Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wheat Free Crepe And Strawberry Breakfast Delight

Strawberries are in season here the Northern California. And I'm not talking about those anemic or orangey pink blobs that pass for an excuse of strawberry in stores. I'm talkin' bout blood red, luminescent, perfectly balanced sweet/tart vine ripened, picked the same day strawberries. I had never tasted a real one until I moved to California. Oh. My. God.

Now, some may herald the strawberry season with ideas of shortcake. Or on a piece of shortbread with custard underneath for a tart. But not me. For me it's all about the Strawberry Crepes.

...which I had for breakfast this morning, and for which I've been salivating about now for a couple of weeks, waiting for the strawberry vendors at the Farmer's Market to appear. I missed the week before, but not this last Saturday. I knew they'd be there. I wasn't disappointed.

I went to each strawberry stall and taste-tested them. I've discovered that it's actually the smaller varieties that tend to be sweeter. I looked around and only saw big ones. While a bit attituded at first, I kept on keeping on. I finally chose the first booth I had gone to. One has to try them all (just in case), but ultimately theirs had that perfect balance of sweet tanginess that I was searching for. Got my three baskets and away I went.

I'm not much of a savory crepe person. I'm actually not much of a dessert crepe person, either. Although these could work for dessert, I'm kinda odd in that if crepes are the after dinner option, I'll just take the guts. An exception might be Chocolate Mousse With Banana Crepes. But for the most part, I'd rather have the innards without the roll.

I also try to avoid wheat as much as possible as I've found that the cost/benefit ratio of eating it usually isn't worth it. While I intend on getting that fixed some day, I have a reaction to the wheat. Not totally over the edge into gluten intolerance, but I do get bloated for about three days. In addition, over time I've also lost the taste for most wheat concoctions. But that's for another post.

But Strawberries (soon Peach) Crepes for breakfast beckon...so what to do? The call me like sirens. L'il boogers.

So this morning, for the first time since last summer I got to make my crepes. Oh, yum.

Wheat Free Crepe And Strawberry Breakfast Delight Recipe
(complete with the appropriate mindset, included)

I reverently got out the eggs, the cream (milk works, too), the stevia the cinnamon, the Trader Joe's Greek Yogurt, the almonds and syrup.

I said a prayer as I chunked almonds, tossed them into a dry pan, put them over medium heat to toast, then let them cool while doing the rest.

I meditated on the eggs as I cracked them open, thanking them for giving their little lives for my nourishment. Figure one egg per crepe. Put how many ever eggs into a bowl, add lots of milk/cream. Then a dash of salt. Put in tons of stevia and cinnamon.* I use about a half tsp. of both the stevia and cinnamon per egg. This sounds like(and is) lots (especially for the cinnamon), but it's not overpowering when cooked and all the elements are combined. Both will glump. This is OK, just combine it all as much as you can. Get out your crepe pan and cook it like you would any crepe. You'll find that they actually fluff up like actual crepes...no eggy/omlettey consistency or overpowering taste.

I felt myself salivating as I topped the crepes with sliced strawberries, the toasted nuts, the yogurt and a small amount of syrup.

I then sat down, cut a piece, closed my eyes, took my first bite and reveled in the symphony my tastebuds were experiecing. Tart, sweet, creamy, fluffy, fresh, springy goodness. What a way to start the day smiling. Enjoy!


*More on the stevia and cinnamon:

I use Trader Darwin's (Joe's) stevia, not the pure stuff but the stuff that has added milk powder. Raw stevia is tricksy as it's so strong. Using a filler makes it more like measuring for sugar and it has less of the tinny taste. If you use the straight stuff, adjust.

The cinnamon does more than just give the whole a wonderful flavor. I am in the early (maybe not so early any more :) ) stages of insulin resistance syndrome. Cinnamon helps this tremendously. So adding tons of it helps control the insulin response/load of the strawberries and syrup. Also...making the crepes with only eggs helps in this, too. I don't think any of the taste is sacrificed, but, again, I don't like wheat much so that's pretty much a no brainer.

And, actually, as I was looking for stock photos, I realized that in the spirit of full discloser, I should share that I don't actually fold my crepes. I just leave 'em open. I'm lazy, I can have more guts to crepe ratio and they taste just as good.

pic from here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Springy Mint And Fennel Salad

It's Spring!!! The mints are coming, the mints are coming!

This is my my all time favorite salad of the past two years, and I eat it whenever I can find spearmint. I can have it multiple nights in a row and not tire of it. I got the original recipe from a great cookbook called "Best of Gourmet 2001: Featuring the Flavors of Sicily." You can also (of course ;) ) find the original on Epicurious.com .

The first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly. It combines frisee, watercress, mint, scallions, olive oil, lemon or vinegar and pine nuts. Although that combo is great and potentially addictive, my version takes it to the level of crack cocaine.

As I can hardly ever find a good frisee (not sure why, just happens to be that way), I use any sort of lettuce that I have around (barring iceberg). My favorite is a mix of green butterleaf...preferably the kind that comes with its roots still attached with a bit of potting soil. I then add a spring mix of baby greens. Watercress, if around and fresh is tasty.

Thinly slice fennel/anise. I primarily use the stalks and bulb, but also add some fronds.

Thinly slice some scallions

Tear lots of mint into smaller pieces.

Chop and toast almonds. (I love the taste of fresh pine nuts but am very sensitive to rancid oils and find very few pine nuts that haven't turned. Plus, I always have almonds around so the switch was easy for me. Plus they're quite tasty in this mix so a no brainer).

Put all together. Add a small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Toss until lightly and evenly coated No need for lemon or vinegar, nonono. The oil and the flavors of the pure salad are enough to fill your taste buds with unimaginable delight. Not only does it taste great, but the mint and fennel are both herbs that make digestion happier.

Happy tummy, happy tastebuds, happy you and me.

Picture of fennel from here Mint from here

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Got salmon, arugula and mint in your fridge, don't know what to do with them? How about not having a great pecan pie recipe? Avocado, artichoke and leeks?

If you're like me and jealous of the natural cooks...those who can just take whatever seemingly disparate ingredients already in the kitchen and turn it into a gourmet feast...you can go to your computer and click on Epicurious.com, plug in the stuff you want to use and get a list of recipes. You can sort them by ratings, ingredients or whatever. There's this online recipe box so you can save the ones you get addicted to. There are comments with people sharing how they altered the recipe,what worked and what didn't. Because I sort by fork rating, the dishes I've made are always excellent.

I keep learning lots and doing more and more intuitive cooking. I just found out about a book that should teach me even more. Will review it here some day. But in the meantime, thank GAWD for epicurious.com!!! No longer have to buy tons of recipe books (unless that's your thing, which I guess for "real" cooks it often is). I've been introduced to foodie dishes I never would have thought of, just by plugging in a few ingredients: Fennel/Fig cookies which were the star Christmas cookie this year turned out to the best foodie Fig Newtons with oomph I've ever had...who wudda thunk? Salmon With Arugula and Tomatoes; Salmon Mint and Basil... just tons of stuff, really.

So for those of us who didn't get the inborn ingredient-combination-gene and have to keep learning, we now have a friend. Enjoy the experimenting!