Sesame Street!

Hey hey Fancakes!

This past weekend I went with a few of my friends for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Everything we got was delicious but what stuck with my tastebuds was a black sesame ice cream dessert. I love black sesame. Really, I love everything sesame so it’s no surprise that once I got a taste of that sesame goodness, I just kept wanting more. And that is why, this week, I basically had not choice but to make Sesame Crepes! (original recipe from food and punch)

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A quick note on the recipe before I dive into the flavor profile. The original recipe calls for rice flour, but I just don’t think that rice flour makes for good crepes – it makes the crepes more prone to cracking (you can see in the picture that the crepes are breaking a bit). Anyway, that’s why my recipe calls for regular flour but feel free to experiment with whatever flours you like.

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Flavor-wise, the sesame flavor is subtle, but definitely there, and, since they get mixed into the batter and sprinkled onto the crepes, there’s definitely a nice crunch to the crepes. On their own, the crepes are lightly sweet, and the orange blossom water comes through just a bit. With the extra honey and lemon, these crepes are the perfect snack – I’m definitely making them again!

3.5 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie .5

Ingredients:

(makes 8 crepes)

1/2 C flour

1 egg

1 1/2 Tbs sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 C milk

1/2 T butter, melted

1 tsp orange blossom water (or vanilla)

1 Tbs sesame seeds + more for sprinkling

honey

lemon

Directions:

Sift together the flour, salt, and sugar. Whisk in the butter, milk, egg, and orange blossom water until you get a very smooth batter. Stir in the sesame seeds.

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Cover the batter with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the surface of the batter and put the batter in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour.

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Lightly butter a nonstick pan and set it over medium heat. Giving the batter a quick stir, cook 2 Tbs of batter at a time. Swirl the batter around the pan so that you get a very thin crepe. Sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top of the crepe before it dries. Cook for about 2 minutes until the edges are crispy.

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Flip and cook for another minute or so.

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Continue to cook the crepes, stacking them up on a plate as you go. The residual heat will keep them nice and pliable.

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When you’re through cooking, fold them into quarters, and sprinkle them with honey and lemon juice.

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Blackberry Fields Forever

Hi Folks,

I have a treat for you this week, it’s a SYTYCP original, “Blackberry Crepes with Coffee Ice Cream (and a chocolate drizzle).” Not the most creative name, I know, but at least you know what you’re getting!

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I had a bit of a crepey week, so even though I had these for breakfast, I decided to treat myself.  These were largely inspired by my beet crepes (hey, if beets can be made into awesome crepes, blackberries should be even better, right?)  I was maybe a little wrong? On their own, the pancakes were almost a little bitter, I think from the blackberry seeds. (At the same time, I loved the texture of the seeds in the pancakes) I think if I had added more sugar to the batter itself, the crepes would’ve been great, but let’s face it, would you rather eat a plain blackberry crepe or one topped with ice cream and chocolate?…That’s what I thought, too!

Pureed Blackberries

Pureed Blackberries

I also underestimated how thick the blackberries would make the batter, so definitely keep the milk out when you get ready to cook – I’ve adjusted the recipe, but it never hurts to have extra milk.  By the way, your batter will be a glorious shade of purple* (picture is below if you’re interested). If you’re a little iffy on the coffee ice cream, I HIGHLY encourage you to try it. I love coffee ice cream with just about any berry, it’s just a step up from your classic berries and cream. BUT, if you’re not ready to take the plunge, this would be just as good with vanilla ice cream, chocolate, or even sorbet (that would make it healthy, right?)  Maybe next time, I’ll make my own ice cream, too!

3.75 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie.75

Ingredients:

1 C blackberries

3/4 C flour

2 Tbs sugar

1 1/4 C milk (I used a combo of whole and skim…because I ran out of one)

1 egg

butter (for the pan)

scant 1/4 C chocolate chips (for the drizzle)

a scoop of ice cream

mint leaf garnish – just cause we fancy ’round these parts

Directions:

Whisk together 1 C milk and the egg until frothy.

