Tag Archives: french

Crepes Two Ways, Recipes

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Oh mon dieu.

I decided to make crepe batter a couple of weekends ago and things got a little away from me. A batch of crepe batter apparently makes about 122 crepes so found myself trying a few new recipes as well as just “snacking” on a little crepe with lemon and sugar here and there. Thank goodness there was no nutella in the house or I would have really been in trouble.

For the batter, I used Ms Stewart’s Basic Crepe Recipe. Don’t forget to refrigerate, the batter can last up to two days (I pushed it to three).

For the first meal, breakfast, I made a galette complète, sans recipe. Although I decided not to use a recipe for this, I’d suggest you do as I made a couple mistakes (here’s a good looking one for you).crepe 1

So what I did was make the crepes as the above recipe directs. I then laid them on a cookie sheet, filled the insides with ham, gruyere, and a raw egg, leaving room to fold over the sides about an inch. I then salted and peppered that shit. Using the egg as a glue, I folded over the sides an inch and carefully attempted to pop them into an oven at about 350 degrees. Can you imagine what might have happened? Well, the cookie sheet was a bit warped and had no frigging lip on them so my eggs were making a run for it and I was twisting and turning the sheet as if I was juggling trying to keep the eggs and galettes on it. Ultimately I lost the battle they ran onto the floor in a goopy mess so I had to start over, using a sheet with a lip. In the moment it was a disaster but in retrospect I wish it had been recorded as it was hilarious. Here is the finished product. The eggs ended up being overcooked so I’ll use the stove top method next time but overall – delicious. Pretty too, right?

And now… what to do with leftover crepe batter….? THIS.

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I came across this recipe and had no idea how amazeballz it would be. I’ve thrown this into the regular rotation so you betcha you’ll be seeing more of this one. The crepe was salty and creamy and the honey sauce’s sweetness was a perfect compliment to it. I could eat it by the spoonful.

Spinach Artichoke and Brie Crepes with Sweet Honey Sauce
From Half Baked Harvest

Filling:
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
    • 1 (8-12 ounces) bag fresh spinach
    • 1 (12 ounces) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
    • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
    • 1 (8 ounce) brie wheel, sliced into slices
Sweet Honey Sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet oven medium heat and add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and garlic. Add the salt, pepper and crushed red pepper if using, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in spinach and artichokes, cooking for 5-6 minutes until spinach is fully wilted. Reduce heat to low and stir in the parmesan cheese, then turn off heat. Remove from the skillet.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil and honey. Place in a small sauce pot and warm through. Keep warm until ready to use. You can also do this in the mircowave.
  3. Wipe the skillet clean and heat over medium-low heat. Working with one crepe at time lay it flat in the skillet. Lay a few slices of brie on one quarter (basically make a triangle) of the crepe. Layer on the spinach and artichoke filling and then top with a few more slices of brie. Fold over the bottom of the crepe and then fold it over again to make a triangle. Cook for about 2-3 minutes and then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes or until the brie is all melty and gooey. Repeat with remaing crepes until the brie and filling are gone. I was able to make six crepes. Remove the honey sauce from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley. Drizzle the crepe with the warm honey sauce and dig in!
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Doris Greenspan’s French Pear Tart, Recipe Link

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There really is something about the French and their pastries. The professionally done ones in shops are always so delicate and like little works of art and you can barely stand to eat (I said barely). Then you have the home bakers who seems to just throw something together effortlessly, pop it in the oven, and pull something gorgeous and inspired out. I’m certainly no pastry expert but I like to think that with Famille Jolivet blood running through my veins I can claim a smidge of that talent but I have a long way to go.

When I bought my first tart pan a few years ago I experimented with numerous different kinds of crusts and fillers before finding Dorie Greenspan’s French Pear Tart recipe. The recipe looked complicated, long, and intimidating but the results looked well worth it. I’ve since made it a few times and each time time its been absolutely fantastic. There is a lot of effort that goes into into this tart but it will show in the final product, I promise you. I don’t have any changes or edits to Dorie’s recipe, she has far perfected it.

French Pear Tart after cooling but pre-powdered sugar.

The Elephant Walk, Porter Sq

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Where: The Elephant Walk – 2067 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02140
When: April, 2012

With the Elephant Walk just a few blocks from where I live its a wonder why I haven’t been there more than once in the last 5 years. My last experience wasn’t particularly uplifting (company, not the food or service) so had to give it another go. We had just gotten one of those groupons (what are they called when they are not from Groupon?) from Google Offers for the Elephant Walk so chose to go there the same night for dinner. Of course we forgot the actual groupon so knew we would have to go back again soon. The pressure was on to like it, knowing we’d be eating there again.

