Monday, October 22, 2012

Chicken, Cheddar and Checkers

For my birthday, I really wanted a new camera. My gorgeous Panasonic Lumix met a premature end this summer, and I've missed it like crazy. I've turned into an Instagram addict trying to salvage my crappy iPhone shots in the meantime. But replacement cameras are horrendously expensive, and I spent a LOT the last few weeks on nylons and pencil skirts. It's fall, after all. So I told Matt to get me something cheaper as a gift.

The result? WAFFLE IRON.

I have been wanting a waffle iron for three months, ever since describing this dream dish to my friend Lisa over cocktails. "I'm craving these cheddary, spicy waffles, with fried chicken and maple syrup." As I'm a PNW girl to the Puget Sound salty bones, I've never had the combination of crispy chicken, sweet waffle and maple syrup.

Scratch that. I DID have chicken and waffles at Skillet in Seattle last year. An almost-crepe, spiced fried chicken, arugula, and a peppery dressing. That was delicious. And now that I think about it, the root of my deep craving.

But it's nothing I've made before. I failed to register for a waffle iron when we were getting married, as I was distracted by Crate & Barrel's glassware department. Now that sweet and savory waffles are becoming en vogue, I feel awfully left out.

So! Tonight, I tried out the recipe that was gestating in my brain. I followed the manual instructions, avoiding the temptation to overfill the little squares. Matt was especially skeptical, as per usual.

Then we ate them. And I squealed with pure, serendipitous joy. Sweet! Salty! Crispy! Cheesy! Spicy heat! All of the very best sensations that can hit a tongue in one single bite.

Don't have a waffle iron? Go! Get one! So much happiness is to be had in your life! Got one? Get that paperweight out of your cabinet--it's not just breakfast anymore, bitches. Savor-y your waffles!

Cheddar-Sriracha Chicken and Waffles
4 chicken strips (I know, I lazed out. But it's a Monday, and I used the nice organic Panko-breaded kind. Still not good enough? Fry up some chicken, then.)
2 1/2 cups flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup King Arthur Flour Vermont Cheddar Powder (don't have this in your pantry? Poor thing. In case of emergency, rip open box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and use the packet.)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp dried jalapeno
1 tsp sriracha (plus more for serving)
2 green onions, diced
Maple syrup for serving

Bake chicken. In meantime, make waffles.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, dried and regular cheese, jalapeno and salt.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks, add the milk, oil and sriracha and then add the sifted dry ingredients. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites to a thick foam and add them gently to the dry mixture. Cook waffles according to maker instructions.

Serve waffles topped with chicken, sriracha, green onion and maple syrup.