Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More from Mr. Bittman

It's official. How To Cook Everything Vegetarian is an official reference source for my kitchen. Often times I'll buy a cookbook and cook with it when it's brand new, but then it sits on my shelf and waits patiently for me to be in the mood to cook with it again. Hence my, ahem, Cookbook Challenge that needs some serious attention. I've managed to weed my cookbooks with that challenge, and actually, just buying this massive Bittman book I had to weed again. I have literally maxed out my cookbook shelves. I either need to figure out another place to store them if I want more, or I need to continue weeding. So far, weeding seems to work, but I so hate to lose a cookbook...

Anyway. The other day I had some homemade yogurt sitting around needing to be used. I'm the only one here who likes to eat plain yogurt- unless it's in tzatziki or a raita. Since there's no Indian or Greek on the menu anytime soon, I decided to drain it a bit and do...something with it. The idea came to me to use it as a filling for some Crêpes. The idea was cemented when on a shopping trip, Zander pointed to a lovely carton of blackberries and told me he wanted them. They were beautiful and plump and reasonably priced, so they came home with us, and I needed to feature them. I was going to fold them with my drained yogurt and honey to fill some crêpes, but then I decided that would be a waste of great blackberries, and instead, they'd be a garnish.

Instead, I sliced some apples and caramelized them with some butter,brown sugar and cinnamon, and then folded that into the drained yogurt. That would have been awesome to eat just like that! But I forged ahead and made my crêpes.

I love making crêpes, and don't do so near often enough. Every time I make them I am instantly transported back to eighth grade where I had my first crêpe experience in my foreign language class. Madame was really French, I remember that about her, she spoke with a beautiful accent, and while she appeared to be tough, she really just wanted to convey her passion for speaking other languages. She did her best to immerse us into the languages and cultures as best as possible, and the day we made crêpes I remember her lovingly pulling that tiny bottle of orange flower water out of her cupboard and treating it like liquid gold. Those crêpes were amazing, and I've never had them quite the same again. Even the crêperie can't compare.

But these crêpes were suitable, and they were very simple to make. They were fantastic stuffed with yogurt and caramelized apples, and the blackberries scattered about on the plate made this offering elegant as well.

**As an added note this morning, I also have a new weekly menu plan up over at Menu Planning 101- it has some repeats from last week, but be sure and check that out. Also, let me know how you like the new look over there!


from Mark Bittman's
How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 1/4 cups milk, plus more if needed
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, plus more for cooking

1. Whisk together all the ingredients except the butter for cooking until smooth; you can do this in a blender. If the mixture isn't quite pourable, add a little more milk. If the time allows, let the batter rest in the refrigerator for an hour or up to 24 hours.

2. Put an 8 or 10 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat and wait a couple of minutes; add a small pat of butter. Stir the batter and use a large spoon or ladle to pour a couple of tablespoons of the batter into the skillet. Swirl it around so that it forms a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.

3. When the top of the crêpe is dry, after about a minute, turn and cook the other side for 15 to 30 seconds. (The crêpe should brown only very slightly and not become crisp at all.) Bear in mind that the first crêpe almost never works, even for professionals, so discard it if necessary, there is plenty of batter.

4. Stack the crêpes on a plate as you make them, and keep them warm in a low oven while you make the remaining crêpes. Even better, fill each crêpe while it's still in the pan, putting the filling in the center of the bottom third of the crêpe. If you want your filling warmed, keep the pan over low heat for a few minutes. Either roll the crêpe starting at the end with the filling or fold the bottom third over the filling, fold in the sides, then fold the crêpe from the bottom up. Slide it onto a plate and serve. Repeat the process, adding butter to the skillet and adjusting the heat as needed, until all the batter is used up.

1 comment:

JEP said...

Wouldn't the crepes make an awesome Valentine's Day treat? Just think of the possibilites! Zander is acquiring so many healthy habits due to your role modeling--way to go, Mom!