Archive for December, 2009

Crepes with Cinnamon Apple Streusal Filling

This is our go-to special family breakfast; it’s a treat, but the kind you can still feel good after eating.  The eggs in the crepes provide some protein and the cooked apples are balanced with crushed walnuts for a good dose of healthy fats.  The cinnamon provides an additional boost to keep your blood sugar in check.  If you are going to have a sweet breakfast, this is a great choice.  If you can’t or don’t eat eggs, try making the scallion pancake recipe that goes with the Asian Fajitas, replacing the olive oil with ghee or macadamia nut oil and eliminating the toasted sesame oil and scallions.   

I make the crepe batter the night before and leave it in the fridge, then cook the crepes in the morning and keep them warm until we are ready to eat.  You can also make the crepes ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, then soften them in the oven when you are ready to eat.  It’s fun to put out a variety of fillings; we also like apple butter mixed with crushed walnuts and berries with nut cream.  If you are a dairy eater, plain yogurt lightly sweetened with agave or coconut sugar would be delicious drizzled over the top of berry-filled crepes. 

Crepes seem very fancy, but they actually take very little work.  There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to cooking them, but after the first few crepes, you will have it down.  The tricks are keeping the pan at the right temperature and making sure the batter is the proper consistency.  I use a cast iron crepe pan, but any cast iron or stainless skillet will do.   

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup amaranth (or other flour of choice)
  • 1-1 1/2 cups hempmilk (or other milk of choice), more or less as needed
  • 2-3 Tablespoons ghee or macadamia nut oil (or any heat-stable oil)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons agave, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
  • 4 apples, cored and sliced (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, pulverized to a thick paste

Put the eggs in a blender and blend for a minute or so, until they begin to look frothy.  Add the flour and 1 cup of milk and continue to blend on high until very smooth, adding more milk as necessary to get a thin batter about the consistency of melted ice cream.  Add ghee or oil, salt, and agave, and continue to blend a minute or two more.  Pour into a class container that will allow for easy pouring later.  Cover and let stand at room temp at least 30 minutes or, preferably, in the refrigerator overnight.  You will want to bring the batter back to room temperature and give it a gentle stir before cooking.  Once it’s at room temperature, add more milk if necessary to get the melted ice cream consistency.  Stir it in thoroughly, but gently, as you do not want to create too many air bubbles. 

When ready to make the crepes, heat a 9-inch crepe pan or skillet over medium heat.  If your skillet isn’t seasoned, coat with a very thin layer of oil or ghee.  Wrap a towel or hot pad around the handle of your pan and pour in a few tablespoons of batter (adjust for pan size if necessary).  Immediately lift the pan and tilt in a circular motion until the batter forms a thin, even circle, or something resembling a circle.  Leave for about 15-30  seconds, then use a spatula to loosen the sides.  When it’s cooked on one side, it will release quite easily.  Flip and cook on the other side, again about 30 seconds.  You should have a thin, flexible crepe that is uniformly browned on the first side and spotted on the second.  Place the cooked crepe on a plate, then cover with another inverted plate.  Adjust the heat, if necessary, before continuing to cook the remaining crepes.  If the batter splattered a lot when you put it in the hot pan, turn it down a bit.  If the crepe is taking longer than 30-60 seconds on each side or is sticking or falling apart, you may need to turn the heat up a bit.  Continue to pile the crepes on top on each other and cover with the inverted plate.  They will stay warm and flexible until you are ready to eat them. 

While you are cooking the crepes, you can also prepare the apples.  Heat a separate 8-10 inch skillet to medium and melt the coconut oil or ghee.  Add the sliced apples in a single layer, or as close as you can get, and sprinkle with the cinnamon and salt.  Cook until lightly browned and tender, but not mushy.  Stir in the walnuts to coat the apples. 

Bring the crepes, cooked apples, and any other fillings to the table.  Each person can place a layer of  the filling of their choice the middle of their crepe (or spread over entire crepe if using a thinner filling), roll the crepe around the filling, and enjoy!

