- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 22, 2007

When fresh summer berries are in their prime, we want to fill our refrigerator, as well as ourselves. Not just our refrigerator and ourselves, but our kitchens. And not just our kitchens, but our houses.

However, you can’t hoard these ephemeral little gems. Their shelf life is breathtakingly and notoriously short.

We can eat a lot of them plain, but beyond that, it’s nice to have recipes, so here’s a breakfast dish that you will love: crisp, golden polenta waffles, studded with an assortment of fresh berries.

Be prepared for a wild transformation of your kitchen atmosphere as the berries emit an amazing aroma when they hit the hot waffle iron. It will fill your kitchen with the best of breakfast smells.

You can use any kind of berry. I like to use a mixture of different types for high color.

If you are making this recipe out of season, you can buy an unsweetened frozen berry mix in most supermarkets.

Don’t defrost them before adding them to the batter, but do cut larger berries into smaller pieces. (You can do this while they are still frozen.)

Note of encouragement: You can easily have homemade waffles with very little morning fuss if you prepare the dry ingredients the night before.

In the morning, all you need do is heat the waffle iron, whisk together and add the wet ingredients, and you’re in the groove.

Polenta waffles with berries

13/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup polenta

1/4 teaspoon salt (rounded measure)

2½ teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

3 large eggs

1½ cups milk

4 tablespoons (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted (see note)

2 cups berries, any kind (leave smaller berries whole; cut larger ones in half)

Nonstick spray and/or butter for the waffle iron

Toppings of your choice (maple syrup, powdered sugar, yogurt, etc.)

Preheat the waffle iron.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.Break the eggs into a second medium-sized bowl and beat with a whisk until frothy. Drizzle in the milk.

Add the egg-milk mixture to the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter and the berries. Mix with decisive strokes from the bottom of the bowl until all the dry ingredients have been moistened. Try not to overmix and also try to avoid breaking the berries. (You’ll break some but just do your best.)

Lightly spray the hot waffle iron on top and bottom surfaces with nonstick spray. (If you like, you can also rub on a little butter. This is most easily accomplished by generously buttering a chunk of bread, using it as an edible utensil to butter the waffle iron.)

Add just enough batter to cover the cooking surface — about ½ cup per standard waffle (1 cup per Belgian waffle). Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on your waffle iron. Don’t overbake — you want it crisp and brown but not too dark. It’s OK to peek. Serve hot, with your favorite toppings.

Transfer waffles to a rack on a baking tray, and place the tray in a 200-degree oven until serving time.

Makes 8 standard-size waffles; 4 Belgian waffles


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