(This is Post 3 in the series Cooking with the Books.)
I started the “Cooking with the books” series to reacquaint myself with the hoards of cookbooks I have on my bookshelf. And I am so happy that I did.
All the cookbooks that I have bought (new or second hand) have been bought after thoroughly going through their reviews on amazon or other sites. So I knew I have a good collection of cookbooks. But I never took too much advantage of it- always trying recipes on other people’s blogs ( I blame pinterest!) or recipes that I have come up with after eating something I like or one of my mom’s recipes. The cookbooks, as a result, always ended up eating dust.
With the “Cooking with the Books” series I plan to try and post about at least three recipes from a cookbook I already possess. Each month I will pick up one cookbook and cook my way through three of it’s recipes. Till the time I don’t finish at least three recipes from each of the cookbooks I possess, I have challenged myself to not buy any new cookbook. Cookbook as gifts are welcome and highly appreciated and encouraged!
The first cookbook I chose was King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion. And I have been loving going through the recipes in this book.
KAF Baker’s Companion was one of the first cookbooks I bought, about two years back. And even though I went through the book like a kid’s story book, flipping through pages, looking at the recipes (the book has no pictures so there is no visual treat), I somehow never used a recipe from the book until I started this series. Shocking, right (or maybe not if you are a cookbook hoarder like me)!
I know it will probably be a while before I come back to this book again for a recipe, since it’s going to be another cookbook next month but I have already spotted a few more recipes I would certainly like to give a try- like the almond puff pastry and some of the quick breads.
The other recipes I have tried from KAF Baker’s Companion as part of “Cooking with the Books” series are:
All three recipes have been liked and appreciated by both V and me and there are plenty more that I am sure I would like.
So, if you are thinking of buying this book, I would definitely recommend it.
And, if you are thinking of purchasing it through Amazon, do use this reference (help the Novice Housewife make some money, please!) Of course there is no pressure to buy, because I hardly make any money through Amazon affiliates. Maybe one day, five years from now I will make enough to buy a pint of ice cream. So if you do think of buying, use this reference because I know I will need that ice cream tub five years from now!
(P.S: I am not being paid for any of these reviews, though I wish I was. This book was bought with my own money and this review is how I feel about the book based on the recipes I tried).
You can fill crepes with some lemon curd whipped cream and strawberries and have them for breakfast or fill them with something savory for your lunch. If I could eat bananas, I would smother the crepes with some nutella, top them with some chopped bananas and nuts, and for the final touch drizzle some chocolate sauce over the filled crepes. And that’s dessert for you!
The recipe makes plenty crepes. So you could actually go both sweet and savory with this one recipe.
I had some with the spinach and mushroom filling given in the book. And to others I just smeared some Biscoff spread. (Have I told you I love Biscoff - give me a spoon and I could finish the jar but my hips and stomach remind me of the consequences and I stop!)
I made a few changes to the original recipe. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour. I also used 2 per cent milk rather than full fat, and had to substitute some fat free half and half since I ran out of milk half way through the recipe! I think its safe to say that you can use 2 % milk without any changes in the taste of the crepes. Also the whole wheat pastry flour crepes taste as good as all purpose ones.
Also, the book is not clear as to how to fill the crepes. From my previous experience with crepes I had a fair idea, but the filling in the book has uncooked eggs in it. And according to the book you are supposed to fill them and baking them is actually optional.
If you are filling your crepes the regular way- laying the cooked crepe on a plate and putting part of the filling to one side and making a triangle or roll, I would recommend not adding in the egg. This way they are ready to eat without having the need to bake them. If you do add in the egg (like I did) then follow the instructions given in the recipe. Since the baking dish I used was enough for 8 crepes I was left with some filling. I cooked that filling a little more in the saucepan to take out the rawness of the eggs and then filled crepes the usual way and ate them without baking them.
The leftover crepes can be frozen and heated up on a skillet when ready to eat. And Biscoff makes a darn good way of eating them.
For the crepes:
- 8 1/2 ounce (2 cups) whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 – 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups a mix of 2% milk and fat free half n half (see note above)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 ounce (1/4 cup) butter, melted but not bubbling hot
For the filling:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (the recipe calls for 10 ounces)
- 1/2 large onion (about 1 cup), finely chopped
- 3 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed and chopped (I used less than 3 pounds and it worked fine- use whatever you have)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk ( I used 2%)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large eggs (the recipe calls for 3, but since I used less mushroom and spinach I added only 2)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp piri piri
- a pinch each of oregano, rosemary and thyme
For the Crepes:
- In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Whisk together the milk and eggs a little and pour it in the flour, whisking it continuously making sure there are no lumps.
- Stir in the butter. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This resting time really changes the nature of the batter and makes foe a much better crepe. The longer you let the batter rest the better. The batter should still be good after 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
- When ready to make, heat a 10-inch crepe pan (I used a 10 inch skillet and it worked well) over medium heat. Lightly grease with butter or spray oil. When hot, add 1/3 cup of batter to the pan.
- Swirl the pan to spread the batter all around evenly. Then, place on the heat and cook for about 1 minute. When the top is no longer shiny, then you will know it is ready to turn. Flip with a spatula and cook for another 15-45 seconds, until golden. Remove and place covered on a plate while you cook the remaining crepes. I greased the pan each time I started with a fresh batch.
- This recipe can be adjusted well by cutting in half. The crepes can be frozen to have later.
For the filling:
- In a large pan, heat the oil and saute mushroom and onions till liquid has cooked off the mushrooms. Add in the chopped spinach, stir quickly. Cover the pan and cook just until the spinach has wilted. Remove the spinach mixture from heat and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly till the flour is golden and the raw smell of the flour has gone. Add milk while constantly whisking. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until it’s thickened. Add salt, pepper, garlic, piri piri and the herbs. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Stir together the sauce with the spinach mushroom mixture. If you want to eat the crepes without baking I suggest not adding in the eggs. But if you plan to bake them, go ahead add the eggs.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Divide the filling in the center of the open crepes and fold them to encase the spinach mixture (See pictures for how to fold). Place the crepes in a prepared sheet, sprinkle with extra parmesan or your cheese of preference and bake for 20 minutes or the crepes are crisp and the cheese has melted. Serve with a fork and knife on a plate or just use your hands. Either way its a treat!
- Freeze the leftover crepes or spread some biscoff or nutella on them and eat as dessert. You could also try this recipe.