Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Planet of the Crepes

Sometimes I like to imagine that I live in France. I use my limited French speaking skills around the house (usually directed at the dog), pour myself a glass of wine and sit on my back porch to read Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I have a dream of vegan-izing the most non-vegan recipe in that book but it's a tough choice. There are so many options! So, the other day, instead of figuring out how to make Sauce Beurre Blanc for my roasted duck I decided to keep things simple and make some crepes!

I am a huge fan of the savory crepe and also a huge fan of perfecting my crepe-making skills without the use of a crepe pan. Then came the dilemma of sweet or savory. It didn't matter that it was for dinner; sometimes I eat cake for breakfast. Crepes always surprise me by being shockingly filling, so I decided to make 8 savory crepes and serve them with a simple salad, hopefully have leftovers and save the dessert crepes for weekend brunching!

Of course, this whole idea came to me at the beginning of what ended up being a really long day. I was lacking motivation and the thought of even venturing to the store seemed devastating. Then it dawned on me that even though all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and eat a ring pop, at least I have all my limbs and I know how to cook and I have a job that means I can actually purchase groceries and why am I whining about making dinner when some people can't even boil hotdogs? So, I went to the store.

On the menu: Mushroom Medley Savory Crepes with Lemon Cashew Cream Sauce and a green salad.

For the crepe:

1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups soy milk
2 TBS melted margarine
2 prepared Ener-G Egg Replace "eggs"
Unlimited supply of margarine for cooking

If you want to make sweet/dessert crepes you can use the above recipe, but substitute 2 TBS of applesauce for the Ener-G Eggs and add in 1 TBS of sugar and about 1/2 tsp of vanilla or almond flavoring.

I did not use the applesauce or sugar, but I was pretty excited to have it on-hand so I took photographic evidence!

For the filling:

4-5 cups of sliced mushrooms; I used 1 portobello and several handfuls of shitake and cremini mushrooms.
2 medium leeks
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into chunks the size of the tips
3-an infinite amount (depending on your desired taste) cloves of garlic, chopped
2 TBS olive oil

For the sauce:

1 cup of water
1 1/4 cup of cashews (raw or salted) (I used roasted and salted b/c I am the picture of health)
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp lemon juice

I began by grabbing a large glass bowl and combining flour, baking powder and salt. I added all but 1/4 cup of the soy milk and whisked the ingredients until smooth. I used the 1/4 cup of milk as the liquid for preparing the Ener-G Egg Replacer eggs. After adding the 2 tsp of egg replacer to the 1/4 cup of milk and whisking until frothy, I added it to the larger bowl and stirred. I melted the margarine on the stove-top (which took all of a minute) and added that to the larger bowl as well. I stirred to combine everything and set the mixture in the fridge, uncovered.

While the batter chilled, I worked on slicing the mushrooms, leeks, asparagus and garlic. I also made the Lemon Cashew Cream Sauce. The recipe for the sauce comes from a blog that was a go-to in my early vegan years, Vegan Yum Yum. The gnocchi recipe is also phenomenal!

The cream sauce is super simple to make and very delicious to eat. In your blender or food processor toss in all of the ingredients and blend until smooth. It was slightly more complex on my end because the blender I was using was broken. Actually, not complex but death-defying. Water was seeping out of the bottom of the blender onto the button panel as well as the cord and there was this awful smokey smell. Also, I couldn't find the lid, so I decided that a plastic cutting board would do the trick (it didn't). I kept pressing the button with a towel and covering my eyes, convinced that I was going to get electrocuted. After about 5 minutes of that I decided it was smooth enough and called it quits (and promptly recycled the blender). I transferred the sauce to a sauce pan (it seemed fitting) and started to cook the mushrooms.

While the mushrooms cooked in the olive oil, I removed the batter from the fridge. It looked a little thick, so I added water a TBS at a time until it had thinned out a bit. I probably added about 4-5 TBS. I turned the oven on warm and prepared my pan by adding 1/2 tsp of margarine. Once the margarine had melted, I used a paper towel to evenly spread it along the bottom of the pan. You don't want your pan too greasy, but you also don't want your crepes to stick! My tester crepe was kind of small, but it didn't stick. Yahoo! I cooked it for 4 minutes until it was golden brown, flipped monsieur crepe and cooked the other side for about a minute---not long. After each crepe I made sure to repeat the margarine ritual. Eventually my crepes were the size of the pan. The completed crepes lived in the oven.

After the mushrooms were browned and slightly caramelized I added the asparagus and leeks. I cooked the mixture for about 3 minutes and added the garlic. I cooked everything for another 2 minutes or so, turned off the heat and covered it. At this point I removed about 1/2 cup of sauce from the pan and set it aside. I then added some balsamic vinegar and a bit of honey mustard to the 1/2 cup of sauce and whisked it until smooth and creamy.

Finally it was time to assemble! Take a crepe (so tenderly) and spread the cashew cream sauce (not the portion that is set aside) inside. Spoon your filling atop the sauce and roll like a pancake (or a cigar for those of you who do that). Once you have your desired amount of crepes, spoon/drizzle the cream sauce/balsamic/honey mustard sauce mixture over the top. I garnished with a piece of spinach from the spinach salad that was thrown together and not really worth picturing!


Kind of the worst picture ever because of my really superior cell phone. SORRY!! I promise you that it was beautiful....a real Monet! I also promise to use my real camera more often.

Still to be blogged about: Gardein Dinner Creation (I love you, Gardein), a very special lasagna dinner and my weekend in Portland!

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