Monday, April 6, 2009

Breakfast for a crowd

At 11 am Saturday morning, I stood in our living room and surveyed the passel of snoring bodies which had taken over our house in the night. We were hosting a band from out-of-town; I was prepared for two or three people, maybe, but this morning, here in our house, there were seven. I looked around in bewilderment, hurriedly calculating the quantities of eggs, coffee, and orange juice I might need to satiate the appetites which would soon awaken.

Who are these people, and how do I feed them? That was the big question. Tiptoeing to the kitchen, I brewed some tea and escorted a heap of cookbooks to the countertop. I was the classic frazzled hostess.

This was another one of those times when being a culinary collector paid off. Of eggs and of milk, I had ample supply. Of frozen fruits which might be employed in a compote or syrup, I had more than enough. Of flours, I had eight different kinds!

The menu was decided on, the husband was sent to the store for butter and (gasp!) bacon, and gradually as snow melting, the household began to awaken.
Our kitchen door slowly began admitting drowsy people, about one every twenty minutes, regular as a pipette. Coffee and tea were administered, small talk was made. Someone was conscripted to cook the bacon.
You can get to know people faster in the kitchen than any other place in the house. I believe this. Strangers become worthy acquaintances; acquaintances become friends. All the most meaningful social behaviors take place in the kitchen: the excuse-me and the I'm-just-gonna-sneak-in-behind-you-here, the would-you-like-tea?, the oh-don't-bother-with-those. Slowly, I was learning about the folks who filled my kitchen, and I was enjoying it. As I thought about how nice it was to get to know people like this, these lyrics popped into my head:
As we come and go
In sunshine and in rain
Some years are seen more clearly than the rest
And if it weren't for kitchen songs,
and mornings spent with friends
We all might lose the things we love the best.
~Kate Wolf, The Trumpet Vine

Buckwheat Waffles for a Crowd

1 cup butter, melted and cooled
6 eggs
3 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp salt

Begin preheating your waffle iron. In one bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy, and beat in the cooled butter and buttermilk. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until well combined. I used a whisk to break up the flour-lumps. A warning: the batter will seem suspiciously thin. It will work anyway, though. Make your waffles according to the instructions from your machine.

This recipe made a TON of waffles-- enough to feed eight people with three waffles leftover.

Simple Raspberry Sauce

5 cups frozen raspberries
~ 1/2 cup sugar

Put the raspberries in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring regularly, until your frozen berries melt and give up their wonderful berry juices. Stir in the sugar, adding more (or less) if your berries are particularly tart (or sweet). Cook about twenty minutes more, stirring frequently, until thickened. Serve warm with waffles.


Deelish Dish said...

Yum! You are a generous hostess! I would be stoked to wake at your house. I love the pic of that person hopping around in a sleeping bag :)

Kristina said...

Aww, thanks! Mr. Sleeping Bag certainly added to the effect, didn't he?

karenjane said...

mmm, you did well. sounds like a great brekkie feast for your new breakfast friends:)

Stephanie said...

Looks like you pulled off an awesome breakfast.

Lisa said...

Wow, you did very well--first thing in the morning, too! I'm impressed!

Kristina said...

It wasn't exactly "first thing in the morning." The guys had a very late night, so as a result, I didn't actually have to start cooking until around 1pm. "Breakfast" was served at 2:30!

ChristyACB said...

Lovely breakfast! What kind of band was it?

Kristina said...

Their name is Jatoba; they're a three-piece string band from Vermont. Here's their website:

Georgia said...

Sounds great! Well done. And a little tip. If you put a dash of balsamic vinegar in with the berries and sugar, it is delicious and brings out a little more juice. I keep bags of frozen berries in the freezer and when I make pancakes, I do a big bowl of mixed berries, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Makes the best pancake topping.

Kristina said...

Thanks for the tip! I'd heard of using balsamic with strawberries, but not with raspberries. Next time I do 'em, I'll give that a try!

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