Food, NYC, recipe

The Perfect Crepe

I have been working diligently attempting to make an easy and healthy crepe for breakfast.  I went a step further attempting a breakfast on the go method.. here’s what I found.  A basic crepe needs only three things FLOUR-EGGS-MILK (similar to making pasta).  That made testing more fun switching  ingredients easily. I found that altering the type of milk and eggs did not affect the crepe’s cooking.  That means feel free to use whole milk, eggs, and white flour, or as a lighter option you can use egg whites, whole wheat flour, and unsweetened almond milk for a crepe clocking in at only 50 calories.  I did a test run with coconut flour which failed miserably (sorry for those gluten free folks)

Crepe Folding: I used to fold in both sides to the center, but found that folding in half both directions resulted in the best filling holder.

Crepe Cooking: I have always stuck with the same format.  I lift a hot greased 10” skillet and swirl while pouring 1/4 cup batter.  I cook about 2 minutes on the first side and only a minute on the latter.

Storing and Reheating: I found they do not change texture when reheated so I enjoy making the whole batch and before filling and eating.  I even tested filling a day early and packing to reheat the next day which works very well.

Filling: For dessert I always default to berries with whipped cream, cinnamon and sugar, make syrup, powdered sugar, and chocolate chips.  For a more savory crepe I find any sort of cheese with mushrooms, herbs, spinach or sun dried tomatoes works best.

Ingredients (Makes about 6 crepes)IMG_2298

3/4C Milk

1/2C Flour

3 eggs

pinch of salt

Whisk together all ingredients to form a loose batter.

Heat and grease a 10″ skillet several minuted before adding batter.

Pour 1/4C batter onto pan while simultaneously swirling the pan with alternate pan until thinly coated.

Cook 2 minutes or until first side is golden brown and releases easily from the pan.

Repeat the process until all crepes are made and fill.

another batch of crepes

another batch of crepes

practice crepe stack

practice crepe stack

 

 

my favorite folding technique

my favorite folding technique

my idea of the most beautifully plated crepe

my idea of the most beautifully plated crepe

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Food, Fun, recipe, Sweets

Skinny Pumpkin Bars

This is a simple recipe that can be used without needing too many kitchen appliances and is actually pretty light with the addition of unsweetened almond milk, pumpkin, and coconut oil.  Sweet and simple with the addition of cinnamon sugar to the top makes this a great bar cake for a crowd.  Nutritionally about 140calories per 1X1 in slice

Ingredients

•2 cups flour

•1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar

•2 teaspoons baking powder

•1/2 teaspoon baking soda

•2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice mix or 1 tsp each cinnamon & ginger and 1/2 tsp each nutmeg & allspice and a pinch of clove

•pinch of mineral salt

•1- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

•1/3 cup water or unsweetened almond milk (at room temp)

•1/3 cup coconut oil (melted), or vegetable oil of choice 

•1 can (15oz) 100% pumpkin puree

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium size bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. In a small bowl, combine oil, sugar, water/milk and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture along with the pumpkin puree and mix well. Don’t over mix but be sure there is no flour clumps. Mine was very thick.  Taste batter adjusting flavor or sweetness to your liking. Pour batter into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake for 55 – 60 minutes. I used an 8X8 pan and cooked about 30 minutes.  IMG_1540 IMG_1539

Once done, remove from oven, let cool slightly before serving. Let cool completely before storing.

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Dining, Food, Fun, NYC, savory

The Flavor Thesaurus Experiment

The Thesaurus revealed!

The Thesaurus revealed!

The Flavor Thesaurus is a book which breaks down foods by categories (earthy, mustardy, marine etc) then further breaks down into foods and what flavors pair well with each ingredient.   I asked two testers to pick a category and a number in each.  They chose Brine and Salt and Spicy.  Then I left the rest a secret only allowing them to pick a number (4) which was Prosciutto and Nutmeg.  I then had the challenge of creating a dish with both ingredients.  I also had the first butternut squash of the season from my grandpa’s garden and thought I should incorporate that since it fits in the flavor profile of the other ingredients.

There is only one time of year when both summer and winter squash are in season and that would be now so I decided to steam a yellow summer squash, a head of cauliflower, and a butternut squash.  I sautéed the butternut squash in a bit of olive oil for a little added flavor and then boiled in 4C water before pureeing.  I pureed the other ingredients with salt (my homemade salt with fennel and lemon zest) pepper, and almond milk before adding to the squash.  I was a little nervous to add too much nutmeg, so I only added a dash to the puree then when topping it off with crispy prosciutto I added a bit more.  IMG_0919

In conclusion I can see this puree under a seared filet or if I add a little more stock and milk, a winter soup.  I am pretty proud of this one as I did not use any sort of recipe to help me out!

Big shoutout to Aubrey and George for their help!

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Dining, Food, Fun, NYC, savory

Friendsgiving 1- Cream-less Creamy Cauliflower soup

Well it is that time of year again.  It is not necessarily all about the family, rather the things we are thankful for including our friends.  My new favorite way to spend a day off is cooking with friends.  This week Mary’s turn.  We whipped up a last minute meal of cauliflower soup and speculoos blondies.  The soup was a recipe from Whole Foods meant to be served as little “soup shooters” but it was so tasty it deserved to be served as the main dish.

