Let's face it. In the married world, you show an interest in something and suddenly it becomes fair game for gift giving occasions. However, just because I like my rugs to be dog hair free, doesn't mean that I will be doing the squealing happy dance over unwrapping a vacuum cleaner on my birthday. Thankfully, my Hubs has (kinda) got this. There are times when appliances have been draped in paper and ribbon, but usually they were appliances that I specifically requested. I have over the years pointed out a beautiful Cuisinart food processor when wandering before Christmas and then found it under the tree, picked out my own Kitchenaid mixer as a birthday gift after months of agonizing about the color and other features, and been delightedly surprised by a waffle iron under the tree. Yes, I did say "delightedly surprised by a waffle iron under the tree." It was an awesome gift that totally did take me off guard.
We hadn't been married long and had a ritual of pancakes on most Sunday mornings. (It is sad that chores at the farm have long since killed this tradition.) Almost every time that we made pancakes together, I lamented that I missed waffles. I had grown up on waffles made in an ancient waffle iron with a cloth-wrapped electrical cord. I loved butter and syrup in every one of the little squares. I was gleeful of the crisp crust and tender center of the waffles. Pancakes were good, but they weren't waffles. With the gift of a waffle maker, I could make beautiful waffles.
The other day, I was flipping through recipes I had torn from magazines and rediscovered a Rachael Ray treat. Potato, Sausage, and Cheese Waffles are not the light, fluffy, crispy waffles of my childhood, but are a super hearty meal. I have made them a couple times, and I must stress that you need to use FLAVORFUL ingredients. I liked the results much better when I grated a sharp cheddar and used a garlicky, fennelly Italian sausage versus the time I threw them together with breakfast sausage and shredded cheddar from a bag. Both plates of waffles were good, but using superb ingredients that could stand well on their own did make a HUGE flavor difference.
Hubs was ambivalent about the Ketchup Maple Syrup, but I really liked the citrus-like bite that the tomato added to the sweet syrup. I thought it was a perfect balance to the potato waffles. (Don't you add ketchup to your hash browns?) But, if you are leery, just drizzle on your favorite maple syrup. Either way, Potato, Sausage, and Cheese Waffles are something that I would like on my birthday. (hint. hint.)
(adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine)
1 link FLAVORFUL Italian sausage, casing discarded ...or try some of Jimmy Dean's Spicy Sausage
1 baking potato, grated and excess water squeezed out
4 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons pepper
2 cups milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
In a medium skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a fork until crumbled.
Add the potato and butter, lower the heat and simmer until the butter is melted and potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cool, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
Stir in the milk and eggs until smooth.
Stir in the sausage-potato mixture.
Using a waffle maker, cook the waffles according to the manufacturer’s directions. (Makes 8-10 waffles depending on waffle maker)
Ketchup Maple Syrup
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup maple syrup
Whisk to combine ingredients.
Heat in microwave 20-30 seconds.
Serve warm over waffles.