Crêpes Are For…

Crêpes with Strawberries and Muscat-Yogurt Sauce

“Crêpes with Strawberries and Muscat-Yogurt Sauce” from Food & Wine

Way, way, back at the turn of the century when I still had brightly colored hair and wore a little too much (all) black, I used to follow my mother around the world dutifully slacking off in my school work and listening to music that we simply will not bring up because it really wasn’t worth all those hours and made a horrifying soundtrack to driving through the Dalmatian coast in the fall…

Back in 200o I was temporarily living in a lovely flat in Baku, Azerbaijan, while my mom was doing work there. My dad had returned to his actual full time job of professoring to students he would still be teaching several years later when I started college and a couple of whom I beat to graduation a few years after that. After our time in Azerbaijan, and many caviar breakfasts later, my mom decided to take me to Paris for a week to get as much art and culture into me as possible. While in Paris we did several things right: Fresh pastries like croissants for breakfast, lunch at a cafe or restaurant somewhere in the city in between our tourist bits, and crepes for dinner.

There was this man who stood in this little box on the corner of some street near our hotel. He probably had a stool in there too but the stand was so small it looked like he just stood there for hours. He had a few shelves with basic ingredients and then a large container with his batter and his round pan in front of him. My mom would always order (in French) and she usually got the classic with a little lemon and powdered sugar.

Basic Crepes

“Basic Crepes” from Leite’s Culinaria

I on the other hand noticed the Nutella jar on his shelf. Sometimes I’d mix it up and get Nutella with strawberries but there was no way anything else could compare to a fresh, hot, crepe slathered in Nutella and eaten on the way to to the Eiffel Tower on a November evening.

Chocolate Crepes

Chocolate Crepes from Kwestia Smaku (This picture also happens to be the background on my phone)

The first time I had ever had crepes was a few years earlier when my mom was still having to spend 2 weeks a month in Haiti and I would usually go with her.  Sometimes we would be in a guest house provided by the office or staying in the house of friends who worked there too but occasionally we would end up in a hotel. Now, most of the hotels we stayed at sustained some damage in the last earthquake but they were high-end enough that they have since done some recovering and last time my mom was there they were housing way too many aid workers than is good for any country. Back then, I’d had crepes for brunch or lunch and it was filled with asparagus and a sort of hollandaise-like sauce that I absolutely loved. I have no idea how to recreate that but I’ve just now decided that I really need to be more purposeful in my trying to.

But ever since Haiti I’ve only ever had crepes savory once. It was after some really awkwardly weird production on “Women Beware Women” at a small theater neat U St. at a crepe shop with a lovely menu. I forget everything that was in it but I do remember goat cheese and eggplant because I know that I saw that option on the menu and I know me so I know that I ordered whatever that was. But other than that it’s usually been sweet crepes like these:

Maryam's Chocolate Crepes

“Maryam’s Chocolate Crepes” from Sips and Spoonfuls

Another thing, is that except for every single time I’ve eaten a crepe “out” it’s been for a meal that started at least around noon while at home, I’ve always had it for breakfast. I think that the only explanation is that crepes are good for every meal at any time of day and that they can be sweet or savory which I think is verging on the perfect food… Yeah I think it’s just about perfect. We’re gonna go with perfect.

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The Morning After…

Mushrooms & Vegetables with Feta

“Mushrooms & Vegetables with Feta” from KwestiaSmaku

Sooooo…. I’ve kind of been overdoing it this month. The parties, the eating out, the drinking, the not exercising. And the last couple of days I could feel it. I mean sure, I did walk about a bajillion miles  taking my friend around DC but then I also went to Nando’s, Pitango, Cork, and Founding Farmers (click to check out the restaurants).

This morning, I could barely eat my chocolate croissant from Paul. It was horrible. And now, at about 30 minutes to lunchtime I’m hungry but it’s for some serious vegetables and tons and tons of water. And maybe some decent tea. The hot water in my office is seriously far from hot and the steeping ability is far from up to par.

As I finished Excel-ing the list of honors society students (which nowhere near balances out the deficiency students but I love them anyways), I’m also surfing the great internet (for [gastro]Porn!) and seeing all these much healthier-than-I’ve-been-eating things that I sort of wish I’d had time last night to actually try cooking some of them for lunch today. Instead I was making my mom some birthday dinner creativeness and monitoring a couple teenage boys attempting to make peanut butter cookies.

And here’s what I found:

Sweet Potato Fries

“Sweet Potato Fries” from Our Best Bites

Spiced Black Bean, Grilled Avocado, and Goat Cheese Tacos

“Spiced Black Bean, Grilled Avocado, and Goat Cheese Tacos” from Naturally Ella

Creamy Avocado Pasta

“Creamy Avocado Pasta” from the Blissful Blog

Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

“Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower” from Right@Home

Eggplant Involtini

“Eggplant Involtini” from Alexandra’s Kitchen (Because you know I just can’t help having me some eggplant)

 

 

Foodie National Holidays: Ravioli

Wild Herb Ravioli

“Wild Herb Ravioli” from Garden Therapy

As many of you know, I’m trying to catalogue as many of the “Food Holidays” as I can find. Yes, there will be a calendar being printed at some point. One problem that I’ve come across is the difference between International and National food days. Growing up as a global nomad I’m so out of tune with things like national pride and boundaries so I don’t care what country a feast day or foodie holiday is from.  So I’m just going to declare myself the Grande (and benevolent) Dictator or the Foodie Nation and as such I wish all my subjects a very merry Ravioli Day!

Lemon and Goat's Cheese Ravioli

“Lemon and Goat’s Cheese Ravioli” from Lisa Is Cooking

Pumpkin Ravioli

“Pumpkin Ravioli” from Wolgang Puck

Olive and Goat Cheese Ravioli

“Olive and Goat Cheese Ravioli” from Heather Cristo Books

Three Cheese Ravioli in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

“Three Cheese Ravioli in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce” from Baking with Blondie

 

Gastroporn Menu – October.2012

October is like the perfect month for cooking. The weather is crisp but not frigid and it is energizing as your natural instincts are telling you to start storing fat for the winter. Unfortunately we also have Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up (two of the greatest food-related holidays in my world) and everyone is already thinking about all the weight they will gain from that.

I’ve also noticed that people seem to be going a little pumpkin crazy. It’s cool but there is such a thing as single-ingredient-OVERLOAD and a little goes a long way with things like squash and pumpkin. Yes, it’s healthy. Yes, it’s pretty. But no I do not want pumpkin spice lattes with my pumpkin bread after a pumpkin soup and squash ravioli lunch. And I definitely don’t need to be preparing my pumpkin donuts for the morning after all that. I’m gonna turn orange!

But without further ado, here is October’s menu:

Fall Lunch

Black Velvet (Guinness and Champagne)

Spinach and Smoked Salmon Salad with Lemon-Dill Dressing

Roasted grape, goat cheese + honey stuffed sweet potatoes (with step-by-step instructions)

Blueberry, basil, and goat cheese hand pies (A good use for all those blueberries I have from the summer. See “The Big Blueberry”)