February 28, 2010

Buckwheat Crepes

Ti Couz, in San Francisco, makes the best Brittany Crepes I've ever had. I was thrilled when La Creperie of Fort Collins opened up. But as much as I'm pleased that Brittany crepes are now available locally, I still miss the way they're made at Ti Couz (with yummy sauces).

This past Saturday the girls had a friend over for the night and for breakfast I decided to make them sweet crepes with blueberries. They came out really well and Anna has been begging for crepes again ever since. So I promised her that we'd have crepes for dinner tonight. I made a batch of sweet crepes for the kids, but decided to boldly strike out into buckwheat crepe territory for Rob and myself. It took a bit of doing to find a bag of buckwheat in the pantry (I somehow overlooked it the first time as I dug through the rice and other grains -- buckwheat isn't a grain, by the way, but that's still where I store it), but once I found it I tossed it into the grinder and made my first ever batch of buckwheat flour. (I've used buckwheat pancake mixes in the past, but I don't know that I've ever cooked with plain buckwheat flour before.)

These crepes came out well, though they weren't as buckwheaty as either Ti Couz or La Creperie. Rob really liked them, though. (He told me they were better than La Creperie's crepes, but maybe he's just trying to earn some hubbie points. "The texture was better," he claims. Ironically, I had been thinking that it was a bit too silky smooth for a proper buckwheat crepe (which is a bit scratchy to eat). I think the next time I make these crepes, I might see what happens if I use all buckwheat flour and no wheat flour.

For Rob, I tucked some cheddar cheese and sliced ham inside as filling. For myself I diced up a tomato that was going bad on the counter and added some cheese to that. ... As you can tell, my fillings are still somewhat lacking. And I didn't plan enough ahead to have yummy sauces to top off the crepes. So fillings and sauces will have to be my next point of focus now that I've got a respectable crepe to wrap it all up in.

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup flour (yes, I used white flour again, believe it or not)
1 cup milk
3/4 cup water
3 large eggs
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive.)
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all of the ingredients until smooth. (The Joy of Cooking suggests using a blender to thoroughly blend up the batter.) Let the batter sit for one hour.

Batter can be refrigerated up to one day.

Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of batter onto a buttered skillet. Flip when the first side is lightly browned. Cook until the second side is a light brown color. Serve with a savory filling.

February 27, 2010

Sweet Crepes

I've tried making crepes many times and they usually won't flip well and end up being more like scrambled crepes than breakfast or dessert crepes. But this recipe came out well so I thought I'd post it here for future reference.

This is from the Joy of Cooking.

1 cup flour (I actually used white flour this time. OK, OK, pick yourself up off the floor now.)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 large eggs
1/4 (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients together until smooth. Then let sit for 30 minutes. (Or fridge for up to two days. But let sit 30 minutes until room temperature before cooking.) I have no clue what the sitting does for the crepe, but I tried it this time (OK, so I was only able to wait about 15 minutes).

The book suggested pouring 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle at a time. I finally got tired of making such tiny crepes and went to somewhere around 1/2 cup.

February 21, 2010

Cream of Peanut Soup

This recipe has been modified from history.org, where it is listed as being an original recipe from King's Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia.

¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
8 cups Chicken Stock (I used veggie bouillon in water.)
2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 ¾ cups light cream or half-and-half
Finely chopped salted peanuts, for garnish

In a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, three-five minutes.

Stir in flour and cook two minutes longer.

Pour in the chicken (or veggie) stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until slightly reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. (The history.org recipe calls for removing the onions and celery but I left the veggies in for added texture.)

Whisk the peanut butter and the cream into the liquid. Warm over low heat, whisking often, for about five minutes. Do not boil.

Serve warm, garnished with the chopped peanuts. (I skipped this since I served the soup at a potluck)