We were seated quickly and the service was excellent. Our server was really knowledgeable about traditional Cambodian food as well as French. She was able to answer Libby’s questions without missing a beat (Libby having lived in Vietnam is a lot more knowledgeable about this cuisine than I am). The space is airy and open with high ceilings. It was busy but didn’t feel chaotic. We also had the added benefit of sitting next to two ladies maybe 10 years older than us who were discussing past relationships, especially one that was particularly narcissistic. I am sure we often make our dining neighbors try to eavesdrop as well.

Libby got the Amok Royal: A Cambodian signature dish – a spicy, steamed, custard-like preparation of fresh crab, shellfish and Southeast Asian catfish with coconut milk and complex Khmer seasonings; garnished with cilantro and red bell pepper. She loved it.

I got the Crevettes Amrita: Natural shrimp sautéed in a lightly sweet and spicy Cambodian satay sauce with coriander, cumin, cardamom, galangal, cinnamon, ginger, peanuts, star anise and lemongrass; with button mushroom, onion and scallion. I barely stopped to talk during dinner, it was delicious. The portions are generous and flavors worked really well together. I’ve actually since considered getting this dish for take away as I have still been thinking about it.

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Overall, the service and atmosphere were great and our meals were both delicious. The menu is extensive so you may be in trouble if you have a hard time making decisions. We did think the prices were a little steep for a the meals. Both were excellent, as I said, but we were surprised that most dishes were close to $20 for the area and ingredients.

I was also excited to find that The Elephant Walk has a bar downstairs, I had no idea! Porter Sq doesn’t have a ton of bars that I like to go to so this is on my list as places to go for a drink or two when in the neighborhood.

How did The Elephant Walk measure up? 4 Spoons!

Elephant Walk on Urbanspoon

Chez Henri, Harvard Sq, Revisited

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Where: Chez Henri – One Shepard Street Cambridge, MA
When: March, 2012

After raving about Chez Henri for so long my dad insisted we go there the next time he visit. He didn’t have to ask me twice.

I made a reservation for a Friday night and were promptly seated when we arrived. We were greeted by our waitress who was very knowledgeable and very sweet, if that’s appropriate to say.

We ordered a drink before dinner with my dad going with a martini and I getting my all time favorite cocktail, the 75 Rue Germain, a play on the French 75. The 75 Rue Germain is Cava, Plymouth Gin, St. Germain, and lemon juice. This fresh bubbly cocktail was perfect for a rainy Friday night so I can’t wait to see how it tastes on a hot summer evening.

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We then ordered a bottle of wine and our appetizers. I was surprised that my dad didn’t get the oysters as he loves them more than I do but he started with the PEI mussels, which were a special, that came cooked in a white wine, butter, tomato and basil. The mussels came with two big crusty pieces of toasted bread, perfect for mopping up some of that mussel liquor.

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I did, however, get the Island Creek Oysters on the 1/2 shells with Champagne Mignonette which were as fantastic as I remembered. I had been dreaming about them for weeks so couldn’t wait to dig in. I actually heard my dad snicker at my exclamations of joy after each oyster. They are absolutely delicious.

For our entrees, dad went with another special, the Wood Grilled Onglet with Herbed Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts, and Foie Gras Bordelaise. It looked delicious and how decadent to do a foie gras bordelaise. I think my dad slept well this evening.

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I considered getting the Cod Loin again as I was still thinking about since my last visit but I decided I should try something new. I got the Steak Frites which is a Grilled N.Y. Sirloin with Crispy Fries and Smoked Tomato & Toasted Garlic Bordelaise. The portion was generous (I, shockingly, could not finish it) and the steak just melted in your mouth. Also, those fries are some of the best I have had in a while and even better with some of that toasted garlic bordelaise on them.

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For dessert we split* the Cardamom and Orange Scented Creme Brûlée with Pistachio Biscotti. The cardamon and orange were easy to find in the dish but subtle enough that it didn’t overwhelm the gentle flavors of the creme Brûlée. The biscotti had a nice crunch to it which was a nice contrast.

*I say split but we all know what really happened, right?

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While finishing up dessert I took a photo of the dessert menu so that I could remember what was in it. Our waitress noticed so I excused myself saying I keep a blog. She asked which one so I told her and next thing I know the general manager, Beth (if I remember correctly?),  is standing by our table asking “Are you SmallnFeisty“? I almost fell out of my seat! “Yes, yes I am!” I excited responded as my dad looked on a little confused. Julie recognized the name of my blog and knew me from twitter so had come over to say hello. She was as lovely and charming as everyone else I’ve interacted with at Chez Henri and so nice to come over and say hello. She made me feel like a bit of a celebrity!

Overall, I wish I could shake things up a little and revise my last rating to keep you all on your toes but the service, atmosphere and food were nothing short of stellar. I’m grateful to have Chez Henri in my back yard and hope to be recognized there again many, many times.

