Week 8: Belgium

Stroopwafels warming over coffee
Stroopwafels warming over coffee

Originally we were going to skip this Sunday, being the Sunday before Thanksgiving, but we had been on a roll. The night before we celebrated “Friendsgiving” with a little bowling and dinner at Tommy’s Joynt. So we decided to roll the fun into a Brunch! Brunch = waffles = Belgium. Easy. Done. Everyone meet at 10AM.

I woke up early to research traditional Belgium recipes. I found some pretty interesting recipes that seemed perfect for brunch. The first recipe called for endives (or chicory)- which are originally from Belgium and are deemed their “white gold”. I’d never had endives outside of a salad so I was very intrigued when I kept coming across Endives Au Gratin. Endives Au Gratin is basically endives wrapped in cold cut ham and smothered in a bechamel sauce. Oh and then add gruyere cheese. Yup, that sounds like a hearty brunch food to me. This recipe was a little tricky because I had never cooked endives before. You begin by steaming the endives, allowing them to become nice and soft before wrapping them in ham. I’d imagine that if you cook them on the grill, adding a char flavor, it would make them that much better. This was also my first ever bechamel sauce! I was a bit nervous, but I made sure not to burn the sauce and, well, see for yourself.

There are endives under there
There are endives in there somewhere

For the second course Sergio made his interpretation of Stoemp. Stoemp is basically mashed potatoes with vegetables. Sergio took this idea and turned it into the perfect breakfast hash, incorporating potatoes, onion, bacon and brussels sprouts. I know this sounds like it should be common sense, but I did look up where brussels sprouts originated from. You guessed it! They’re from Brussels in Belgium. Brussels sprouts are one of my all time favorite vegetables. After being deprived of them as a child because of my mother’s dislike of them, my adult self has fallen in love. Grilled brussels sprouts are my favorite, but you can’t go wrong adding a little bacon.

Stoemp
Stoemp

Finally for the main event- Belgium Waffles. In Belgium, there actually is no such thing as “Belgium Waffles” as there are several different variations. The main differences between their waffles and the North American version is that they are typically fluffier, larger, and have deeper, syrup pooling pockets. Another variation is waffles that use sugar pearls- called Liege Waffles. Sugar pearls are near impossible to find in your local supermarket, but they can be acquired on Amazon for more advanced planners. Adding sugar pearls creates a caramelization on the outside of the waffle. This is the kind of waffle that Blue Bottle makes and I sometimes enjoy on what I like to call “Waffle Wednesdays”. Or at least they DID make them before deciding to renovate their Ferry Building location– I’m just waiting, oh Blue Bottle, for you to re-open so I can enjoy my Wednesdays once again. Sigh. And all waffles should be topped with fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped cream.

Belgium Waffles
Belgium Waffles
And Belgium Beer
And Belgium Beer

And for dessert: Chocolate. It should be noted that this chocolate is actually from Colorado and not Belgium, but seeing as this was breakfast after a long night out we let it slide. Besides, the chocolate turkey made up for it.

Chocolate in turkey form
Chocolate in turkey form

Recipes for your inspiration:

Belgium waffles with sugar pearls
Endives Au Gratin
Stoemp– Stoemp is typically mashed potatoes, which is why you’ll find recipes such as this one that have other mashable vegetables. (Carrots and Leeks). But I strongly recommend adding brussels sprouts… and bacon.

* Update! Blue Bottle IS re-open in the Ferry Building (a month after originally planned). Seeing as today is Wednesday and I’ve missed my #wafflewednesdays chance I may have to make a Thursday exception.

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