savory crepes (holiday shared cooking fun)


ingredients:

  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • dash salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • butter for frying

filings:

  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4-12 medium jalapeno w seeds, diced
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped
  • 1 d’anjou pear, chopped
  • pecans, pistachios, or toasted pumpkin seeds
  • feta, gorgonzola or Toscano pepper cheese
  • raisins or chopped turkish apricots
  • cream cheese or soft avocado as garnish

IMG_5089Prepare the batter an hour or two before making the crepes, as the flour particles expand when the batter stands, which provides for lighter crepes. Sift together the flour and salt. In another bowl, beat eggs lightly with a wire whisk, then stir in milk. Beat the liquid gradually into the sifted dry ingredients. Beat vigorously for 2-3 minutes to make a smooth batter. The batter should be very light, the consistency of heavy cream. If any lumps remain, strain batter through a sieve. Cover and set aside in refrigerator to rest.

 

Ideally use a heavy bottomed iron pan with sloping sides (to make it easier to turn the crepes), of about 5-10 inches in diameter. An enameled 6.5in base cast iron skillet is what I happened to have, and it worked well, making a not too big, not too small sized crepe. Heating the pan evenly and thoroughly is the first secret to making a good crepe; success also is a function of using the exact amount of batter needed for the size of the pan, so it covers but is not too thick. Thin crepes are good crepes! Brush or rub the entire surface of the pan with butter, heating it briskly until hot but not smoking. Remove from heat, holding it in the air, while pouring a small amount of batter- about 2-3 T or a small soup ladle worth, in the middle of the pan, concurrently tilting to spread the batter to cover the pan surface. If you have too much batter and some is left over after the bottom surface of the pan is covered, pour it back into the batter bowl. Set pan over medium heat to cook, about 2- minutes, until the top of the crepe is dry and the bottom side begins to turn lightly brown (check this by lifting one corner of the crepe with a spatula.) Flip the crepe, then cook on the second side about 1-2 minutes. Tip the crepe out onto a serving plate. Repeat until all batter has been used; this made 12 moderate sized crepes.

Saute the onion and jalapeno pepper in a little olive oil, then add 1/2-1 Braeburn or Granny Smith apple. Add a little rosemary and balsamic vinegar, turn heat down, cover and reduce for several minutes. Remove from heat.

IMG_5086We played with different combinations of filings using the onion and apple balsamic mixture as base filler, including feta with roasted pumpkin seeds; apricot with pistachios; pear and gorgonzola with pecans; pear with Toscano pepper cheese and raisins. Place filled crepes in warming dish, warm all before serving. Both the soft avocado and cream cheese were wonderful garnishes at the table. (I would omit the last minute addition of cheddar garnish next time.)

Served with an arugula, pomegranate, feta and walnut salad, this was a hearty brunch. Also a very happy and fun Christmas morning shared cooking…new tradition. (Crepe cooking instructions found in The Crepe Cookbook by Paulette Fono & Maria Stacho 1969 found on my mother’s kitchen bookshelf when I closed down her house this last year.)

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butternut squash, green apple, & chevre red rice salad


I finished my Beet and Chevre Red Rice Salad but wanted more! So I thought I’d try a new variation on the fall theme…

ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Bhutanese red rise (makes 2 cups cooked)
  • 1/2 butternut squash, roasted then cubed
  • 1-2 medium cloves garlic, roasted then minced
  • 1 medium-large granny smith apple, julienned
  • 2-3 shallots, chopped
  • 1 t each rosemary and thyme
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped into ribbons
  • 4 oz fresh chevre. gorgonzola would be nice variation.
  • 1/4 cups walnuts
  • walnut or olive oil and balsamic vinegar

instructions:

Rinse rice well, then cover with 1 3/4 cups fresh water. Add a pinch of salt, bring to a boil then simmer cover for 20 minutes over low heat. Check for doneness, drain off any remaining water, then fluff with fork and transfer to casserole dish. While rice is cooking, slice 1/2 butternut into 3/4 inch half round slices, remove hard skin, and place on lightly oiled roasting pan along with garlic cloves. Place herbs onto squash, then roast at 375F for about 15 min, flip then roast for another 15-20 min until pass the ‘fork test’ for softness. Don’t overcook- remove garlic while continuing to cook squash until soft but not mushy. Mince garlic into rice. Chop squash into small cubes, and add to rice.  Chop shallots and julienne the green apples, then add to casserole dish.  Remove stems from spinach, chop into ribbons, then add to rice mixture and stir to mix all well. Dress with Balsamic vinegar and walnut oil or olive oil. Serve covered with walnuts and generous small chunks of chevre stirred in. Heat gently before serving– I actually microwaved briefly– so that the chevre melds smoothly with the rice and fresh apples.