Monthly Archives: May 2009

Sweet Crepes with Whipped Cream and Blackberry Confit

My husband has made me crepes for breakfast before, but he basically used thinned-out pancake batter to do so. It was good, but I wanted to try my hand at a DIY crepe recipe, too.

This restaurant we used to go to when we were in college made phenomenal crepe-like pancakes filled with whipped cream, sour cream, and strawberries. They were so good, but so heavy! This is my attempt at recreating them in my cooking style.

Crepe recipe from Alton Brown

Ingredients:
For the crepes:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2-1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. liqueur (Because I was using blackberries, I added creme de cassis. I’d try to pair it with whatever filling you’re using.)
  • Pam spray

For the blackberry confit:

  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients for the crepes except for the Pam spray in a blender. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours before making the crepes.
  • When you’re ready to make the crepes, put all of the ingredients for the blackberry confit in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for ~15 minutes, mashing the larger berries, until it’s broken down and the liquid is syrupy. Pour the mixture through a food mill before serving to remove the large seeds and set aside.
  • Put the bowl of a stand mixer and its whisk attachment in the freezer for ~10 minutes. After 10 minutes have elapsed, combine all of the ingredients for the whipped cream in the mixer bowl. Whisk for ~3 minutes until the cream stiffens. Set aside.
  • Spray a non-stick skillet over high heat with Pam. When the skillet is hot, pour ~3 oz. in the skillet (depending on how large your skillet is) and swirl the batter around. In ~1 minute, when the edges start to cook, check the bottom and see if it’s easy to pull off of the pan. If it is, flip the crepe and cook for 30 seconds more; if not, let cook for an additional 30 seconds and check again.
  • When the crepes are finished, spread with whipped cream and blackberry confit and fold in thirds.

Verdict:
The crepes were light and not greasy at all, which was a severe departure from Pamelas’ crepes! But the filling was definitely remiscent of them: the whipped cream was rich and sweet, and the blackberries were tangy and syrupy. I was worried that the liqueur in the crepe batter would be a bit much, but it was quite subtle and a nice compliment to the berries in the filling. A wonderful way to start the day!

Gnocchi with Summer Squash, Zucchini and Tomatoes

I tore this recipe out of Everyday Food, thinking that it would be super easy to throw together before Trivia Night at Flying Saucer and that it would be filling enough so that my husband wouldn’t gorge himself on their soft pretzels.

From Everyday Food

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of gnocchi (or any kind of short pasta, really)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 1 summer squash, sliced and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped (I omitted this — for those of you who don’t know, I haven’t found basil that tastes great to me yet in Texas! It seems to have a minty aftertaste to me, but the horticulturalists I’ve spoken to think I’m crazy.)
  • Pecorino Romano cheese (I just used Parmesan.)
  • 1 Tbsp. butter (I omitted this. I thought the Parmesan made it creamy enough without adding too much extra fat.)
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

Directions:

  • Cook the gnocchi as directed, making sure to reserve ~1/2 c. of cooking water. Keep in mind that they cook in ~3 minutes, so prepare accordingly.
  • Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the squash. Saute for ~3 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another ~2 minutes.
  • When the veggies are finished, remove from the heat and toss the veggies with the gnocchi, 1/2 c. cooking water, basil, cheese, butter (if using), and lemon juice.


I also tossed some crimini mushrooms with the veggies while they were sauteeing.

Verdict:
So I’ll be honest here: I don’t like gnocchi that much. I don’t know why; it’s something about the texture. I definitely would’ve preferred this with a hearty whole-wheat penne. That being said, this is a wonderfully light and flavorful meal, and comes together in a snap. The key is to use really fresh ingredients (since you’re not using a sauce, which would ordinarily mask the flavors of the veggies). You could also roast the veggies if you’re using firmer ones (like carrots or root veggies), but sauteeing = fewer steps = less time to wait to eat. Hey, what can I say — I was hungry.

Buttermilk Biscuits with Chives and Goat Cheese

Chives are kind of like parsley for me — I frequently use them as a garnish, but never as a primary ingredient. But after receiving a huge bunch of chives in my Greenling box a few weeks ago, I thought it was time to change that.

Anyone else know some recipes that use chives as a main ingredient?

From Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 c. to 1/2 c. of freshly chopped chives (can also use chopped green onions)
  • 1 5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled (I’ve never seen a 5 oz. log of goat cheese; mine come in 4 and 8 oz. sizes. I used 4 oz. and it was plenty.)
  • 1 c. buttermilk (plus 1 Tbsp. for finish)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper. (Elise’s recipe doesn’t say to butter the parchment paper, but I would. Mine stuck to the paper. Actually, I’d use a Silpat to make these again. I just didn’t have 2 of them.)
  • Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until it’s crumbly.
  • Add the chives, goat cheese and buttermilk. Stir with fork just until a sticky dough forms (bits of cheese will be visible in dough).
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (I needed much more flour than “lightly floured” to knead it) and knead gently 8 times with floured hands. Do not over-knead!
  • Form into a round, about 3/4-inch to an inch thick. Cut the round into 8 wedges.
  • Use a pastry brush to brush on some extra buttermilk over the surface of the wedges.
  • Bake for ~20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.


