tradition

Cooking with Toddlers: Crepes

I had never eaten a crepe before I met Jimmy…I think.  Considering that I went to France after I graduated from high school, that seems improbable, but since I vividly remember eating my first escargot but have no memory of eating a crepe, it must be true.  Thanks to their heritage, his family celebrates Candlemas Day in the traditional French way by eating crepes.  Three and then four generations of family would gather in the kitchen at his mother’s or grandmother’s house, watching deft hands expertly flip the thin, golden pancakes.  Eventually, the “kids” (me, Jimmy, his brother, and his sister-in-law) would take a turn at flipping the crepe high into the air and catching it in the pan.  The first time I flipped a crepe, I was scared to death because I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of the family, but I succeeded.  I also remember my sister-in-law snarkily correcting a grammar mistake I made at one of these events before she decided to pretend to like me (Think I can hold a mean grudge? That incident was 15 years ago!).

Once the crepes were ready, we descended on them like vultures, topping them with Nutella, powdered sugar, jam or nothing at all, rolling them up and gorging on them.   One crepe was carefully placed on the highest surface in the kitchen to stay there until next Candlemas Day for good luck.

Over the years as the “kids” moved away, we didn’t get together to celebrate Candlemas Day as often.  In 2001, Jimmy’s grandmother sent us the recipe for crepes, and I started making them a few times a year.  Because of Mum’s death this year, I thought crepes would be a meaningful, appropriate recipe for me and Daniel to make as we continue our culinary explorations.

Since liquor is used in the recipe, these crepes are dessert crepes.  If you want savory crepes, omit the liquor and prepare as indicated.  This recipe makes a lot of crepes, and they are easily stored in the freezer or refrigerator.   As usual, Daniel loved helping make the batter (he really loved the flour!); he would not eat one even when tempted with Nutella filling.  That was ok with Jimmy since he was able to eat them all 🙂

Oh! Look at the flour! It goes everywhere if I blow on it!

 

Stirring the batter

 

Taking his job very seriously!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter
  • 3 Tbsp rum or grand marnier (I always use grand marnier because I like the citrus flavor)

Directions

  • Place ingredients in blender or bowl in the order in which they are listed
  • Blend for 2-3 minutes
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • Oil an omelet pan or small saute pan and heat on medium-high
  • Place no more than 1/4 cup of batter in the pan and swirl it around so it spreads out
  • Once the edges begin to crisp and the batter is setting, gently flip it over.  It should be a light golden color
  • Place the finished crepe on a plate, pour in more batter and continue

 

Almost ready to flip

 

Since the hallmark of a crepe is its thinness, don’t be afraid to mess up when cooking them.  Even though I’ve made them for years, I still ruin the first 2 or 3 crepes (at least) before I get in the groove.  Experiment and figure out what works best for you.  This recipe is very versatile, and crepes make a great base for many other recipes.

 

Done! Ready to cool and eat!

 

Easter

All dressed up...

Our Easter 2012 was low-key, especially compared to how we treat other holidays (Christmas, Halloween).  One reason is because we are not an especially devout household, and it would a bit hypocritical for us (and I mean only my family) to appear religious only a few days of the year. On a side note, I read an interesting article in Slate on how Easter has resisted commercialization.  I believe the primary reason our Easter was low-key, though, is because of the missing person in our family: Jimmy’s grandmother.  As a devout Catholic, Easter was very important to her and though we went out for brunch with Jimmy’s family, it felt a little like we were going through the motions.

Dyeing eggs with Daddy

While I’m not very comfortable with the Christian meaning of the holiday, I’m perfectly at home with the pagan aspects of bunnies and eggs. Since we had a busy morning of baths and figuring out outfits (fun fact: toddlers don’t like to stop playing with trains to put on fussy outfits), we delayed the Easter Bunny’s arrival and egg hunting until after nap time.  Though it felt a little weird to do it at nearly 5pm, it turned out to be a great decision because after a chilly, slightly cloudy start to the day, late afternoon was warm with a vivid blue sky and lots of sun.

The Easter Bunny visited! In our closet!

With his Thomas the Train Easter basket looped over one arm, Daniel ran around the backyard to find the hidden eggs.  We often had to guide him to the eggs, but it was fun comparing the enthusiastic nearly 3-year-old Daniel to last year’s not quite 2-year-old Daniel who didn’t understand hunting for eggs and became overwhelmed and upset by it.  The years are going by so quickly, and every day, he becomes more a little boy and further away from the tiny baby we brought home. We played with his new sidewalk chalk on the driveway, drawing flowers and letters until we reluctantly realized we needed to get our little man fed and bathed before bedtime.  I’m really looking forward to more afternoons and evenings like yesterday as the days become longer and warmer.

Ready to find eggs!

It was a wonderfully calm, peaceful day.  I hope your weekend was as well.