Friday, June 29, 2012

Chocolate & Raspberry Crepes

So, savory crepes exist. And I totally posted them first.

I even included veggies in my recipe

That's right. Green stuff.

But today is Friday. And do you know what that means???


And raspberries!!!!


And since you've got a bunch of pre-made un-filled crepes on a plate in your fridge, we might as well use them up. 

Start with the crepe. If you need the batter recipe, get it here

To re-heat them, lay each one individually in a hot skillet for a few seconds.

Next, smoosh up some raspberries. 

Take a handful of chocolate chips and nuke them in the microwave until melty. Add a few tablespoons of half & half to create a chocolate sauce.

Very scientific, I know. 

Load up your crepe.  Chocolate, raspberries (smooshed and whole), crushed hazelnuts. 

 Roll 'er up!

Now schmear some chocolate on your plate. 

It helps keep the crepe on the plate. And it's an excuse to eat more chocolate...

Grab your butterscotch sauce

Move the crepe to the plate. Drizzle with more chocolate, then some butterscotch. Garnish with raspberries and a hazelnut or two.

Chocolate & Raspberry Crepes
Serves 2-3

5-6 Leftover crepe shells
1 clamshell of raspberries
1 handful of dark chocolate chips
Several tbsp half & half
Crushed hazelnuts or other nut
Butterscotch sauce

Put half the raspberries in a bowl and gently smoosh them with the back of a spoon. 

Dump the chocolate chips into a microwave-save bowl. Zap them for 30 second increments, stirring after each, until melty. Add the half & half, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce reaches a consistency that's good for drizzling. 

You can re-warm the crepes in a hot skillet. I don't suggest microwaving them. They get soggy. 

Compose your dessert: 
Start with the warm crepe. Add a healthy schmear of chocolate sauce. Spoon on some of the smooshed raspberries and some of the whole berries. Sprinkle on the crushed nuts. Roll up. 

Spread a swoosh of chocolate sauce on your serving plate. Place the crepe on the chocolate (it holds it to the plate - and gives you more chocolate). Drizzle the crepe with chocolate sauce and butterscotch sauce. Garnish with berries and nuts. 


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Moroccan Crepes

I love French things. Brie, berets, macarons, red patent ballet flats....
I also love Moroccan things. Lamps, rugs, spices, couscous....

And these countries - they're nearish each other. Quick geography lesson: They both touch the little same body of water. The Med!

Wait - and they both also touch the Atlantic. Hmmm. Perhaps they are more similar than I thought. And I need to spend more time with my globe.

So, let's put two of their most iconic foods together! Crepes and Merguez sausage.

Start with making the crepes.If you're looking to feed an army, check out this recipe.
If you just want to feed your family, and have some left over for dessert, use my measurements.

Milk, eggs, and salt go into the bowl.

Blitz for 10 seconds. Add flour.

Blitz for 10 seconds. Add melted butter and blitz for another 10 seconds.

Let the batter sit for at least 5 minutes. It should be as thick as heavy cream. If it looks more like pancake batter, add more milk.

Since you're waiting on the batter, start on the filling. Onions, garlic, smoked paprika, and chickpeas go into the pan.

Add merguez sausage. Mmmmm.

Chop up the fresh stuff, herbs (whatever you've got around - I used basil, thyme, and rosemary), tomatoes, and feta.

Now you have to actually make a crepe. I couldn't do it and photograph it at the same time, so here's the skinny: Get pan hot. Add a bit of butter to coat bottom. Pick up from heat. Pour a scant 1/4 c. of batter around the pan and tilt/swirl so that the batter covers the bottom of the whole pan. Wait 30 seconds or so. Flip. 

The batter should be in one thin layer, with no heavy spots. If there's too much batter in the pan, pour the excess back into the bowl. You can trim the "tail" off later.

It will take you some time to get this right. But having to eat a mistake or two isn't a bad thing.

Assembly time!!

Crepe - filling - tomatoes - herbs - cheese. Roll and you're done!

Change it up a little. Same chickpea filling, but add a fried egg, arugula, and lemon juice. 

You can either eat these on a plate with a knife and fork, or pick them up like a burrito.

I'm not judging.

