Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weapons. Waffles. Cherry Tarts.

The calendar says that it's July 7th, which means that a full week of Summer fun is already behind us. Our Canada Day long weekend was non-stop activity. We saw You're A Good Man Charlie Brown (thumbs up from all of us) at Stratford, followed by a great family dinner at Bentley's where I am always tempted by so many things on the menu but always order the Coconut-Lime Thai Noodles. Then we woke up early Saturday morning and sold $125 worth of treasures at a community garage sale. We celebrated by taking the boys to the Mandarin for the first time. The dessert buffet was a hit but the meal cost us nearly all our garage sale profits. Sunday David and I ran in the Embro Highland Games 10K and nearly died. Okay. I nearly died. The distance didn't bother me as much as the hills. (Or is it the highlands?) Whatever they were, there were too many of them. But we did it, and a couple of minutes faster than last year. We celebrated our survival by hosting a get-together with the cousins - think water balloon fights and water gun play and lots of other activities featuring water because it is so, so hot in Southwestern Ontario right now. Monday afternoon we went to see Brave, which was deemed scary by some of us (big ol' mean bear) but overall another winner from Pixar. A jam packed weekend, which is why this weekend has been a bit more low key. But still fruitful. (Yes, I'm talking about cherry tarts!)

Before I get to the tarts can I just say that the extreme heat makes it really difficult to get inspired to make dinner? On Thursday I was all set to serve the boys cereal for supper, it was that desperate. Then I decided I should at least try and make an effort at a real dinner so offered them waffles. Which was very well received. Only after I offered and had been so enthusiastically accepted I realized I didn't want to make waffles. Actually that's not entirely true. I wanted to make an easier version of waffles than the version I usually make, since whipping egg whites and folding egg whites and washing up after egg whites felt like a bridge too far on a hot Thursday night after a full day of work. So I Googled 'easy waffles' and found this recipe which worked really well the second time I made it. Because the first batch I made while also talking on the phone, and I only put in half the amount of flour needed which made for very runny waffle batter. By the time I realized my mistake there was no fixing the first batch, so I whipped up a second. The boys gobbled these up like bandits, and in so doing allowed me to use a line from Brave I never thought I would (slightly adapted): A gentleman doesn't put his weapons on the table.

Even before Brave was released the boys have been having fun plastering suction-cup darts all over my windows. Which is exactly the kind of thing one should do on Summer vacation. Along with eating waffles for dinner. 

I ate my waffles with some amazing Metzger's bacon that a friend gave me, because he knows I like bacon. (Friends who share bacon are the best kind of friends.) These waffles were the perfect weeknight waffle. Tasted great, minimal effort required. I wish I had some leftover but my crew leaves no prisoners when it comes to waffles. I actually think they might be good to try as part of a savoury waffle dish. So I will be re-visiting this particular recipe, which I have dubbed Weeknight Waffles. 

Weeknight Waffles - from

2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla, just until smooth.

Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot.

My more exciting culinary adventure this weekend has been cherry tarts. No one in my immediate household likes cherries. Which is such a shame because I love cherries. I remember cherry pie being one of my favourite pies when I was a kid. I would usually just eat the filling and leave the crust behind. I never buy or make cherry anything because as much as I could eat a whole cherry pie, I know I shouldn't. But this morning in the grocery store, seeing all of the fresh cherries just sitting there waiting to be adored, I couldn't help myself. I figure I'll take some of my cherry tart bounty to work...if they last that long. Because I could totally eat all twelve of these beauties.

As per usual, I didn't make the pastry. I used store-bought pre-made shells and filled 'em up with cherry pie filling credited to Anna Olsen. Pitting the cherries wasn't hard, just kind of boring. It's more exciting if you pit while dancing around to this. Except your kids get all embarrassed and tell you to stop. 

Cherry Pie Filling - from Kitchen Simplicity

6 cups pitted tart cherries
1 1/2 cups sugar
dash cinnamon
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Put cherries, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for 15 minutes until soupy. (It will look weird when you first start and you will think "no way is this going to get soupy". Wait. It will.) 

Whisk cornstarch into water, add to saucepan and cook until thickened (at least 2 minutes) Let cool. 

That's it. That's all you have to do to make amazing cherry pie filling. I halved this recipe and made twelve tarts but if you follow it as above you'll have enough filling for one pie. 

I wonder how many tarts will make it to Monday morning? I wish I had been more organized and thought to make these for Canada Day. With a little blob of whipped cream on top they would be the perfect Happy Birthday Canada! dessert. Next year.

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