Well it is ironic that I found this recipe while shopping at Whole Foods.  I adore making soups because they are so easy especially this one which calls for a pound of frozen cauliflower, but my whole foods does not carry it.  After trying three grocery stores I stocked up on cauliflower and was ready to cook.  IMG_3067

The recipe from whole foods says it makes 12 servings of little shooters, but I made this more of the main event and finished off the whole batch before the end of the night.  The addition of crunchy almonds really took the soup to the next level.

Creamy Creamless Cauliflower Soup

1 lb frozen cauliflower
3.5 C Unsweetened almond milk
IMG_3068salt/pepper
2 apples diced (I used one large apple)
1T lemon juice
1 onion (thank heavens I already had one caramelized to save time and chopping tears)
Topping
1/2 C Slivered almonds (lightly toasted)
1/4 C Chopped Parsley
Lemon zest from 2 small lemons

Here is the link to the Whole Foods Method

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/creamy-cauliflower-and-apple-soup-shooters

 

MY METHOD

Combine all soup ingredients except lemon juice and let simmer for 30 minutes.  Pour in lemon juice and blend.  Serve and top with almond mixture! So so simple.  The only recommendation is to make sure you use enough salt and pepper to amp up the flavor.

Our other creations that day will be in following posts.  Thanks Mary

 

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Breakfast, Dining, Food, Fun, NYC, Sweets

Tips and Tricks Thursday- Ultimate healthy pancakes

Although I have two big projects in the works, I am not quite ready to reveal them yet, so I have another day of tips and tricks.

The first is simple.  I was at my favorite TJ’s and they only had bags of lemons for sale so I bought them knowing I would only use a few before they would start to go bad.  Lemon Tip: I ended up using an old frozen herb tray for the remainder of the juice.  I use the cubes in my club soda, and recipes both sweet and savory.  I especially like to use them in my quick and healthy pancake recipe.  It only uses a few ingredients I always have in hand.

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I never believe all of the crazy protein pancake recipes that taste odd and have a weird texture.  This is my personal favorite after testing out the banana pancake and it failing miserably.  It can also be adjusted easily depending on how many people you are feeding or how hungry you are!

Perfect Puffy Pancakes

  • 1/2 C Trader joes whole wheat pancake mix
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (or one cube in my case)
  • 1/2 C almond milk ( or any other variety of milk)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • vanilla (optional)
  • pumpkin pie spice (optional)

There is a reason for the first four ingredients.  The pancake mix has all the right amounts of salt and baking soda/ powder needed for a puffy pancake.  The lemon juice adds the buttermilk flavor.  The equal part almond milk is a healthy milk alternative. The chia seeds acts as a gel as well as adding other benefits such as antioxidants, fiber and helping regulate blood sugar (which is wise for those who decide to add sugary syrup to the cakes).

Chia Seed Tip: Any time you are using chia seeds make sure to let the batter sit for a bit to let them make their magic!

Pancake tip: Do not overmix the batter… this one I do not know why but Carla Hall said it and I believe her.

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I like to top mine off with a combination of syrup and fruit, but you can use whatever toppings you would on a normal pancake.   Oh and anyone who doesn’t know how to cook a pancake can wikipedia that.  Just mix and cook until bubbles form before flipping.  I would not recommend putting the fruit in the batter as it tends to burn the pan.  I have been making these twice a week and this seems to be the best combo to date!

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Breakfast, Dining, Food, Fun

Back to School Basics- Tips and tricks

So I know it has been a few days since posting but I was having the most amazing weekend with my family in South Carolina.  We shared a lot of good cooking tips and tricks including using Ground Saigon Cinnamon, the addition of 1 tablespoon of water to my snicker-doodle recipe, and tasty but not too sweet Blue Diamond Mocha dusted Almonds.  I was able to share the simplicity of spaghetti squash I prepped in the microwave for the clan with some parmesan as well as introduce them to the magical speculoos cookie butter which we ate with some Blue Bell ice cream.  Although most NYC schools have not started yet, they have been in cession for three weeks now down south.  In honor of the back to school season, I want to lend a hand with a few tips and tricks that I have started using in my kitchen.

Lesson #1 Taco Shells

I love cheese on my tacos, but only had goat cheese on hand, so in this case I decided to lay it in the bottom of the taco shell before toasting in the oven for a few minutes.  While it was still hot I was able to easily spread the cheese evenly in the shell.

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Of course I made the use of some leftover veggies and chicken from work, so I added some apple cider vinegar and a taco seasoning blend of cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and an even hotter chili pepper.

Lesson #2 Waffles

I absolutely love waffles, but I have no interest in adding weird chia, flax, or bananas as the base to altar the taste.  Since there is so much milk in a waffle recipe, this one swap can cut a lot of calories, but no apparent change in texture or taste.  My simple swap of unsweetened vanilla almond milk hits the spot!  They are still light and fluffy as well as decadent and not too healthy.  I made these with blueberries, but they are great plain.  I always make an entire batch then freeze them in pairs.  When I am ready I pop them right into the toaster for a quick breakfast treat for any day.

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Lesson #3 Pretty presentation

Make the most of your skins.  I am talking your fruits and veggies.  here are two easy examples.  I pulled out the grapefruit and orange segments and ate them right out of my grapefruit shell.

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I also know that zucchini boats are very popular especially since they have been in season lately, but it really is an impressive edible treat.  You can do virtually anything from filling with chili to taco fillings.  In this case, I loaded it italian style with some spices, herbs, onion, tomatoes, chicken sausage and topped it with cheese.  Make sure to boil the zucchini before baking and then go ahead an eat the boat skin and all!

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