Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend food - Strawberries and Crêpe Gateau

Most of the time this weekend I was trying recondition myself to think of myself as zaftig; I may be fatter than I want to be, but that's not necessarily ugly - you know, the real women have curves way of thinking - I can't get over my jowls, unfortunately. But enough of that -

We went to the farmers market Saturday morning, and the big news is the local strawberries are in. My CSA, Tipi Produce, emailed us all Friday night to let us know that they'd be at the market with berries, and if we said we were CSA members, they'd give us a buck off a quart.

I got a quart from Tipi and another one from Matt Smith over on the other side of the square.

In the afternoon, I went over to Naomi's to learn how to play Canasta, with her mom, who's been living in Miami. It was pretty humorous - we had to call her Canasta mavens back in Florida to get the rules.

In the evening, Mark and I went to Bach Dancing & Dynamite - they always do a series of concerts in June. This program was called "The Dating Game", and all the pieces were about love and loss. The second set was a Schubert song cycle, "Die schöne Müllerin" for baritone and piano, featuring photographs by Katrin Talbot, about a broken hearted mill boy who drowns himself. The singer was Timothy Jones, a Black baritone with a beautiful voice, but they kept the theater extra dark in order to show Talbot's slides, that she created to illustrate the songs - the images were nice, but the darkness made me really droopy and sleepy. Looks like Talbot has made a cottage industry of illustrating Schubert - she is also a violist with the Madison symphony.

On Sunday, I canceled brunch - not enough eaters - and went for a walk with Rach instead. I biked out to her place, and biked to Whole Foods, so a pretty good amount of time spent outdoors - so I decided to work on indoor stuff the rest of the day. Probably a mistake, on the first beautiful day of the summer. I sort of worked, as much as I could stand, listened to the Brewers on the radio [they lost], and finally took the NYT out to the porch to read until I started cooking dinner.
I made a crêpe gateau for dinner on Sunday - kind of like lasagna but with crêpes instead of noodles. It also used up a bunch of stuff I had in the fridge. There are a few steps, but overall it's pretty easy (and sometimes you can find pre-made crêpes to buy):

6 eggs
1 cup of water, or milk
1/3 cup white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 TBLS oil
pinch of salt
fresh grated nutmeg

For the crêpes, combine eggs, flour, water or milk, oil, salt, and nutmeg in a blender, and blend on high speed until well mixed - you might need to scrape down the sides. Refrigerate batter for at least 1 hour.

Heat a 10-inch nonstick crêpe or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon of oil or just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Using a not-quite-full 1/4 cup measure, add batter to the center of the pan. (The handle on mine is just long enough to not be submerged in the blender jar) Swirl the batter until it evenly coats the bottom of the pan.

Cook until edges just turn brown, about 1 minute. Flip and cook 20 to 30 seconds longer. I use my fingers for this - the edges actually start to curl a little when they are ready for you to grab them. Slide the crêpes out of the pan onto a plate, stacking them as they get done. Repeat until all the batter is gone, adding more oil as needed to prevent sticking.

If a crêpe happens to tear or crumples up, they are actually almost best right straight out of the pan - resist eating more than one, or you won't have enough for the gateau.

You can fill it with lots of stuff - when I worked at the Ovens of Brittany, we filled it with a ricotta-mushroom-mozzarella and jack cheese filling, and topped it with Mornay sauce - crêpes made with 6 eggs. I was fond of calling it a cholesterol bomb. Last summer I made it filled with grated zucchini sauteed with fresh thyme, olives, and a fresh chunky tomato sauce. I think I was driving at something like that with this one, but I was determined to use up stuff from my last CSA box, and random veggies in the fridge. So it had a spinach layer, with cooked spinach with the water squeezed out, chopped, and tossed in garlic butter, cottage cheese, nutmeg and a little lemon juice. I bought Organic Valley cottage cheese at Whole Foods, and not only does it not taste as good as Nancy's or my fave, Breakstone, it's kinda watery. Hence some of the ooze you see in the picture. The other layer was tomato - diced green pepper, celery, tomatoes, and onion, cooked in olive oil, and then some jarred tomato sauce I inherited from KT & TL, with capers and olives, dumped in and cooked down, a lot. I also sprinkled grated mozzarella on the tomato layer.

So what you do is get out a springform pan (or a cake pan) and butter or oil it or spray it with cooking spray. Layer in two crêpes, and then start adding the fillings - thin layers are better than thick. Just keep on layering til you run out of crêpes - remembering that you need two for the top, but just use one crêpe between each layer of filling. Heat the layered gateau in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Cover the pan with foil or a cookie sheet. During the last ten minutes, uncover, and sprinkle with cheese. Remove from the oven and let rest about 15 minutes. Serve cut in wedges topped with tomato or Mornay sauce.

1 comment:

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