It is no secret that February is the month of L-O-V-E. Before Christmas decor is even taken down from the stores we are ready for Valentine's Day. This year I am embracing the Holiday and at YCA we are making all foods that say LOVE.
No one says love & romance better than the French so we are starting the month with Crepes- a nice thin pancake that is so versatile it can make a savory meal or a sweet treat and the possibilities are endless.
February 2nd, which happens to be my Birthday, and yes, Groundhogs day, is the "jour des crepes" or la Chandeleur in France- a nationally recognized day where the French do eat a lot of crepes but there are also superstitions associated (much like our Groundhogs day). One fun activity the French partake in is holding a coin in the writing hand and flipping the crepes in the pan in the other. If the person can successfully flip & catch the crepe then she will be granted a year of prosperity. Check out this fun Crepe Throwing game if you are feeling a little brave and looking for a fun in-door activity since our good ole' Groundhog saw his shadow, indicating 6 more weeks of winter (hopefully translated into RAIN for us in California).
Back to the task at hand. Let's make our Crepe batter. I have tried several recipes. Some that have to sit for a few hours but the one I am going to share is great because you can make it and use it right away. Perfect for cooking with impatient kiddos.
Crepes are thin pancakes that do not take on a very strong flavor allowing you to fill with desired ingredients. Traditionally Crepes are made with Buckwheat flour because that is the type of flour most predominantly used in Brittany, France, where crepes were originated. You can use All-Purpose Flour. I suggest you melt the butter and let it cool a bit before mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl and blend with a hand mixer.
To make the Crepes, use a 7" pan or Crepe pan and make sure to heat your pan first. Melt the butter and then drain off excess butter. Use a 1/4 measuring cup and pour in a scoop of batter. Pick up and swirl ,letting the batter run onto the pan until a thin circle is formed. Place it down for 30-45 seconds until the batter starts to dry. Flip and cook for an additional few seconds and then remove to a plate. Layer a paper towel or parchment paper between crepes while preparing.
Young Chefs Academy Crepes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 6 eggs
- 6 Tbsp. butter,melted- then cooled
- Pinch of salt
- Butter for coating the pan
Small 7” skillet or crepe pan
1. Place all ingredients in the bowl, using a hand mixer, blend for 10 seconds or until you have a smooth batter and all ingredients have been mixed together uniformly.
2. Heat your skillet or crepe pan over medium high heat, place a small amount of butter in your pan and let it melt. Using the paper towel wipe out any excess butter.
3. Pour 1/8-1/4 of a cup of batter into the pan. Swirling the batter to cover the entire bottom of the pan.
4. Cook until the top begins to dry out, about 45 seconds to 1 minute, then carefully flip over to let the other side brown. The crepes should be light golden brown.
5. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Put wax paper between each crepe so they will not stick together when you try to fill them.
6. Continue making crepes until all batter is used.
Yield: 18 crepes
I made this Savory Crepe Recipe with our KinderCooks as well as Jr Chef & Teen Chefs. During each class we change the level of involvement to make it suitable for each age group. My Kindercooks chopped the Mushrooms and Zucchinni with Pizza cutters. Side note- it was my daughter's first time in my KinderCooks class- I was a bit nervous but she did an excellent job. I got a giggle each time she called me Chef Shayna. My Teen chefs made the roux from scratch being careful to quickly whisk the flour and ingredients until a nice sauce formed. So amend the tasks according to your child's ability in the kitchen and what will best help you get the job done.
Recipe Savory Filling: Chicken & Veggies
- 1-2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 ½ cups zuchinni, sliced thin
- 1 ½ cups onion, diced
- 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 ½ pounds chicken, cooked and shredded
1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1-2 Tbsp. of butter and let it melt completely. Add the onions, zucchini and mushrooms and sauté until tender. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
2. Add the remaining butter to the same pan, let it melt completely then add the flour whisking to combine and cook until golden. Add the milk and chicken stock and allow the sauce to thicken, about 3-5 minutes. Once the sauce has thickened add it to the sautéed vegetables and toss in the cooked chicken and mix together.
3. Use this mixture to fill the crepes. Using a 1/3 measuring cup fill each crepe with the chicken filling and roll up. Optional: Place the filled crepe seam side down in a baking dish. Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes until heated through.
Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve.
Yield: Enough filling to fill 18 crepes or more
I LOVE sweet crepes, probably more than savory. One more Crepe Story. In college a friend & I traveled to Paris for a weekend while studying abroad. We were in Paris for 2.5 days and she managed to eat 12 crepes during our visit… A very impressive task for a thin college girl to take on…. I love you Jenny.
So for sweet Crepes, go crazy. Nutella, bandannas, Chocolate, berries… let your chlldren help create unique combinations. Just have fun!
Recipe Strawberry Coulis
- 3.5 oz. berries, fresh or frozen (about 1/3 cup)
- 2 Tb sugar
- 4 tsp water
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1. In a heavy saucepan, add all of the ingredients together and bring to a boil. Boil until all the sugar is dissolved.
2. Remove from heat and cool. Pour the syrup through a fine strainer and discard the solids. Taste and adjust sweetness.
Yield: about 5-6 ounces
This week I was pretty impressed with my Teen Chef class. All of my students have a pretty good grasp of the technique for making beautiful, round crepes. Here is a picture of a few of them working together around the stove.