Buckwheat Crepes

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The thing I miss most about Chicago (besides the friends we left behind) is the food. So much amazing food in that city. At least once every week during the spring and summer Clara and I frequented one of the farmers markets (Lincoln Square and Lincoln Park were our favorites)- for fresh fruit and veggies, flowers, and bread. And to visit our favorite crepe stand. Two cute Frenchman ran a crepe truck and made the most incredible sweet and savory crepes. Dessert (or breakfast, occasionally!) crepes with blueberries and fresh cream and honey and buckwheat crepes with ham and cheese (our go-to), or pesto with cheese and ham or turkey, even goat cheese and honey. We’d share a massive hot crepe in the park with a side of just-picked cherry tomatoes and berries before heading home with the rest of our edible treasures.

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Lincoln Square farmer’s market

I didn’t expect this recipe to be nearly as delicious or authentic as those perfect Chicago street crepes. But it is! And it’s simple and can be made 100% buckwheat/whole wheat if you wish. We love them just about any way, but highly recommend ham + freshly grated REAL Parmesan for your first experience. Which is what we had for lunch today (and several times last week) followed by a warm peanut butter + banana + honey crepe for dessert!

Buckwheat Crepes

INGREDIENTS

3 large eggs
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use 1/2 cup white whole wheat + 1/4 cup all-purpose
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

fillings:
thinly sliced ham + freshly grated Parmesan + freshly ground black pepper (I’ve also added spinach)
basil pesto + mozzarella
peanut butter + sliced banana + honey
almond butter + sliced strawberries + honey
yogurt + fruit + honey

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth (using a blender, food processor, immersion blender, or whisk). Cover bowl and chill for several hours or overnight. (You can get away with cooking them immediately, but they’ll have a better texture if refrigerated first.)

2. Set the batter out to come to room temperature for an hour before cooking (I usually forget this step and they turn out fine). Preheat a large skillet over medium-heat. Add a small pat of butter and quickly spread the butter around the pan. Add 1/4 cup (for small crepes) -1/3 cup (for large crepes) of batter and tilt the pan so that the batter spreads into a circle. Cook for about a minute, until bubbling and golden on the bottom, then flip (I loosen the edges with a spatula and then slide it under the middle and flip very carefully) and cook on the second side until golden brown.

3. To make a ham and cheese crepe: Immediately after flipping, sprinkle with Parmesan and place a single layer of ham on top. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Fold the crepe over twice and cook a bit longer on each side, until the cheese is melted. Serve warm. The same can be done with pesto and mozzarella or other fillings of choice.

4. Unused crepes can easily be stored wrapped in the fridge for a couple of days, or frozen (layer between wax paper and place in a plastic bag) for several months.

Makes 10-20 crepes, depending on size (mine were large, so I only got 10).

(Adapted from David Lebovitz)

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Smashed Roasted Potatoes

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We eat so many sweet potatoes that white ones are a treat (Dustin thinks so, anyway). I’m not that fond of starchy white baked potatoes (rather boring), but boiling baby potatoes until tender, smashing, and then roasting them is another story! Coated in olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and fresh black pepper, they turn crisp and golden- almost potato chip-like on the exterior. Serve with a juicy burger or fish and some ketchup, of course, on the side.

Smashed Roasted Potatoes

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. small Yukon gold or fingerling potatoes
1 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/6 cup extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 20 minutes, until a knife slides through easily. Drain and set aside to cool.

2. Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.  Place potatoes on the baking sheet and using a potato masher, smash each potato gently. Season with kosher salt and pepper; drizzle with half of the oil. Carefully turn potatoes to coat.

3. Roast in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Drizzle with remaining oil, turn to coat, and continue roasting until crispy and golden brown, another 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes). Serve immediately.

Serves 3-4.

