April 25, 2013

Cornmeal and Sundried Tomato Waffles (With Marinated Eggplant and Ricotta)

We’re always working, striving towards the next success.  The problem is, once we achieve something, our idea of success changes.  My grad school work is a perfect example of this.  When I first started my project, I told myself that all I wanted was to express my protein.  I’d be so happy if I could just have that.  And I got that, about 7 months in.  And yet, at that point, I was already working on other things that weren’t going well.  And so my original milestone went by almost unnoticed, overshadowed by the next, greater milestone that I had set myself.  If happiness is on the other side of success, our brains never get there.  

 I can’t take credit for those words.  I got them from a Ted Talk by Shawn Achor called “The Happy Secret to Better Work” which you should all watch right now.  It talks about how we need to do things the other way around.  By making ourselves realize happiness in the present, we can actually improve our productivity.

As Pepsi ads keep telling me “Live For Now”.  And the happy future will come.  

This meal made me happy.  Happy to make, and very happy to eat.  Something about waffles for dinner seems childish and naughty.  But cornmeal and sundried tomatoes make these waffles grown-up.  Especially when served with marinated eggplant and ricotta cheese.  

I think I was in a Mediterranean mood when I created this combination.  

It’s hard not letting our happiness rely on something we plan on achieving in the future.  It’s something we have to work on.  Just like we train our bodies through exercise, we need to train our brains to be happy now.  And for me, that starts with a good meal. 

Cornmeal and Sundried Tomato Waffles with Marinated Eggplant and Ricotta
Adapted from Joy the Baker and A Thought For Food

1 cup water
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into large cubes
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
1/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

1 lb Asian or Italian eggplant
Olive oil
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Ricotta cheese

Prepare the eggplant:
Cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick rounds with the peel still on!  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Brush olive oil all over the lined sheet.  Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.  Brush the tops of the eggplant slices with oil as well (so both side are now oiled).  Bake about 4 inches from the broiler for 8-12 minutes, turning once, or until the eggplant is softened and golden.
Transfer the warm eggplant to a bowl.  Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper and pour over the warm eggplant.  Let marinate while you make the waffles.

For the waffles:
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Stir in the cornmeal and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add butter cubes, stirring until the butter is melted and incorporated.  Stir in the milk.  Set aside to cool a bit. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder.  Pour the somewhat cooled cornmeal mixture over the dry ingredients.  Crack in the egg and stir everything until combined into a thick batter.  Fold in the sundried tomatoes.   Bake your waffles in your waffle maker until golden-brown and crispy on the outside. 

Put ‘em together:
To serve, place a waffle on a plate.  Top with a pile of marinated eggplant and a tablespoon of ricotta.  


  1. Love the idea of having savory waffles for dinner! And these look fantastic!

    1. Thanks afracooking! I'm glad you liked the idea.