Marisa’s 20th of the Month Sourdough Sidetrack: Waffles

This month’s Sourdough Surprises tasks were waffles and pancakes. Assuming that most of us who maintain a sourdough starter have made pancakes and/or waffles, the suggestion was to do something different to the standard fare.


I did sort of the opposite. As I’ve mentioned before, I rarely make the same recipe twice, with a handful of exceptions. These waffles are one of those. I probably make these once a month, which possibly makes them the single most used recipe in our household. They are light and crispy and turn out well every time. Since I make them so often, I have made some tweaks (gasp! I have tweaked a recipe!) that I consistently rely on. Each time I pull up the recipe, I also convert the measurements to weights.

So, for easier reference for myself if nothing else, I have adapted the original recipe and am posting my own here. That’s right. Fade the Prompt’s first posted recipe.

Sourdough Waffles

Adapted from Gnowfglins

1/4C (56g) Coconut Oil, warmed to liquid

1/2t Salt

2 Eggs, the closer to room temperature the better to mix with the oil

Splash Maple Syrup

2T Ground Flax

1t Vanilla

1/2t Cinnamon

2C (460g) Sourdough Starter, discard or fed the evening before

1t Baking Soda mixed into 1 T Water

Plug in the waffle iron. The ingredients can be combined while the iron is heating.

Combine coconut oil, salt, eggs, maple syrup, ground flax, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir until well combined. Pour the starter on top, and stir to incorporate. Pour baking soda/water mixture on top, and stir just to incorporate.

Pour batter on heated waffle iron and cook until golden. Keep warm in oven while the rest cook.

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Intro to Sandwiches

It’s sandwich month, which means recipes for Pumpkin Grilled Cheese with Hazelnut ButterLasagna Grilled Cheese, and Antipasto Baguettes with Artichokes, Mozzarella, Salami, and Green Olive Paste are going to have to wait.

Other things that are going to have to wait include mastering basic vinaigrettes and ratios for cooking grains without reference. It’s like July was followed immediately by September this year, with nothing more than an interlude for the WisABA Convention and Irish Fest where the thirty one days of August traditionally signal the end of summer.

Bread. Stuff in between. Anything goes. Even I should be able to handle this.

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Mmm. Bulgur.

I was not as successful with grains and vinaigrette month as I would have liked, but I was more successful than stir fry month.  I guess that’s something.

I tried out bulgur and it was not bad.  I was able to make 3 dishes using one batch.

First off was a salad for hurling.  I made a kale, radish, and bulgur salad.  I massaged the kale under cold water and sliced it thin.

20130825_120019The salad was dressed with a lemon garlic vinaigrette that I also made.  I added salt, pepper and some powdered jalapeno.  I am sorry to report that it was the only vinaigrette I made this month.  Oh, well.  At least I made one.   I usually put cottage cheese on my salad, so this was just not a priority for me.  Yes, cottage cheese with a little Nature’s Seasoning is an excellent salad topper.

This salad was fine.  Clara and her friend didn’t like it, but Calvin ate a whole bowl.  Good enough.

Now I had a lot of leftover bulgur.  I made another salad.

20130827_182911Grilled kale, roasted jalapeno, greens mix, bulgur, and grilled shrimp.  I marinated the shrimp in lemon juice, cayenne, oregano and olive oil.  The grilled kale and roasted jalapeno added a nice smokey flavor.  We dressed it with leftover vinaigrette.  I would make something similar to this again.

There was still more leftover bulgur.

20130829_195900This is a warm Mexican bulgur.  Roasted green pepper, roasted jalapeno, black beans, salsa, cilantro, and bulgur with cotija cheese.  I thought this one was delicious.  I ate what was left for lunch the next day.  (And I roasted all those pepper myself, thank you very much.)

While I did not experiment with a lot of different grains, I was able to be creative with what I did use to make a variety of dishes without a recipe.  This is a huge step in the right direction.

Sandwiches, here we come.