Moroccan Crepes
Serves 2

Crepe batter (makes 10-12 crepes) - adapted from Martha Holmberg
scant 1 c. whole milk
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. flour
3 tbsp butter, melted

In a medium bowl (or blender), combine milk, eggs, and salt. Blitz with a stick blender (or blender) until smooth - about 10 seconds. Add flour and blitz again - for about 10 seconds. Add melted butter and blitz again - for about 10 seconds.

Let the mix sit for 5-10 minutes. The consistency should be like heavy cream. If it's like pancake batter, add a bit more milk.

Get your 10" skillet nice and hot over medium-high heat. Use a bit of butter to create a layer on the top of the skillet. Pick the pan up from the heat. Pour a scant 1/4 c. of batter in the pan and swirl it so that it covers the entire bottom of the pan (move quickly!!). If you have too much batter, pour it back in the bowl. You can get rid of the tail with a knife later.

Wait about 30 seconds, until the edges are golden and slightly curled up. Flip the crepe. Wait another 20 seconds and slide it out of the pan. Make the next one.

Moroccan Filling
1 can garbanzo beans
1/2 small onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
2 lamb merguez sausages, cooked and sliced into bite size pieces
2 tbsp fresh herbs, chopped
grape tomatoes, halved
fried eggs
lemon juice

In a skillet, combine the onion, garlic, and garbanzos with a dash of olive oil. Add sausages and paprika.

Assemble the crepes -

Take one crepe and lay it out flat. In the center, pour a few spoonfuls of the garbanzo bean mix, add some fresh herbs, a few tomato halves, and a healthy amount of feta. Or add in some arugula, a fried egg, and some lemon juice too. Delicious.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pink & Stormy

Ah, the things one does on a random Saturday in Nor Cal.

Like picking strawberries. Cause, you know, they're there. And you have awesome friends (Mr. & Mrs. Timko) that know these things!

Once all the berries you could possibly use in 2 days are picked, it's time to get to it. 

And then realize you picked waaaaaaay too many berries (the photo below is 1/2 the amount...) Dear, dear. 

Well, where's the rum?

Do any of you remember the old mariner's rhyme: "Red in the morning, sailors take warning - Red at night, sailors' delight" ?

Well, I do. And it happened to inspire this beverage. 

Chop up your strawberries. 

Toss them into a food processor, or blitz with a stick blender. 

Go over to Joy the Baker's blog and make her ginger syrup for ginger ale. It's ok. I'll wait.

Now. In your most sea-faring pint glass, layer in 3 tbsp of ginger syrup, 2 tbsp blitzed berries, and 1 1/2 oz of dark island rum. 

Add club soda and garnish with a strawberry. 

Chortle and yar, matey! It's a pink & stormy for me!

Pink & Stormy
Serves 1

Handful of strawberries, chopped
1 1/2 oz. dark rum
club soda

Blitz the berries in a food processor or stick blender until smooth. 

In a pint glass, add 3 tbsp ginger syrup, 2 tbsp strawberry pulp, and 1 1/2 oz dark rum. Fill with club soda. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Peachy Grilled Cheese

You. Guys. 

Don't you love summer? I know it's officially day 2, but already I'm head over heels. 

Magical things happen in summer. Like vacations. And pretty dresses. And produce so ripe and plentiful it hits you in the face with awesome. 

This is basically summer - in a sandwich. 


Start off with the balsamic vinegar syrup. I used a chocolate balsamic - cause we have awesome friends (Hi Justin & Amanda!) who like to spoil us with gifts.

Boil some vinegar for awhile. Until it bubbles up and tries to escape the pan. 

On to the peaches. Slice them. Grill them.

Then the bread. Butter two slices and grill them. 

Slice up the cheese. Mmmmmm. Fresh moz. I could eat mountains of this stuff.

Now the basil. So pretty! but you need to slice it to ribbons.

Butter your other two pieces of bread. Layer up from the bottom: cheese, peaches...

Then comes the basil... And onto the grill it goes!

Cover it for a minute or so to help the cheese melt faster. 

The vinegar syrup is up next. Slather it on one of the pre-toasted pieces. Then drizzle more over the peaches.

Sandwich the bread together and you're in business!

It may get a bit messy. Have a napkin handy.

