The song: “The Bad Touch” by Bloodhound Gang (lyrics)
The foodstuff: Maple Pecan Waffles with Smothered, Covered Hash Browns
The connection: “I want you smothered want you covered like my Waffle House hashbrowns”
Sunday brunch, Waffle House styley!
With a name like “Waffle House,” you’d expect the restaurant’s menu to include all sorts of weird and wacky waffle dishes, right? Kind of like IHOP and its ridic pancake selection. I can just picture it: Seasonal pumpkin waffles with a creamy cream cheese sauce. Chocolate chip waffles buried in a mountain of whipped cream. Blueberry waffles drowning in berry syrup. Stacks of waffles of all shapes and flavors and sizes. Sweet and savory and everything in between. A veritable cornucopia of crispy breakfast goodness!
(Is your stomach growling yet, or is it just me and mine?)
Except, not so much. If the online menu is any indication (and having never been, I wouldn’t know – so correct me if I’m wrong!), the Waffle House only serves two kinds of waffles: plain and pecan. BOO-RING!
But the hash browns? They’re a whole ‘nother story! Considering the infinite ways a Waffle Housian may enjoy her grilled shredded potatoes, the Waffle House should really be called “Captain Cholesterol’s Hash Brown & Heart Attack Emporium.” Get ‘em in a regular, large, or triple (!) serving. Smother them with sauteed onions. Cover them with cheese. Enjoy them “chunked” (laced with ham – thanks but no!), “diced” (tomatoes), “peppered” (jalapenos), “capped” (mushrooms), “topped” (chili!), or “country” (gravy). Or any combination of the above. Country topped and peppered, you say? Surely someone’s been there, done that.
Exhibit A: Hash browns “smothered” with onions.
I know all this because – and only because – of today’s soundtrack, the Bloodhound Gang’s “The Bad Touch,” which never fails to make me crave breakfast food like a mofo. Amid all the sexual innuendo, the band drops in a reference to the Waffle House menu: “I want you smothered want you covered like my Waffle House hash browns.” I always assumed that the toppings alluded to were of the usual suspects: ketchup and hot sauce, maybe some onions or peppers. Never did I imagine the oral delights dreamed up by mad geniuses on the Waffle House R&D team.
Example #2: Hash browns “covered” in cheese sauce.
(Technically these hash browns are smothered AND covered, but you get the idea!)
And so for our menu today, a brunch inspired by the Bloodhound Gang and pulled straight from the pages of the Waffle House menu: Pecan Waffles (topped with maple syrup, bananas, and chopped pecans for that extra-special touch), served with Smothered, Covered Hash Browns.
And I have recipes for each! The hash browns are all my own (the cheese sauce? it’s what I normally use to make mac & cheese – so good I could drink it from a mug!), but I based the waffles on a recipe found in Vegan Junk Food. fwiw, Land Gold includes a epic-looking recipe for Creamy Maple Sauce to accompany her waffles, but I decided to skip it since I ran out of burners. It sounds amazing though. A sugar coma in liquid form.
By the way, the smothered and covered hash browns? WILL MAKE YOU MOAN. Eat them in understanding company, mkay.
The bananas really class this junk food up.
Maple Pecan Waffles
1 cup soy milk
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1. Lightly oil the waffle iron and preheat it. Preheat the oven to 225F.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the soy milk with the ground flax seeds; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and pecans. Mix well.
4. Sir the oil and maple syrup into the milk mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl and mix well.
5. Cook according to your waffle maker’s instructions, ladling 1/2 to 1 cup of mixture into the waffle iron at a time. When done, transfer the waffle to a heatproof dish and store in the oven to keep them warm.
Smothered, Covered Waffle House Hashbrowns
…for the hash browns
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups grated potatoes
salt and/or pepper to taste
…for the “smothering”
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
…for the “covering”
1 cup Follow Your Heart cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Daiya cheddar cheese, shredded
4 tablespoons margarine
12 oz plain soy milk
1. Preheat the oven to 225F.
2. Clean, peel, and grate the potatoes. Squeeze as much moisture as you can from the grated potatoes using a potato ricer (like so), paper towels, or perhaps a small colander and your hands, if necessary. Set aside.
3. Start with the hash browns, as these will take the longest to cook. Divide the potatoes into two batches. Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil (using about a tablespoon and a half) and heat on medium-high. When the oil is hot (but not smoking), add the potatoes, spreading them out evenly over the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. After a few minutes, lift one edge of the pancake; if the potatoes are brown and crispy, it’s time to flip them. If you’re feeling adventurous, use a large spatula to flip them all at once. Otherwise, divide the hash browns into two or four sections and flip them separately. Continue to cook until they’re golden brown on the bottom. Repeat with the second half of the potatoes (or cook them simultaneously in a second frying pan). Serve immediately or transfer to a heatproof dish and pop in the oven to keep warm.
4. While the hash browns are cooking, make the cheese sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the soy milk to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and mix in the margarine, stirring until melted. Add the cheese shreds, stirring gently until they combine with the liquid to form a creamy cheese sauce. Reduce the heat to low and give it a good stir every minute or two as you cook the rest of the meal. For a thicker sauce, add a little white or whole wheat flour, a tablespoon at a time. Use a whisk to break up lumps.
5. In a small frying pan, heat two teaspoons of olive oil on medium. Add the diced onions and cook for about five minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
6. To serve, “smother” the hash browns with onions and then “cover” them with the cheese sauce. Enjoy hot, preferably while watching The X-Files.
I can practically feel the Daiya and maple syrup pumping through my veins!