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Marisa’s 20th of the Month Sourdough Sidetrack: Crackers

I have made sourdough crackers several times using this recipe. I’ve made them with all of the recommended fat options: coconut oil, lard, and butter. Andy really likes them, but they softened if I attempted to store them. This was easily remedied by recrisping them in the oven, but I have been holding out hope that I could create a cracker that would stay crisp for a few days.

For this month’s task via Sourdough Surprises, I decided to try a different base recipe, as well as add some flavor (20% sharp cheddar as suggested). I also added cracked pepper. All on my own!

In comparing the 2 basic sourdough cracker recipes, the ingredients are the same. One ingredient list is given in cups and one in grams and percentages. I think I might be capable of figuring out if the ratios are similar, however, that sounds like a lot of work.

So, for reasons that will remain a mystery to me for now (different ratio? flavor additions? more detailed instructions?), these new crackers have stayed crisp for days and days, which has been very handy considering that I forgot to put them out in the hurling appetizer spread two Sundays ago, and then proceeded to forget to take them to snack on at the WisABA conference.

The other handy thing about this latest version is that it yielded the exact amount that would fit easily on one Silpat.


And the kids enjoyed them. It’s not surprising that Calvin’s a fan. As long as it’s not mushy, that kid’ll eat pretty much anything. Clara’s enjoyment was unexpected. Maybe she was just really hungry.


Looking forward to the next sourdough goodie!

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Grains and Vinaigrette. Yum.

It’s August and that means it’s grains and vinaigrette.  It is hard to get excited about this, but I’m trying to muster more enthusiasm than I had for stir fry.

Vinaigrette is a made with a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar.  That’s the basics and then you can go from there.  If i can remember that ratio by the end of the month, I’ll feel like I accomplished something.

No one in my house is excited about grains.  However, I know that our diets could improve with a little more variety.  The Old Farmer’s Almanac gives cooking tips and suggestions for a wide variety of grains.

I got brave early in the month and tried quinoa.  I made a Mediterranean inspired salad with feta, kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes.  I thought really hard about making my own Greek dressing.  Then I bought a bottle instead.

20130804_194936I liked it. Marisa seemed to like it.  Jamie hated it.  Oh, well, can’t please everyone.

My goals for the month:

1. Cook with 3 different kinds of grains.

2. Make 3 different kinds of vinaigrette.

We’re half way through August.  I better get on it.

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July’s Grilling Intro, Progress Toward Goals, and Recap

I’m intimidated by fire. I wanted my July grilling goals to be realistic and attainable.

In the past, grilling, for me, has meant finding a recipe, prepping the ingredients (unless they were meat), and delegating the task to Andy. I came across this nugget in Michael Pollan’s Cooked:

“Cooking meat over a fire-whether a few steaks thrown on the backyard barbeque or, more spectacularly, a whole animal roasted all night over a wood fire-is one of the most stirring of those ritual acts, usually performed outdoors, on special occasions, in public, and by men.”

Thank you Mr. Pollan for making me recognize that the meal prep situation at the McKee household is totally normal. I’m so much more at home inside. In the kitchen. Often alone but not at all lonely.

I couldn’t fathom going from baseline to cooking over fire in a mere one month’s time. Instead I chose to focus on learning how to light different types of grills. There were pictures of this. Fortunately, Alisa’s phone saved me some embarrassment by losing them.


I lit a charcoal grill and dumped (I can’t even believe I’m admitting this) hot dogs on it. Wait. Did I light it? I think maybe somebody helped me. Even if I didn’t light it all by myself, I was definitely near the grill during the lighting process. I know I dumped those hot dogs on.

I lit the portable hurling grill (propane) and heated something up on it. July’s kind of a blur. I may have just lit it and left Alisa to grill on Juicy Lucy day.

