I pushed through the revolving door, stomped the snow off my feet, and said: "I'm here to see Kim, in the kitchen."
It helped that there was a host standing at the entrance; I wasn't making an announcement to the room.
A minute after I walked in, she appeared unscathed.
It was really happening, and by "it" I mean the waffling blog and by happening I mean — no, I think that was fairly unambiguous. Let's focus on the "it."
Because there's a difference between having a blog in your head — not the kind of blog in your head where you silently post funny retorts to things that people said to you three weeks beforehand, but rather the kind of blog in your head where you actually intend for it to be on the Internet and read by people at some point, even as that point seems to stretch infinitely into the future as you lay the groundwork, round up collaborators, design the site and flirt with an all-waffled diet — and having a blog that someone else knows about.
Where was I?
In the prep kitchen of 312 Chicago, where Kim is the pastry chef.
A small stack of whole-wheat waffles sat next to the waffle iron. Kim had worked ahead. Next to the waffles was a bowl of chocolate, two pounds of butter and at least two dozen eggs.
I didn't know what they were for, but I liked that they were there.
Earlier, when I had proposed to Kim that she take part in this blog, she didn't hesitate. (I mean, why didn't she hesitate? I hesitated! I hesitated like hell. I went to bed with the idea for Waffleizer 10 times before I realized that it wasn't going to go away the next morning.)
Once Kim was on board, it didn't take her long to settle on twice-waffled bread pudding, inspired in part by a recipe from the restaurant Otom.
This is a bread pudding made from waffles, then prepared in the waffle iron.
I set down my notebook, grabbed my camera and watched Kim waffle.
There was something very satisfying about seeing the waffles get broken down into little geometric components, before seeing them reassembled in the waffle iron.
The waffle pieces get soaked in a custardy mixture of cream, half-and-half and eggs. Then the mixture gets placed in the waffle iron.
The first batch turned out a bit too wet, so we tried the next round with less of the custard. Kim packed in the waffle pieces and then drizzled some of the custard batter onto them before squeezing the lid closed.
Yes, a bunch of the custard came oozing out the sides. Yes, a few parts got burnt — mostly where the raisins were touching the iron. But we were on to something.
She gave me a few tips.
"When you do it at home — you're going to do these at home right?" I nodded. "When you do it at home, soak it for longer. Maybe like an hour."
Kim coaxed the third batch from the waffle iron and a few minutes later, we were sampling the dessert in all its recursive, meta-waffle beauty.
The waffle-custard concoction is only mildly sweet, making room on the palate for the maple-roasted pears, rum-soaked raisins and maple gelato with which Kim served this dish.
After the waffle was plated I headed upstairs and sat at the bar for lunch.
In the interest of full disclosure: I did not pay for my lunch, which consisted of two glasses of water, half a cup of soup and two-thirds of a panini. You would hope that if I were going to be influenced by a free lunch, it would consist of more than that. Because this is my blog and not a serious journalistic endeavor, I took the free meal. I'm pretty sure it didn't influence my impression of the waffling we had done downstairs, especially since the meal took place after the waffling and by that time I had already concluded that the waffling was awesome.
I should say: This one's a little tough to pull off. It's not easy to remove the waffled bread pudding from the waffle iron intact.
But it's worth trying.
You can almost see how someone could make a blog out of recipes like this.
As long as he didn't overdo it.
Kim was kind enough to share the recipe.
That's the next post.