Saturday, September 24, 2011

Foodbuzz 24x24: Wholly Crepe! Party

Some of our very important yet basic pantry staples include: milk, butter, flour and eggs. I'm sure other kitchens have these same ingredients, along with random leftovers from previous meals lingering in the refrigerator, freezer, and/or pantry. In fact, with these 4 very common and basic ingredients (milk, butter, flour and eggs), you can entertain family and friends on a budget. How is that possible? With crepes, my friends!

Today, I hosted a delicious crepe party for friends. Crepes are an easy, elegant and fun meal to transform leftovers into something a little more fancy. My 'Wholly Crepe!' Party was not only easy to do but also easy on the wallet. I made 2 kinds of crepe batters - sweet & savory - and used whatever random sweet and savory ingredients I have on hand to fill them.

To make our event even more special, FoodBuzz is featuring our Wholly Crepe! Party for their September 24x24 Food Event. The FoodBuzz's 24x24 Food Event showcases food blog posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers of 24 unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period. I was thrilled to be featured this month!

Making crepes is pretty simple with everyday ingredients.The specific recipe I used can be found here. Flour, milk, water, and eggs are whisked together to make a thin batter. The batter sits for about an hour to allow the gluten to rest which prevents tearing while it cooks. If you are making them gluten free (like I did), there's no need to let the batter rest.

As for what to cook the crepes in, you could go out and buy a fancy crepe pan but it's really not necessary If you have a 10-inch nonstick skillet or even a cast iron skillet, it works perfectly well. Add a tablespoon of butter into the pan and allow it to melt. Once melted, take a paper towel and wipe out the excess melted butter. You just need a touch of butter in the skillet to prevent the crepe from sticking. Although I used a nonstick skillet, it's like added insurance so be sure to use it!

Because the batter is so thin, you'll want to use a ladle to bring the batter into the pan. I found that 2 small ladles (about 1/3 cup) is a perfect amount to cover the skillet. Once the batter is in, it's all in the wrist! Tilt the pan to allow the batter to coat the bottom evenly and thoroughly. Add more batter if needed. You'll want to work fast, especially if the pan is nice and hot.

As you cook them over medium high heat, you'll notice the edges curl up slightly. Take a peek under the crepe to see how browned they are. You want to aim for crepes that are not too browned and that they take on a slightly lacy pattern. Carefully flip the pancakes with a large spatula and finish off the other side until barely browned.

You can make several crepes and stack them on top of each other. They're also great to make in advance! Once you have a good stack, you can fill them with whatever you have on hand. Crepes make wonderful vehicles to use up leftovers, random ingredients or just whatever you'd like.

Since this month's FoodBuzz theme required no additional purchases and to use what you have on hand, I did just that. For our dinner party, I prepared 2 kinds of savory crepes and 1 sweet crepe. Here's what I had on our simple and budget friendly menu...

Ham, Swiss & Mushroom Crepes

Chicken, Broccoli & Cheddar Crepes

 Strawberry Spinach & Goat Cheese Salad

(pictured below)

Strawberry Nutella Crepes

Ham, Mushrooms & Swiss - I sauteed sliced mushrooms and diced ham slices together. The mixture was tossed with some shredded swiss cheese before filling up the crepes.

Chicken, Broccoli & Cheddar - I sauteed chopped broccoli and shredded rotisserie chicken breast together. The mixture was tossed with some shredded cheddar cheese before filling up the crepes.

Strawberry & Nutellla
- I chopped up some fresh strawberries and placed them down the middle of a crepe. I drizzled some warmed Nutella and rolled them up. To garnish, I topped with whipped cream, diced strawberries and another drizzle of warmed Nutella.

On hand ingredients used for the menu -
Crepes: flour, water, eggs, milk, butter
Ham filling: ham, mushrooms, Swiss, chives (garnish)
Chicken filling: rotisserie chicken (breast only), broccoli, cheddar, parsley (garnish)
Strawberry filling: strawberries, Nutella, whipped cream
Salad: baby spinach, strawberries, goat cheese, sliced almonds, poppy seed dressing

So if you think you need to have some fancy ingredients to throw a party or have guests come over to dinner, think again! With some basic staple ingredients you can make some crepes and fill them with whatever you have on hand. You'll turn budget friendly items into an elegant dinner worthy of guests!

Full Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program,
I received a stipend from FoodBuzz for hosting this event.