Tag Archives: crepes

Viva la Bastille!!! French-inspired veggie-full recipes…

14 Jul

Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L’etendard sanglant est levé
Entendez vous dans les campagnes,
Mugir ces feroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Egorger nos fils, nos compagnes!

That’s all I know about La Marseillaise, the French National Anthem.

But I do know that I have a secret love affair with anything French…  last year, about this same time, I was in Paris for the 3rd time enjoying my first ever international vacation all by myself.  It was a great experience and something I recommend anyone to try at least once in their life.

To celebrate… I would like to recap a few of my favorite French-inspired vegetarian remakes for all of you who might think French food can’t be made vegetarian and delicious and authentic at the same time…

Crepes can be made without eggs… and even without gluten.  

You just need to be patient and buy the right ingredients.

Crepe Stack - Copy

Crepes for Lunch or Dinner

Fill them with Spinach, Potato and Broccoli or just plain Cheese… Crepes are France’s version of the sandwich.

Potato Broccoli Crepe KFC

Crepe Fromage 1

Photo Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

 

Crepes for Dessert

Fill them with macerated fruits or even a dulce de leche, sweet crepes are the gold standard of street-food decadence.

Egg-free crepes

crepe caramel beurre salee

Give new life to your recipes…

30 Aug

In the spirit of reusing, reducing and recycling I wanted to share with you some of my recipes and how do I use them and re-use them in other preparations. As a very wise Alton Brown once said in one of his TV shows – “There is no room in my kitchen for uni-taskers!!!” I think Alton was referring more to kitchen utensils and gadgets than recipes… but you get my drift.

In my everyday life I cook and eat most everything I post here in this blog… and when making a recipe, I sometimes have leftovers. Sometimes… too much leftovers for just one person to chow down. I personally try as much as possible to cook just for now and maybe, to have something for tomorrow… but in my ideal world, I would cook for just now and make everything fresh right before I eat it.

Something I learned from the Yoga Center is that if you’re using leftovers, at least combine them with fresh stuff to give the leftovers a new lease on life. You see… leftovers have lost some of its nutritional value because it’s been a while since they’ve been cooked. This is the exact same reason why I discourage the consumption of frozen prepared meals or that convenient idea of cooking one day for the whole week and then just reheat and eat it whenever you’re hungry. If it’s something you do occasionally… it’s not that bad, but doing it as a system, well, in my opinion, you’re always eating old food that’s not as healthy and nutritious as when it was originally cooked.

So here are my ideas to use recipes the next day converting them into new dishes altogether. This way, we use our leftovers right away and do not accumulate lots if little containers in our fridge. OK??

Whenever I make Bruschetta Mix, I eat some as a snack or appetizer, but I always try to make more than I think I’ll need and eat with pasta.

p1010884.jpg

When I have leftover mashed potatoes – or just leftover boiled potatoes – this is a perfect opportunity to create a pastelón with it. Cook a filling made of veggies or soy protein and top with your favorite cheese…. And there you have a complete meal.

You are familiar already with my Meyer Lemon Thyme Granita recipe… if you do not want to eat it all as a granita, what I have done in the past is save pieces of the leftover frozen simple syrup in a freezer bag. And every time I want to create a fruit smoothie I supplement the ice/juice in my smoothie with a few pieces of the frozen lemon thyme mixture. The end result is a great tangy taste to your favorite morning drink… My suggestion, add a few pieces to a BB Shake – banana, blueberries, meyer lemon, thyme… YUM!!!

Anytime you have leftover rice, it’s easy to give it new life by adding a few delicious odds and ends you might have in your fridge. Just make your very own version of Millionaire Rice, the one that would cost you and arm and a leg if you had to go and buy so many ingredients to make, but it’s cinch just using up whatever you have cluttering up you fridge. Or make some Rice with Corn.  And if after making rice you still end up with a leftover, you can revive it once again into a Stuffed Pepper.

Cooked greens is not something I grew up with… eating spinach, for example, was an acquired taste I developed well into adulthood. If you make a version of creamed spinach to fill a spinach crepe… you can use any leftover mix into a Spinach Canelloni with the same crepes but adding some ricotta cheese to the filling and topping with tomato sauce. Add some more flour and create delicious Spinach Croquetas. You could even use it to fill a traditional Spinach Lasagna.

