March 31, 2006

Tina's Vegetable Crêpes

I cooked these!!!

As I've already told you, I'm a recovering salad-hater. Well, unfortunately, the avoidance of all things healthy has infiltrated my vegetable consumption, so much so that between my saladaphobia and my husband's broccospinachaphobia, the only veggies cooked on a regular basis chez nous were potatoes, carrots, onions and bell peppers. That ain't good. Sadly, I can't even remember the last time I cooked cauliflower, and I'd never in my life cooked brussel sprouts, so this recipe really pushed my veggie limits. These crepes filled with a creamy mixture of veggies comes from Tina, a lovely Swiss exchange student who is currently living with the in-laws aux Etats-Unis. She keeps the tastiest vegetable preparations up her sleeve and I was quite inspired during my recent visit back home to dig in and conquer some good veggie dishes after sampling some of her creations.

This is a highly adaptable recipe (after all, what doesn't taste good stuffed in a crepe?) but there is something special about this combination of veggies. It's very savory, almost like a pot pie filling. Unfortunately, I couldn't find kohlrabi here (called chou rave) as I think it may be out of season, but my substitution of potatoes was acceptable, though I prefer the kohlrabi. The crepe recipe is very simple, with a few more eggs than most recipes, I think. I also enjoyed learning that you can still make crepes when you're out of milk, which has stopped me in the past! Since I was making this for some friends, I was more concerned than usual about the appearance of the food. The filling isn't all that beautiful, but the taste more than makes up for it. I would put this dish in a category with fondue and other "serve yourself" type meals that are really fun to share with good friends.

(measurements converted from metric, so bear with me!)

2 cups flour
4 eggs
1 tsp. salt
.8 cup water (I measure 2 scant 1/2 cups)
1 tsp. oil + .4 cup water

Whisk eggs together and stir in .8 cup water. Whisk in flour in small amounts until batter is smooth. Combine oil with the .4 cup water in a measuring cup and stir to break up oil. Add this to the batter and whisk until smooth. Let rest on counter 1/2 hour.

Heat 1/2 tsp butter in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. You want to get the pan very hot. Once the pan is hot, ladle about 1/2 cup of the batter into the pan as you hold it off the heat and tilt the pan in a circular motion to spread the batter into a circle. Place pan back on heat and use a spatula to gently spread out any unsettled batter to make a larger crêpe. When crêpe looks dry on top, flip it over and cook on the other side for 30 seconds to a minute. Remove to plate and repeat with remaining batter. It might take one or two until you get the system down; don't worry if they aren't that pretty, they'll taste good!
Makes 10-12 large crêpes, but I made about 13-15.
Vegetable filling

1 Tbsp butter
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced (not in original recipe)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
about 15-20 brussel sprouts, cleaned, trimmed of tough root end, sliced in half
2/3 - 1 medium cauliflower, cut into 2 in. pieces
1 large kohlrabi, or 3 small, chopped to similar size as cauliflower
(I substituted 5 small potatoes, peeled and chopped)
1.5-2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp flour
3/4 cup cream
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
grated cheese for passing: parmesan and cantal were our choices
(*cantal was the favorite)

Melt butter in a large pot and sauté the onions 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and mix well. Pour 1.5 cups of broth over veggies, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until veggies are cooked but not completely falling apart. Mix together the flour and cream to make a slurry. (Tina sprinkles the flour directly into the broth and adds the cream at the end, but I felt safer making a slurry since there's less chance that the flour would clump.) Pour 2/3 of this mixture into the simmering broth and stir, watching to see how thick it becomes. Add more flour and/or cream until you have the desired consistency. Add salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Taste for seasoning. Tina has been seen to add dried Italian seasoning, garlic powder, seasoning salt, etc. Honestly, as you can tell, getting this recipe was like begging it off a reluctant grandmother, but I gathered that you can really go at it with whatever spices sound good!

To serve, pass cr
êpes and have guests fill their own!


Though I think this recipe is fabulous as is, I do think it would be fantastic with buckwheat
crêpes, or galettes au sarrasin, as is traditional for French savory crêpes. They are simply heartier crêpes with a bit more flavor. Plus, never having made them, I'm intrigued at the pairing. Plus, I'm naturally biased. Most things are now plundered by my pseudo-French sensibility and it's just not a crêpe unless you're drinking cidre brut and having an apple tart for dessert.


Tanna said...

Wow, I really like the looks of this. The veggie part I do easily, the crêpes are what would be more problamatical for me.
I'm looking around your blog for an e-mail, can't find one.
Thanks for your comment about the sunflowers. I've loved growing them for several years now.
Really enjoy your site.

Megan said...

I hope you try this! Crepes can be tricky. (I'll admit, this recipe isn't the easiest to handle just because it's thicker and doesn't spread out in the pan by itself! It's not a traditional milk-based batter.) Anyway, the first few are always for the dog, as they say. Just butter the non-stick pan well for the first one and you won't need to for the remaining ones. I hope you enjoy it!