Crepes of Wrath with Chicken, Mushrooms and Spinach

Chicken Mushroom Spinach Crepes

Crepes dressed and ready for the oven

Crepe Fail

After four days…I’m over the crepes. Don’t get me wrong, I love crepes – they’re buttery, creamy goodness which can hold any combination of deliciousness. They’re easy to make – except for the inevitable crepe fail…They store in the fridge or freezer for a long time. They’re bipolar – can go sweet or savory…

But after this week, I’m over it. And the last of the crepes in my fridge have become the bane of my existence.

My crepes of wrath.

So here’s the last I’ll speak of crepes.

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes (serves 4)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray

Defrost a 10oz package of frozen spinach and squeeze out excess water

1. In a medium saute pan over med/high heat melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil

2. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and saute until fragrant (about 2 mins)

3. Cube 4 breasts of chicken and add to the garlic, butter, OO mix. Add salt and pepper. Brown the chicken on all sides and then remove from the pan and set aside.

Cubed Chicken Browning in Garlic, Butter and OO

4. Into the pan add 3 portobello mushrooms sliced and 1 8oz package of sliced shiitake mushrooms. Allow the mushrooms to brown on both sides

Mushroom: Portobello and Shiitake saute in garlic

5. Add all of the chopped spinach and stir

Mushrooms and Chopped Spinach

6. Add 1 – 1 1/2 cups of the mornay sauce (mornay sauce with chicken stock recipe). And re-add the Chicken.

Note, if sauce is too thick, you can add more chicken stock…Simmer until heated through.

Savory Crepe Filling

7. Put remaining mornay sauce in a sauce pan to heat.

8. Assemble the Crepes (Savory Crepes Recipe)

  • Schmear a bit of the warmed mornay sauce in the center of a crepe
  • Top with a good amount of the mushroom, chicken, spinach mixture
  • Roll the crepe and place in the baking tray
  • Repeat until all crepes are assembled – 8
  • Cover the crepes with more of the mornay sauce

9. Into the oven until heated through – 20  – 25 minutes

Joey the Doorman

Serve one portion to Joey the doorman – who much appreciated the free dinner…

OK. That’s it. Let us not speak of crepes again for a while. Crepes …out.

Shrimp Crepes Starring My Darlin’ Lemon Thyme

Crepes with Lemony Shrimp, Peas, Corn

Oh my darlin’

Oh my darlin’

Oh my darlin’ lemon thyme

Walked the farmer’s market this past weekend and was lured by the fresh, bright aroma of the herb guy’s lemon thyme. You could smell it from six feet away. It’s absolutely amazing. So amazing that I built an entire meal around layering in lemon flavor. I’ve since learned that while lemon thyme is nothing like regular thyme – there are similarities. As per WHfoods.org: both contain an oil that has been shown to protect and significantly increase the percentage of healthy fats found in cell membranes and other cell structures – specifically in the brain. Even though this information is based on tests with rats, I feel like I’m smarter for eating it.  I’m certainly remembering a lot of song lyrics lately…

1 large lemon thyme bunch,  $2

Better brain cells, priceless

Lemony Thyme at the Farmer's Market

Lured in by this Lemony Thyme

You can’t possibly use this entire bunch of thyme…so:

First use: pull the leaves of 5 or 6 stems and place in small bowl in kitchen to surround yourself with fresh and bright lemon aroma while cooking.

Second: pull the leaves off of all of the stems. Reserve one tbsp…put the rest in a ziploc bag in the freezer for later use.

With the tbsp: use to layer lemony flavor into lemony shrimp crepes.

Lemony Shrimp Crepes (serves 4)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1. In a large skillet over med/high melt 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add 1 small or 1/2 a large chopped shallot and saute until fragrant (about 2 mins)

Saute the shallot

2. Stir in the juice of one lemon and saute for another minute or so

3. Add 20 – 24 shrimps – depending upon size you will want 2 – 4 shrimps per crepe and 2 crepes per person

4. Add the zest of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp of lemon thyme, salt and pepper and stir

Saute Shrimp with Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, Shallots and Lemon Thyme

5. The shrimps will only take a couple of minutes per side to cook …so be quick here…Add 1/2 cup of dry rose wine. You can add a dry white wine…but since shrimps are pink when cooked, I thought a pink wine would be prettier. Plus the pinot grapes in a rose add a good deal of flavor.

