• 2 cups blueberries fresh or frozen
  • Zest and juice of one large orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 egg yolks (reserve whites)
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Yesterday was my son Nathaniel’s 23rd birthday. Celebrating birthdays is always a big deal in our family! We all like to make the person’s special day extra meaningful and fun. Nathaniel requested a special breakfast. To show the significance and meaning behind what food and family means to us, here is an excerpt from my new cookbook, You Never Cook Alone. Nathaniel contributed this story for my book.

“Birthdays are special days, and because of that, birthday memories have a funny way of staying around in your mind. Because my birthday falls in the month of July, right in the heat of the summer, for most of my 22 years on this Earth my parties have typically been built around a favorite theme of mine–a summer barbecue. Whether we had our birthday barbecue celebration at home, a local park, or a nearby lake, we always participated in the same fun activities: bonfires, water gun fights, outdoor games, and even the occasional launching of some fireworks left over from the 4th of July.

While I enjoyed all of those things, they were never the most amazing part of my birthday. One thing was always memorable and more brilliant than everything else—the food. There was nothing else on that day that inspired more compliments, more fun, or more memories than the delicious spread laid out on our family table. My favorite summer dishes always included at my parties were hot-dogs, baked beans, a cool summer salad, homemade burgers, and my personal favorite–tortellini pasta salad. Of course, to top everything off, there was always a homemade cake made by mom with ice cream on the side.

 One of my favorite aspects of the food served at those parties is that each dish doesn’t just bring to mind birthday memories, but special highlights throughout the years. A bite of salad reminds me of my 14th birthday, when we celebrated around a campfire the year our family moved to a new house that sat beside a lake. A bite of hamburger takes me back to the massive water gun fight we had on my 12th birthday and the amazing baseball season I had that year when I played my personal best. The pasta salad always makes me remember my 16th birthday party where it seemed like the whole neighborhood turned out to celebrate. It also reminds me of my favorite days sailing on the water for hours on end.

 For me, food does so much more than nourish my body. It reminds me of the best days of the past, and makes me excited about creating memories in the future.” Nathaniel from You Never Cook Alone

When my son wrote that for my book and I handed it over to my editor and me, I got chocked up. So this year when my son asked for a special breakfast, I wanted it to be just that — special.

I made turkey bacon, eggs and creamy polenta (one of his favorites).  He specifically requests waffles and so I did my best for him -made with love!

Begin by making your blueberry syrup. This should sit for a few minutes and cool down while you prepare your waffle batter.

In a large saucepan bring blueberries, zest, juice, cinnamon and sugar to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, place in a serving dish and allow to cool a bit.

While your syrup is cooling make your waffle batter.

In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl beat egg yolks slightly. Stir in the milk and oil. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until combined. The batter should be lumpy.

In a small mixing bowl or electric mixer whip up your egg whites until you have stiff peaks. (The tips will stand up straight.) Gently fold your egg whites into the flour and egg mixture. Do not overmix and be careful to fold.

Pour batter onto the lightly greased grids of your waffle maker. close the lid and do not open adn bake according to teh manufacture’s directions.

Adorn your buttermilk waffles with your homemade blueberry sacue and whipped cream!

From our hearts to yours,

Elise and family