May 16, 2013

Double Chocolate Crepes with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Confession. These were supposed to be chocolate crepes, not double chocolate crepes. But I got impatient. I melted the chocolate but I didn't wait for it to cool before I added it to the refrigerator-cold crepe batter. Instead of transforming the pale yellow batter to chocolately brown, the melted chocolate froze into tiny little ribbons, like chocolate sprinkles scattered throughout the batter.

It tasted like a chocolate chip crepe. Not bad, by any means. But not what I was after. I wanted a chocolate crepe. So I added some unsweetened cocoa powder, along with a little sugar. Voila! I had chocolate crepes. Well, double chocolate crepes if you want to be finicky.

In truth, the crepes weren't even the point. They were really just a vehicle (a deliciously chocolately vehicle) for the sweet, ripe strawberries that are finally in season. If there's a better combination than chocolate, whipped cream and strawberries, then I don't know what it is.

Crepes are surprisingly easy to make. Combine flour, salt, sugar, vanilla extract and milk in a blender. 

Beat until smooth. Add eggs and melted butter and beat again. Refrigerate mixture for 1 hour.

Melt together chocolate and butter. (I did this in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds).

Stir until chocolate mixture is smooth.

Cool chocolate mixture for 10 minutes (!), then blend into the batter. See following picture for what happens if you don't wait for the chocolate mixture to cool first.

Stir in cocoa powder.

Heat a small skillet and add a little butter. Ladle in a few tablespoons of crepe batter. Yes, just a few tablespoons. Crepes should be thin, not thick like a pancake.

Swirl the pan so the batter just coats the bottom of the pan.

The top will dry out in about a minute.

Flip the crepe and cook the other side until the crepe is just cooked through.

Fold the crepes into quarters and let them rest on a plate while you cook the remaining crepes.

Top with strawberries and freshly whipped cream.

Double Chocolate Crepes with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Loosely based on a recipe by Mark Bittman

1 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
2 eggs
2 Tbsp melted and cooled unsalted butter plus 1 tsp unsalted butter plus 4 Tbsp butter
1 ounce bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp confectioner's sugar, or to taste
Strawberries, for serving

1.    Combine the flour, salt, sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a blender and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Refrigerate for 1 hour and beat again.

2.    Melt 1 ounce chocolate with 1 teaspoon butter. To do this, microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Remove from the microwave before the chocolate is completely melted. Then stir until smooth. Cool for about 10 minutes.

3.    Thoroughly blend chocolate mixture with the crepe batter. Add cocoa powder. Blend thoroughly.

4.    Heat a small, nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add 1/2 teaspoon of butter. Ladle a few tablespoons of crepe batter into the pan. Swirl the skillet so that the crepe batter coats the bottom of the pan.

5.    When the top of the crepe has just dried out, flip the crepe. Continue to cook for another minute or so, until cooked through.

6.    Fold crepe into quarters and set aside while preparing the remaining crepes.

7.    For whipped cream, beat together heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and confectioner's sugar until soft peaks form.

8.    To serve, top crepes with strawberries and whipped cream.

Serves 4 to 6.

May 1, 2013

Smashed Avocado with Fried Egg on Toast

Breakfast is easy. Cereal. Or multigrain toast. Maybe oatmeal with walnuts if it’s cold out. Or a blueberry scone if I give in to temptation on a morning run to Whole Foods. 

Dinner is the meal that inspires me. I plan for it. I shop for it. I regularly daydream about it.

But lunch. Now that's the meal that trips me up. When I've got some, I heat up leftovers. But if I have to make something, it must be quick. But substantial. Tasty. Yet healthy. Whole, not processed (though I do have a weakness for Elios cheese pizza, go figure). Filling enough to tide me over until dinner. Heavy on veggies and grains if possible. Oh, and did I mention my intense dislike of cold cuts? 

This open faced sandwich is my new go-to. It fulfills all of my basic requirements. Simplicity at its best. Good-quality multigrain bread. Luscious avocado. A fried egg. (Which, believe me, is just gilding the lily. You could easily leave it out.) A drizzle of olive oil. A sprinkle of salt and pepper.



Step 1. 

Step 2. You could stop right here and be a happy camper.

 Step 3. 

Step 4. Empty plate. Happy belly.