6. Turn the heat up and allow some of the wine to evaporate.

7. Turn heat to low and stir in 1 – 1/2 cups of mornay sauce with peas and corn. (Mornay Sauce Recipe) Put the remaining mornay sauce in a sauce pan over low heat.

Shrimp Crepes in Mornay Sauce with Peas and Corn

Shrimp in Mornay Sauce with Peas and Corn

8. Set up your assembly station:

  • Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
  • Place 8 Crepes on a cutting board (Savory Crepe Recipe)
  •  Mornay sauce in sauce pan
  • Lemony shrimp mixture
Shrimp Crepes Assembly

Assembly Station

9. Assemble the crepes

  • Schmear a little of the mornay sauce on the crepe
  • layer on 2 – 3 shrimps
  • roll the crepes and place in the baking dish
  • Once all are rolled and in place, cover the crepes with a good amount of the remaining mornay sauce

Shrimp Crepe Assembly Combo – click to see PDF

10. Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 mins until completely heated through and serve

Sometimes you base an outfit on the shoes you want to wear. Sometimes a meal is built around the lure of one amazing herb. Bright, fresh lemon thyme is my new favorite herb and my current kitchen obsession. In addition to its incredible aroma and flavor, I’m totally getting smarter. Oh my darlin’ lemon thyme.

There’s Got To Be A Mornay After

Elton John's Daniel

Daniel’s Reptile Eyes are on here…

People mess up song lyrics. That’s just the way it is. I, myself, have confused a lyric or two. Like Elton John’s Daniel – the line ‘I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain’, I misheard as ‘I can see your reptile eyes heading for Spain’….Reptile eyes? Really? Made sense to me at the time. And, I sang it that way for years until I was called out during a heated game of Song Burst.

Other favorite wrong song lyrics I’ve heard are:

  • Prince’s Rasberry Beret became his ‘Strawberry Parade’
  • Billy Idol’s Eyes Without a Face became ‘How’s about a Date?’.

Both good, but maybe my favorite – and it wasn’t my mistake – was a friend who thought Simon & Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair‘s line ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme’ was actually ‘Our Sweet Saviors; Mary and Tom’. Mary and Tom – and what sweet saviors they were.

This record has Scarborough Fair!

Mixing up song lyrics on purpose is also entertaining. And since Sunday I’ve been singing the following songs in my head:

  • Mornay Has Broken
  • It’s a Beautiful Mornay
  • It’s 4 O’Clock In The Mornay
  • And…Sunday Mornay 

Mornay Sauce is a versatile sauce and one that is hard to make just a little of. Luckily it can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

So when making this sauce ‘There’s Got to Be A Mornay After‘.

A mornay sauce is perfect for a savory crepe dinner. The Legitimate Crepe from yesterday’s post. That crepe recipe makes anywhere from 20 – 30 crepes depending upon how many you flub up and how many you eat during the cooking process. Either way, if you’re doing dinner for 4 with 2 crepes each, there are certainly enough crepes for two dinners. I thought we might want to look at making a Mornay Sauce that could go two ways.

Mornay Sauce, two ways

First! Mise En Place: Butter, Flour, Warm Milk, Salt, Pepper, Shredded Cheese (this is Jarlsberg but a sharp cheddar or gruyere works as well)

Mornay Sauce Mise E Place

Mise En Place for Mornay Sauce

1. In a medium saucepan over med/high heat melt 2 1/2 tbsp of butter

Butter Melting

2. Whisk in 3 tbsp of flour and stir until completely combined – about 1-2 mins

Mornay Sauce

Whisking in the Flour

3. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of warm milk and continue to whisk – the sauce will begin to thicken

Milk added and whisking away

4. BTB (bring to boil) and then RTS (Reduce to Simmer) – then add 1/8 tsp of Pepper and 1/4 tsp of Salt. Continue to whisk until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Sauce will be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon

5. Stir in 3/4 cup of shredded Jarlsberg cheese and continue to whisk until all of the cheese is melted in.

That’s the basic Mornay Sauce…..

