Sunday brunch. Cheat day. What can two great friends, and good cooks create? Can healthy foods taste so good they feel like they belong in the wallowing gluttony of a cheat meal? That’s what I wanted to find out.
“Everyone binges eventually on a diet, and it’s better to schedule it ahead of time to limit the damage.”—Tim Ferriss
“Your nutritionist might call it a strategic overfeed ‘cause they like to act all fancy, but colloquially, this is known as a cheat day.” —Romanello/Bornstein
This post is about decadence, and indulgence; a morning of structured cheating on my dietary program. But, I’ve also got a healthy recipe included. Yes, I aim to moderate and include healthy foods, even on cheat day. Recently I’ve begun eating in a more structured way, (intermittent fasting, eliminating certain foods, overall balance) and the inclusion of a cheat day is something I’m augmenting my diet with. The more structured and healthier I eat, the more I find myself able to resist overindulgence (a vice I’m slowly conquering), even when it’s allowed and condoned.
I chose to align the day that I can eat anything with my passion for food and cooking. I invited a fellow cook over to partake in a Sunday brunch. There’s something special about working with someone like minded in the kitchen. Not just like minded in a sense of ideas (although many align), but likeminded in attitude of professionalism, knowledge, improvement, and dedication to the craft. There’s only a handful of people like this that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting or working with in my career, so I thoroughly enjoy each and every opportunity to do so.
No menu was structured in advance. Other then knowing we’d be cooking bacon, it was basically a clean slate. Dishes were to be made using what I had on hand and a small purchase of some seasonal fruit, and eggs the night before. Bacon. What else? I’ve got fruit, I’ll make a parfait. How about a salad? Let’s do pancakes!? Given a choice between pancakes and waffles, I’d go waffles all the way, and so that’s what we did. Not your average waffles mind you, these were jam packed with nutrition and probably one of the healthiest waffle batters out there. Although it was cheat day and I could basically have my way with food, I still don’t like or feel the need to blatantly aim for un-nutritious food.
Batter recipe as follows, this is also a good pancake batter. (Dietary restrictions could easily be adapted, some shown in parentheses):
Makes approximately 16 waffles (4”x4”)
Ingredients: (A side note: best when baking to have ingredients at room temperature to help the mixing process, so all of the milk, eggs, etc was at room temp)
1.5 Cups Buttermilk
1.5 Cups Whole Milk
4 Whole Large Eggs
4 TBSP Clarified Butter, Melted (could be coconut oil)
1.5 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1.5 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
2 TBSP Sugar (or Agave Nectar)
2 TBSP Baking Powder
4 TBSP Ground Flax Seed
4 TBSP Flaked Quinoa
1 TBSP Wheat Germ
2 TBSP Lemon Zest
Dash of Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt
1. Measure and organize all ingredients.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in large mixing bowl
3. Make batter by gradually adding eggs, dairy and remaining liquid ingredients and whisking/stirring until the mixture is uniform and no clumps remain.
4. Allow batter to rest for at least 30 minutes(we did this partly by accident, but attribute this to helping with the nice finished texture), room temperature is fine, but if longer then 30 minutes refrigerate.
5. Heat waffle iron, and cook waffles in batches. Holding in a low oven (around 190°F) until enough have been cooked to serve all guests. Batter can be kept for an additional day under refrigeration (or made ahead of time).
To accompany the waffles we made two syrups. A white peach, bacon, maple syrup—with a little butter. And a fresh cherry syrup. Recipes for those are available upon request. We made copious amounts of applewood and maple smoked bacon. I added a sunny side up egg, for protein and even more of a brunch-ey feel. We also created a salad; baby kale, swiss chard, avocado, peccorino cheese, and a shallot vinaigrette. Lastly, I crafted a parfait. Bananas, pluots, some cherries from the syrup, organic vanilla yogurt, fresh mint, and home made granola (molasses, oats, chia seeds, flax, quinoa, dried cherries, Turkish apricots).
Part way through the meal I decided to add bacon to my parfait (see photo) and it was awesome, I also added bacon to the salad and it was equally awesome. Bacon is awesome. Cheat day is awesome. Even when it’s on the healthier side.
This is more than likely going to happen again… anything you’d like to see me cook?
Love to hear what you think, and suggestions in the comments.