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Waffles Night

HOME COOK/MARION CUNNINGHAM

December 28, 1997|MARION CUNNINGHAM | Cunningham's latest book is "Cooking With Children" (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995)

If your path is strewn with good intentions to invite friends for New Year's lunch or supper during the holidays, pick up the telephone and invite them now. This easy menu guarantees a party that will be anxiety-free. The few preparations can be made the day before--even setting the table.

The menu may seem unorthodox, but everyone will enjoy this simple, satisfying food. There's no law that waffles can only be eaten in the morning. Serving waffles in the afternoon or evening create a cheerful, casual, comfortable mood.

The Raised Waffles come from a very old recipe out of the 1896 Fannie Farmer cookbook. The mixing is done the night before, and all you have to do just before baking is add a couple of eggs and some baking soda. These are waffles the likes of which you have never eaten--crisp on the outside and delicate on the inside, simply the best. This recipe makes eight waffles, so it's a good idea to double the recipe if you're having eight guests.

I happen to like the old, conservative-type waffle iron rather than the deep-grooved Belgian waffle iron, but either works.

Serve the waffles on warm plates and warm the maple syrup in its pitcher in a small pan of simmering water on the stove. With strips of thick, crisp smoked bacon and papaya halves, it's perfect holiday fare.

If you serve this as a midday meal, serve a light, dry California sparkling pink or white wine. If this is an evening celebration, serve a full-bodied wine.

If you enjoy this meal as much as I think you will, your holiday entertaining is solved from now on.

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RAISED WAFFLES

Use a large mixing bowl because the batter will rise to double its original volume. I often use a hand-rotary egg beater to get rid of the lumps in the batter. The batter will keep several days in the refrigerator if you have any left over.

1/2 cup warm water

1 (1/4-ounce) package dry yeast

2 cups milk, warmed

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups flour

2 eggs

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Maple syrup

Put water in large mixing bowl and sprinkle in yeast. Let stand to dissolve 5 minutes.

Add milk, butter, salt, sugar and flour and beat until smooth and blended. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Beat in eggs, add baking soda and stir until well mixed just before cooking. The batter will be very thin.

Pour 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter into very hot waffle iron. Bake until steam is no longer escaping from waffle iron and waffles are golden and crisp. Serve with maple syrup.

8 servings. Each serving with 2 tablespoons maple syrup:

359 calories; 476 mg sodium; 89 mg cholesterol; 14 grams fat; 51 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 0.09 gram fiber.

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FRESH PAPAYA WITH SEEDS AND LIME (LOW-FAT COOKING)

4 papayas

Juice of 2 limes

Halve and seed each papaya, reserving 1 tablespoon seeds from each papaya. Rinse seeds and sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon over each papaya half. Squeeze juice of 1/2 lime over each of 2 halves.

8 servings. Each serving:

63 calories; 5 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 1.17 grams fiber.

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