Crêpes à la Sauce Camembert

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A crêpe or crepe  is a type of very thin pancake. Crêpes are usually of two types: crêpes sucrées  or sweet crepes, which are made with white flour and eaten for dessert;  and crêpes salées also known as    savoury galettes,  that are made with buckwheat flour and filled with savory fixings.

In terms of culinary etymology, crêpes belong to the general category of ancient Greek Tiganitai, from Greek tiganos (τίγανος), meaning “frying pan”, which in English is literally translated to Pancakes. The French term, crêpe, derives from the Latin crispa, meaning with “creases”. The name “galette” came from the French word galet (“pebble”) since the first gallettes were made on a large pebble heated in a fire.

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While crêpes are often associated with Brittany, a region in the northwest  of France, they are also enjoyed throughout France, Belgium, Canada, and many parts  of Europe, North Africa, Lebanon, and Argentina.

Preparing crêpes at home is also common, and very easy.  As a home cook, you have the ultimate freedom to use whatever fillings you like. In this way, crêpes salées become a wrapper for all types of leftovers. It should be noted that the addition of an egg almost always improves a savory crêpe.

This is an Americanized recipe where the crepe batter needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before cooking the crepes. As the batter chills, the flour expands and absorbs the liquid, which helps produce tender crepes. You can cook the crepes in advance and fill them just before serving.
Recipe Adapted from
Williams-Sonoma
2019

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 eggs
2 cups milk
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3  tablespoons olive oil
3/4  pound white button mushrooms, sliced
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
3/4 pound thick-cut baked ham, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces Camembert cheese, rind removed, diced
4 green onions, white and light green portions, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 cup of the milk. Add the 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and whisk until the batter is smooth. Stir in the canola oil. Refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight before making the crepes.

In a crepe pan over medium heat, melt 1/4 Tbs. of the butter. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into the pan, then quickly tilt and turn the pan in a circular motion to spread the batter evenly to the edges. Cook until the crepe is golden underneath, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the crepe and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a warm plate. Repeat to make 12 crepes.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add half of the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon the salt and pepper and sauté until the mushrooms are dark brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Push the mushrooms to the side of the pan, add the remaining mushrooms, and sauté until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are dark brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to a bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the ham to the pan and sauté until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the ham to the bowl with the mushrooms.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the remaining 1 cup milk and whisk in the 3 tablespoons of flour. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and cheese and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the ham, mushrooms, green onions and parsley and stir until heated through. Spoon 1/4 cup of the filling in the middle of each crepe and roll the crepe around the filling.

Cook’s Notes:

When making crêpes, you make your batter ahead of time. The night before is ideal, but at least two hours in advance is required.If you are making the crêpesbatter the night before, refrigerate it, and then let it come to room temperature before cooking. You want to give it time to relax into itself, and for the flour to absorb the liquid evenly. If the batter looks a little dry after this resting period, it’s ok to add a bit more liquid.

Another great thing: crepes freeze incredibly well. My suggestion is to make the entire batch at once, even if you will have extra. Simply layer what you won’t eat between parchment paper, move to a sealed plastic bag, and voila! Now you have crêpes for the next time too.

Sources:

Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, XIV, 645c; Galen, On the Properties of Foods, I, 3.

Cristina Sciarra (2012). “All About Crêpes“.The Roaming Kitchen.
Accessed October 19, 2019.

Williams-Sonoma (2019) Crepes a la Camembert.  Accessed September 10, 2019

 

 

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Roasted Turkey

Festive celebration roasted turkey for Thanksgiving

330px-Squantoteaching.pngAmerica owes it’s tradition of the Thanksgiving feast to a man named Tisquantum (c. 1585?- 1622), more commonly known as Squanto. He was a member of the Patuxet tribe and is best known for being an early liaison between the native populations in Southern New England and the Mayflower Pilgrims. As a child, Squanto was been kidnapped by an English sea captain named Thomas Hunt and was sold into slavery in the city of Málaga, Spain. Squanto was among a number of captives bought by local monks who focused on their education and evangelization, and as a result, he learned to speak Spanish, French and English.

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Málaga in 1572, forty years before Squanto was delivered there in slavery.

Squanto eventually traveled to England and from there returned to North America in 1619, only to find that his village and tribe had been wiped out by an epidemic infection, making Squanto the last of the Patuxet.

