Did we all enjoy the Breaking Bad finale last night? A group of us gathered at Morgan’s apartment last night to eat barbecue from Mable’s Smokehouse and watch it together, because we all eat our feelings now and again. The ribs, brisket, pulled pork and macaroni and cheese really helped me come to terms with the show’s end. Really though, I will never feel the same way about any television show that I did about Lost, which I still mourn the ending of to this day (not that I didn’t like the ending, but instead that it is actually over and there are never going to be any new episodes). I loved Lost because you still don’t necessarily know what the hell happened. It’s open to interpretation and you can talk about it endlessly without anyone ever really being right or wrong. You can do the same thing with The Sopranos, to an extent, but Lost did such a great job of leaving me wanting more that I don’t think any show will ever be able to do again. I thought maybe Homeland was that show, at first, but now I’m kind of lukewarm on it. Right now the show that absolutely kills me (haw haw) every time I watch it and leaves Kramer, Morgan and I talking about it until the next episodes airs is Hannibal, but I guess that comes with the territory. I love Hannibal because, like Lost, I am totally clueless and not completely in on why something is happening or what the complete background of a character’s life is. It’s more fun to be left in the dark and guess what is going to happen next instead of being pretty sure that you know how this thing is going to play out. Having said that, I enjoyed Breaking Bad and I’m excited to see what Vince Gilligan does next. But it is also early in the morning and I am already seeing, “Vince Gilligan explains the Breaking Bad finale!” headlines, which makes me think…really? Do you really need an explanation? Because it seems pretty straight forward to me. Let’s all move on, shall we?
I’ve done a couple of different partnerships with McCormick (i.e. summer sangria, chocolate hazelnut cookies, etc.), and I enjoy doing so because they are, truthfully, a product line that I use in my kitchen every day. When they approached me to participate in their Gourmet collection’s seasonal promotion, Go 4 Gourmet, I was ready to get into the kitchen immediately. My given ingredients were acorn squash, pecans, honey and chipotle chile pepper, which are perfect for this time of year. I wanted to do something a little different and I figured, why not make a savory breakfast dish? Kramer and I eat breakfast for dinner all of the time (AKA brinner), so this was certainly not beyond my grasp. Acorn squash is a winter squash, and it is packed with tons of vitamins, fiber and iron, so you can even use this as a disguise for picky eaters, but really, why would you? The sweet, earthy flavors of the squash pair beautifully with just a hint of chipotle chile for depth and the crunchy pecans add a nice texture, as well as garnish, to these waffles. I whisked up some honey and maple syrup together for a tasty topping, and before you knew it, Kramer and I had completely devoured this stack of piping hot waffles. Each bite made me feel warm and cozy inside, and truly, I’ve never been more enthusiastic about the season than after eating something as seasonal and autumnal as this. You, too, can participate in the Go 4 Gourmet challenge by heading over to McCormick and submitting your dish! I hope that I’ve inspired you to do so – it’s always fun to step outside of your comfort zone just a bit and cook something new.
Behold, the acorn squash.
Roast your squash to make a puree, then mix it in with the rest of your waffle batter ingredients. You may also just straight up eat the puree, which I may or may not have done with the leftovers.
Fold in your pecans and frothy egg whites.
Then go to waffle town.
Top with some extra pecans and your honey-maple syrup and serve hot.
- 1 large acorn squash
- 1 tablespoon honey
- pinch of chipotle chile pepper
- 1¼ cup pastry flour (AP flour will also do, but pastry flour makes for lovely, light waffles)
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- small pinch of chipotle chile pepper
- 1 cup buttermilk or whole milk, room temperature
- ½ cup roasted acorn squash puree (recipe above)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 eggs, room temperature, eggs and yolks separated
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons honey
- First, make your roasted acorn squash. Heat your oven to 375 degrees F and cut your squash in half lengthwise. Line a baking sheet with foil and place your squash, cut side down, on top. Pour about ½ cup of water into the sheet and bake for 30 minutes or so, until the squash is tender. Allow it to cool slightly, then scoop the flesh out from the skin and puree in a blender or food processor with the honey and chipotle. Set aside until ready to use - you can prepare the puree up to 3 days in advance.
- When you are ready to make your waffles, whisk together your flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and chipotle and set aside.
- Separate your egg yolks and whites. Use a whisk to froth your egg whites, whisking vigorously for 3-4 minutes. In another large bowl, whisk together your buttermilk, roasted acorn squash puree, melted butter, honey, 2 egg yolks and vanilla. Whisk in the dry ingredients, then fold in the frothed egg whites followed by the chopped pecans.
- Using your waffle iron according to its factory directions, heat and grease (if needed) the iron and pour on about 1 to 1¼ cups of batter (more or less again, depending upon your iron). Cook for 3-4 minutes, then remove and continue with the rest of your batter. I kept my extra waffles warm in a 250 degree F oven while the others cooked.
- When you are ready to heat, heat your maple syrup and honey together in a microwave safe dish for 30 seconds. Whisk to combine, then pour over your waffles and garnish with some extra pecans.