Since we are going to make two different crepe dinners….Divide the sauce into two equal parts and keep both over a low heat.

The Mornay: Into one half stir in 1 Cup of frozen peas and 1/2 Cup of frozen corn kernals plus 1 tbsp of fresh Thyme (not your sweet savior, Tom, but Thyme) and the zest of 1/2 a lemon. Let cool and set aside. (Yes, you can use fresh peas or fresh corn).

Mornay Sauce with Peas, Corn and Lemon

The Mornay After: Into the remaining half, stir 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Once combined, let the sauce cool and store in the refrigerator.

Tomorrow: a delicious Lemony Shrimp crepes dinner followed by an earthy Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach crepe dish on Thursday.

I don’t know if Mary and Tom ever made it to Scarborough Fair. But I do know that you can Just call me Angel Of the Mornay.

Emily Litella and The Legitimate Crepe

Savory Crepes with Thyme

Legitimate Crepe. Savory with Thyme

Emily Litella Gilda Radner

Gilda Radner as Emily Litella Saturday Night Live

Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella was the queen of mishearing and one of my favorite characters. If you don’t know or remember or were born in the ’80s, Emily Litella was a sweet little old lady that visited the Saturday Night Live Weekend Update desk to give editorial on a current issue she had mis-heard about. She did pieces about ‘violins on tv’ and the ‘deaf penalty’ and called Chevy Chase ‘Cheddar’. One week she opened with; ‘What’s all this fuss about endangered feces.’ She then went on her diatribe wondering how we could ‘possibly run out of such a thing. Just look around you, you can see it all over the place’. When corrected, Emily Litella didn’t apologize for her rant, she simply said; ‘never mind’ and moved on. That simple ‘never mind’ was her own admission of error. She didn’t try to justify it or explain it away. Nope, just ‘never mind’ and move on.

Then there are things that are misspoken; verbal farts or momentary lapses. No one is immune to this. I had back to back boyfriends in my 20s (not THE ’20s, MY 20s) who had the same first name. One might think this would eliminate all opportunities for calling one by the other’s name…No, no it did not. In a verbal battle/heated argument, I shouted out an obscenity followed by the former boyfriend’s last name. Like if Ben Affleck yelled ‘Eff You, Lopez!’ at his now wife, Jennifer Garner. You get the idea. Not my proudest moment. Still, my mistake didn’t mean that I wasn’t angry at BF #2. I was. The talking doctor might also argue that I had BF #1 on the brain. Probably.

So…we all make mistakes. We get riled up or react too quickly to something we misheard. We misspeak in the heat of an argument. It can happen.

But, let’s face it – somethings are exactly what they seem to be. There isn’t a universe, circumstance or situation where anyone in his right mind would ever use the term ‘legitimate rape.’ I’m not political, but Todd Akin’s recent verbal farts infuriate me. AND, more infuriating is his refusal to back away from a political run – even though his own party has disowned him.

So, in the spirit of mishearing, I like to think that Emily Litella would have heard Akin’s comments and done an editorial piece on Legitimate Crepes.

Crepes can go two ways – sweet dessert crepes and savory dinner crepes – both are totally legitimate. This weekend,  I was all about the savory.

Savory Crepes (22 – 28 crepes)

1. In a blender (you can also do this by hand with a whisk or in a Cuisinart) combine 4 large eggs, 1 1/2 cups whole milk, 1 cup of water,  2 cups of flour, 6 tbsp melted butter (cooled), 1/2 cup thyme, 1/2 tsp of salt.

NOTE: any fresh herbs will do here…I’m just on a thyme kick right now.

2. Blend/pulse for about :15 seconds until all ingredients are combined and the mixture is a little frothy on top.

Crepe Batter in Blender

Let the batter rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour. You can also leave it in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Savory Crepe in Pan

Savory Crepe batter coats pan

3. Heat a small non-stick pan over medium/high heat and add butter just to coat. I used a steel crepe pan…but, then abandoned it for a 12 in non-stick All-Clad pan because the steel pan got too hot.

4. Put about 1/4 cup of batter in the center of the hot pan and swirl the pan around to coat the bottom.

5. When the batter is dried (:30 seconds or less, it’s fast), flip the crepe and continue cooking for about another :10 seconds or so.

