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Monday, May 10, 2010

A Crazy PickPocketing Story with a Bonus Family Breakfast Recipe: Crepes!

I love crepes. But doesn't everybody? Crepes are one of those foods that I can't imagine anyone disliking (other foods in this category include garlic knots and French onion dip). I actually got pickpocketed once as a direct result of my love of crepes.

It was late at night in Paris. I was studying there during my junior year, and had a late night craving (let's call it "the munchies") that could only be satiated with a nutella crepe. I was hanging at my friend Judith's apartment on the Boulevard Montparnasse (she lived almost directly above La Coupole, for those familiar with the area), and there happened to be a crepe stand just outside her building. So, I ventured outside and purchased a nutella crepe. I couldn't wait to eat it, so I dug in right there, standing on the sidewalk, looking out at the traffic and pedestrians of the busy Boulevard.

In those days, I never carried a purse. I wore an oversized men's leather jacket (it was the early 90s) and kept my wallet in the inside pocket. In those days, a group of gypsy types hung out in an alcove right next to La Coupole. They had some mangy dogs and were all kind of dirty and scary looking. That night, I was so enraptured by the warm, sweet Nutella oozing out of my freshly-made crepe that I didn't even notice when someone lifted my wallet right out of my jacket pocket and took off with it.That was some crepe, my friends.

(Side note: for those thinking that it is absolutely impossible for someone to be pickpocketed without even noticing, I urge you to rent the 1959 movie Pickpocket by Robert Bresson. Parisian pickpockets have some mad, mad skills, and this movie showcases their underworld so, so well.)

Wow, that was a really long-winded way of leading up to my favorite crepe recipe. I use the Basic Crepe Recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook. I blend up the batter, let it sit for a bit and then start making crepes to order. I put an assortment of toppings on the counter and the kids can choose whatever they want. My favorite is the simple combination of butter and sugar, to which I'll occasionally add some thinly-sliced bananas. Dylan loves honey. Michael and Max vacillate between Nutella and fruit jam.

Crepes (adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook)

1 egg
1-1/4 cup milk (I use low fat)
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
butter

Combine the first four ingredients in a blender and blend well. Let sit for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Using a pastry brush (I prefer the silicon kind), brush the skillet with butter. Pour in about 1/4 cup of batter and swirl around to make a big-ish circle. Once you get skilled, you can try spreading the batter around a bit (quickly) with a rubber spatula. Once the crepe is set, add the ingredient of your choice, fold the crepe into quarters and serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

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