Saturday, March 20, 2010

Simple meal for the first day of Spring

"...sprinkled with sugar and eaten hot, they form an exquisite dish. They have a golden hue and are tempting to eat. Thin and transparent like muslin, their edges are trimmed to resemble fine lace. They are so light that after a good dinner, a man from Agen is still willing to sample three or four dozen of them! Crêpes form an integral part of every family celebration. Served with white wine, they take pride of place on all joyful occasions."Anatole France, (Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault) French novelist, 'Le Temp'

These are samples of crepes I made as teaching demo for class last week to over 30 middle school inner city students. None of the students knew what crepes were before my class. We spoke about how crepes are a delicate, thin pancake of France and that all cultures have their own version of pancakes or thin quick breads.
As with all of my cooking I never follow one recipe, I don't expect you to follow mine exactly either. After reading about five variations I determine a set of ingredients that sounds like it will work for me.

Cheese Blintzes or Cheese filled Crepes

In a blender mix together basic ingredients:
2 eggs, 1 c. flour 3/4 c. milk 1/2 water 3 tsp. olive oil
8 oz. ricotta ( you decide whole milk, low fat or fat free)
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of cinnamon
  • Make batter, stir until well blended, allow to sit to reduce the bubbles while making the filling.
  • Mix filling: leave cheeses at room temperature. mix with fork, combine with rest of ingredients.
    Heat 7 to 9 inch iron skillet, grease with olive oil.
  • Pour in enough batter to cover bottom of pan, tilt quickly to cover evenly. Cook on 1 side until it blisters. Quickly turn out onto towel-covered board.
  • Place heaping tablespoon of filling onto uncooked side of blintz.
  • Fold envelope style. Cook in heavy skillet in small amount of butter until lightly browned on both sides.

I made a garnish with fresh orange slices and a fresh strawberry fan then drizzled a bit of Wildflower Honey back and forth over the top.

Other options included adding, vanilla, lemon or orange natural extract to both the batter and filling. Serve with a dollop sour cream, strawberry jam, orange marmalade or powdered sugar.

Obviously the crepes we made in class did not turn out exactly like my sample. As I shared with my students, I have been cooking/ baking for 45 years, I never expected them to make their crepes to look exactly like mine.

My students had great success because when we began; none of the students knew how to define a crepe/ blintz, a few of them actively participated in the entire process, we used applied math weights measures and fractions in our process, many of the students enjoyed the experience and finished product, some came back the next day to help Miss Carol with the cooking as they felt connected with a positive experience, some students clamored to take home the extra crepes, all students took home recipes to make for their families at home.

I don't make a lot of money but the benefits of share my knowledge with my students are out of this world ;~)

some music to cook by Hearts of Space

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