Saturday, July 10, 2010

Normandy Crêpes

When I was in high school I spent 3 1/2 months in France on exchange. While I was there, I lived with a delightful little French family who had their own crepe maker. The idea was that you could all sit at the table and make your crêpes throughout your meal. I brought over some maple syrup for them but I don't think that they ever really warmed to it. We'd often have crêpes for dinner with an egg cooked on top and served with ham. If you've ever been to Paris, then you've definitely seen the crêperies :) Don't be intimidated - crêpes aren't that hard to make. It just take a little bit of practice to get it right. Bon Appétit!

2 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbs. sugar (if you want your crepes sweeter)

1. In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer if you're lucky enough to have one), mix together all of your wet ingredients (milk, water, eggs, vanilla, butter). Gradually add in the flour, sugar and salt, stirring to combine. Beat until smooth.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Spray with Pam or melt some putter and then pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly. Your first crêpe probably won't turn out too well, but keep up the practice and it'll get easier and easier.
3. Cook the crêpe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown and the top is mostly cooked. Keep the crêpe moving by lightly shaking the pan. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. 

* Depending on how many crêpes you plan on making, you may want to keep a hot oven on the go to keep your stock HOT. You may also want to have 2 frying pans on the go. The recipe above makes about 12 crêpes.
* You may have to adjust your temperature throughout cooking. Be sure to start with a very HOT pan, but at medium heat. You may be tempted to turn the heat higher but you'll just end up burning your crêpes and who want to eat a burned crêpe??
* Be creative in serving your crêpes, yummy combinations can include chocolate & banana, peaches and creme, mixed berries and yoghurt, you name it. Have fun!

Lentil Burgers

We're not vegetarians but we thought we'd give a go on trying lentil burgers. I have to admit that I had to do a lot of meat-loving-husband coaxing to even get him to try this meal. The recipe promised a "high-fiber, low-fat and even lower-cost recipe that turns the traditional beef burger on its head". Not sure about turning the traditional beef burger on its head part, but they were pretty good. I don't think that the photo does it much justice, the original recipe photo must have used a hamburger maker press or something, if they exist, because I ended up having a bit of trouble forming my burgers. They were yummy though and definitely a nice veggie alternative! They'd be a nice option to bring to a bbq. Bon Appétit! 

1 cup dried green lentils, rinsed
6 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, minced
1/4 cup leeks, finely diced
2 tbs. flaxseed, ground (I added chopped walnuts because I didn't have any flaxseed)
5 tsp. dijon mustard
3 tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. tumeric
2 tsp. cumin
1 cup cooked long-grain brown rice
2 tsp. olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cook lentils according to package directions.
2. In a large bowl, mix the garlic, onion, celery, leeks, flaxseed (walnuts?), dijon, tomato paste, and spices. When lentils are cooked, mash them with the back of a fork, leaving some of them whole. Add mashed lentils and rice to bowl, mix all ingredients together.
3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. While oil is heating, form lentil-rice mixture into 6 lentil patties. Add them to the pan and cook for 2-3min. per side, until light brown. Transfer the patties to the prepared baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15 minutes until warmed through. Serve with a side-sald and topped with diced tomatoes and avocado if desired.

Butter Chicken & Naan ... Yummo.

So this post is for my twinny, Leah, all the way out there in Saskatoon. Leah is a big fan of our butter chicken, and all things fantastically spiced. This is an Indian dish from Punjab. The only kind of 'out there' ingredient in it is the garam masala. Garam Masala is from the Hindi for garam ('hot') and masala ('mixture') and is essentially just a blend of common Indian & South-Asian spices (commonly black & white peppercorns, cloves, malibar leaves, long pepper,black cumin, cumin seeds, cinnamon; black, brown, & green cardamom,nutmeg, star anise and coriander seeds). And by 'hot' we're talking about the intensity of the spice, and not spicy 'hot'. This is NOT a spicy dish. You should be able to get the garam masala at any grocery store spice isle. It may be under "Indian Masala". To make the meal go a little further, you could serve it with some nice rice. We like to serve it with naan bread. We buy our naan in bulk and keep it frozen in the freezer. If you look in different grocery stores (we're a big fan of Price Chopper) other than Loblaws where they sell the naan for 2 pieces for 4$, you can usually find bulk naan for 10 pieces for 5$. It freezers really well and heats up in a toaster oven really well in just a couple of minutes. Bon Appétit! 

2 tbs. olive oil (divided)
1 lbs. boneless, skiness chicken cut into bit-sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. of each: garam masala & cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
salt & pepper to taste
Serve with: rice or naan bread

1. Heat 1 tbs. oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes and then set aside. If serving with rice, start your rice cooking.
2. Heat remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, garlic and ginger until soft and fragrant. Stir in butter, lemon juice and all of the spices. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, cooking for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the milk and yogurt. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.
3. Add reserved chicken to sauce and bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes until sauce has thickened and chicken is cooked through. In the mean time, if serving with naan, heat in the oven with a light brushing of olive oil.
4. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.