Sunday, July 11, 2010

From Eze to South Florida

The Setting: A lovely day off. Blue skies. Sunshine. Breakfast.

The Soundtrack: Wealth Track with Consuelo Mack on PBS

On the Stove-top: Whole Wheat Crepes

The Scenario: Dreaming about European adventures gone by, I'm testing Belgian CocoaHaze! chocolate-hazelnut spread and hoping to recreate one of my favorite edibles from Eze, France.

Crepe stands and creperies are as abundant along the streets of Nice and the shopping malls of Bordeaux as the freckles on my face in the summer.

But it was in the historic mountain-top town of Eze that I devoured my first French crepes, from savory ham, tomato, and Gruyere to sweet Nutella and banana.

So simple, so good.

A crepe is like a hybrid of an omelette and a pancake, but thinner than either. An edible envelope of sorts, it can be tucked and folded over and around anything the palate desires.

I desire sweet. I just hope my whole-wheat attempt at healthfulness doesn't strip this dish of its structural- or taste-integrity!!

For the Crepes:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I use King Aurthur)
1/8 tsp cinnamon
dash freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, plain or vanilla (I use Pacific Natural Foods)
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (I use Kerrygold)
1/2 tsp orange blossom honey (or local honey)
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp white vinegar

In a food processor combine all but the last three ingredients, processing till smooth.

Allow batter to rest at least 30 minutes (you can keep it in the fridge overnight at this point if you desire).

Place a small, nonstick skillet over med-high heat (you can grease it if you desire). Combine water, baking soda, and vinegar and quickly stir into the batter.

Pour just enough batter into the pan to almost coat the bottom. Immediately pick up the pan and gently swirl the batter around to completely coat the bottom. Allow the crepes to cook about 30 seconds on each side (if you are incredibly adept, you can flip the crepes right in the pan with a jerk of your arm, but I generally rely on a little nudging from a silicone spatula to do the trick). Don't worry if your first crepe is a bust--mine always is.

For filling:
CocoaHaze! All natural Belgian hazelnut and cocoa spread
2 bananas

Gently spread a thin layer of CocoaHaze! on each crepe. Thinly slice the banana, and distribute along the centers of the crepes. Fold the edges of the crepes inward to cover the banana, and serve.

Makes about 6-8 crepes, depending on the size of your pan.

I was incredibly happy with how my "healthier" crepes turned out. Conventional wisdom stipulates up to 1/3 of the amount of flour in a recipe can be switched out for whole-wheat four, but I have been finding more and more that white flour is unnecessary in my kitchen. I'm sure the rule holds true in some cases, but the breads, cookies, brownies, and now crepes that I have eagerly consumed in recent weeks are welcome exceptions.

Another exciting revelation: Almond Milk. I am growing more and more in love with this stuff.

Honestly, I've never been a big milk drinker--I mean, my blood-latte-level is pushing lethal limits most days of the week, but I've never enjoyed a cold glass of the white stuff with my dinner. So for my purposes, almond milk might just push the gallon jug out of the fridge. Except for making queso fresco...I think.

CocoaHaze!: And the verdict is.... Superb! Every bit as delicious as Nutella.

These crepes were the shiznit. Such a good breakfast. I only wished I had some fresh sliced strawberries to serve on the side.

Next time I'm topping with whipped cream or sweetened mascarpone for an elegant dessert. Yum!