Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Versatile egg crepes, or thin omelets

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A small stash of these simple Japanese-style crepes in the fridge gives me a head start on the week. They're essentially thin, unfussy omelets with endless possibilities. My 9-year-old grabs rolled-up "egg pancakes" for a quick protein boost on busy school days. I use them to wrap salad or leftovers, instantly upgrading my lunch. They're an easy breakfast on hectic mornings. Shred them to top stir-fries or stir into rice. You can even use them to wrap sushi rolls, or cut out shapes with cookie cutters.

And just like flour-based crepes, you can go sweet or savory. Try maple syrup and perhaps a bit of mirin for sweet crepes, and enjoy plain or with a bit of fruit spread. For savory crepes, ease off on the sweet stuff and add soy sauce. They're a gluten-free, low-carb, and high-protein alternative to flour-based crepes and wraps.

My perfect lunch is pictured at the top: an egg crepe spread with pesto and stuffed with shredded carrots (stir-fried with ginger and garlic).

Use a very nonstick skillet for these, and be sure to oil the pan between crepes. I mangle at least one every time — I use that one as a shredded crepe. The cornstarch is optional, but it helps make a more durable crepe to use as a wrap.

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Egg crepes

Scale this recipe up or down as you wish. This recipe should yield four or five crepes.

3 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar or maple syrup
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of soy sauce or mirin (optional — soy sauce is good for a savory crepe, mirin for a sweeter one)
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch blended with 1 1/2 tablespoons water (optional — for a stronger crepe, suitable for wrapping)

In a bowl, stir together eggs, sugar, salt, and soy sauce or mirin, if using, with a fork. Don't use a whisk or egg beater — you don't want these to be frothy. Stir in cornstarch mixture, if using. Pour egg mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl.

1305_CPE_egg crepes_2Heat a small, nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. (You may need to experiment with the right temperature: Low heat works best with one of my skillets, and medium is better with the other.) Oil skillet well. Pour in just enough of the egg mixture to cover the bottom, swirling to cover bottom of pan. Cook until set, 1 to 2 to minutes, then use a spatula to loosen the sides and carefully flip over. Cook another 30 seconds or so, then remove. Continue to cook omelets, stacking them when done. Clean any burnt bits out of the pan between crepes and oil well.

Eat plain or fill and enjoy. Or roll up each crepe in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to five days. The crepes can also be frozen — defrost in the refrigerator.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Skillet Cookies

Something to celebrate with your mom this weekend? These cookies are the perfect fit for a surprise breakfast, brunch or tea, and so easy to make. Ask your dad or older brother or sister to help you, if that's the case. If you're mom, please read this to your kid(s) for inspiration. If you are not a mom, not a child, but still want to make something different for the weekend — and are not concerned about carbs — that's a cute and delicious project.

This recipe was adapted from many griddle cookies from the web, with the added benefit that it's suitable for vegans and those who are gluten intolerant or allergic, as it was tested many times at the Cooking Club at school.

The beauty of all these is that it can be mess-free, using a freezer plastic bag (like ziplock)  to prepare, so that the dough is kneaded inside the bag, avoiding spills.

And, please, don't forget to wash and reuse the bag after, or to recycle it. It would be great to save our big mother, Earth, from more trash.

Skillet Cookies

Use a electric griddle, like we did at school, or a large skillet. 

1 cup unbleached flour (or 1 1/2 of gluten-free flour, like the one from Trader Joe's)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon ( I love Organic Saigon Cinnamon)
1/3 cup vegetable spread (I use Earth's Best, vegan)
1 tablespoon oat bran mixed with 1/3 cup soy or almond milk
1/3 cup raisins (or any other dry fruit, or none)
Vegetable oil to spray or brush on the griddle or skillet surface

Mix all dry ingredients in a gallon-size plastic bag like the ones used for freezing. Close it and shake it many times. Cut the vegetable spread into tiny cubes and add to the bag. Close the bag and squeeze it until the mix looks like crumbles. Moisten the dough with the milk and oat bran mixture until the dough forms a ball.

Roll out dough on a floured surface (you can use parchment paper to cover the surface) until it's 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes. Heat the skillet to medium-low heat or 320 F if using an electric griddle. Spray or brush oil on the skillet or griddle surface and carefully transfer the cookies to it. Flip them when they are golden on one side (about 3 minutes each side), and grill for another 3 minutes. Wait for cookies to cool before tasting. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream

It feels like summer in California. And coconut is again an ingredient in the spotlight for the season. I can see more and more products made from coconut in the shelves of my favorite grocery stores, and its versatility is always inviting to try different recipes.

This recipe was made many times by children at cooking club at school, and it was the most popular one during the school year. We made it after reading the funny Should I Share My Ice Cream, by Mo Willems. It's a 1-2-3 process, and can be made in an ice cream machine, popsicle maker, ice tray, or even a plastic bag!

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream 
For faster results, freeze the coconut milk for a couple of hours before mixing the ingredients. 

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1 can sweetened condensed milk (for a dairy-free version, use just 1 cup of coconut milk drink with coconut palm sugar)
1 can organic coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut milk drink

Toast coconut in a baking tray for about 5 to 10 minutes at 350 F. Watch closely to avoid burning. If you're in a hurry, toast the coconut in a glass dish in the microwave for a couple of minutes until the coconut becomes golden.

Mix all ingredients. Transfer to the ice cream maker as instructed by the manual, or freeze in popsicle maker or in the freezer in ice trays. Enjoy!


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