Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Zucchini Crepes

Ladies' Home Journal ... ahead of the trends!
One of the many reasons I so love dipping into the Time Capsule is that it unequivocally proves that everything old is new again. Take, for example, the crepe – a hallmark of French cuisine that has become something of a thing here in Seattle. Crepes are sold at farmers' markets, at upscale tearooms, out of food trucks.

On principle, I try to avoid these types of food trends. They irritate me. I do not want to stand in line for an hour and a half for something I can make equally well (or better) at home. No matter if it’s gourmet ice cream, bacon, vodka, doughnuts, cupcakes – to say nothing of coffee – it’s a regular white-trash revival at country club prices. (I will admit to a certain weakening of resolve when it comes to gourmet popcorn. Man how I miss the “Karmelkorn” mall stand of my youth, and pressing my nose against the already-smeary glass to choose between ranch and bubblegum flavor. Ranch won. Always.)
One larger zucchini works as well as several small.

However, back to the trend du jour, crepes. My crepe experience heretofore consisted of eating Carrie S.’s class project in eighth grade French class. Her chocolate crepes demonstrated not only her kitchen savvy, but also her uncanny ability to knock the rest of us losers with our wobbly paper mache Eiffel Towers straight down the bell curve.

But these crepes won’t make you feel inadequate in any way, my friends. They’re straight outta Ladies' Home Journal, circa 1986.  Perfect for this time of year when you may be drowning in zucchini – planting those tiny seeds seemed like such a good idea back in May, didn’t it?

Because I am fortunate enough to live across the street from prolific and generous zucchini growers, I haven’t had to grow my own for years. On August 8 (National Sneak-Some-Zucchini-on-Your-Neighbors'-Porch Day – really) and throughout August they regularly supply me with enough squash to fulfill all my cravings. But, there’s only so much zucchini bread a girl can eat. (Never thought I’d type that line.)

The batter is thin and runs a bit before setting up.
These crepes are the ideal use for your bounty. The batter is egg-rich and simple – really a glorified pancake. A few minutes on your nonstick griddle (or frying pan) and you’ve rendered a delicious vehicle for the sour cream-parmesan filling. The shredded zucchini adds such a pretty green-flecked pattern. And I love a dish that can be served at all hours of the day – brunch to dinner.

I’m not sure these will ever take the place of my beloved zucchini bread (or ranch-flavored Karmelkorn, for that matter) but they are a unique entry that will have you feeling on-trend … for pennies on the dollar.

A tower of trendy, tasty goodness!
Zucchini Crepes
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
5 eggs
2/3 cup milk
5-6 zucchini, finely grated to make 2 cups
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups sour cream
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

To prepare crepes: Sift flour, salt, baking powder, garlic powder, and pepper into a bowl.
Beat eggs; add milk and beat until blended. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in liquid ingredients and blend. Add grated zucchini.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on a griddle or in a large skillet. Use 1/4 cup batter for each crepe, spreading into a 6-in. circle. Fry crepes until golden on both sides, turning once. Use more oil as needed. Keep cooked crepes warm until all have been prepared and you are ready to fill.
To fill crepes: Fill crepes with 2 tablespoons each sour cream and grated Parmesan cheese. Roll up and garnish with additional cheese and chopped parsley, if desired. Makes 16.

·      The original recipe calls for ¼ c. of oil to grease your skillet. Using a nonstick pan or skillet renders this point moot.
·      I like my pancakes like I like my hair: Blonde. These take only about 2-3 minutes, max, to achieve that state.  Flip them when the edges are just set.
·      I found half of the filling recipe easily stuffed the 16 crepes. If you like your crepes positively bursting with sour cream, by all means go for the whole batch. Additionally, I mixed the cheese into the sour cream so I could fill the crepes with one dollop.
·      Definitely sift your flour. The batter is so thin that the lumps really stand out otherwise.

Why Don’t You …
·      Omit the garlic powder and pepper and make these a sweet crepe? A filling of sour cream or crème fraiche flavored with maple syrup or cinnamon would be good.
·      Visit your local Karmelkorn location – if you’re lucky enough to live in the Midwest or California? So sad these went under years ago in Washington. Eat a bucket of Ranch flavored popcorn for me, won’t you?

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