Monday, June 29, 2009

Waste Not - Want Not ... "Of The Month"

My husband and I had one heck of a bad meal in Paris. I know. I couldn't believe it either. But that's what happens when you ignore the cardinal tourist rule when dining out internationally.... we ate at a restaurant with both French AND English versions of the menu. We only had ourselves to blame. But my husband caused a big 'ol American-style scene and we generously paid for our wine and left. Normally we would just move on to the next watering hole and try again, but since everyone in Paris eats at an ungodly late hour we were not only hungry but tired. We walked back towards our hotel with disappointment in every step until what to our wondering eyes should appear, but the most quaint and delightful looking creperie you've ever seen. It was the only place open at that late of an hour and it was hopping. You watched this crepe master (honestly, he could go pro) create whatever crepe your little mind could conjure up. I suppose I was feeling like drowning out the disappointing dinner and had a Grand Marnier soaked crepe and the hubby had a Nutella and banana one. We sat there on the street eating our perfect crepes and drinking the house wine as happy as could be. And you know what. I'm glad that we had that crappy meal hours earlier. If it wasn't for that failed attempt at dinner we would have never had such a perfect end to our evening. All that being said, as I was finishing my crepe. Happy. Full. And feeling like I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world at that moment I glanced over and saw an older gentleman reading a newspaper...drinking some wine...and eating the most delightful looking ham, egg and cheese crepe I had ever seen. You know that feeling you get when someone else at your table orders the perfect meal and even though your meal looks good, great even, you can't help but wonder what pleasures that other meal could have brought to your mouth-hole? Yah. That's what I felt staring at that bad-ass ham, egg and cheese crepe. Would you like to make some bad-ass crepes of your own? They're easier than you could imagine and the base for this month's waste not - want not recipe: (Fill in the blank meat)___, mushroom and Swiss crepes.

(Fill in the blank meat)___, mushroom and Swiss crepes are an awesome use of leftover meat AND veggies. The mushroom and Swiss is just where we begin. I also added some asparagus that had seen better days. Mix this all together, wrap in a crepe, cover all of this in a bechamel sauce and you've got a leftover meal fit for a king. P.S. I had leftover crepes and in true waste not want not spirit I threw them in the fridge and made chocolate, strawberry crepes out of them the next night for desert. You're drooling aren't you? It's ok. I won't tell.


2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tbs. melted butter

Toss all of the ingredients in a blender. Pulse until blended and smooth (shouldn't take more than 60 seconds or so). Take blender pitcher and place in the refrigerator for one hour to let bubbles settle. When your filling is done and you are keeping it warm (filling recipe below) heat a skillet/frying pan to medium/medium low heat. Add enough butter to just moisten the bottom of the pan, then pour in enough crepe batter to just coat the bottom of the pan. Let sit approx. 30 seconds then flip and cook for another 10 or 15 seconds on the other side. Try a few practice crepes to get the pan temperature right and the timing down. You don't want the crepes to be too golden brown. Just barely golden. And the flip will take some practice. I use a big spatula and gently flip it....gently. When each one is done stack it on top of the last one with a layer of aluminum foil between them. Keep warm in the oven until ready to fill.

Filling: **when deciding how much filling to make think that you're going to want no more than 1/4 cup of filling in each crepe...since you're using leftover meat and perhaps some almost dead veggies, you probably won't have exact measurements of your best to eyeball it**

Meat - whatever you have left over and however much you have. You can bolster it up with veggies or cheese. This isn't really a recipe. It's more of an idea. I used leftover duck in mine because that is what I had. It was good. It was really good.

Veg - once again. Use whatever you have (that you think might taste good). I almost always put sauteed mushrooms and onions in mine. This time I also added some asparagus (chopped into small, coin-like rounds). I also served asparagus on the side with some of my beshamel sauce but the hubby said it was asparagus overload. I agree but I didn't want to waste it.

Cheese - Swiss! I'm sure you could put your choice of cheese in this puppy, but what goes better than mushrooms, onions and Swiss? Nothing I can think of! Grate whatever cheese you're using.

Other - Garlic(1 clove). Olive Oil. Salt. Pepper. If you're using spinach as your veg I would add some crushed red pepper.

Here's how I made my filling::::
I sauteed the onions, asparagus, garlic and mushrooms in some olive oil until tender. Then I added the leftover meat (which I had shredded) at the last minute to just heat through. I seasoned with salt and pepper to taste then I took it off the heat and stirred in some shredded Swiss cheese, still stirring until just melted. Then take your crepes out of the oven and carefully roll some filling inside of each crepe. Don't roll it like a burrito (you tuck the ends in when rolling a burrito...don't with these...just roll them like a cigar). If you like make a simple bechamel sauce (recipe below) and drizzle it over top. Serve with some steamed veg if you like. I steamed the rest of my almost dead asparagus and topped it with the bechamel because asparagus goes well with sauces...don't put bechamel on something like carrots...perhaps you could put it on wilted spinach...oh! you could certainly put it on steamed broccoli!

Bechamel sauce:

2 1/2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan (or in the microwave) until warm. Add the milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg.

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