Tuesday, April 1, 2008

At long last

I've had it.

It's spring, right? So why is it 36 degrees and hailing daily? I'm talking drifts of hail, people, ankle-deep in the courtyard of our apartment building. (Perhaps I exaggerate about the ankle-deep, but not the rest of it - I promise!) In New Mexico, it's 70 and sunny, and all I know is that I'm ready for that here. I'm ready for summer, really, with the sun setting at nine, and the farmer's market over-flowing with berries and tomatoes and corn.... I hardly know what to cook these days, since everything I'm craving is still appallingly out of season.

But we still need dinner, and this has taken me far too long to post. I haven't be able to think of anything much to say about it - there was no story to it, per se, not necessarily any poetry. The process of creating and cooking this was simple, as was the reason for doing so: we were hungry. This is our main reason for eating, right? Followed closely, hopefully, usually, by pleasure. I had mushrooms, shallots, goat cheese and baking supplies on hand, and we're trying to be budget-conscious these days. So here is dinner, at long last.

Crepes with Mushrooms, Caramelized Shallots and Goat Cheese

I guess you could say that it is inspired by my favourite savoury crepe at Le Happy - caramelized onion and goat cheese - but I have yet to meet a dish that isn't improved by the addition of mushrooms. (I believe I illustrated my love of mushrooms pretty thoroughly with this post).

Serves two.

for the crepes:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 large egg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Alternatively, use a full-sized blender or food processor.
Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes (or however long you need to prepare the filling).

for the filling:

8 ounces mushrooms
2 shallots
2 ounces (ish) goat cheese, at room temperature (whatever looks good, really - I didn't actually measure this)
olive oil/butter
thyme (fresh or dried, whatever you have on hand - fresh is better, dried is all I had at the time)
freshly ground pepper

Chop the shallots finely. In a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat, melt a little butter and olive oil together. Add shallots and cook until soft and brown. Remove from pan and set aside. Raise the heat to medium-high, and if necessary, melt a little more butter and oil in the pan. Add the mushrooms, saute until done and sprinkle with thyme, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Reintroduce shallots to pan, then remove from heat and set aside.

In a crepe pan or a non-stick pan, melt a little butter over medium-high heat. Whisk the crepe batter to make sure it is smooth, then pour a couple of tablespoons' worth into the pan. This is your test crepe - once it is done, the pan should be right for the next ones. Let it cook until bubbling on top, and very lightly browned on the edges , then slide out of the pan. You can flip it, if you want to, but it's not at all necessary. Cook the remaining batter in this way, using about a 1/4 cup of batter per crepe - you should get two, with maybe a tiny bit leftover.

If the filling is cold, reheat it briefly. Put each crepe on a plate, top with half of the mushroom and shallot mixture, then crumble half of the goat cheese into each. Fold over, eat and enjoy.

Oh, and because it's been too long - a gratuitous kitty picture.

Cats in a red chair, and plenty of mushrooms and goat cheese - I guess life could be worse.

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