Friday, August 28, 2009

"Gourmet" Italian Crepes

Okay, so I'm not so good with the titles of my dishes sometimes. Tonight I got this inspiration in my head and totally went with it. I was slaving away in the kitchen for over an hour making wonderful smells (this isn't in the easy category!) When my husband calls out, "What are you making?" I thought about it and said, "GOURMET! You are having Gourmet for dinner tonight!" He wanted to know "gourmet, what?" So I said, "Gourmet Italian!" Whatever that means... basically I had the idea to make lasagna flavors in a crepe instead of a layered noodle casserole.. well I'll have to try that another day since I had like only 2 ingredients to make a traditional lasagna. So, I went vegetarian with this yummy veggie-cheese filling. And during all this inspiration I realized I had NO tomato sauce, not even store bought. So, I whipped up a simple bechamel to pour on top.... enjoy!

Gourmet Italian Crepes:
1 cup loosely packed basil
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
1/8 cup flax seed meal (can be omitted)
about 1 cup of milk

1/4 onion finely diced
1/2 pint of mushrooms, sliced
6 roma tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen spinach, or a couple handfuls of fresh
1/2 can (or more) of chopped artichoke hearts
1 cup cottage cheese (or ricotta)

Bechamel Cheese Sauce:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup grated italian cheeses
1 1/2 cups of milk
salt and pepper

To make the crepe batter, place basil and oil in a blender and pulse. Add eggs, flour, flax seed meal, and salt, pulse again. Slowly add milk until you have a thin batter, you may need less or more of the milk. Your batter will be pretty runny, a lot thinner than pancake batter.

To make crepes: In a pre-heated crepe pan or a small non-stick skillet ladel out about 1/4 cup of batter. Pick up the pan and swirl the batter around with the pan with a flick of your wrist. You want to coat the entire surface of the pan. Let cook on medium heat for about 45 sec. With a non-stick spatula, gently lift up the crepe and flip.Cook for an additional 45 seconds or so.

For stuffing: Saute onions and mushrooms in a skillet. Cube tomatoes and for extra flavor roast them in your oven. To do this, place them on a cookie sheet and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 450ยบ for 20 minutes or until they start to brown and dry out. (Substituting sundried tomatoes would work too!) I used my toaster oven to do this so I didn't have to turn on my big oven. Add the tomatoes to the onions and mushrooms. Add the spinach and artichoke hearts. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. Then add the cottage cheese (or ricotta.)

Bechamel Cheese Sauce:
Place the butter in a small pot and melt. Add flour and whisk, cooking the flour a bit. Add milk while stirring. You may need to add all of it or less, you want a good consistency that you are happy with. Add the cheese, salt and pepper and stir. I always make too much of this, but it is perfect on noodles the next day as homemade mac n cheese (just thin it with a bit more milk, it'll tighten over night.)

Assemble your crepes:
Put some stuffing down the center and roll like a burrito OR place some stuffing in one "corner" of the crepe, fold in half and then fold in half again to make a triangle shape. Drizzle a bit of the cheese sauce over the top. Enjoy! Serves 4.

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