True Confessions of a Mid-Life Cook

There's a definite correlation between my profound love of music and how and what I've taught myself to cook. My favorite music to listen to and to perform is soulful, sensual, sometimes funky and always bluesy in nature . . . and that's exactly how I cook. I like to get my hands in the food. I chop, I knead, I stir with my hands. Sometimes I wear my big rimmed cowboy hat, nightie and Old Gringo boots in kitchen, sometimes a coonskin cap when the mood strikes and sometimes just an apron and a smile. Using the freshest of ingredients, I love to bringing a new spirit to old favorites. I am so to drawn dishes seeping in both Texas and Southern tradition,with a special affinity for those authentic old jewels found in South Louisiana.
Because they, too, are so powerfully soulful?

I've discovered being a good cook is a journey and not a destination. (Yes, I stole an over-used corporate slogan and made it my own--but it's still the truth) Every time we screw up, we learn. And in part, that's what this blog is about. Cooking fearlessly. With heart, with soul -- and with some damn good music to inspire. (If your three layer chocolate cake ends up looking like a Jerry Springer rerun or you cut the tip of your thumb off while making New Year's Day gumbo, WHO CARES?Proclaim Francine Reed's "I'm a Handful" your theme song. She would like that.)
We cook because we find ourselves kinda empty if we don't.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The 'Perfect' Crepe

Once upon a time, crepes looked -- and sounded -- too intimidating to me to prepare. Elegant, insanely thin, I thought that there was no way I could create a flawless crepe when my pancakes were 'iffy' at best. But one rainy day, not too long ago, I came across a version of this recipe, put on my little French maid apron and just went for it. I discovered 1)I CAN make crepes 2)They don't require perfection 3)They are indeed one of the most versatile little culinary concoctions on the planet.

Here is my perfect crepe recipe. We'll discuss varieties in a second.

2 eggs, room temp
2 tablespoons butter melted, not hot
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoons sugar

Place all ingredients in blender in order given. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Scrape sides of blender with small spatula and blend again for about 20 more seconds.
Put two to three tablespoons batter into a med warm, slightly greased 7" - 12" skillet. I like using a larger skillet because I can use my spatula more effectively when turning the crepe.
As you pour, tilt the pan in a slow circular motion to make a thin round crepe. THIS may take a little bit of practice, but within a crepe or two or three, you'll nail it. When the crepe is light brown (it won't take long) turn it. I've read that you can freeze them between pieces of wax paper but I haven't tried it.

Sometimes I add just a little bit of OJ, lemon juice, raspberry liquor or whatever sounds fun (the possibilities are endless)to the batter and use a little less milk. You can stuff the crepes with lemon curd, any sugared fresh fruit or preserves. A cream filling of blended cream cheese, plain Greek yogurt, sugar and almond extract is excellent combined with a little fresh fruit. Top rolled crepes with powdered sugar or sugared fruit a garnish with a sprig of mint.

For savory crepes, just put about about a teaspoon of sugar in the mixture instead of a tablespoon and use your imagination. I've used endless combinations of garlic powder, black pepper, rosemary, poultry seasoning, tarragon, cayenne pepper . . .the list goes on and on -- depending what I'm planning on stuffing them with. I used a wonderful combo of chopped fresh cilantro, black pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper for my south of the border crepes stuffed with shredded chicken or shrimp and topped with an avocado verde creme.

I end up making some type of crepes about once a week now. Why? Because they're SOOOO easy. And good. And versatile. And because I CAN! And if I can, darling, you can, too.
Suggested listening: "Yes, We Can Can" by Allen Toussaint, the Pointer Sisters, Harry Connick, Jr.

1 comment:

Vegetarian Yogini said...

ironic, I just made some batter that is waiting to be cooked- crepes- yes- they are so versatile and yet can be so unique! Nice posting!