I lit this bad boy, which is my proudest accomplishment of the month for at least two reasons. Number 1: In the past, I’ve asked my neighbor for help. His whole family joined him to politely marvel in my incompetence. I think my friend Jill may officially be unwilling to grill with me at the helm anymore. And B: this grill is pretty broken. The ignitor switch does not work, so I had to use one of those stick lighter things. Two of the burners do not work. Despite this seemingly insurmountable adversity, I did it. Julia witnessed it. We made this salad. I was brave. Image

In other fading the prompt sort of news, I improvised several meals in July. This was one: a simple and edible corn sauté over rice and tofu.


Then the next day, to the leftover corn saute, I added leftover chicken and caramelized onions to some steamed potatoes and some sort of dressing that Clara probably concocted, and we had a lovely clean-out-the-fridge dinner. Go me.

The kids are embracing this mission, and if a collateral effect of learning to improvise myself is that my kids become confident cooks, well, I really can’t think of a better outcome.

Clara can make a mean vinaigrette, usually involving a mix of vinegars, mustard, olive oil, and salt. She tastes as she goes, and her spot-on palette continues to fascinate me. Calvin came up with this corn salad despite Andy’s skepticism, and it turned out to be the perfect accompaniment to the season’s first BLTs.


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Girls Can Grill

July was a busy month, but I found some time to grill.

I have a standard grilled potato that I learned from my mom and can make without a recipe.   Thin sliced potatoes, onions, butter, salt and pepper.  Layer in a pie plate, cover with foil and grill until done.  I make these all the time.  Each time I made them in July, I said “self, you’ll make these again, don’t worry about a picture this time.”  July is over.  I didn’t take a picture.

My husband gets really sick of these potatoes, so I tried to shake it up.

20130623_200215Diced potatoes, sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, nature’s seasoning, powdered jalapeno and cheddar cheese.  I mixed it all together, wrapped it in foil and threw it on the grill.  They were pretty good.

We went on vacation in July and I made some beautiful grilled chicken thighs with barbeque sauce.  They were picture perfect.  Too bad that my phone at the picture.  Stupid phone.  Trust me, they were something.

Jamie and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary with grilled steaks.  I took care of the meat and I think these were the best steaks we have ever made at home.


They were marinated in olive oil, soy sauce and Montreal steak seasoning.  I started them right over the fire to get a nice sear on each side and then moved to a cooler part of the grill.  They were a solid medium when done.  Maybe even medium rare.  We never get them off in time, so this was a big deal.

We also were invited to a lovely little gathering at my father-in-law’s.  Usually his partner Bill does the grilling or my husband does.  This time they were busy and I stepped up to the plate.  We were cooking for 14 people.  That is a lot.  Good thing my father-in-law, Jody, has a big grill.


The leg quarters were seasoned with Old Bay, the chops were seasoned with Carini’s seasoning, and the chicken breasts were marinated in whatever Jody had put them in before we got there.

20130803_190014Jody is an excellent no recipe cooker.  He is highly skilled at taking what ever is around and making it into something delicious.  I aspire to be able to whip things together like he does.  He also shared a helpful hint for cooking the leg quarters.  He put them in the microwave for 5 minutes before I put them on the grill.  I think this really helped with cooking them through without over cooking.

20130803_190005People were concerned.  There was much, “I thought Jamie was grilling.”  But I let them all know I could handle it.  And I did.  Everything turned out juicy and delicious.

Every month can be grilling month.




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Marisa’s 20th of the Month Sourdough Sidetrack: Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls. Well, cinnamon rolls and crepes. On account of because June’s Sourdough Surprises task was crepes and all of a sudden it was well past June 20th, and I’d managed to not carve out 5 minutes to make them, even though I’ve pinned two sourdough crepe recipes over the past several months. One of them was Flowerdough Crepes. So pretty! I even bought pansy plants. And then the pansies sat in the flat to be planted for a long time and shriveled up. So those beauties are going back on the to do list for some other time. The other was quite possibly the easiest recipe utilizing sourdough I’ve come across.  Filled with cherries from a local farmstand and topped with some residual coconut cream discovered in the fridge, and these turned into a perfectly satisfactory weekday breakfast.