(Adapted from Bon Appetit)

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Pistachio Crusted Cod

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I really love fish. I don’t have tons of fish recipes because I tend to make the same ones over and over again. But every so often I find a new one to love and start making it repeatedly. This is the current obsession: cod coated with honey mustard and crusted with panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and pistachios. Cod is mild yet meaty (usually my choice for homemade fish sticks.) Almost any fish would pair well with this topping though- flounder, tilapia, salmon, etc. I paired it with caramelized brussel sprouts and smashed roasted potatoes (up next!).

Pistachio Crusted Cod

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. finely ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cod fillets, preferably loin pieces (4-6 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (I use honey mustard)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a small baking sheet with foil and lightly grease the foil with cooking spray.

2. Chop the pistachios into medium-fine pieces. Combine the nuts, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.

3. Spread the top of each fillet evenly with the (honey)mustard. Press the mustard-coated side of each fillet into the crumb mixture to generously coat the fish. Set the fillets, coating side up, on the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the fillets to form a thick coating.

4. Bake the fillets until the topping is crisp and browned and the fish is cooked through, 10 to 12 min., depending on thickness (fish will turn opaque and flake easily with a fork). Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

(Adapted from Fine Cooking)

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Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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So much snow. Unlike Chicago, at least Colorado warms up in between all the white. We’ll have spring-like weather for a few days and then a blizzard, and then it’s sunny again and you almost forget it’s winter. Until this weekend. When we’re stuck inside I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. And make lots of messes (which Dustin kindly helps clean, but not without complaints). During this snowy weekend we had waffles and burritos and buckwheat crepes with bacon/spinach/mushrooms/cheese. And fish with roasted potatoes (recipes up next). And these cookies.

This recipe became an instant favorite when I first made it a few months ago. Oatmeal raisin is just about my favorite cookie, but it has to be soft and chewy and have just the right amount of molasses flavor. And these are exactly that! They need a little time in the refrigerator before baking (to prevent spreading). My only other advice: don’t over-bake them. Take them out as soon as the edges turn golden and they’ll set as they cool.

Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

INGREDIENTS

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional- I omitted)

DIRECTIONS

1. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and molasses and mix on high until combined. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Add to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Beat in the oats, raisins, and walnuts (if using) on low speed. Dough will be thick, yet very sticky. Chill the dough for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator (do the full hour if you’re afraid of the cookies spreading too much). If chilling for longer (up to 2 days), allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

4. Roll balls of dough (about 1.5 tablespoons of dough per cookie) and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes until very lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look very soft and undone. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will continue to “set” on the baking sheet during this time.

5. Cover cookies and store at room temperature for up to 1 week. Baked cookies and rolled cookie dough freeze well, up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute– do not thaw.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

(Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

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Maple Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

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Another muffin, this one fit for breakfast or snack or anytime because it’s full of good-for-you things like whole wheat, flax, blueberries, olive oil and zucchini. Usually I use honey to sweeten muffins but in this case I really like the combo of blueberries + maple syrup- much like a blueberry pancake! I used spelt flour because it yields the softest, most tender whole grain muffins. And I replaced 1/4 cup of flour with ground flaxseed because I almost always do. As promised, I added the adjustments I made for high altitude*.

p.s. The zucchini almost entirely disappears in this muffin (Which is a good thing when you’re serving a two-year-old who, depending on her mood, finds hints of green in her muffin off-putting.)

Maple Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, or whole spelt flour (I usually replace 1/4 cup of the flour with ground flaxseed)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (or honey)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (any milk will work)
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I love frozen wild blueberries)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with muffin liners.

2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.

3. In a separate medium bowl, combine the following wet ingredients:zucchini, maple syrup, vanilla and almond extract, olive oil, applesauce, egg and milk until well combined. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries.

4. Evenly distribute batter among muffin tins, filling about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for several minutes then remove muffins and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

*to adjust for high altitude: +2 Tbsp. flour, +2 Tbsp. almond milk, -1 Tbsp. maple syrup/honey, halve baking soda, increase baking temp to 375 F, decrease baking time slightly

Makes 12 muffins.

(Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)

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