Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Recipe for Basic Crepes

Crêpes may be one of the easiest recipes to make that is both impressive and a huge crowd-pleaser. Kids LOVE crêpes! I grew up on them and with four kids in the house, my mother couldn’t make them fast enough! Each time she placed one on the counter, it would disappear! They are great for breakfast or even dinner.

You can make a sweet crepe by filling it with fresh cut-up fruit (such as strawberries, peaches, bananas, blueberries), strawberry or raspberry preserves, Nutella, lemon and sugar, butter and sugar. I like to top it off with some whipped cream or powdered sugar. 

For savory crepes try: sautéed spinach, goat cheese and mushrooms; ham, tomatoes and cheddar cheese; prosciutto, mozzarella, basil and tomatoes; smoked turkey with shredded Swiss cheese; eggs, bacon, and tomatoes.

The recipe is very simple. You can make them on a regular pan but it’s worth buying a non-stick crepe pan (or two to use at the same time for efficiency!), which is flat and shallow, making it easy to create a beautiful smooth crepe. You can get one for as little as $20 at Sur La Table for the 9.5". If you’re making for a big crowd, serve them in a stack with a buffet of fillings set out so that each person can make their own.

3 large eggs
2¼ cups milk, cold
1¾ cups all-purpose flour (or whole-wheat)
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (I don't use extra for the pan like other recipes may call for)

Makes about 16 crepes using a 10" pan.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well with a whisk until the batter is smooth. You can also use a blender or food processor but I find that it’s just as easy by hand.

You’re supposed to refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably two, and up to 24 hours. I am usually pressed for time, so I do it for about 15-30 minutes and they turn out great. After chilling, mix well again before cooking.

Heat the pan over medium-high heat until hot but do not let the pan get TOO hot.

With a ladle, pour about 3-5 tablespoons of batter (depending on the size of the pan) into the middle of the pan. Tilt and rotate the pan to lightly cover the entire surface. It takes about a minute to cook on one side. Then you'll notice the crêpe start to loosen a little, edges will curl a little and the bottom side will be golden brown. To flip, loosen the edges with a spatula and then either flip it with the spatula, or just flip using the pan (to look MOST impressive for your guests!). Cook on other side for about 30 seconds (or more if you like them darker, crispier), move the crêpe to a plate and cover. Don't worry if your first one doesn't come out, it usually doesn't.


TIP: Never wash a crêpe pan in the dishwasher. You can wash by hand but best is to simply wipe it clean with a dry paper towel.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Abbott's Lobster in the Rough in Noank, CT

Road trips can be amazing experiences. I love pretty much everything about them. The interesting local sites, fights for control of the music (or succumbing to the local country station), and the unique conversations that develop when you're sitting in a small confined place for hours with friends, family, sometimes people you only just met.

One of my only gripes about road trips is the lack of good, tasty and healthy (or at least healthier!) food options easily available on the road. Or so I thought... Why settle for the drive-thru when there are tons of amazing little spots within minutes off the highway? It's sometimes as much about the journey as the destination itself...

On a recent trip to Nantucket, my friend (whose family lives nearby in Mystic, CT) directed us 7 minutes off Highway 95 to Abbott's Lobster in the Rough in Noank, CT -- a hidden gem located about midway between New York City and Hyannis Port, MA (where you take the ferry or plane to Nantucket). And the dining setting is absolutely beautiful -- a quintessential New England fishing village right on the bay!

The menu consists mostly of seafood -- whole lobster dinners, steamed clams, steamed mussels, lobster bisque, clam chowder, crab cakes, oysters, and more. But the best thing is their "Famous Hot Lobster Roll." It's a quarter pound of pure fresh lobster meat mounted on a toasted and buttered bun. No gobs of mayo to hide the taste of the delicious lobster. One of the best lobster rolls I've had in a while!

And the decor is simple -- you order outside, and you can either sit inside or at bare picnic tables outside right on the water. Open daily noon to 9 p.m., Memorial Day to Labor Day.

For non-seafood lovers, there are a few options: mac & cheese, grilled cheese, oven roasted half chicken. 

Abbott's Lobster in the Rough
117 Pearl Street
Noank, CT 06340
Phone: 860-536-7719

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Recipe for Farmer's Cheese Spread

I love all things dairy -- so it's no surprise that I think farmer's cheese is one of the most delicious things ever! And it seems not that many people know about it. It's similar to cottage cheese but has a thicker/smoother consistency. And compared to cream cheese, it has less fat, less calories, less carbs (actually 0) and more protein per serving.

Here's my recipe for farmer's cheese with radishes and green onions. It's a great recipe for breakfast -- and not only tasty but really healthy! You can eat it on its own (the way I like it), or on bread, crackerbread, a bagel, or with crackers. And you can add more or less radishes and green onions based on your taste.

I've included a picture of the Friendship farmer's cheese I buy. It's in the dairy section near the cottage cheese and sour cream but often times a little hard to find. Better to get the version without salt.

Agnes' Farmer's Cheese
Serves 6 
Prep time: 5 minutes
2 packages of farmer's cheese (15 ounces)
6 large radishes, grated (or 8 smaller radishes)
4 heaping Tablespoons green onions (or chives), chopped
2 Tablespoons of sour cream (or 3 for a creamier spread)

In a medium bowl, mix the farmer's cheese with the sour cream and add salt to taste (I add about 1/4 teaspoon).

Add the grated radishes, chopped green onions (or chives) and mix until it's a creamy spread. 

Serve in a bowl garnished with some chopped green onion.