How did Chez Henri measure up? 5 Spoons!

Chez Henri on Urbanspoon

Chez Henri, Harvard Sq

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Where: Chez Henri – One Shepard Street Cambridge, MA
When: February, 2012

Chez Henri – one of the reasons I was so excited to move to my neighborhood. Whether for dinner or drinks at the bar, I love this place. Its the kind of place that manages to match your mood, whatever that might be. I’ve been to sit at the bar in jeans and boots and I feel right at home then I’ve been more dressed up for dinner and also feel totally in place. Its kind of like home.

The cocktails are great with my favorite being the75 Rue Germain – “An elegant update of the French 75: Cava, Plymouth Gin, St. Germain, and Lemon Juice”. I could drink a half dozen of these. (not really)

A few weeks ago one of those coupony / deal websites (Groupon, Yipit, Gilt City, TravelZoo Deals, Boston Deals, I can’t keep them all straight) came out with an offer for Chez Henri. 2 starters, 2 entrees, and 1 dessert for $55. What a steal!! My only regret is having only bought one. If I had the chance I would go back and buy as many as they would allow.

Libby and I started with the following two starters: Ceviche Mixta with Mango-Lime Mojo & Avocado, which she had recently had and recommended, and the Island Creek Oysters on the ½ Shell with Champagne Mignonette, which has officially made me an oyster lover. We knew with starters, entrees, and dessert we had to start with something on the lighter side so these starters were perfect. The ceviche was well prepared, light, fresh and served with salty plantain chips which I thought was a nice contrast to the citrus of the dish. The oysters totally wooed me. Until this meal I could have an oyster here or there but I now dream of Chez Henri oysters. I don’t know much about oysters as I am a newbie in this arena but they went down like little magic. I loved the champagne mignonette as well, I could put that stuff on everything. There was a night earlier this week where I actually thought about heading to the bar for oysters and a cocktail on my own. I’m not ruling that out for another time.

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For dinner I had the Cod Loin with Lobster-Orange Saffron Cream, Baby Vegetables and Buttered Yukon Potatoes.I wish I could remember what Libby got (I was a little too enthralled with my own meal) but just look at her plate – its like a painting! Beautiful. She was really happy with her dish..

As for mine, I loved it. The cod was thick and light and just melted in your mouth. Everything was buttery and creamy, just the way I like it. Very satisfying. I could have used a loaf of bread to dip into all that lovely sauce.

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Libby insisted that she didn’t have room for dessert but since we had this deal and it came with a dessert I couldn’t pass it up. I mean… that would have been wasteful. I ordered the Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce. The bread pudding was warm, soft and spongy; the caramel sauce was warm, sweet and salty; the vanilla ice cream cold, sweet and clean.The flavor and texture paired so well together. I managed to take one for the team and polish the dessert off on my own. You’re welcome.

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The service, as always, was excellent. The atmosphere is cozy, refined, but unpretentious. The food is phenomenal. I’d come back in a heartbeat (perhaps even this week for my oyster fix) and would recommend it for everything from a late night bite, a romantic dinner, or out with friends. This is one of my favorites.

How did Chez Henri measure up? 5 Spoons!

Chez Henri on Urbanspoon

Petit Robert Bistro, Kenmore Sq

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Where: Petit Robert Bistro – 468 Commonwealth Ave Boston, MA 02215
When: July, 2011

I can’t say enough good things about the Petit Robert Bistro. I really think its one of the best restaurants in Boston. They did it all right. The ambiance is sophisticated but cozy, quiet but not pretentious. The staff are friendly but efficient. The food is delicious but reasonably priced.

I have been here twice now, both times with my dad. Its officially his favorite place to eat in Boston. Both times we started with the Trio of Homemade Patés which melt in your mouth. Don’t let the descriptions scare you away, these are worth getting over any fear of patés that you may have had previously. My dad and I will never forget the first time we had this starter as, in my excitment, I actually flung a pad of paté onto our dinner neighbor’s shirt. Thankfully they were a bottle in and had a good sense of humor about it. I have since tried to remain calm while eating here.

My favorite entree here is the Grilled Skirt Steak-Frites, which you can get with your choice of Bordelaise, Béarnaise or Poivre sauce. I prefer the Béarnaise myself but I am sure all are excellent. The meat is cooked perfectly to taste, medium for me, and the fries are crisp and salty (and go well with that sauce too). The last time we went my dad got the Lamb Stew, Pork Sausage, Duck Confit Cassoulet with Navy Beans which reminds me very much of something my mother would get while home in Paris.

Petit Robert Bustro has become a go-to place for my dad and I. It never disappoints and we always walk out feeling satisfied and as though we underpaid, not that we mind.

How did Petit Robert Bistro measure up? 5 Spoons!