Sometimes when I head to the kitchen, what is on the menu is determined by what is on the edge. When I look in the fruit basket or produce bin and stuff is still good, but needs to move to the front of the queue for usage, or its on its way to the garbage. Food is getting a bit too expensive to be throwing away, so doing this will cut back a bit on overall food costs.
Today’s culprits: Lemons, Oranges, a quart of strawberries, some half and half and some whole milk (fine, but close enough to the expiration date to move it onto the queue)
I hulled the strawberries and sliced them up, added a cup of confectioner’s sugar, zested one lemon, and juiced that plus two more with a reamer and a fine mesh strainer to keep out the seeds, then pressed the pulp through to break it up into smaller bits. That simmered on the stove for about 20 minutes, so the strawberries got soft and the pectin from the zest along with the cooking sugar firmed up into a nice soft strawberry filled syrup. That went into mason jars. Let it cool down, then refrigerate. Its hot enough to form a seal, but you should still refrigerate it anyway. Tastes better cold, and since the jars weren’t sterilized, but just washed, better safe than sorry, right?
I had six cava oranges. I peeled one. The pith (white spongy part) was still on it, so I scraped down to the porous part of the skin with a sharp paring knife. Don’t want to leave that on. It will make things bitter. I cut the skin into very thin strips and put them into a different saucepan with a cup of confectioner’s sugar. I then supremed the oranges (slice off skin with sharp knife – cut between the sections leaving fruit without the chewy section/skin) and squeezed the remaining parts for juice into the pot along with the supremes. I added a splash of triple sec (Cointreau or Gran Marnier will also work fine), and simmered over medium heat for 20 minutes. These were placed in mason jars, fruit, syrup, and candied peels, and allowed to cool until they could be refrigerated.
Don’t taste either of these until they are cool. Hot sugar syrup will fuck you up. It sticks and just keeps on burning. Let it cool. Yes, I know it looks delicious, but do not become a candidate for the Darwin Awards, m’kay?
Realizing its still early, and I haven’t eaten yet, breakfast is in order. I generally only use dairy to cook as I’m not and never really was a huge milk-drinker. Feeling like I could do with a challenge so I decided on crepes. You’ll need a cup and a half of whole milk and three eggs. Beat those together with a whisk. (You bought yourself a whisk, didn’t you?) until they change color. Put two tablespoons of butter into a microwave safe dish and zap it for about 20 seconds. You want the butter soft, not all melted, and definitely too hot or it will scramble your eggs. Good for breakfast. Not so good for crepes. Beat the butter into the eggs and milk. Add a bit of bourbon vanilla.
[easy to make – get vanilla beans, split and strip them, then place the pods and the seeds into a mason jar. Pour in enough Kentucky bourbon to cover the pods, then let it sit in a cool, dark place for about 2 weeks) This stuff is much more tasty than that vanilla extract you buy at the market, so give it a try]
Put a non-stick, or if you are lucky enough to have one, a flat crepe pan on the stove on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes with a bit of vegetable oil. I prefer peanut oil for this. but if you have allergies, any vegetable oil with a good smoke-point is fine.
In a separate bowl with a fine mesh sieve, add one cup of A/P flour, 2 tablespoons of corn starch, a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt, and 3 tablespoons of confectioners sugar. Sieve all of the dry ingredients together, then add half of the wet and whisk until smooth, then add the other half. The result will look like a thinnish pancake batter.
Back to the stove. Get a paper towel and wipe out most of the excess oil from your crepe pan. Get yourself a ladle or small measuring cup and pour your batter into the center of the pan, then swirl the pan around to spread out the batter in a thin layer. It won’t take long to cook. Once you see the edges start to brown and turn up, get the fish spatula (thin silicone edge), and flip the crepe. Its a lot easier to get under the edge with a fish spatula, Cook the other side, then put them on a plate and cover them with a tea towel. This recipe will make about 6 or 7 crepes. Each person will want about 2 or 3. If you have leftovers, let them cool. then wrap up the plate and crepes with cling-film and pop them in the fridge. They keep pretty well for a few days, but likely won’t last because, well, they’re yummy.
On the ones in the picture, I spread half of the crepe with Nutella, which is a chocolate hazelnut spread. Has some protein to it, so its not bad for breakfast. I folded the crepe in half, and then into a quarter. I stacked three of the wedges up and poured over a bit of the strawberry preserves I made earlier. Got out the microplane and grated over a bit of dark chocolate on top.