Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Guest Blogger!!!

My dear friend, Carrie, left a thoroughly mouthwatering message on my answering machine three days ago describing what she planned to make for dinner and asking if I had time for a movie, which I did not. However, the recipe bears a capacious audience. Here is Carrie.

I have been inspired by the "from a Monastery Kitchen" cookbook series. Indeed, Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila Latourette has made me believe that I too can make simple yet alluring dishes with a vague French influence. Merci, Brother Victor-Antoine. To this end, I attempted:

Crepes with Tomatoes, Herbs, and Goat Cheese Filling
What is not to like about this dish? I started to make it before rushing out to a movie, and then discovered that the crepe batter should chill. But, to make the batter, I used:
4 eggs (I had weirdly oversized eggs. I am sure Brother Victor-Antoine never had such engineered eggs. No, he undoubtedly pulls them fresh from the hen's nest. I used three instead of four)
2 Tbsp. veggie oil
1 ¼ C. flour (half white, half wheat – I'll felt healthier already)
3 C. milk
½ C. water
Butter, or oil, as needed

I made the crepes the next day with the help of a friend who did not laugh outwardly at my tragic first attempts at lovely golden crepes. I think that a) Brother Victor-Antoine did not use skim milk for his batter because he gets the milk directly from the cow and b) I needed to pour them a little thicker in the pan. By the end, we were flipping them with grace and vigor, and the last four crepes were lovely. Oh, and I used real butter, which felt decadent.

I filled them with chopped tomatoes, olive oil, fresh black olives (not those gross canned ones of my youth), minced garlic, crumbled goat cheese (so tasty!), chopped basil leaves (from the one basil plant I have managed not to kill), salt, and pepper. I could have added rosemary and thyme, but as they are $2 each per bunch at Wegman's, I am waiting to grow them myself. I mashed everything up with a fork and tasted it to make sure the herb mix was working.

I generously buttered a shallow white casserole dish which looked very French, and set my four beautiful crepes in, next to two or three ugly crepes. I forgot to cover them with aluminum foil because I stopped reading the recipe, but after 15-20 minutes in a 300 degree over, they were just fine.

I would say it was a good attempt, and I am willing to try it again. I think Brother Victor-Antoine would say that the process itself was important and meaningful and I should joyfully try again. I think I shall.


Dr. Alice said...

That sounds great. Just another example of the fact that great tasting food does not require expensive ingredients, just some time and imagination. (Sadly, at the moment I am lacking in both.)

Greg Griffith said...


Here's a sublime addition to that recipe that comes from Muriel's, a great little restaurant right on Jackson Square in New Orleans. If you can get the crawfish tails way up there in Yankeeland, you're home free, but you can always substitute small to medium shrimp.

1 lb frozen cooked crawfish tails
1/4 onion, minced
1 rib celery, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, very finely diced
1 cup heavy cream (can substitute fat-free half and half)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp real butter
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Thaw the crawfish tails; don't discard the liquid.

In a saucepan over high heat, add olive oil and saute the onion and celery until soft. Add crawfish tails and liquid, and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until crawfish tails are throughly heated (if using shrimp, cook for 5-7 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through).

Add cream and bring to a medium boil. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until cream starts to thicken. Turn off heat and add butter; swirl pan until butter is melted. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

Spoon over crepes, and garnish with diced red pepper. 1/2 cup of the crawfish sauce over 2 goat cheese crepes make a great light entree or a heavy appetizer.