I hope you have learned a few tricks on how to give more mileage to the recipes you already know and how to use similar ingredients and flavors to enhance a brand new dish. This is kinda taking the semi-homemade concept to your leftovers.

What other magical recipes do you create based on your leftovers??? I want to learn something from you guys too!!!

Spinach Cannelloni

6 Jun

My sister invited us to a full long weekend of merriment to celebrate my BIL 40th birthday… It was jam-packed with surprises and food.

I traveled with the excuse of spending time with my nephew, Ale. So he never ever suspected the conga-line of people that would appear each night to celebrate the weekend. First, we started the celebration last Thursday, the official birth date, with his mom and brother coming in by surprise. I had to buy groceries and make everything that same day because I couldn’t let the birthday boy know we were cooking for 12 that day…

I was planning to make a taquiza/taco bar menu for dear BIL, something he had enjoyed a lot once before. But when he insisted all he wanted was his favorite tiramisu for a birthday cake, the menu quickly shifted to Italian and the poblanos and corn were set aside for another day.

Make a crepe and fill it with Nutella or gruyere cheese and you immediately think Paris or French… But take the same crepe and fill it with ricotta and spinach and what do you get? Cannelloni…

I know… there are a lot of ingredients in the list, but it’s really an easy assembly recipe. This recipe is very easily halved for a smaller crowd.

SPINACH CANNELLONI

Makes about 24 cannelloni to serve 12 people

24 crepes
24oz of ricotta cheese
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
4 cups of Italian-Blend shredded Cheese
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 bag of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry as much as possible
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 tbs of chopped fresh Italian parsley
2-3 tbs of chopped fresh basil leaves
3 tbs of olive oil, divided
2 packs of Pomi chopped tomatoes
2 cups of half and half
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
Garlic Salt, Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper to taste
  1. I make my own crepes using this batter recipe right here. I make the batter the night before and allow it to rest in the fridge overnight.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add a few drizzles of olive oil, onions and garlic. Season them liberally with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes to allow the onions to release their moisture, but do not brown them, just until they’re soft. Set aside.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 425F.
  4. To make the filling… In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, the cooked onions/garlic mixture, 2 cups of the Italian cheese blend, ½ cup parmesan cheese, the chopped fresh parsley and basil and the chopped thawed and squeezed spinach. Season it with salt, pepper, garlic salt and a few drizzles of olive oil. Mix well to combine. Set aside. If you want to make some cheese cannelloni without the spinach, just omit the spinach or set some cheese mixture aside before adding the spinach. The flavors will work really well.
  5. To make the sauce… mix together in another large bowl the chopped tomatoes, half and half and season with salt, pepper, dried oregano and basil, garlic salt and a few drizzles of olive oil. Mix together well to combine and create a pink sauce and set aside.
  6. Now we assemble… I had to use 2 large 9” x 13” glass oven-proof dishes for this amount of crepes. Pour 1/4 of the sauce in the bottom of each baking dish. Take each crepe and smear about 1 large soup spoonful of cheese/spinach mixture and roll into a cannelloni. Place on top of the sauce. Repeat with all the crepes and place them side by side on the baking dishes.
  7. When you’re done assembling the crepes in the baking dish, spoon the sauce that’s left on top of the crepes. Sprinkle the rest of the Italian blend cheeses, the mozzarella and the parmesan cheese on top of the cannelloni to create a cheesy crust on top.
  8. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes to allow the tomato sauce to cook and for the cheese on top to melt and brown. If the cheese is not browned to your liking, you can always turn on the broiler on low and watch it for 10 minutes or so until it’s brown and beautiful.

You can certainly make this for a large crowd like I did, or make it into individual dishes and serve for a smaller group or even just one. I did some filled with just cheese and some with the spinach… the kids ate the ones with spinach even though I had mentioned I had ones with just cheese. They were skeptical at first, but they ate it all in the end.

And if you have any creamed spinach leftover from another side dish or from making a stack of crepes…  you can indeed use it and skip the step of cooking onions and garlic beforehand.