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Since it’s been almost a year (unacceptably too long) since I made Joy the Baker’s cinnamon rolls from her cookbook (they were outstanding), I decided to stick with straightforward flavors with no embellishments. Just like the recipe I followed, I skipped the raisins because Clara doesn’t love them in her baked goods. The 36 hour process for these bad boys was a feat in and of itself. It wasn’t the length of time that presented a challenge. It was finding a chunk of time with three consecutive 12ish hour intervals that I would be able to attend to my fermentation science experiment. For me, this recipe made a lot more than the 12 1-1.5 inch rolls I read about. I am happy to report that I have two more pans worth in the freezer.


This is the biggest bowl we own, and it’s full. That’s some poofily risen dough. That never happens for me.

Both Clara and Andy asked if there were raisins in the finished product. My hypothesis is that the long fermentation period gave the rolls a sour-hint-of-raisin-sort-of-vibe. I probably should have put them in the fridge for the final rise like I was instructed, but the windows were open, and there was a cool breeze. Cool breeze midsummer is not the same as a refrigerator.

20130713_074922I’m looking forward to reading about the creativity in flavor combinations I’m sure my fellow sourdough bakers lent to their rolls and what Sourdough Surprises has in store next.

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Lucy, You are So Juicy

My sister lives in Minneapolis, home of the Juicy Lucy.  I have had the pleasure of eating at Matt’s Bar and have experienced the joy of a burger filled with molten hot cheese.  This is what we decided to recreate at Hurling for our first official grilling month adventure.

The Juicy Lucy was fairly easy to create.  The Burger Lab as Serious Eats has some easy to follow instructions and helpful hints.  I was in charge of making the patties for 15 of us.  20 burgers it is.  I have never purchased that much ground beef at one time. (And I have vowed that I will not be making 20 of anything for Hurling for quite awhile.)

I measured out the meat for each burger (about 1/4 lb for the kids, and 1/3 lb for the adults), divided each ball in half to make two patties and flattened them with a frying pan.  I used 1/2 a piece of American cheese for the kids, and a whole piece for the adults.  Fold the cheese up into fourths.  You want it to be contained in the middle of the burger.  Cover it with the other patty and pinch the edges closed.  Minimize leakage at all costs.  We seasoned with salt right before grilling (I forgot the pepper).

We use a gas camping stove at the pitch.  It worked out really well with a flat griddle on the top.

wpid-20130707_110715.jpgThat’s some strange girl grilling our burgers.   Ignore her and just look at the beautiful burgers.

We did have some leakage, and using the grill pan helped keep the grease from causing flare ups.  All the adults and the kids who like cheese burgers all really seemed to enjoy them.

In addition to the burgers, I got really crazy and made dip without a recipe.  It’s not grilling, but any cooking without a recipe is a big deal. 20130707_142249Jalapeno Popper Dip

Cream cheese, sour cream, diced green chilies, pickled jalapenos and cheddar cheese.  Simple and delicious.  Next time I will roast a fresh jalapeno and put that in for some smokey flavor.

My goals for grilling month:

1. Sides

2. The perfect steak

3. Different things with chicken

Good thing I have a vacation coming up.  Lots of time for grilling.

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Pizza and Hurling and Winterfell

Hurling is the official summer sport around Fade the Prompt land. Our core group of regulars has increased from 6 plus a shoddy tent to 14 spectators/players, 3 tents, and a claim on our land, Winterfell.

We take our culinary consumption seriously at the pitch. Pizza day was no different. Alisa rolled out a bajillion crusts (Important note from Alisa: roll the dough twice. Do it the first time and don’t stress out trying to get it thin. Let it rest for about ten minutes, then roll it again. This was a life changing tip from Marisa.), and the rest of the crew rounded out the build-your-own menu. Toppings included pesto, red sauce, alfredo sauce, fresh mozzarella, shredded cheese, cream cheese, Italian sausage, pepperoni, grilled peppers, MORELS!, black olives, and artichokes.

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Crisped everything up on the grill. Used a foil pan over the top to encourage melting. No recipes. Deliciousness abounded. Pizza success.

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