Mine weren’t as golden brown as I would like because my oven started smoking in the middle of cooking; I had to reduce the heat and cook them for a few minutes longer instead. Oh well. That’s what I get for not having a self-cleaning oven.

Verdict:
Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I should say that my husband didn’t care for these because he doesn’t like goat cheese (weird, I know), but take my word for it — these were absolutely incredible. The dough was light and the buttermilk gave it a tang that went so well with the tanginess of the goat cheese. The chives mellowed in the baking process so that while the onion flavor permeated throughout the biscuit, it was mild and pleasant.

Local Box Meal Plan for May 25-29

I’m late! I’m sorry. Having holidays on Mondays totally mess up my internal clock, leaving me to think that Tuesdays are really Mondays and so on. I realized this afternoon that today was actually Wednesday and I needed to get my Greenling meal plan going!

In this week’s box: blackberries (Naegelin Farm), cucumber (Buena Tierra), carrots (Tecolote), green beans (Acadian), summer squash (Naegelin), elephant garlic (Montesino), leeks (Acadian), mangoes (G&S Groves), peaches (Caskey), and garlic chives (Tecolote).

So for the next few days, we’re having:

Weekend brunch:

Condiments:

Dinner:

Side dish:

What are you making this week?

Bison Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Red Potato Coins

This meal is so straightforward with so few ingredients that simple prose is sufficient. =)

To carmelize onions: melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, add sliced onions and a pinch of salt (sometimes I add a pinch of sugar too), and cook until the onions are soft and slightly browned (i.e., “caramel”). Stir frequently and watch constantly; don’t let the onions burn. **If you want to make this a meal you make entirely on the grill, don’t be afraid to stick your skillet directly on the grill! Bobby Flay does it all the time.**

The bison burgers were easy also — form ground meat into patties, add some salt (garlic salt, if you’re in my house), and either grill or pan-fry (~10 minutes for “medium” burgers). The meat is pretty lean, so you might need to spray the grill or pan with Pam to prevent sticking.


Those are homemade burger buns, but they turned out more like rolls, so I’m going to spare you that recipe.

Lastly, for the potato coins, slice the potatoes in 1/4″ discs, toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and either grill or roast for ~15 minutes at 400 degrees (flipping once) until crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.

Verdict:
Quick, summery, and delicious! Best yet, with the exception of the cheese, this entire meal was made from local produce and meat. The veggies all came from our Greenling box and the meat came from the Shape Ranch booth at the Pearl Brewery farmer’s market.

Blackberry-Peach Crisp

You know those nights where company is coming over without much advance notice? That’s what this recipe is perfect for. It’s made of things that are always in my pantry and can be adapted to whatever fresh or frozen fruit you have in the house. I used the peaches and blackberries that came in our Local Box this week.

I originally made this dessert for just 2 people in 6 oz. ramekins. For company last night, I tripled the recipe and baked it in a pie dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. fruit
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 c. oats
  • 3 tsp. flour
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut the fruit into small chunks (~1/2″) and spread it in the bottom of a pie dish.
  • Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, then spread it on top of the fruit.
  • Bake for ~40 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Verdict:
The peaches were so sweet and the blackberries were a bit tart, so it was really a perfect combination of fruit for this crisp. The soft, fresh fruit is also a nice contrast to the crunchy, rich crumble topping. Such a quick, comfort food-like dessert. I’d highly recommend eating this with vanilla ice cream!

Mango Salsa

Mango salsa is refreshing, spicy, and perfect for summertime. I like eating it with grilled fish, alongside burgers, or just plain with some salty blue corn chips.

From Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, chopped (click here for tips on how to cut up a mango. I actually used 2 mangos to balance out my overexuberance with the jalapeno.)
  • 1/4 c. cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely minced (I used some of the ribs and seeds for extra spice. My mouth was on fire. I wouldn’t recommend this for the faint-of-heart.)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 small red onion or the entire bulb of a red spring onion, finely chopped
  • Plenty of kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced (I omitted this because I didn’t have any cukes in the house.)

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss. Adjust seasonings to taste. Let the flavors marinate for an hour or so before serving.

Verdict:
Yummy! So fresh and a deliciously light accompaniment to our bison burgers. Remember that when cutting up spicy peppers like jalapenos, you might want to wear rubber gloves. It’s no fun when you forget that you chopped up a pepper hours earlier (even after multiple handwashings!) and you rub your eyes. Ow.