|Galettes de Sarrasin (Buckwheat Crepes) au Fromage|
I was talking recently with a friend about the simple pleasures in life.You know what I am talking about, the little things that can brighten your day. Life is filled with simple pleasures if we take the time to notice them, the little satisfying effects you never really anticipate, but always take great pleasure in. They are the gifts of life that we each subconsciously celebrate in our own unique way. A little trick I like to use to make my days much more pleasant is to find little, simple pleasures and sprinkle them throughout my day. When you're working six days a week you have to find pleasure in every day occurances. They’re not big things, but each simple pleasure can translate into a great day!!!
Even in our busy lives this is easy to accomplish. For example in the morning, I might have a cup of tea, and sip it slowly to enjoy it fully. I might watch the sun come up, and marvel at the world in pastel hues. For breakfast, I might simply put freshly picked blackberries on my cereal … I just love berries. I savour the pop of each one, closing my eyes. You get the idea, these are little things, and don’t really cost a thing but they are tremendously satisfying.
One of my simple pleasures in life is visiting the Saturday morning farmers' market. Besides the preserves, myriad of seasonal vegetables, artisinal cheeses and breads, free-range and grass-fed meats and arts and crafts, you can also find a great selection of food vendors from simple to gourmet but always unique. My favourite treat to myself at the farmers' market is a buckwheat crepe made by Silvia Thomas of A La Crêpe.
If I know I am headed to the market on Saturday, my mouth starts watering around Wednesday. On the big day, I join the inevitable line-up and watch the tag-team show as Silvia and her partner, Helene Guy, efficiently work their magic creating authentic French buckwheat crêpes just like I fell in love with many years ago in Bretagne, the northwest corner of France. What could be better than the smell of fresh crepes as you stroll thought your favourite market? One of the simple pleasures is chatting with people in line and marveling at all the personal choices.
Silvia, who hails from France’s Loire Valley, cooks the crepes, ladling a dollop of batter onto her round cooking surface, then, at the moment of golden perfection, somehow manages to flip the platter sized wafer-thin pancakes with a wooden spatula. The day’s selection may include a berry coulis, apricot compote, apple and toasted almonds, or any seasonal fruit but my simple pleasure is to relish in a savoury buckwheat crepe with a filling of warm ooey, gooey ribbons of delectable melted cheese. She calls them her little delights...les p’tits bonheurs de Silvia. And with that she hands me a buckwheat crepe, stuffed with cheese and chopped herbs, and wrapped in paper for me to carry away. Voila! It is by far one of the most delicious foods I had ever tasted and one of lifes simple pleasures.
These brown, gluten-free savoury crêpes are actually called galettes in French to distinguish them from the sweet thin crêpes made with wheat flour. For anyone with wheat or gluten sensitivity, buckwheat is a gift! It actually is not a grain at all, but related to rhubarb and sorrel. The flour comes from grinding the seed, which is similar to a sunflower seed. High in fiber and easily digested, healthy buckwheat contains the 8 essential amino acids. Its nutty taste is appreciated all over the world, in Russian blini, Polish kasha and Japanese soba noodles as well as traditional dishes in Tibet, India and Korea.
Sadly the last few times I have been to the market Silvia and her crepes have been missing. Whether she has moved away or is on holiday is one of the mysteries of life. So in order to undulge in this simple pleasure I had to come up with a recipe of my own. Making crepes is very, very easy once you get a feel for it. Many are intimidated by crepes, and I must admit that in the past I thought I needed a special pan and a few lessons to achieve crêpe perfection. However, we should never doubt the power of a stainless frying pan! This is the lesson that I have learned. Crêpes can totally be made in nothing more than a plain old frying pan. It doesn’t even have to be non-stick! Also don't try to flip the crepe while it's still moist. A "flip-ready" crepe will be dry and will actually slide at the nudge of a spatula.
If you're careful, you can always use your fingertips, and this recipe makes it easy to do so. But rather than risk burning yourself, try using a second pan to flip the crepe. Simply place a second pan on top of the crepe in your first pan, remove both pans from the burner and turn the first pan over into the second pan. Your crepe is now flipped! This is a technique described in the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. Using this method, you can actually cook the crepe on the reverse side in this second pan on a different burner, thus doubling your ability to keep making crepes! Let Alton Brown show you how.....
