3.07.2012

breakfast crêpes


When I was in high school, my friend Jill came over one afternoon and taught me how to make crêpes.

This seemed like a pretty big deal to me, although it was clearly run-of-the-mill for her. She came from a large family, being one of something like seven or nine kids, and obviously had lots of experience whipping up after-school snacks for many hungry mouths. My sisters and I, though, did not cook when we got home from school. Usually we munched on a bag of whatever flavor potato chips we had miraculously convinced Dad to buy for us, or maybe we had graham crackers and peanut butter. But that was it. The afternoons were for kicking back and relaxing, avoiding homework and housework both, not launching some big project like learning to make a classic French food.

But for Jill, it was not a big project at all. She didn't even need a recipe, her easy, intuitive actions implying once more that this was a common occurrence at her house. Our kitchen, which always seemed quite devoid of inspiration to me, had everything she needed for the crêpes, including, incredibly, a cast iron crêpe pan that we unearthed from the back of a cupboard. Clearly, a long-forgotten wedding present.

This impromptu culinary lesson was merely one of many things about Jill that impressed me. She had curly brown hair, first of all. My whole life, I have coveted curly brown hair. Hers was the really wonderful kind that always insisted on being in unruly, tight little ringlets, with random corkscrews that would spring out at endearing angles whenever it was pulled back into a ponytail. To me, hair like that was surely a sign of a slightly wild spirit, an artist, a mysterious, playful soul who would always be interesting, never shallow. Jill's hair didn't disappoint.

I don't know about where you went to high school, but in my neck of the woods, in the mid 1990s, that made Jill fairly unusual. She didn't conform enough to the "in" crowd's standards of beauty or fashion or frivolity or cattiness, and consequently was never "in." And to her benefit, in my opinion. Jill was universally kind to everyone, as if blind or oblivious to the strict social stratification governing the flow of interactions within our high school. She never seemed to worry about what opinion others might have of her, and had the kind of upbeat, positive attitude that made her seem far more adult than the rest of us. She was the kind of teenager who, looking back on her twenty years later, seemed headed for a very fabulous adulthood.

But in our kitchen that afternoon, she was just my friend, beating together flour and milk and eggs and sugar, showing me how to tip and swirl the pan so that the batter flowed evenly across it, accumulating a stack of crêpes next to the stove that would have easily fed her own family and mine.

We found a jar of raspberry jam in the fridge. Every crêpe was spread with a dollop of jam, rolled up, and dusted with powdered sugar. We weren't the only ones home at the time, so my mother or sisters probably snagged one or two. But it couldn't have been too many, as my memory of those crêpes includes feeling really full after Jill and I ate almost the entire batch. They were probably no better for me than all those potato chips, really, not the least because they were chock full of gluten, but at the same time I think they were so, so much better.

They were a lesson in the goodness that comes from doing something a little different, from making something yourself, from choosing your own path instead of mindlessly following the drum of the mainstream. They were also a lesson in what you make when you make food: connections, memories, shared experiences, friends.

I don't make crêpes very often, but every single time I do, I think of that afternoon, and I think of Jill.


Today a lot of us are thinking about crêpes, thanks to T.R., our wonderful host for this month's Gluten-Free Ratio Rally. Please be sure to check out his delicious crêpe creations over at No One Likes Crumbley Cookies, then continue on your inspirational journey by visiting all of the Rally's entries. It's a virtual crêperie! 

Adina of Gluten Free Travelette ~ Breakfast Crepes Three Ways
Angela of Angela's Kitchen ~ Savory Buckwheat Crepes with Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Kale Filling
Caitlin of {Gluten-Free} Nom Nom Nom ~ Buckwheat Crepes
Caleigh of Gluten Free[k] ~ Banana Cinnamon Crepes
Caneel of Mama Me Gluten Free ~ Slightly Sweet Crepes with Caramelized Bananas and Nutella Sauce
Charissa of Zest Bakery ~ Black Pepper Crepes with Chicken Tikka Masala
Claire of My Gluten Free Home ~ Victory Crepe Cake
Erin of The Sensitive Epicure ~ Socca with Za'atar & Sumac (Garbanzo Flour Crepes)
Ginger of Fresh Ginger ~ Sweet 'n Savory
gretchen of kumquat ~ nutella crepe cake
Heather of Discovering the Extraordinary ~ "Southwestern" Crepes
Jenn of Jenn Cuisine ~ Braised Duck, Fennel and Chestnut Crêpes
Jonathan of The Canary Files ~ Vegan Crepes for Filipino Spring Rolls
Karen of Cooking Gluten-Free! ~ Gluten Free Crepes Savory or Sweet
Mary Fran of FrannyCakes ~ Gluten-free Peanut Butter Crepe Cake
Mary Fran of FrannyCakes ~ Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Crêpes Sucrées
Monika of Chew on This! ~ Dessert crepes with caramelized plantains, toasted coconut and chocolate sauce
Morri of Meals with Morri ~ Russian Blini for Two
Mrs. R of Honey From Flinty Rocks ~ Crepes - Spinach & Dessert
Pete and Kelli of No Gluten, No Problem ~ Key Lime Crepes
Rachel of The Crispy Cook ~ Raspberries and Cream Crepes
Shauna of gluten-free girl ~ Gluten Free Buckwheat Crepes
T.R. of No One Likes Crumbley Cookies ~ Brownie Crepes with Strawberry Wine sauce
T.R. of No One Likes Crumbley Cookies ~ Basil Tomato and Feta Crepes
T.R. of No One Likes Crumbley Cookies ~ Fresh Fruit Crepe


Breakfast Crêpes with Eggs and Kale
Yields a baker's dozen (13) crêpes; filling yields four servings

The ratio for this crêpe recipe is 1 part liquid:1 part egg:½ part flour, assuming an average large egg weight of 56 grams

For the crêpes:
71 grams light buckwheat flour
47 grams Tara's all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
22 grams teff flour
280 grams (about 5) eggs
280 grams whole milk
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
42 grams (about 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Whisk together the flours in a small bowl and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the eggs, milk and salt (I like to use an immersion blender for this, but you can use a whisk, too). Vigorously mix in the flour until no lumps remain, then mix in the cooled, melted butter. Allow batter to sit, uncovered, on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes.

