Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ye Olde Family Crepe Recipe - Savory Spinach Onion Crepes

Every year at Thanksgiving (or Christmas, whatever), my family makes these crepes. The flat pancakes are stuffed with grated Swiss cheese and spinach and onions that have been cooked in cream and are baked just long enough to melt the cheese and crisp the edges of the crepes. They're served with sauteed mushrooms and a dollop of sour cream. I'm pretty sure they're illegal in 9 states.

The mushrooms look a little... purple.
See the note below about red wine.
They are a pain in the butt to make (they're not difficult, just time-consuming) and that's compounded by the fact that one never makes a single batch. Maybe, if it's just you and your cat, you'd make a single batch, but if you're feeding real people, you make a double batch. But they are so completely worth it - once a year, anyway. The pain in the butt usually starts with trying to find the book that mom had tucked the recipe into (I'm pretty sure the recipe was kept folded and tucked inside her Woman's Home Companion cookbook).

Eventually, I moved out and started my own family, and the recipe was "digitized" (read: turned into a .pdf and stored somewhere on someone's hard drive), and the pain in the butt started with a frantic call to my mom, asking if she could get me that recipe. Again. This year, I successfully located my own copy of the .pdf, but I was thinking, "Man. This really needs to be on my Pinterest board, so I can find it easily." So, here we are.

I'll post the original recipe, with notes and adjustments we've made in italics. By the way, this recipe really works best if you have some free slave labo- I mean, children around to help out. At our house, I make the crepes and filling while the Things grate cheese and help stir and such. Thing 1 grabs a crepe and puts the spinach goop in. Thing 2 adds some grated Swiss, rolls it up, and places it in the pan.

Basic Crepes
4 eggs
2 C milk
1 C cream
1 t. salt
1/2 C melted butter
2 C flour

Blend all in blender and let sit 1 hour. Brush skillet with butter and heat. Spoon in 2 T. batter and rotate pan until bottom is thinly coated. Brown on each side.
It can be 45 minutes, if you're pressed for time. I usually do the crepes a little under-done, knowing they'll get more done in the oven and that they're more malleable when they are a touch under-done.

Spinach Onion Crepes
3 T. margarine I use butter. Pretty sure they mean for sauteing the onion and cooking the spinach, but it's not specified.
1 large onion, thinly sliced and chopped
2-3 pkg frozen spinach (thaw several hours ahead of time & drain) Usually, we use the larger packages, not the little square bricks  and get 6 for a double batch. You can run it under warm water and let it drain while you make the crepes if you're pressed for time. This year, for both holidays, the stores were out of frozen spinach (what on earth is everyone making that requires that much spinach? I mean, besides this), so we got four of the really big bags of fresh spinach and cooked it down, and added it to the sauteed onion.
2/3 C whipping cream
1/2 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. sale
2 C. (about 1/2 lb) shredded Swiss cheese
Sauteed mushrooms More is always better. Daddy sauteed them in sherry, butter and garlic and they were great. I did mine in butter and way too much red wine and they were all right. I would be hesitant to do them in red wine again.
Sour cream

On low heat saute onion until golden. Add spinach to onions, cover and cook until done. Gradually stir in cream, salt, and lemon juice. Over medium heat, cook and stir until most of the liquid is evaporated. May need to stir in a little flour and milk mixture to thicken.

Thing 1 scootches the crepes
down to make room in the
pan for... MORE CREPES!
Divide filling and cheese equally between crepes, spooning about 2 T. filling down center of each and topping with cheese. Roll and place seam side down in buttered baking dish. Cover and bake 375° for 20 minutes (35-40 if frozen). Remove cover and bake 5 minutes longer or until ends of crepes are crisp. We never cover them. We just bake them the 20 minutes. You're just heating them up, melting the cheese, and crisping the edges of the crepes. Before serving, spoon sauteed mushrooms over crepes and accompany with sour cream. Serves 6-8.

I have never ever ever seen the crepe-to-filling ratio work out correctly. I almost always end up with a bunch of extra crepes, but that's okay, in case some tear. And you can eat the filling-less crepes the next morning with Nutella for breakfast.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Letter Not Yet Sent

What do you say to someone who has just lost their child? Is the thing you say to that person different if the child were lost in a national tragedy? What do you tell an entire community? "I'm so sorry," or maybe, "my heart goes out to you," because those phrases haven't been used enough?

Do you tell them that you've written a letter about gun control to your congressman? Or that you vow to always use your gun to protect the innocent? Or that you made a donation in their honor to Mental Health America or to the Red Cross? Does any of that help?

Do you light a candle at church? Do you leave a teddy bear in the school-yard in remembrance of a child who will never get to play with it? Do you donate that teddy bear to a shelter for some child with absolutely no connection to the victims or their families?

Do you send a card telling [insert name] that you and the nation grieve with them? Or have your living child draw a pretty picture to take the place of the one their child didn't draw today? What are you supposed to tell the other children?

Is silence any better?

Update: The Snopes article on the Sandy Hook tragedy made a valid point about how receptive and prepared the school staff may (or may not) be to receiving piles of sympathy cards and letters. Rather than putting something in the mail, I believe I will be making a contribution to Mental Health America and/or the American Red Cross.