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Sift in the flour and sugar and whisk just until combined.

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(mine’s a little brown because I used whole wheat flour for this batch)

Wash and puree the blackberries as smooth as possible.  Whisk the berries into the batter (the batter may clump up, but if you keep whisking, it’ll smooth out. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

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(I definitely stared at the batter for a bit – it’s so pretty!)

Whisk in up to 1/4 C more milk at this point if the batter is too thick. It should be the consistency of a thickish soup and should slide off a spoon in a smooth (but thick) stream.

Lightly melt a little bit of butter over medium heat.  Cook 1/4 C batter at a time.

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When you pour the batter into the pan, make sure you swirl the pan so that the crepe gets nice and thin.  Cook for about 2 minutes – until the top looks dry and the edges are crispy and flip.

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Cook for another minute, then slide off onto a plate and cook the rest of the batter.

When you’re getting towards the end of the batter, melt your chocolate (I microwaved it in 20 second increments, stirring every 20 seconds until the chocolate was nice and liquidy.

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Let the chocolate drizzle cool for a bit while you scoop the ice cream. I plated 2 crepes, folded in half on a plate, dropped a quenelle of ice cream on top, did a quick chocolate drizzle over the whole thing and photographed as quick as I could so I could get to EATING.

Enjoy!

*This year, Pantone’s color of the year is Radiant Orchid – Is it weird that I’m oddly excited that my pancake batter matched the color almost perfectly? Never mind, just accept my awesomeness.

 

 

The Buckwheat Stops Here!

Two confessions:

  1. Sorry this is late! I went skiing yesterday and when I remembered to post last night, tumblr just wasn’t having it…
  2. I have no idea what that title is supposed to mean but it made me randomly giggle.

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This week I made buckwheat crepes (get the original recipe from David Lebovitz and see mine here).  After the Clinton St pancakes last week, I wanted try another classic pancake/crepe recipe.  Buckwheat crepes are super versatile and delicious.  I tried the crepes 4 ways:

  • nutella
  • lemon and honey
  • jam
  • butter and sugar
  • fried egg and cheese

imageEvery topping was delicious – of course the simple butter and sugar and honey and lemon combos were so so good, but you can basically put anything on top of a buckwheat crepe.  Toss some lightly coated mesclun salad under that egg and you’ve got a pretty fancy lunch going!

imageThe crepe batter does need to rest overnight but besides that, the batter is super easy to put together and the pancakes are really easy to work with (aka they don’t rip very easily!)

4 out of 5 stackies: imageimageimageimage

Tickle Your Palat…schinken

Palatschinken are sort of like Austria’s answer to the French crepe, and they are delicious.  There’s actually a whole bunch of crepe-like pancakes from eastern/central Europe.  Besides palatschinken, there are palačinka (found in Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republich, Serbia, Slovenia, and Macedonia), Slovakian palacinka, and hungarian palacsinta, to name just a few.

(Get the original recipe here and my version here)

If you’re looking for a quick crepe recipe in a pinch, definitely check this recipe out – the recipe is super simple and easy to whip up.  Part of the reason why palatschinken are easier to work with are: (1) the batter doesn’t need to rest so you can use it right away, and (2) the batter is a bit thicker than that for crepes so the pancakes are slightly heartier and less prone to tearing.

And, like crepes, the flavor of the palatschinken is pretty mild lending themselves to a variety of toppings.  I went with a drizzle honey, a squeeze of lime, and just a light sprinkling of powdered sugar.  These would be just as delicious with fresh fruit, jams/jellies, nutella, peanut butter….you get the idea.

3.75 out of 5 stackies: 

Off the Griddle with Ihopapotamus at…Meli-Melo

Full disclosure in two parts: I am the vaunted C, of “my roommate C” fame. Also, I used to work at the place I will be reviewing.

