Banana Waffles

I got back late last night from Oregon.  The trip was with my dear friend Hilary, while Ben was in full charge with our girls.  Of course, they were complete angels for him.  But, I cannot complain as Hilary and I spent Saturday afternoon in Portland; where, we took in the tastes & smells of fresh morels, blueberry chevre and the best Pinot Gris I've ever experienced.  We gathered our dinner supplies from the Saturday Farmer's Market, then on over to Powell's Books, Stumptown Coffee & this wonderful deli, where I tasted one of the best bialys (caramelized onions in the middle with schmear).

Our road trip was discussed back in August as I dreamed of driving with Hil down a country road without husbands or children (latter for me only).   The plan would be post-nursing and pre-next baby (No--not pregnant).  Destination was Albany, OR to pick up my grandmother's hope chest that had been collecting dust at my Uncle's house.  I had envisioned staying along the water in the middle of nowhere, in some rustic, yet comfortable cabin.  Well, let me tell you.  If you are in need of a country getaway, then you should stay here.  It was idyllic.  I don't want to throw around that word, but truly--it was.  Hilary called it heaven.  And it was close to it.

It sat on the Willamette River, it was an old granary, beautiful hardwood floors, mid-70s, & not a care in the world.  We ate so well.  If our camera hadn't gotten lost in La Jolla when we went a month ago--I would have taken pictures of our dinner & posted the recipe.  We bought fresh, wild caught Soho salmon, shiitake mushrooms, chives & chevre. The salmon was beyond exceptional.  It was topped with sautéed shiitakes with a bit of cream with freshly cut chives rolled in the chevre.  Mixed salad greens with pear, more chevre & chopped chives.  Pinot Gris & a Cab/Syrah mix from a Oregon winery.  I wish time could have stood still.

Before I left on my trip (Friday evening), V came in talking about eating waffles.  We don't make waffles that often during the week.  We rotate like most people with peanut butter toast, oatmeal, or eggs.  However, since I would be gone that weekend--waffles it was for my girls.  I made a different kind than what I'm offering here.  But this is one of those recipes I've been wanting to share for a while and the present is time as any.  They remind me of Hawaii, where the banana pancake hits the scene and coconut-banana syrup sits on the diner tables.  So maybe you've had your banana pancakes and you're thinking, "Eh!"  Well, do yourself, your family, your friends & your neighbors a favor by making these.  And I know there are recipes where the author gives me topping suggestions and I might accept or disregard.  Well, in this instance, the toppings that I list are essential for everything to come together.  To eat these waffles by themselves are just okay, but when you combine the nuttiness of the whole wheat & oat bran with the mild sweetness of the banana in the waffle and the slight bit of desiccated coconut, butter, pure maple syrup with sliced bananas--well that's a whole other ball game.  The only thing missing would be a mimosa, or daiquiri, but it might just be too early to make it count.

Banana Waffles (printable recipe)

Wet Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk

½  cup whole milk yogurt

1 banana, thoroughly mashed

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter, melted & cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dry Ingredients:

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup oat bran (they sell it at Trader Joe's)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch kosher salt

**toppings: sliced bananas, butter, maple syrup & sprinkling of unsweetened coconut.

Directions:

Heat waffle iron. Combine wet ingredients and whisk well to combine.  Combine dry ingredients into a large bowl and form a well in the center. Add the wet mixture to the well and fold in with the dry. Don't worry if there are a few lumps. Let sit for about 5 minutes to allow batter to thicken. When iron is hot, spray lightly with non-stick spray. Spoon 1/2 to 3/4 cup of batter onto the center of the iron and cook until a golden brown crust forms.   Top with butter, sliced bananas, maple syrup & a sprinkling of unsweetened coconut.