is just going to engulf the whole thing, I am sure of it. That's the problem with ivy, although it looks pretty, it's aggressive and obnoxious. I'm pretty exciting to get the whole thing sorted and plant some lush and fragrant plants, sans broken glass and rusty wire.
Amongst all of the pruning and sorting, I've been making a habit to spend more time in the kitchen each day, even though that pho shop down the street calls my name more often than I'd like to admit. Last night, I fried a head of cauliflower in loads of olive oil with some garlic and salt, and ate the whole thing out of a bowl standing on the porch admiring the tiny patch of weedy grass that I now call my own. Today I grilled a cob of corn and ate it with an avocado, and although you might disagree that this is cooking, I grilled the corn and ate it while I was in the kitchen, and so even if this doesn't technically count as cooking, I am spending more time in the kitchen.
Besides the corn grilling and the cauliflower frying, the weed pulling and garden digging, I was able to squeeze in some time for these mini ice cream waffle sandwiches with a mixed berry sauce! Because early summer can't be fully appreciated until there's some ice cream in the mix. These little waffle sandwiches bring me back to my childhood. Each summer we would visit the CNE, and I would get a waffle sandwich. At that age, I thought they only existed at the CNE, which made it even more special. When I got a bit older, I tried to recreate them at home with frozen Eggo waffles, and surprise, it wasn't the same.
I made these waffles from scratch, using a pretty delicious whole wheat Belgium waffle recipe from King Arthur Flour. QFC had a deal on fresh berries, so naturally, I bought them all. I made a simple berry compote that I drizzled onto the ice cream, and this morning on my breakfast yogurt. The ice cream I did not make, I bought from the store (we can't win them all). Once assembled, the ice cream and berries melt between the waffles into a silky creamy texture. The punch of tart and sweetness from the berries is muddled with the rich creaminess of the ice cream. The waffles are soft and nutty while retaining a slight crispiness on the outside. Hallelujah for early summer, ice cream treats, and fond childhood memories.
MINI ICE CREAM WAFFLE SANDWICHES
waffle recipe adapted loosely from
makes 8 small sandwiches
2 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp corn starch
Belgium Waffles (makes 4 waffles):
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 pints of vanilla ice cream
For the berry compote:
In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, bring the berries, sugar, and orange juice to a low boil. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, mashing the berries with a spoon against the side of the pan, until the berries are soft and half of the mixture is juice.
Add a tbsp of cold water to the corn starch and whisk. Add the corn starch slurry to the fruit and quickly whisk, preventing any lumps from forming. Turn the heat to high and boil until the sauce has thickened, roughly 1 minute.
Remove the berries from the stove and place into a bowl. Place into the fridge until cool.
For the waffles:
Preheat the waffle iron to the medium darkness setting.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sea salt, and sugar.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and butter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined.
Cook the waffles as per your waffle iron directions.
Remove the waffles from the iron, and cut each into 4 squares.
For the sandwiches:
Cut a slit down the side of the ice cream container. Peel away the container until you are left with only the ice cream. Lay the ice cream on its side and with a sharp knife, slice it into 4 - 1/2 inch rounds. Place a waffle on top of the ice cream round and cut it into a square.
While the waffles are still warm, assemble the sandwiches. Place a tbsp of berry compote on top of the ice cream, and then squish the waffle together. Serve immediately. Waffle sandwiches do not store well.