i'm starting to feel the beginnings of summer. The garden is just starting to produce tasty treats, we've managed to eat outside once and a while, and I am also starting to get produce from friends and neighbors. In fact, summer is quickly starting to compete with my longtime favsies, autumn. We'll see what happens, too early to tell.
Sometimes, I get intimidated very easily. Mostly over stupid things. I had it in my head that you had to possess eagle powers to make crepes (or blintze, or any variation of these thin little pancakes). so, naturally I had put it off...for years. You see, wifeshow has been trying to get me to make these for a very long time. I finally ran out of excuses and decided to give it a go. It was not that bad. ok, actually it was probably easier than pancakes. I was kicking myself for not trying it earlier. The best part about them is deciding what you want to put in them. We were eating ours for dinner, so we went with a savory filling of shredded chicken (leftover from chicken in a pot), homemade yogurt cheese, caramelized onion, spinach, and roasted grape tomatoes. All those ingredients (minus the cheese) were chucked into a saute pan for a couple of minutes so their flavors could duke it out. I also made a rhubarb-balsamic reduction to pour over the top. So, first try was actually pretty good. I will be way less reticent to make these again.
Let's see, second picture is a cheeseplate wifeshow whipped up. Notice the lily leaves? of course you did! I think that it was beecher's flagship with honey. We like that combination...hard.
Last pic is of some parmesan bread marth and I made at LeQ. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing early last week because we ran out of blue cheese and I had some extra dough, but people seemed to like them so we made more for the markets. They are about the perfect size for a hotdog or sausage.
eating on china. If you have china, odds are that you only use it once or twice a year (if that). i say, you should use it as much as you can. It makes your dinner seem a little bit nicer, makes your food look better, and well, because it's really expensive and you are just letting it gather dust. So go ahead, dust those babies off and grab your ticket to fancytown.
oh yeah, promised Mia I would post this recipe:
Croque Madame: serves two
for the bechamel:
1.5 tbs butter
1.5 tbs flour
1 cup milk
pinch salt and peps
pinch grated nutmeg
for the sandwich:
4 slices country bread (preferably pain de campagne from Lequartier:)
4 slices good quality ham (think black forest, sugar-cured, Virginia country, or even bacon)
some of your bechamel
1 cup grated cheese (I like gruyere, havarti, or some variation of swiss)
2 eggs, cooked to your preference
turn oven on to 400F
ok, make your bechamel by melting the butter over med heat in a small pot, and add the flour. stir for a minute or so until the flour is incorporated. slowly whisk in your milk and then add your spices. turn the heat to low and whisk every minute or so, until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. check for seasoning. turn the heat back up for a couple of minutes so the flavors start to party.
ok sandwich action. Get a baking sheet and line it with some parch or silpat. Assemble two bread slices, spread some bechamel on them, then a hearty bit of shredded cheese, your ham, the other slice of bread, more cheese, and a bit more bechamel. pop into the oven, and bake for about 5 minutes or so, until everything goes all melty-like. While you are baking the sandwich, fry or poach two eggs to your liking (I prefer a soft-poached egg, so velvety, so creamy...).
Remove sandwiches from oven, put on plate, top with egg, and more bechamel. Garnish with some parsley chiffonade. Other things I like to add to this sandwich are: blanched asparagus, spinach, tomato slices, or roasted red peppers. I like to get a vegetable in there to break up the fat...sometimes...other times, I just want the fatwich. piece.