Heat a crêpe pan or 9-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Briefly stir the crêpe batter to make sure its consistency is even. Brush the pan lightly with canola oil (I like to use a paper towel to rub just a sheen of oil across the pan), and pour in 2 ounces (¼ cup) of batter, tipping and swirling the pan as you do to spread the batter evenly in the pan. Cook until set, then use an offset spatula (or even a butter knife) to help you gently lift the crêpe and flip it over, briefly cooking the other side. Remove to a wire cooling rack, and repeat with remaining batter. Depending on how well-seasoned your pan is, you probably won't need to re-oil more than every three or four crêpes. Crêpes can be stacked once cool while they wait to be filled, and any leftovers can be tightly wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to two days.

For the filling:
1 large bunch of kale, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
sriracha, to taste
extra-virgin olive oil, for sautéing
2-3 fluid ounces chicken stock/broth
9 large eggs
salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Sauté the chopped kale and minced garlic in olive oil over medium heat until the kale has wilted. Stir in sriracha, if desired. Add the chicken stock and simmer until it is mostly evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper, and scramble them however you like best. In our family, we add just a bit of sriracha, and cook them over very low heat in a cast iron pan greased with unsalted butter, stirring constantly with a spatula or fork, breaking up the curds as they form. We take the pan off the heat when the eggs are just gently set, but not dry.

Assemble the crêpes:
Pile scrambled eggs and sautéed kale onto one quadrant of each of eight crêpes, garnishing with additional sriracha, if desired. (You should.) Fold the crêpe in half, then in half again to form a triangle. Serve crêpes in pairs, while the filling is still warm.

26 comments:

  1. I love the idea of a breakfast crepe and your filling looks delicious, certainly one to try.

    A beautiful post (I've always wanted curly hair, too!).

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    1. What is it about curly hair that is so attractive to those of us who don't have it? It always baffles me that two of my friends, who have some of the most gorgeous curls I've ever seen, take such great pains to straighten them every day! Crazy.

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  2. Srichacha on the table for breakfast? You are the cook for me!

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    1. Oh yes, we can't get enough sriracha over here! Even my three-year-old loves it, which I proudly take credit for. :)

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  3. Lisa @ GF CanteenMarch 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    love buckwheat crepes. I have curly hair - always wanted straight hair! the photos are fabulous.

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    1. You too, Lisa? This curly/straight hair issue is clearly a grass-is-always-greener thing.

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    2. You too, Lisa? This curly/straight hair issue is clearly a grass-is-always-greener thing. It makes me giggle. :)

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  4. This looks like dinner tonite and I love your tribute to Jill. Many people shape our lives and she is one of yours.

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    1. Yes, Karen, it makes a fabulous dinner!

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  5. Totally agree with Rachel! Glad to see another spice lover in the rally! Great pictures and post.

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    1. I still haven't gotten my hands on The Sriracha Cookbook, but I really need it. So far, I haven't added sriracha to anything and regretted it!

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    2. I still haven't gotten my hands on The Sriracha Cookbook, but I need to find it. So far, I haven't regretted adding sriracha to anything!

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  6. What a great story!! And the breakfast crêpes look fabulous!

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  7. What a beautiful story of your friend and an awesome memory to have in the kitchen! These crepes are gorgeous and I'm all in for eggs and kale! Mmmmm.

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    1. Eggs and kale are my favorite breakfast. And I love the portable aspect of wrapping it up in a crepe!

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  8. Jill sounds like someone I would want to be like, too! Now these crepes... you speaking my language. Perfect breakfast right there.

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  9. What a beautiful and inspiring story. As Ruhlman said, the crepe is a "vehicle", for food and friendships both.

    This looks delish, and I'm curious how the butter in the batter changed the finished crepe. Do you have any thoughts of what the difference is? I'm really curious about it.

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    1. A vehicle, for sure! The butter, I think, just makes for a richer batter, which I'm always in favor of. I've had crepe-type pancakes and flatbreads before that had a bit of a dry mouth-feel, and I wanted to make sure I avoided that this time around.

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  10. You had me right from the opening photo and the bottle of sriracha in the corner. :) I love this story. Cooking and baking, when informed by memory and nostalgia, is such a wonderful gift to give ourselves. And to share that with others, and to see them taste that inspiration, is an even greater gift. Thank you so much for sharing, Tara.

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    1. Thank you, Jonathan! I really love foods that come to me with memories intact. :)

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  11. Oh goodness these look amazing and I'm so glad to have found you as my daughter has just been diagnosed with Celiac's and I'm frantically trying to collect recipes that the whole family can enjoy including her.

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    1. Thanks, Valerie! Good luck with your recipe collection! I think you'll find that there are tons of delicious, very family-friendly gluten-free recipes all over the web!

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  12. Your crepes look gorgeous... but what really got me excited were all of those images of little sprouts coming out of the ground - spring in immanent!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, the early arrival of spring has us all quite giddy!

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