As Summer slowly (painfully slowly) slips into Fall here in Texas, it’s time for our annual Theta pilgrimage to the Whole Foods Culinary Center and a hands on cooking class. For the past two years we’ve done the Global Cocktail course which has resulted in such favorites as goat cheese galette with spring herb salad, roasted red peppers with toasted baguette rounds, and caesar salad with watercress, cilantro and toasted pepitas. This year we decided to mix it up a bit and go for a course on just crepes!
Our chef extrodinaire for the day was Katie – who you can check out on her blog at the Culinary Pirate
. Katie taught a relaxing, laid back class. Unlike our previous courses, where we divided up the menu and sets of students prepared separate dishes, we all got to try our hand at all the crepes possibilities. Katie first demonstrated the technique for savory crepes. The recipe is quite simple and with a blender and a few ingredients you too can be a crepes wizard! The recipe called for:
- 2 Eggs
- 3/4 C Milk
- Dash of salt and pepper
- 3/4 C Flour
- 2 oz Melted butter
- 1/4 to 1/2 C Water
Add the water slowly to the mixture – you’re looking for a batter with the consistency of heavy cream. If you are the patient type, you can now set this batter aside and let it sit for several hours so all the bubbles come out and you will have perfectly smooth crepes. We were impatient and decided to pour the batter immediately. This led to bubbles in our crepes, but did not impact the structure or taste in any way.
The nice thing about the Whole Foods cooking class, (besides the fact that they do the dishes!) is that they lay out all the ingredients for you at your workstations – no measuring! See the beautiful Mise en Place (Sweet crepes on the left, savory on the right):
We were just missing the milk and butter. The milk came out of the fridge right after Katie demonstrated and the butter we obtained from the vat o’ melted butter on the central stove.
I can just hear Paula Dean praising the use of a vat o’ butter now…..
It’s all in the wrist! There were several crepes for the dog before we finally got the technique of pouring just the right amount of batter into our non-stick pans. You’re aiming to coat the bottom, but not run the batter up side or have too thick of a crepe. I found that if I poured the batter into a 2.5″ to 3″ circle in my 8″ pan, that I ended up with about the right size and thickness of crepe. Cook over medium to medium-high heat and flip when they are lacy at the edges.
Soon it was a crepe production factory in the kitchen. Jonathan, Liz’s husband, who in general has the mad cooking skillz (when are you going to guest blog for me Jonathan??) quickly turned out enough crepes for the whole class! Here is his combination of ham, gruyere, and crème fraîche:
Katie left out a stock of various crepe fillings (eggs, ham, cheese, the roasted chicken and mornay, etc) so we all had a chance to mad scientist it and make our own combinations.
Then it was on to the sweet crepes. Just a few substitutions to the above – no pepper and the addition of an egg white as well as vanilla and sugar. Katie demonstrated crepes commanders including flambe! Then she set us out in a kitchen with alcohol and multiple gas burners. How we managed to not burn the place down (Robin, I’m looking at you) I have no idea! But look at the beautiful results:
Susan judged these to be just right – even if they were super sweet and rich! After she finished most of this plate, she was stuffed and couldn’t eat any more crepes
I went off the reservation and decided to create a sweet and tangy filling of mixed berries in a balsamic syrup. I poured 1/4C of balsamic vinegar into a saute pan and added a teaspoon of sugar. I reduced the mixture in half and added sliced berries then tossed them to coat in the syrup.
Yum!! I topped with a bit of fresh lemon zest and folded the whole concoction into a crepe. With the little bit of extra syrup, I drizzled the top of my crepe and enjoyed!
After stuffing ourselves silly we found there were still un-filled crepes! Thankfully Katie came through with the tidbit that they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. This sounds like a perfect breakfast make ahead trick. Make the crepes the night before and then the filling in the morning. Assemble and then heat everything under a broiler to melt cheese, warm meats, etc. = one fabulous breakfast of savory crepes!
Once again, a fabulous experience at Whole Foods with great friends!
After finishing up class, I went home inspired. 1. I need to add a non-stick skillet to my Amazon wish list. 2. I needed to play with this crepes recipe a bit more… 3. I definitely need more practice!
Since I’m working the no dairy angle lately, I was substituting soy milk for all my crepes during class. It tended to make a slightly sweeter crepe – even with the savory recipe. We found in class that adding all the water resulted in a too thin batter. So I went home and played with it a bit before coming up with my own sweet crepe recipe:
- 2 Egg Whites
- 2 Eggs
- 3/4 C Original Soy Milk
- Dash of Salt
- 3/4 C Flour
- 2 T Olive Oil
- 1 t Vanilla
- 2 t Sugar
- 1/4 to 1/2 C Water
I fed these to my family and they didn’t miss the dairy one bit. The olive oil is a wonderful substitution for butter, but Katie mentioned I could probably substitute another liquid like orange juice also. However, if I did make that change, I’d probably want all the egg yolks in there to help balance out the fat ratio.The kiddos weren’t the biggest fans of the berries and balsamic combination. So I had to fall back on an old Laura favorite: a sprinkle of sugar and squeeze of lemon juice. Roll it up like a taquito and voile! Those disappeared!– Martta