October, my herald, you are finally here! Riding along with Autumn, bringing all things nice and beautiful in its direction. So have I heard, from D and my colleagues, books and magazines. You are D's love more than mine. He lauds you with a twinkle in his eye, like a teenager dizzy in infatuation. You are his season, his reason for admiration. I've been waiting for you eerily, the hallelujah he's been all about. D is a huge fan of you; he's a sucker for colors, the leaf peeper, our foliage tracker, the nature lover, a sincere admirer. "You MUST watch fall colors, there's nothing like it", he'd say all the while. I'd reel in excitement, like in glee of a kindergartner counting on her Christmas gift. With several videos and photographs of autumn spreading its golden hues that D had been aptly sharing with me on watsapp over the past 2 years, I wondered if this was so surreal in pictures, what the heck would it look like in real. I had seen the spring and the summer landscape of New England, narrowly gotten glimpse of winters, their snow capped rooftops and bare tress too. Of what was remaining to witness was this season sandwiched between summers and winters -the autumn, or the fall as they call - the transition - getting into the skin of winters.
So you are here, out of your closet after months of solemnly hiding; playing with my sunshine, my daily dose of Vitamin D. You frisk us with your bouts of chill, make us miss our morning alarms, after all its still gloomy outside, sky blemished with neutral hues of blacks and whites dangling high, it has us snuggling longer with curled toes in our beds. You make people on walks wear boots and scuffle in their coats, their hoods still flapping their backs. You peek-a-boo the sun, filling skies with grays. You daub our backyard with shades of reds, burgundies and browns. You make the poor squirrels run helter skelter, scouring for their hibernation. Those sparrows are gone too. You spill acorns, pluck crisp maples and oaks, line them on our sidewalks to crackle as we tread on.
You know I am excited, I want you around. I've been waiting, waiting this long. I am anxious though about the chill ripples you'll bring soon. I smell your autumn perfume, the air sweet in its giving. I worry for those naked trees, all their browns you'll soon skin away. I worry for the squirrels, hoping they'll stay warm. I worry for the flakes that will come pouring down, the streak of gloom, and the white blanket you'll engulf all things with. I worry about winters, of what I've heard and seen, about shoveling the driveway, of making it to office on time, and being back home. I worry for my daughter burying herself into layers of warmth. I worry for myself. I can't bear cold even as I am prepared. I worry what you'll soon bring along.
I want to hold on to this for a while longer. I fear losing these golden sweet peaches, the last of my summer treasures as you'll soon fill them with apples, winter squash and sweet pumpkins. Not that the apples won't be welcome, but I lament my berries were long gone; what's left of it is a handful of them sought from our berry picking days, clung in clusters, glued by ice, sitting high in my freezer, their box cover identical in color as these navy beauties. Just by chance.
These waffles don't have much to speak for, except that they are belong to realm of classics, and ofcourse have some buttermilk in them like their name suggests. They were made inspired from one of the cookbooks I rented from the library last year, jotted down roughly on scraps of kitchen towels and placed randomly in between pages of a cookbook I own.
I made these a few weeks ago, in a brand new waffle pan that I put to use since I received as a gift from my cousin's wife last year. I met her for the first time after several years, and we bonded very well. I love such gifts that conjure up old memories each time I use it. Peaches and blueberries make a light summery topping. Maple syrup brings the right touch of sweetness to these waffles. Overall its the right kind of breakfast for these days - warm and comforting for those lazy Sunday mornings.
Classic Buttermilk Waffles
1 cup buttermilk*
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Pure maple syrup, sliced peaches and fresh blueberries, to serve
Preheat the waffle iron as per your manufacturer's instructions.
In large mixing bowl, beat together all the wet ingredients, i.e., the buttermilk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla extract until they are light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients well.
Transfer the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir them together gently with a wooden spoon till they are just combined.
Using a measuring cup, spoon out about 3/4 cup of the batter onto center of hot waffle iron and spread it around to spread on the waffle pan. Waffle pan sizes can differ based on manufacturers. Depending on your pan and your first waffle, you can increase or decrease the amount of batter needed for subsequent ones. Alternatively, refer your waffle maker’s manual for the recommended quantity of batter. Close the lid of waffle pan and allow it to cook till the lights go off and the waffle pan stops steaming from the sides. It usually takes about 5 minutes to turn golden brown.
Carefully lift the waffle and serve immediately. Top with pure maple syrup and fresh blueberries and sliced peaches.
Notes: Incase you do not have buttermilk at hand, you can prepare one by mixing 1 scant cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar. Whisk well and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes. The prepared buttermilk should thicken the milk slightly. Use as required.
Alternate option is to use watered down yogurt. Whisk water into plain, unsweetened yogurt until you get a buttermilk-like consistency. The amount of water needed to thin down will depend on the thickness of your yogurt. I like to use 1/2 cup water to 1/2 cup of thick Greek style yogurt.