Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bon appetit

In an effort to trick you into thinking I am a wonderful mother and industrious keeper-at-home, I am publishing the one thing I actually did today (besides getting caught up on my coupon clipping-- I know, I know, my ability to perform astounds you) and pretending like it was just nothing, nothing at all. I will pretend like I do a cooking activity based on a library book almost everyday, because that is just how creative and organized I am. If my son can spend about 78% of his day pretending, can't I have a minute or two?

So, without further ado...

Crepes!!! (There is supposed to be some sort of punctuation above the p because it is a French word, but I did not research what it is called, or if it is possible to type it.)

Today, we made crepes. We made regular ol' pancakes yesterday, and went international today. It all started when Joey watched an episode of "Toot & Puddle", a cute show on PBS kids based on the series of books by Holly Hobbie. In one episode Joey saw Toot and Puddle, the traveling pigs, visit France and enjoy some crepes. When we were at the library a couple weeks later, I saw this book by Monica Wellington,

and thought we would increase our understanding of these thin pancakes that the French enjoy so much. (I also borrowed a non-fiction book about France to really broaden our horizons.)

Anyway, we read Crepes by Suzettte the following day, and since then I have read it about twenty times. I am not exaggerating. Joey loves this book. It is a very simple story about Suzette who has a crepe cart, and goes around Paris making and selling her crepes. Each page is a different setting somewhere in Paris. The backgrounds are illustrated with photo collages, and the characters are drawn with markers and colored pencils, and laid on top.

The text is simple, but each page includes a French word or phrase, with a glossary in the back of the book to help translate. Joey is intrigued by foreign languages, so he enjoys hearing the French words and then trying to remember what they mean. He laughs every time he says "bonjour."

The last pages include the glossary as well as a recipe for crepes. Joey has been asking me to make crepes since we read the recipe. In order to do that, I needed to get a new non-stick pan because mine was shot, and I knew that as a first time crepe-maker, I would have an easier time with a good non-stick surface. Yesterday, I used my Marshalls gift card and got one.

I have seen this Good Eats episode on crepes and watched Alton Brown perform the batter swirling in the pan, to get that perfectly thin, perfectly circle-shaped crepe. My first couple attempts were sort of circle, the next few almost circle,

and I did get a few near perfect ones. It was pretty fun trying to get the hang of it.

The book tells of the various crepe fillings Suzette offers her customers, and online I read that jams or simply sugar and a spritz of lemon are most popular in France. I made a strawberry sauce with frozen strawberries that have been getting quite frosty in my freezer, and I just called it jam. I also made a sweet lemony ricotta, because I was in the mood for it, but that is not a traditional French filling. I did serve them folded in half, then folded in half again to make a triangles, because that is how Suzette does it in the book.

I ate all mine with the strawberry sauce and ricotta together, and they were delightful. The kids had a couple with sauce and a couple with just powdered sugar. Joey liked them, and enjoyed watching my batter swirling attempts. Katie ate them, but I couldn't tell you her thoughts exactly.

So that was our day of crepes. Crepes by Nanette.

Now, I better get busy and do something else. Important things like take a shower and get dressed. Possibly even fold the laundry heap resting on my bed.

On y va!


Dear Abbi said...

Good job! I'll have to add that book to my requests list at the library. I also liked your pancake figures from yesterday too!

I like my pancakes with syrup or strawberry freezer jam (which we are out of). I'm still having a hard time getting used to real maple syrup. Since I've attempted to eliminate HFCS from our diet, we've switched to the real stuff. It's been maybe 2 years (?) but I'm still not used to it. I was raised on the junk, I can't get used to the "good" stuff. :)

Anonymous said...

What a fun day! I told Todd it makes me want to start having kids so we can have fun Saturday's like this. Thanks for sharing! ~Jess

Katina said...

So cute and fun!!!