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When the Mayflower landed in 1620, Squanto was one of the first Native Americans the members of the Plymouth colony encountered. As a diplomat, he worked to broker peaceable relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. He played a key role in the early meetings in March 1621, partly because he spoke English. He then lived with the Pilgrims for two years, acting as a translator, guide, and advisor. During this time, he also saved the colony from starvation by teaching the settlers how to sow, plant and fertilize native crops—including corn and squash, which proved vital since the seeds which the Pilgrims had brought from England largely failed. He also taught the settlers how to fish and how to tap maple trees for their sweet sap.

Because of Squanto’s central role in the survival of the Plymouth colony, a feast was held to commemorate the event. It was referred to at the time as “The Harvest Celebration of 1621” and is considered to be the first Thanksgiving that took place in the colony. From historical journals, the menu at the first Thanksgiving celebration between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag consisted of wild game that included venison, goose, duck, pigeon, and turkey, seafood such as mussels, clams, oysters, lobsters, bass, and eels. A combination of wild and cultivated crops including chestnuts, walnuts, squash, beans, and dishes made from dried corn was also been served.

Serves 10 to 12

Ingredients:

For the Brine:
One 12 to 14-pound turkey
2 ½ cups kosher salt, plus more if needed
1 cup white sugar
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked, more as needed
3 sprigs each fresh rosemary, thyme and sage

For the Turkey:
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
½ lemon
1 stick of unsalted butter, sliced for basting

For the Gravy:
1 cup defatted pan juices from the roasted turkey
1 cup chicken stock

Directions:

Remove the turkey from the packaging and rinse under cold water.

Place the turkey on a rack in its roasting pan and prepare the brine.

For the brine, combine the salt, sugar, bay leaves, pepper rosemary, thyme, sage marjoram with 2 1/2 gallons water in a large 4 to 6 gallon container or cooler large enough to hold turkey comfortably. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Place the turkey in brining solution and refrigerate or ice overnight.

The following day, prepare to cook the turkey.

Pre heat oven to 425 º F.

Remove the turkey from brining solution; drain well and pat very dry with clean paper towels. Discard brine. Set the turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set into a large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper, then fill the cavity with onion, celery, carrots and lemon. Fold wings under the bird. Truss the turkey up by the legs using kitchen twine. Roast the turkey for 35 minutes, basting with butter every 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 o F and roast approximately 3 hours more, basting bird every 30 minutes with drippings and butter. If the breast of the turkey is browning to quickly , tent the bird with aluminum foil , until and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165 o F.

Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Pour the pan drippings into a large Pyrex measuring cup and allow to it stand to allow the fat to rise to top.

Meanwhile, make a gravy from the pan drippings.

Discarding any solid vegetables used in roasting the main meat dish, pour the pan juices into a glass measuring cup and let stand for 10 minutes. Skim off any fat that forms on the surface. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat and pour in the fat/grease free pan juices, then the chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. Pour into a gravy boat.

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Florentine Butter Chicken

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Photo Credit: Greg DuPree, Food & Wine Magazine, 2019.
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This recipe is inspired by Editor in Chief Hunter Lewis’ trip to 150-year-old Trattoria Sostanza in Florence. The chicken is cooked in a combination of cultured butter and olive oil. Cultured butter has a higher butterfat content, with a slight tang from those cultures. The butterfat gives cultured butter a slightly higher smoke point and, when combined with olive oil, gives enough cooking time to finish the chicken and the sauce simultaneously. If the butter is darkening too quickly, remove it from the heat and continue to baste with the hot butter.

 

And I have to add, this recipe made for the most spoon tender and moist chicken breast that you will ever encounter.It’s like having a taste of Tuscany in your own kitchen in 30 minutes or less.

Recipe by
Hunter Lewis, Editor in Chief
Food & Wine Magazine
September 2019

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Two 7-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded to 3/4-inch thickness
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) cold salted cultured butter (such as Vermont Creamery), cut into pieces, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Lemon slices, for garnish
Sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Place beaten egg in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Spread flour in a separate shallow bowl or pie plate. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working with 1 breast at a time, dip chicken in egg, letting any excess drip back into bowl, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess.

Melt 1/4 cup butter with oil in a 10-inch stainless steel skillet over medium-high, and cook, swirling occasionally, until milk solids begin to sink to bottom of skillet and start to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chicken, rounded sides down, and cook, swirling skillet occasionally, until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn chicken over, and add remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Tilt skillet toward you so butter pools, and cook, basting chicken often, until chicken is just cooked through and golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, and carefully pour in lemon juice. Note: the butter will start to bubble and brown.

Using a spatula place the chicken breast in the middle of the plate and garnish with lemon slices and parsley.Serve immediately.

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