Peachy Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 Sandwiches
Inspired by How Sweet's summer pizza  and smash sandwich

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar (I used a chocolate balsamic we had been gifted)
2 peaches
1/4 c. basil leaves, sliced
1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
4 slices of bread

Pour your vinegar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and keep boiling, uncovered, until reduced by half-ish. (The vinegar will steam and boil for awhile, and then it will start bubbling and trying to rise out of the pan. Once it starts to do that, it's done). Let sit on the counter to ooze up. 

Slice your peaches into sandwich-size slices and toss them onto a hot grill pan. Get them nice and char marked. 

Take 2 of your slices of bread and butter them. Once the peaches are finished, let the two pieces of bread toast, butter side down, until grilled to your liking.

Take the other 2 slices and butter them, then layer the slices of mozzarella, peaches, and basil on the un-buttered side of each piece. 

Using a spatula, transfer each half-sandwich to the grill pan and allow to cook until the cheese melts (you may want to cover the pan for a minute or so to improve melting).

Slather some of the balsamic syrup on the first piece of bread and drizzle more over the peaches on the other piece of bread. 

Sandwich the bread together, slice and eat!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Turkish Stuffed Chard

I love the Mediterranean. The people, the history, the feta, the baklava.... I could eat that stuff till I exploded. I even like couscous and falafel. Debt problems or no, the eastern Mediterranean countries seem to have a lot going for them. 

The only thing I can't stand? Dolmas. 

Those luke-warm stuffed grape leaves. They taste like a sour gross mess. I hate them!

Well, I thought I did. But apparently there are some good ones out there. Turns out, I actually just don't like grape leaves (sorry Greece!). Far too tough and sour. Yuck.

The Turks have one thing unarguably right - use chard instead. Much tastier!!

Start off with the chard - preferably the rainbow stuff. It's pretty.

Cut the hard stems off and discard (or use for something else). Using tongs, push each leaf down in a pot of boiling water for 30-45 seconds. 

Then dunk it straight into a bowl of ice water (or cold water, when the ice melts).

When you've got all those done, move on to the filling. 

Onions and garlic start things off.

Sautee them in a large pan for awhile, until they smell good. Then toss in 2 1/2 cups of cooked white rice.

Transfer all that to a bowl. Add the ground beef and spices. And a bit of the chard water if it looks a bit dry. 

Mix everything up with your hands. This is the fun part! Squish!!

Take a chard leaf and lay it out on your cutting board. Slice the thick rib out of the center. 

Each half of the large leaves make one dolma. For smaller leaves, overlap the halves to make one roll.

Place a good, heavy spoonful about 1/3 from the bottom of the leaf.

Fold the bottom up, and tuck in the ends. 

Roll it all up....

Place them into the large pan you sauteed up the onions in. 

Once they are all in the pan, add water and a few pieces of butter.

Cover with a heavy plate, and a lid if you have one that big. (Aluminum foil works if you don't)

Let them cook for 20-25 minutes. Serve with roasted cauliflower and yogurt sauce. 


Turkish Stuffed Chard
Adapted from Mommiez's Blog

15-20 chard leaves
1 lb ground beef (80/20)
2 1/2 c. (ish) cooked rice
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp Zaatar spice
1  1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp sumac
1 tsp salt

Rinse your chard well. Cut off any excess stems. Leaf by leaf, dip in a pot of boiling water for 30-45 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of ice water. 

Once all the chard is boiled, begin making the filling. 

In a large skillet, sautee the diced onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes, until transparent. Add in the cooked rice. If you are using rice that was previously refrigerated (and thus dried out) add a 1/2 c. of the boiling water from the chard. 

Transfer the rice mixture into a large bowl. Add the ground beef and the spices. Mix well. 

Take a chard leaf, and place it on the cutting board. Using a sharp knife, remove the center rib. 

Each half of the large leaves can be used for one dolma. If the leaf is small, overlap the halves to form one dolma. 

Place a heavy spoonful of the meat mixture about 1/3 of the way from the bottom of the leaf half. Fold the bottom over the spoonful. Fold the edges in, and roll it up. 

Gently transfer the rolled chard leaves to the large skillet. Fill the skillet with water, to halfway up the chard. Put a few pats of butter around the skillet. Place a heavy plate on the top of the rolls and press down. Cover the skillet and cook on medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes. 

Serve with roasted cauliflower and a yogurt sauce (either plain yogurt - the traditional way - or yogurt with onion, garlic, and dill).