Last week, Rob and I had dinner at Waffle Frolic: a great Ithaca restaurant run by former Ithaca College students who loved the area enough to stick around and start a business. In a town whose economy is dominated by its resident centers of higher learning it's no surprise that the place caters mainly to college students. There's a cute little dining/study/hang-out area upstairs, and along with a "healthy" selection of savory waffles, there's the obligatory study-food concoction of bananas, nutella, and vanilla ice cream (whew!!!...though I still have to wonder...why bother further diluting nutella with ice cream and fruit?). Anyway, a while back Rob had tried a combination consisting of a cornbread waffle topped with turkey chili--a choice that fascinated me as I'd never considered the idea of making a waffle anything but sweet, and I was eager to sample it myself. Turns out, this particular meal was utterly satisfying...especially to top off a cold day. We ordered one full waffle and split it between the two of us. It was plenty of food and upon cleaning the plate neither of us had any space left for that tempting nutella selection (oh well).
After I finished my 2 hours of morning practice (sorry Rob's neighbors), the usual question arose of "what should we do now?" I was staaaarving and Rob conceded he "could eat" so lunch became the goal. To make things interesting I suggested we look up recipes for cornbread waffles so we could reproduce the delectable meal we'd had at Waffle Frolic...only this time further improved by being topped with my personal recipe for sweet-potato chili!
I guess cornbread waffles are pretty standard southern fare and there were a plethora of recipes that came up on google. Our only concern was that most of them called for adding actual corn to the batter (unnecessary in both our opinions and definately not the way we'd had it at the waffle place), but after a little further searching Rob found a nice simple recipe sans the frozen/canned corn. (I won't reprint it here 'cause that probably infringes on someone's copyright or something...If you're interested, I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding it). We made a list of supplies we'd need (which included a waffle iron) and set out to obtain them.
I can however provide you with my own vegetarian chili recipe (secret ingredients included).
Some olive oil
Some balsamic vinegar
2 small (or 1 big) sweet potatoes cubed
Some mushrooms (cut teensy tiny if you're trying to hide them from someone who hates mushrooms...like Rob;)
1 box of grape tomatoes cut into 3rds
optional--1 tbsp maple syrup (sweet potatoes generally provide the desirable sweetness on their own, but for a waffle topping, I thought a little hint of something extra might be nice)
Some sort of yummy seasoning (whatever you want)
(IF YOU WANT you can also add whatever additional vegis suit your fancy. I usually try peppers, asparagus, maybe some squash...use your imagination...or whatever's in the fridge and needs to be used up.)
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of black beans
Throw the first group of ingredients into a big pan on a high-medium heat. Cook them till the onions are clear and everything is nice and toasty. You might even want to brown the potatoes a little. Throw in the second group of ingredients and cook a while longer. Throw in the third group of ingredients, turn the heat down to a nice-low-simmering temperature, and go into the other room for an hour or two (it's most enjoyable if you sit down to read a book and start to savor the smell of your cooking chili wafting in from the kitchen!)
The result was scrumdiddlyumtious! Rob said later that we should have taken pictures for the blog. This time we also saved room for dessert and both tried a quarter waffle slathered in nutella. Cornbread and nutella...Mmmm!!
Now we're both chillin' out letting our stomachs settle. I'm typing the blog and Rob is half-napping snuggled up against my arm (though when he saw during my typing that I added mushrooms to the chili--which I didn't tell him, and he didn't notice!--he jumped up out of his comfy position and nearly kicked me out into the cold) and all is momentarily right with the world.