We served these cannelloni with a caprese salad and delicious garlicky bread

Cook with your Kids – An Afternoon of Crepes

2 Feb

My two little nieces, Mariana and Natalia, are taking already French classes in school. I am sooooo excited that in a short time we’ll be able to speak in French in front of their parents without them knowing what we’re saying about them.  I do need to step up my game, because it may happen that they will end up speaking better French than I…

For their birthdays, I try to give them EXPERIENCES… these are girls so fully blessed, that they do not need another toy or dress or bracelet from Titi Madelyn. So for one of their last birthdays I offered them an afternoon of French Crepes. In my mind we would’ve been listening to some French music… instead we listened to Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez, but I guess them having a good time works best for me than just having some random French background music.

This is my THEORY…

That if you offer kids new food in an exciting package, they will eat it regardless of how picky they are.

Natalia is a great eater… she eats almost anything. But Mariana is a whole different story… She is super picky and I need to create stories around the food we’re eating to get her to at least try it. That’s how Shrek’s Spaghetti, Veggie Sandwiches, Asparagus Sandwiches, Plain and Easy Fettucini Alfredo have come to be.

Well this time around was CREPES… I offered several alternatives – cheese, veggie ham, spinach, tomatoes, avocados… The winning combinations were:

Organic Mozzarella Cheese + Veggie Ham

 

Organic Mozzarella + Cream Cheese + Goat Cheese + Veggie Ham with Walnuts and a Drizzle of Honey on Top

What I was most surprised about is they LOVED the Veggie Ham. Mariana ate 2 full crepes and several servings of plain veggie ham. She asked what it was made of and still ate it with wild abandon. They asked for seconds, and even Natalia ate 2 plain crepes stuffed with just warmed veggie ham to eat with her hands, just like the French eat them in the streets of Paris.

And we couldn’t leave out some crepes for Dessert

Cajeta + Raspberries

Nutella + Banana

(sorry, pictures to come later on…)

PROOF

Make a thin, thin pancake, and kids will eat whatever you put inside it.

My next attempt, have Mariana to eat a Spinach-filled Crepe… Will I succeed???

Potato Broccoli Crepes

27 Sep

A year ago I was walking the streets of Paris for the second time… enjoying as much as my senses could gather.  I loved the ambiance, the rhythm of the city… everything!!!  I felt that if I wanted I may be able to even live there.

Place de la Madeleine      notre dame    crepes nutella

Well, that’s what my friend Jesiel actually did.  She has moved herself to Paris to start at 33 a new career as a Pastry Chef.  She recently started a blog – Sweet Journey of Inspiration – to capture her travels and her love for good authentic food, especially pastries.

So to reminisce about my days in Paris and to celebrate Jesiel’s decision to leave all that is familiar to her and start anew in a city where she still is learning the language, I decided to make these savory crepes…

Savory crepes… crêpes salées or gallettes are extremely popular in menus across Paris.  As you can see from my previous post on Parisian crepes, they’re mostly made from buckwheat flour and come in an infinite variety of savory combinations.  I had mine then with potatoes, spinach and cheese. 

Crepe epinard 1

Well, with the abundance of broccoli we’ve had recently, these are made with delicious broccoli.  They’re simple to make and a nice savory alternative to using up those crepes from our crepes recipe post right here

 

POTATO BROCCOLI CREPES

1 small red potato, quartered
3-4 broccoli florets
Handful of shredded cheese – it could be gruyere or a cheese blend like I used
Handful of walnuts
Drizzle of honey – optional
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 crepes – recipe here
 
  1. In a small saucepan filled with about ½’ of water, place the potato quarters.  Salt the potato.  Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2.  When the potato is about to be done, place the florets on top of the potato for them to steam.  After covering the saucepan again, wait about 15 seconds and turn off the stove.  The florets will cook with the steam and remaining heat in the saucepan for about 10 minutes more.
  3. If you have already made your crepes, you should reheat them so they’re flexible and pliable again.  So while you wait on the broccoli to finish cooking, heat up a skillet (I use the same skillet I used to make the crepes in the first place) and over medium heat, place the crepes for about 1 minute on each side.  This will just reheat them and bring them back to life…
  4. Drain the water from the potato and broccoli.  Mash the potato and broccoli together.  Season mash with salt and pepper.  Add the shredded cheese and nuts to the mash. Mix well to combine.
  5. Place about ¼ cup of mashed mixture onto each crepe, fold and place in a plate.  Drizzle with a bit of honey over crepes and sprinkle added nuts on top for garnish.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,294 other followers

%d bloggers like this: