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Make Strawberry Jam Before It’s Too Late!

washington strawberries | dailywaffle

Strawberries have a lot in common with regret. And with the old adage, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

If ever there was such a thing as a fleeting moment, strawberry season in the Northwest truly is it.  The first local strawberries seem to appear in early June and by the end of the month, they’re nearly gone.  If you want to get technical about it yes, there are ever-bearing varieties here, but the June bearers – the Puget Crimson, the Puget Reliance, the Rainiers – seem to make the most flavorful jam.

For a kid who grew up in California, strawberry season stretches from as early as late January nearly all the way to the fall, before starting again. It’s a luxury that we just don’t have this far north.   You’ve got to pay attention to the calendar and the moment the strawberries come in, start tasting and making jam.  Unlike last year, when I first started dabbling with jam, I only made strawberry once, and as a refrigerator jam to boot, not realizing what I’d be missing come January and February.  This year, I was ready. Sort of.

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FridayNightSlice: DailyWaffle Deluxe

dailywaffle deluxe pizza

If you’re a Trader Joe’s shopper, you know some items don’t stick around long.  They appear on the New Items shelf one week and a month later, they might be gone, not popular enough to keep their shelf space.  I worry that the Hot ‘n Sweet peppers are going to be one of those items, especially around here, where most people ask for 1-star spicy at restaurants.  These little peppers are fan-freaking-tastic on pizza and they’re one of the items on today’s #FridayNightSlice — the DailyWaffle Deluxe.

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Made: Cake Merchant’s Vegan Double Chocolate Cookies

vegan double chocolate cookies | dailywaffle

Premise: Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies gone vegan.

Recipe: Cake Merchant’s Vegan Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Sea Salt Cookies

Tweaks: I used slightly less granulated sugar (er, no I didn’t measure) since I was using Pacific Foods’ vanilla almond milk, which is sweetened. I also used mini chocolate chips to give these a better shot at staying intact.

It’s not unusual for brownie recipes to call for oil rather than butter and the result here is somewhat similar, though not chewy.  Form-wise, these didn’t really spread, so we got more of a drop cookie. I pressed the second batch flat with the palm of my hand, which made the cookie a little more dense. In the end, I preferred the drops.

Note that these are NOT gluten-free. They use regular AP flour.

Outcome: Great on its own, you could easily take this cookie base and add a little cinnamon and cayenne for a vegan version of Diablo Cookies…or add coconut  for a German chocolate cookie.

Keep It Simple, Smarty: Sesame Sugar Snap Peas

daeji bulgogi and sesame sugar snap peas

Read recipe headlines or captions and you might think cooking has turned into a version of Name That Tune.  Take any dish, let’s say a salad in this case.  Can’t you just see it, opponents stand across from each other on a cardboard cut out game show set, sizing each other up, looking for tells. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly practically plays in the background.

“Jim, I can make that salad in 7 ingredients,” says Contestant #1.

“I can make it in 5,” replies Contestant #2.

#1 rocks from left foot to right to left again.  “Uhhh, Jim, I can make it in 3.”

Sensing uncertainty, #2 points, “Make that salad.”

Alright, let’s do it. Easy peasy Sesame Sugar Snap Peas.

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Two-fer > Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta (Salad)

sun dried tomato pesto pasta salad |dailywaffle

It’s the waiting that kills me. The calendar says late May, and yes, we’ve already been teased with some beautiful sunny days, but summer isn’t yet here. It’s a promise, it’s right around the corner.  And as much as I like diving head first into a tomato salad, it’s not time yet. It is time for pasta salad and grilling, calendar be damned. So while we wait for primo tomato time, there’s only one thing to do – a sun-dried tomato pesto pasta (salad).

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