I feel warmer when I look at the magazine cover. It radiates with a glossy depiction of bright yellow flowers, knee-high leafy greens, a freewheeling chicken, plump carrots and a tender father-daughter gardening moment. It’s the Urban Farmer’s seed catalog, and by now, its pages are tattered, wrinkly and thoroughly perused. While he plotted how to fill his plots of land, I found myself caught up in the excitement of seed shopping. Not unlike combing through a favorite clothing company’s pages, I would interject with “oooh, will you buy that one?” However, this catalog shopping boasted a level of anticipation like no other.
From their exotic colors, to their wild patterns, to their poetic monikers (Silver Cloud Cannellini, Midori Giant, Kentucky Wonder, Who Gets Kissed?), each of these heirloom seeds contains a rich history and immeasurable potential. The Urban Farmer will plant and nurture these tiny seeds into fully fledged roots, fruits and vegetables. He’ll reclaim vacant land, restoring its purpose and a neighborhood’s pride, one cultivated row at a time. He’ll harvest, and he’ll nourish those who buy into this farming notion, those who will eat with confidence, knowing he has their health and wellbeing in mind every time he steps foot on that soil. His hands will callous, his heart will swell, and our cupboards will fill with new recipe inspiration,and all of this starts with pages in a seed catalog.
The Urban Farmer’s brunching mornings might be on hold for a spell, while he bends fence posts into hoop houses, tills and tills, plans his plots, and plants his seeds. Fortunately, we managed to savor a lazy waffle morning before the farm clock began to tick so loudly. This year, another farm’s beets inspired our brunch, but who knows how the Urban Farmer’s seeds will transform and inspire us next year?
Here’s to Seeds, Soil & Stacks o’ Waffles!
Roasted Beet Waffles with Sour Cherry Jam & Whipped Coconut Milk
About This Recipe: Above all, the beets add a bright, rosy hue and a faint sweetness to this waffle recipe. The cornmeal gives the waffle a bit of a crunch. The whipped coconut cream is light and fluffy, and a great non-dairy alternative to whipped cream. I recommend a slathering of Sour Cherry Jam or your favorite fruity spread.
Cornmeal Spelt Waffles with Roasted Beets
Yield: 6-8 waffles (~7 inch diameter)
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) organic, unsalted butter
2 cups homemade almond milk (or store bought)
1 cup roasted beet puree
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 eggs (organic/local/cage-free)
Sour Cherry Jam for Serving (such as this)
Whipped Coconut Cream for Serving (recipe below)
For the Waffles:
Preheat waffle iron, and preheat oven to 200°F to keep waffles warm until the batch is complete.
Melt the butter; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, thoroughly combine the almond milk, beet puree, and eggs. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until the ingredients are just combined. Stir in the melted butter.
Lightly butter or spray the grids of the waffle iron, if needed. Brush or spray the grids again only if subsequent waffles stick.
Spoon out 1/2 cup of batter (or the amount recommended by the manufacturer’s instructions) onto the hot iron. Use a metal spatula or wooden spoon to smooth the batter almost to the edge of the grids. Close the lid and bake until browned and crisp. Serve the waffles immediately or keep them, in a single layer, on a rack in the preheated oven while you make the rest.
Coconut Milk Whipped Cream (Vegan)
Yield: Approximately 1 to 1 1/2 cups
1 can full-fat organic coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Carefully open the can of chilled coconut milk, being careful to keep it level.
Scoop the thick coconut cream into a large bowl of a stand mixer. Save the coconut milk liquid for another use (such as a smoothie, with rice, or as a bonus in your dog’s food, etc).
Beat the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes on high speed, until it becomes fluffy and light, with soft peaks. Mix in your sweetener and vanilla, if using.
Note: Whipped coconut cream is best served immediately, but it can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. It will harden in the fridge, the longer it stays chilled, simply mix until creamy again, when ready to serve.
Slather waffles with Sour Cherry Jam & top with a dollop of coconut cream.