Monday, February 14, 2011
Love, Love, Love
English is an imprecise language. When you say, "I know," does that mean you know it in your heart, you have it memorized, or you've heard it vaguely somewhere sometime? When you say "Run," are you referring to a marathon, an errand, a nasty snag in your stocking, or a political campaign? And if you "shot" someone, it had better be with a camera or a bottle of tequila.
The word "love" is another imprecise word. We can love a car, a pet, a pair of shoes, a spouse, an ice cream flavor, a class, a grandmother, or just about anything (except okra, but that's a post for another day). But we don't mean the same thing each time. You don't love your grandmother the same way you love Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia (I hope, for your gramma's sake!).
In the original language of the New Testament, there are three different words for love. There is philios, which is brotherly love, eros, which is sensual, romantic, or erotic love, and agape, which is selfless love.
The kind of love that gets the most attention in our culture is eros love. It sells cars, it earns ratings on television, and makes people buy overpriced lingerie. But the kind to look for is agape love. That's the quiet love that does things for another, expecting nothing in return. It's the new mother who gets up 5 times in the night to nurse the crying baby. It's the son who takes out the yard waste bin when it's full, without even being asked to do so. It's the daughter who cleans up the kitchen after dinner as a special surprise. And it's the husband who sets his alarm and gets up at oh-dark-thirty every morning to go to a job he hates but is grateful to have, so that he can pay the bills for his family.
There's nothing sexy or flashy about agape love, but it's the kind of love that's most worth celebrating on Valentine's Day. So do something selfless for those you love. Make waffles. Pumpkin waffles. With amazing butter. It's a love letter on a plate. And even though it wasn't your motivation for doing it, you'll probably get a hug for making them.
I Love You Pumpkin-pecan waffles with maple-cranberry butter
- adapted from Williams Sonoma Breakfast
For the butter:
1/2 cup (2 oz) fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1/4 Cup (2-3/4 oz) pure maple syrup
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup ( 5 oz) all-purpose flour,
1 Tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar,
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1-1/4 cups (10 fl oz) whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Warmed maple syrup for serving
1- The night before make the maple-cranberry butter. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the cranberries and maple syrup and cook, stirring frequently, until the cranberries have softened and popped, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then place in a large bowl and add the butter. Beat with a wooden spoon until just combined. Cover the maple-cranberry butter and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2- Preheat the waffle iron. In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt, and whisk until well mixed.
3- In a large bowl or measuring pitcher, whisk together the milk, egg, and butter. Stir the milk mixture and the pumpkin puree into the dry ingredients until just blended. The batter may be slightly lumpy; do not overmix. Stir in the pecans and transfer the batter back to the pitcher.
4- When the waffle iron is hot, pour batter evenly over the center of the grid, easing it towards, but not into the corners and edges with a wooden spoon. Close the iron and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until the waffle is golden brown and slmost crusty on the outside and the inside is soft, light, and springy, about 4 minutes.
5- Either serve each waffle as it is finished, or keep them warm on an uncovered platter in a low (200 deg. F) oven while you cook the rest of the waffles.
6- Serve the waffles on warmed plates. Using a small ice cream scoop, place a ball of cranberry butter on top of each waffle and serve at once with warm maple syrup, if desired.