It has been an interesting quarantine chez Peyton. There’s Chef’s Brigade, which has taken up a good bit of time and then my father-in-law was hospitalized with double pneumonia. He was released a couple of weeks ago and for a while my wife was his only caregiver. We quarantined like hibernating bears.
Then last week I ended up in the hospital with diverticulitis. When I was admitted I thought the diagnosis meant I’d have significant dietary restrictions for the rest of my life. But I’m told that’s not the case – that in the long term I should eat vegetables, fruit and grains for the most part. That’s just good advice for anyone and already what I do, generally. I’m fully recovered.
I can tell you that the food at East Jefferson Hospital – for the two nights I was there – is better than I expected. I will not insult anyone by saying it was “good,” because it wasn’t, but it was better than I expected. I actually had a very nice piece of baked fish while I was there. It was well seasoned, it wasn’t dry and perhaps most importantly it was recognizably fish.
That and small plastic cups of peaches were the highlights. And the occasional popsicle.
When I was released they told me to stay on a “soft” food diet for a week or so, but as a practical matter they told me not to eat raw kale. I like raw kale but I figured I could manage a week without. It’s been rough (see what I did there?) but I’ve held up ok. My wife has cooked meatloaf and mashed potatoes, broccoli, chicken and rice casserole and a few other things I enjoy.
I’ve made crepes, which for some reason is a thing I do when I get back to my kitchen after an absence. When I first had access to a kitchen after evacuating for Katrina, that’s the first thing I made. I know crepes have a reputation for being difficult to make but they’re not. You can make the batter in your blender and as long as you accept that the first one you make will probably not turn out perfectly there’s nothing to worry about.
What you do really want is a pan with a non-stick surface. That can be a “non-stick” pan or well-seasoned cast iron. It’s a lot easier with a lighter pan, but if cast iron is all you have then it’ll do.
The only real “trick” to making crepes is to rotate the pan as you add the batter so that it spreads evenly over the surface. Once you make two or three, it’ll be obvious how to do it.
I’m going to give you the basic recipe – if you know you’re making crepes for dessert, add a tablespoon of sugar to the batter at the start. Ideally the batter is very thin and so are the resulting crepes, but it’s a lot easier to flip the buggers if your batter is a little thicker. I think the recipe below strikes a good balance.
- 2 eggs
- 1 and ¼ cups milk
- 1 tbs. melted butter
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 cup flour
Mix the ingredients in a blender or whisk by hand in a bowl until combined.
Heat a non-stick pan on medium and lightly coat it with the fat of your choice. Once the pan is hot add about a quarter to a third cup of the batter and rotate it so that the batter spreads evenly into a shape resembling a circle. Let it cook until the top begins to look dry and there are some bubbles at the edges – about a minute or two.
Use a spatula or fork to lift one edge of the crepe and use your fingers to flip it over. Cook on the other side for a minute and remove to a baking pan lined with enough parchment paper, foil or plastic wrap that you can cover the crepes by folding it over. It’s a good idea to put something between each crepe, but unless you’re freezing them it’s not critical.
There is no limit to what you can use to fill them. My youngest is fond of Nutella (not the ersatz, Rouse’s brand hazelnut-chocolate spread, mind you) and I am too. Most recently I scrambled a few eggs with onion, cilantro and chile peppers then stuffed that into some crepes spread with hoisin sauce before folding and giving them a quick fry like quesadillas.
I recommend making crepes, is what I’m saying and I miss Nanou.