Friday, November 25, 2011


Apple, quince crepes with cranberry sauce. Photo: Travis Stevens

Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day.  It's even better than dessert in my book. Some women shop to reward themselves, I cook.  Brunch is a treat to myself where at least once a week I take the time to cook and enjoy some of my favorite foods with loved ones before I start thinking about everything I have to do that day or that week. 

Crepes can be intimidating, but once you've made them once you will quickly realize they really aren't complicated.  Plus, you can fill them with just about anything, including cherry pie filling. I happily stumbled upon this filling combination one recent Sunday.  Quinces and apples are in season and hence what I had on hand.  Thus a filling was born.  The fruits are cooked down to make a sauce that warms the sweetened sour cream filling to the perfect temperature and consistency when both are wrapped in a warm crepe.  The result is a light, creamy and satisfying mouthful with a balance of sweet and tart that does not require additional syrup.  

Apple Quince Crepes
4 eggs
2 C flour (all rice or 1c white rice, 1/2 c brown rice, 1/2 c sweet rice)
1 C rice milk
1 C water
4 Tbls melted butter

1. Beat eggs, sift in flour and beat until smooth.
2. Stir in milk, butter and water.  All ingredients should be room temperature so melted butter does not solidify when added to ingredients.
3. Chill for 1 hour (or at least for as long as it takes you to make the fillings).
4. To make a  crepe, pour about 1/4 cup of batter into a well greased, pre-heated, small pan.  After adding batter to pan, immediately tilt pan to spread batter over the entire bottom of pan.
5. Cook 1-2 minutes or until crepe pulls away from bottom and sides of pan. Flip to brown other side. Repeat until batter is gone.  To keep crepes warm, cover with a kitchen towel or place in a warm oven.

Sour cream filling
8 oz 'sour cream' substitute
2-3 Tbls sugar
1. Combine ingredients to taste.  The mixture should still be a little tangy and not overly sweet. Set aside at room temperature while you prepare the fruit filling.

Apple quince filling
 1 apple, peeled and diced
1 quince, peeled and diced
1-2 Tbls sugar
1. Add fruit, sugar, spices and a small amount of water to a small sauce pan and simmer over low heat until fruit is soft.

To assemble crepes add a few tablespoons of each filling.  Roll and place seam side down on a cookie sheet or plate.  If making a lot of crepes, warm them in the oven before serving. If eating right away, heat from the hot filling should be enough to take the chill out of the sour cream filling.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Squash Season

Name this squash!
and then eat it - 
Squash & Kale Risotto recipe below
P.S. I helped grow these!  I find that veggies always taste better when I've worked for them; or perhaps I just appreciate them more and it makes them that much more delicious?
Delicata - small yellow ones with green stripes; Butternut - oblong,sandy colored; Hokkaido - green on the outside, but deep orange and smooth on the inside. Plus it stores well into January; Pie pumpkin - I think you know this one; Props to those of you who know the large pale green one, alas I have forgotten its name.
One of the joys of eating with the season besides the potential decrease in carbon emissions, and more flavorful, nutritious food, is I get to anticipate and look forward to what's coming up next.  In fall there are a lot of treats - persimmons, chestnuts, greens, but with out a doubt my fall favorite is winter squash.  Truth be told, delicata (beware not all delicata's are created equal.  Go for the smaller ones with bright yellow and orange rather than yellow-green rinds) and hokkaido are my favorite, but butternuts and a good pie pumpkin are always great too.

Another joy of eating foods in season is that it makes deciding what to eat for dinner that much easier!  All it takes is looking to see what's on hand. How do I stock up? We get a CSA share of produce from Shade River every week.  One of the best parts, even better than getting a little bit of that Christmas like anticipation every week, is the fact that I don't have to choose what to buy at the Farmers Market.  Sounds strange, but I could easily deliberate for well over an hour about what to buy and from who.  This way if there is something I really want, I get it. Otherwise I just pick up my box of produce and am on my way with delicious, fresh, seasonal produce.  Thank you Star, Lilly and Mike!

Think about it: 
What do you eat?
  • Learn a new variety of winter squash this week
  • Eat something grown by the person you bought it from

Squash & Kale Risotto
from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites
(~4 large servings)

4 1/2 - 5 C. vegetable stock
1 C. onions, minced
1 1/2 C. arborio rice
1/2 C. white wine
2 C. peeled and cubed winter squash, 1inch or smaller
3 C. kale, stemmed & chopped
1/8 - 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp lemon peel, grated (do not skip this if at all possible, or try substituting lemon balm)

1. Boil stock and reduce to a simmer.
2. In a heavy saucepan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and saute onions until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Using a wooden spoon, add rice and stir until coated with oil.  Add more oil if needed.
4. Add white wine and stir until absorbed.  Then add 1/2 cup of stock.  Stir until rice has absorbed liquid, about 2-3 minutes. Repeat with 2 more cups of broth, adding 1/2 a cup at a time.
5. Stir in squash and kale. Continue adding 1/2 cup of broth every few minutes for about 10 minutes
6. When rice is tender, add nutmeg, lemon, salt and pepper to taste.  This is a good time to add Parmesan or Ramono cheese if you can eat it. A note about Ramano, it is normally made from sheep's milk.  Some who cannot tolerate cow dairy products do just fine with goat or sheep dairy products.