Whenever I make crepes at home, I prefer to make all the crepes at once, then stuff, fold or cajole them into my creations.They are easily frozen for another day. Some days, I fill the crepes with ham and eggs, some days it’s rich creamy brie and chopped herbs, and other times, it’s smoked salmon and fresh dill (much like Russian blinis). Watch for a future post where I make them into breakfast quiches. Today I wanted to recreate my simple pleasure and stuff them with a combination of shredded gouda and some squeaky cheese curd. The cook time is relatively short so finely chop the curds so that they will melt easily. Buckwheat crepes are so simple and savoury, they pair well with fresh salads, fruits, or a cup of coffee. I like my galettes cheesy but if you want fresh fruit, nutella or whipped cream make that your simple pleasure.
The verdict...these are exactly as they should be with their slightly nutty flavour, and matched Silvia's in every way, plus they satisfied my craving with one of my favourite simple things. I closed my eyes and envisioned myself wandering around the farmers market with a basket of freshly picked greens, sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes and ample fresh herbs. Bon appetit!
Back to the Future....
Over four years of blogging I have found many wonderful recipes to share on these pages. Some from my own kitchen, some from your creative blogs and web sites, and some from well known celebrities and chefs. I have been feeling a little nostalgic and was browsing these very pages just the other day, creeping back to the very beginning in 2006 when More Than Burnt Toast was in it's infancy and no more than "knee high to grasshopper". We all have those stellar recipes from when we first started when we were lucky enough to find one comment and have maybe one reader; in my case even before I was taking photos of the dishes I prepared. My other motivation for reconnecting with the past is to create uniform formatting on this blog and this is a fun way for me to revisit past posts.
So here are a few flashback recipes from the very first baby steps here at MTBT with...
**Galettes de Sarrasin ( Buckwheat Crepes) au Fromage**
based on a recipe from http://www.my-french-house.com/
3/4 cups buckwheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1-1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup cheese curd, finely chopped
1/2 cup Gouda cheese, grated
fresh herbs of your choice, chopped (optional)
1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour and salt. Make a well in the center.
3. Whisk until the eggs and flour are thoroughly mixed. Slowly add half of the milk, whisking constantly and gradually drawing in the flour to make a smooth batter.
4. Stir in half of the melted butter and half of the remaining milk. Allow to stand for 2 hours.
5. Just before cooking, stir and check the consistency of the batter. It should be like thin cream. If necessary, add more milk to achieve the right consistency. Use the remaining butter to coat the pan. Keep the whisk handy as you will need to stir the batter before every crepe is made.
6. Heat an 8" crepe pan or skillet over med-high heat. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the pan; if they sizzle, the pan is ready to use. Brush with a little of the melted butter.
7. Using a 1/4 cup measure, fill it with batter and pour it into the skillet. Immediately pick up the pan and tilt and swirl it so that the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. Pour any excess batter back into the bowl.
8. Loosen the edges of the crepe with a metal spatula. You can use a spatula to turn the crepe, but I usually, turn it with my fingers. Using both hands, I pick up the loosened edges with my thumb and index finger and quickly flip it over. But rather than risk burning yourself, try using a second pan to flip the crepe. Simply place a second pan on top of the crepe in your first pan, remove both pans from the burner and turn the first pan over into the second pan. Your crepe is now flipped! This is a technique described in the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. Using this method, you can actually cook the crepe on the reverse side in this second pan on a different burner, thus doubling your ability to keep making crepes!
9. Cook on the other side until lightly brown (usually less than a minute) and slide it out onto a plate. Cover with waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining batter. When ready to fill, crack fresh black pepper over each crepe. Stuff, fold or roll crepes and insert into a 325 degree oven for 5 minutes to warm. Alternatively crack black pepper over the crepe and return to the pan, add grated cheese to the crepe, fold it like a napkin and cook until cheese melts.
To serve: These crepes are usually filled with seafood, cheese or ham and cheese or other savory combinations.
To store: Crepes may be kept tightly wrapped for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. They may also be frozen. Be sure to bring them to room temperature before using.
To reheat :Crepes may be reheated. Heat a skillet and brush with a little butter. Heat gently on both sides.
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