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Roasted Vegetable Pancakes (with chickpea flour)

These pancakes can easily be whipped up as an accompaniment to a vegetable soup or saute, as a healthy snack, or even breakfast.  I like to let the batter rest overnight, but 30 minutes will do it.  I often make them when I have leftover roasted cauliflower and broccoli, but sauteed or steamed greens or other veggies would work too.  This is the basic recipe, but feel free to add ground or whole spices or use a different type of oil to compliment the rest of your meal. 

  • 1 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • herbs or spices, optional (ground or whole cumin, basil or pesto, or caraway seeds are a few ideas)
  • 1 cup chopped roasted (or otherwise cooked) vegetables, or more

Whisk the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and spices (if using), to make a medium-thin batter.  Let set at room temperature for 30 minutes to 12 hours.  Refrigerate if you need to leave it longer.  When you are ready to make the pancakes, heat a cast-iron skillet (or whatever you have) to medium heat and add olive oil to coat.  While the pan is heating, whisk the batter a few times and stir the vegetables in.  Put spoonfuls of the batter into the pan, allowing room for it to spread.  Cook a minute or two until the top is covered with bubbles, then flip and cook until browned on both sides.  It won’t brown evenly on the second side, you just want to be sure it is well-cooked throughout.  Taste a part of one pancake to be sure the seasoning is how you want it and adjust the seasonings in the remaining batter, if necessary.  Place the cooked pancakes on a tray in a 300 degree oven and continue until the batter is gone.  If you have leftovers, just reheat them in the oven or toaster oven until crisp.  Enjoy!     

*alternatively, you can heat the oven to 450 degrees and pour a thin layer of the batter into a well-oiled skillet and cook 10-15 minutes, flipping when browned on the first side and cooking until crisp on both sides.

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Akara

I’m really into bean fritters right now, so don’t be surprised if you see a multitude of fritter recipes on this blog in the near future.  I love them for many reasons – they taste good, they are super easy (though you do need to remember to soak the beans ahead of time), and there are probably a million variations.  They are a fabulous way to use up whatever veggies you have in your veggie drawer before your next trip to the store…

So, I will provide a recipe here and more in the future, but these are really just templates, because you can make them suit your own taste, the season, and what is available in your house at a given moment.  I made the following recipe earlier tonight and served it with sweet potato fries and another batch of the cabbage slaw I posted last week.  It served our family of four with a couple fritters to spare.  If you want lots of leftovers, double the recipe.  I kept them warm on a tray in the oven where I was cooking my sweet potato fries (at 400 degrees) and that made them extra crispy, which is a bonus in my opinion.  I am not sure, but I suspect they won’t work quite as well if you make the batter in advance, because the baking soda might lose it’s umph, but, what do I know? 

Most fritters also go well with complimentary dipping sauces.  I believe that akara is traditionally served with a  hot sauce made from peppers or tomatoes, but neither of those are in season and I didn’t have the time anyway.  They were good without it.  It does contain some hot peppers, but I use so few that these didn’t have too much of a kick at all.  If you family likes a little more, go for it.    These are pan fried, but you can deep fry them if you prefer. 

  • oil for pan-frying (I use olive oil)
  • 3/4 cup black eyed peas, soaked 24 hours
  • 1 small onion or 1 bunch scallions, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper (or just use more red pepper flakes)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • pinch cayenne, optional
  • 1/2 head napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Sauté the onion in olive oil until it starts to brown, then add the ginger, peppers, and garlic and cook a minute or two more, until the garlic is fragrant.  Add the spices, cabbage, carrots, and parsley and cook until the cabbage is just tender; this will only take a couple minutes.  While the veggies are cooking, drain and rinse the black eyed peas and put them in the food processor with the salt, pepper, and baking soda.  Process until smooth.  When the veggies are done, cool them a bit and put them and the lemon juice into the food processor with the bean mixture.  Pulse until combined.  Heat a skillet to medium heat, add olive oil to coat generously, and spoon the batter into the oil to form patties.  Cook until you can see the bottoms are starting to brown and flip over to brown the other side.  Keep crisp on a tray in a 350 to 400 degree oven.  Serve warm and enjoy!

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