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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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

 

Dip Me

Almond Biscotti

Almond Biscotti

A few years ago I figured out how to make biscotti at home and it is actually quite simple and it also means you are no longer constrained to whatever is available in your grocery store. Want them to be hand-dipped in dark chocolate? Use your own or conscript someone else’s hands! I have confined my coffee drinking to mostly weekends at this point in my life but I enjoy a biscotti or other biscuit dipped in tea, which I drink in rather large quantities. Here are a few more recipes I’ve found:

Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti

“Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti” from The Curvy Carrot

White Chocolate and Lemon Biscotti

“White Chocolate and Lemon Biscotti” from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Pumpkin Biscotti

“Pumpkin Biscotti” by Garrett McCord on Simply Recipes

Whole Wheat Chocolate Almond Biscotti

“Whole Wheat Chocolate Almond Biscotti” from Garlic Girl

Fig & Pistachio Biscotti

“Fig & Pistachio Biscotti” by Marie Renello from The Blender

Saffron Biscotti

“Saffron Biscotti” from Saveur

The Big Blueberry

The other day we were back over at my grandma’s house to harvest berries. After the great DC power outages, which hit her area but not ours, and our trip to Chicago it had been a while since we’d gone to collect our blue-ty.

There were 6 of us down in the blueberry patch this time instead of the usual three and we were all excited to get picking. Unfortunately something happened over the last week or so and the crop was not doing so well. Instead of our usual 5-6 quarts of blueberries the size of dimes we ended up with a scrawny and all too reddish-in-hue 1.5 quarts and that was pushing it. My grandma made a pie with that harvest and each slice is requiring a rather large amount of doctoring.

While we’re not sure what happened to that last batch, which should have been ripe, there are still many many berries yet to ripen so we’re hoping that this was just some fluke of nature. Perhaps a bird got in through a tiny hole in the net and ate up all the good ones while we were away or the storm caused the process to slow. I’m no expert.

What I do know is that there are 3 different types of blueberry bushes in my grandpa’s garden and that the last three to get ripe also happen to be the sweetest variety of blueberry. In anticipation I’ve begun collecting a selection of potential recipes to try with the berries we look forward to harvesting after this weekend.

Another recipe I hope to dig up and make for myself during the summer is my Gpa’s blueberry jam recipe. It’s simply to die for with our family’s scone recipe (which can be found in “Tea Time, Nap Time, Fun Times“) and a dollop of homemade whipped cream. We have one or two bottles left from a large batch we made many years ago while he was still alive and I want to make sure we keep up recipes like that in the family.

But until I find his recipe book somewhere amongst his things I have this list:

Blueberry Pancakes

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies

Blueberry Lemon Bars

Blueberry Lavender Mojito

Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake Parfaits

Blueberry Mojito

“Perfect” Blueberry Syrup