6. Remove and allow to cool. Repeat until all the batter is gone.

Warning…If you have too much butter in your hot pan, the batter will NOT swirl around and you can end up with a sad, ugly crepe.

Sad Ugly Crepe

Sad Ugly Crepe

The sad, ugly crepe did taste just the same. And, I ate it right there at the stove while making the rest of the crepes.

Once the crepes have cooled, according to Alton Brown, you can keep them in the refrigerator for several days or freeze them for up to 60 days.

The next two days will follow with savory filling recipes for the crepes.

Emily Litella apologized and didn’t try to explain. She said, ‘never mind’ and moved away from the editorial desk. I think all parties (even that tea one) can agree that Akin should move away from a political career. Akin is a legitimate creep.

Until then, if you get a chance, google Emily Litella and watch some of the skits on youtube.  Sadly, as this election year heats up, we now know that Emily Litella was right – there are not so-endangered feces all around us.

What the Kale? Not so Super Super Food.

Kale Greens Red Russian

Red Russian Kale Greens

I don’t love sharing my age…and here’s what I will say: in the ’70’s I rocked a pair of moon boots. They were pretty much the most awesome moon boots ever. Striped in shades of the rainbow and puffily filled with polyester to keep me warm in the dead of winter, I was the envy of all my friends – at least that’s how I’m telling it. Moon Boots back then weren’t all techy like they are now. It was a free-love fashion statement for kids who were too young to know about free-love. Moon Boots showcased one of the iconic symbols of  the ’70’s – the rainbow. And we all wore our own twist of rainbow on whatever we could.

Rainbow Moon Boots

I also had a pet rock. I could solve Rubics Cube in four minutes. I wore totally flammable, Danskin clothing. I cut a 45 out of the back of a Honey Comb box and played it on a flip down record player. I had a CB Radio Handle (“ShortCake” – after Joanie from Happy Days, not some porn star). I could rock a creepy crawler. I never squeezed the Charmin and Gee My Hair Smelled Terrific.

I liked a good fad. I still do.

So, when everyone was all like ‘OMG! Kale!’ and ‘Kale! The Amazing Super Food!’ Kale in many iterations started to appear on menus and people were comparing Kale recipes while boasting about how much Kale and how often Kale, I had to check it out.

While I’m not a salad fan…I do like a good bitter green – give me some arugula, spinach or even endives…and I’m good. Wait, I can put cheese on them, right?

But Kale? Kale…I just wasn’t sure. So I gave it a shot in what seemed to be the tamest form I could find: Kale Chips. Chips is one of my favorite words. What could be the harm?

Kale Chips (appetizer)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

2. Take 1 large bunch of Kale and remove the center vein. I used Russian Red Kale…Might have been a mistake.

3. Tear or cut (your call) the leaves into bite sized pieces and arrange on a baking sheet covered in tin foil and sprayed with an Olive Oil cooking spray. (Pam Olive Oil spray was on sale yesterday at Food Emporium – like $2 off on sale! – it’s the little things that make me happy)

Kale Chips Pre-Oven

4. Spray the Kale pieces with Olive Oil spray and then sprinkle with sea salt

5. Put in the oven for 10-12 minutes – turning the pieces about halfway through the cooking process. Total cook time really depends upon your oven’s accuracy. Goal is crispy.

6. When they reach the desired crispiness, remove from the oven and carefully transfer to a serving bowl

7. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve

Kale Chips with Parmesan

UHHHHH, they were good, I guess. They were crispy and bitter with a good degree of saltiness. They were pretty.

But, probably the biggest selling point was that we all felt better. We felt better because we were eating the most super of Super Foods….

Like I said, I’m hip to a food fad and I’m not going to dis such a super food as Kale. So here’s what I’ll say – make sure you cook them to totally crispy and they mimic the crispy spinach at China Grill (though not as oily). Serve them alongside other appetizers and they’ll provide a nice, rich color to your assortment and make your guests feel better about eating snacks before dinner.

But, at the end of the day…Not my fave food fad. I’m all ‘What the Kale?’ And, I’d rather have a pet rock.