Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday recipe - crepes

Today we’ll shift gears and do a little cooking lesson. To backtrack, around my house I do the majority of the cooking. I don’t know when this started, but it was quite a while ago. I think it was when the kids were complaining about something B made that she remembered her mom making, and I said that I could do more generic stuff and was probably told to go ahead if I felt that way. Not sure there, it was a while back, but most of the stuff out of the kitchen has been stuff I create.

I like watching the Food Network on TV, and realize that a majority of stuff being shown there is mainly for entertainment purposes, but there are a few cooks that I like and have purchased cookbooks for and downloaded recipes, including Rachel Ray, Alton Brown and Sandra Lee. All three of them show how to cook things easily, use simple recipes that are easy to make, and use ingredients I have or are available in my local (limited range) store. Except perhaps Alton, at times he is a bit picky on some ingredients and I have to order those off the web, then try to remember what they were for when they eventually show up. But one good place Alton sent me to is the The Spice House, which I would highly recommend even if all you get is their cinnamon and vanilla (which are both great).

Today’s recipe is something that didn’t come from any of those however, I think it did come somewhere from the Food Network website, though I can’t find it now. Today we are discussing crepes. My grandparents were all from central Europe and never learned much English, but my mother learned her mother’s Polish recipes and I have become attached to a few. Some I can’t make, and some I remember but don’t have recipes to recreate, and some I’ll share here. Her version of this was called palachinki, for which there is a really simple recipe over at She used to make stacks of them, and we would either just fill them with sugar and cinnamon or jelly sprinkled with cinnamon, roll them up and inhale.

My recipe is even easier: one cup milk, one cup flour, one egg, and one tablespoon melted butter. This will make four, depending on how big your pan is. That is an OK amount if you are home alone and want to test it out, if you are doing this like I did, spread with jelly and rolled, then plan on four per person, more if the kids are hungry (and when aren’t they?)

Just scoop a ladle full into your pan (medium heat), I put a little oil in first just for the heck of it, swirl it around to spread things out and let it sit one minute, then turn it over, wait another minute, and take it off. If it’s too thick to swirl then just add more milk, sometimes I like really thin ones. I try to build up a pile of them, but usually just end up eating them as they come out of the pan. If you are doing sweet filling then add a tablespoon of sugar to the recipe to make the crepe a little sweeter.

On a plate just make a line across the middle with a tablespoon of sugar, sprinkle on some cinnamon and then roll it up with the sugar line ending up in the middle. As an alternative I use grape jelly, about a tablespoon smeared in a line across it, more cinnamon (yes, I do love cinnamon) and again roll up so the jelly ends up in the middle. You should end up with a tight tube about a half inch in diameter that you can then pick up and hold as you eat from one end.

What motivated this photo session was berry season a few months ago. Wandering through the produce section of my local supermarket I passed a big display of blueberries and raspberries. Grabbing a few containers because they looked so good, I then got home and wondered what to do with them. E really likes blueberries on her morning Cheerios, or rather she likes some Cheerios to add crunch to her bowl of blueberries. I thought some type of desert would be nice, and didn’t really want to wait and put in the effort to make a pie (though that recipe will come soon) I figured crepes would be fast and easy.

So I just put a handful of each in a pan along with some sugar and heated it up.

I mashed some of the berries in the pan just to get it all a little wet, and some cooked down a bit. I just left it on the stove and stirred for a few minutes to get things to blend. Then laid out a crepe, put a line of fruit down the center, a line of whipped cream inside too and rolled it up. A little more spooned on top to make it pretty, along with a squirt of whipped crème from a can (yes, a can, it was easier) or a scoop of ice cream and there you are, something fast and sweet.

As an alternative you can make a savory crepe to serve with dinner. Instead of that pinch of sugar in the recipe add a little salt and then mix in some dried spices - we have a big shaker of Italian, but you can just use dried tarragon or whatever you have handy or like. Put in a tablespoon or so, or enough so it’s noticeable in the batter. Then cook the same way. B likes creamed spinach, so I buy a packet of frozen, microwave as suggested, then but a good helping in a line across a crepe, roll, and put on the plate with whatever else you are serving. I would suggest using a veggie with a sauce, like the creamed spinach, or peas or broccoli in a cheese sauce, or whatever you want to use. It makes a little change from plain veggies and if using frozen veggies then it is quick to make alongside whatever the main dish is.

There you go, easy crepes, or palachinki or sweet tortillas or really flat pancakes or whatever you want to call them.

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