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Meli-Melo is a creperie in Greenwich, CT. If you count crepes as pancakes, then this place is very committed to the cause. It has savory, sweet, and the notorious flambe. Back in the old days it was a tiny speck of a restaurant with 10 tables, but it expanded a few years ago so you can bring all your crepe-loving friends. 
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When I worked here I obviously built a repertoire of favorite crepes; when it came time to write a review, I had trouble deviating from what I know and love, so I ordered the classic Spring crepe:
This crepe is a tricked-out version of their classic ham-and-cheese, with the addition of asparagus, artichoke and some mesclun salad. The crepe has a nice nutty buckwheat flavor, the cheese is present without being overwhelming, and the ham is better than your average supermarket ham and adds a nice salty touch. The homemade vinaigrette on their salads is one of my dream salad dressings. My only suggestions would be to increase the number of asparagus spears and to use fresh artichokes instead of marinated.
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I cannot leave a fair review of Meli-Melo without mentioning all the other great things going on there in addition to the crepes. They have a rotating menu of homemade soups and they are pretty much all delicious. Their French onion is the standard against which I judge all others, and M is obsessed with their mushroom barley. Their croque monsieur is where you want to go for a cheese overload (in the best possible way). They also make their own ice creams and sorbets; their mint chocolate chip actually tastes like MINT and not toothpaste. Yes, you can get a scoop of ice cream (or two or three) on top of a crepe. They have a juicer and you can get almost any combo of fruits and vegetables imaginable. I wasn’t sure if this counted as a “drink special” so I didn’t get anything. Also they are BYOB so no mimosas will be made from their delicious fresh-pressed orange juice.
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All in all, nostalgia may be getting to me but I think Meli-Melo is a worthy pitstop for any crepe-head. I worked there six days a week for about two months (woo summer job) and one of the perks included bringing dinner home every night. Between the expansive menu and the care that went into the ingredients and preparation, I can honestly say that I never got sick of the food. And neither will you!
4.25 out of 5 Paul Bunyans: imageimageimageimageimage

Pati-cake Pati-cake

As in patishapta (Bengali/Indian rice flour crepes with a coconut/jaggery filling), of course (cue winky face).

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The crepes on their own are pretty plain and only very lightly sweet, so they definitely go well with the coconut-jaggery filling.  Oh, I could not find jaggery anywhere near me (Forest Hills could definitely use some more ethnic grocery stores) so instead I used brown sugar.

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I’ve read that brown sugar is an acceptable substitute for jaggery but I definitely did something wrong because my filling was really crunchy (in other pictures, the filling looks pretty soft and sticky…more of a coconut paste).  I think my brown sugar turned into brittle after I added the coconut and it was just sort of weird in the crepe, if you can imagine a soft crepe filled with really hard nuggets of brown sugar and crisped coconut….yeah…not so good.

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Still, even with the textural oddness, the overall flavor profile was really good – lightly sweet crepes, coconut, brown sugar, it’s hard to go wrong there.  I would recommend you following the original recipe here (but you can take a gander at mine for measurement conversions and see some more pictures). 

Oh, a cup of tea goes really nicely with these!

3 out of 5 stackies: imageimageimage

Nales-what? Nalesniki!!

Nalesniki are Polish crepes – very similar to Hungarian palacsinta, Croatian palachinke, blintzes, and various other Eastern European filled crepes.

See my recipe here, and the original over at Mr. Breakfast. These crepes were not too sweet and very soft.  In fact, they may have been a little too soft and oozy for me.

My roommate informs me that these were very blintz-like (look out for a blintz post around Shavuot!), so if you’ve had a blintz, you’ll have an idea of what theses nalesniki were like.  My best advice would be to go pretty light on the filling (it can get real creamy, real fast) and to pair these with something nice and tart.

We ended up using some leftover lingonberry preserves which helped out, but some fresh berries, citrus zest, or a similarly tart jam/jelly would be equally delicious.

As far as crepes go, I would say these are a little thicker than your standard French crepe which made them a bit easier to work with.  On their own, the pancakes are pretty tasteless, so I wouldn’t recommend eating them plain.

3.25 out of 5 stackies: