Friday, June 15, 2012

Food That Rolls

A million years ago (it seems), I introduced The Tot (Who's Not) and The Girl to the world of crêpes. Vella Cafe has long since shuttered, but we've been to Crêpes à Latte a fair number of times since then. However, I'm kind of a purist when it comes to crêpes--or at least to my memory of them. A billion years ago, when I lived in France, crêpes were mostly a street food. We ate them hot, with jam or sugar, in a paper cone on the side of the street. None of this egg-cheese-avocado stuff. 

At one point in time, I had the recipe for crêpes memorized--in French. A liter of milk, 8 eggs and 500g of flour. Or something like that. But, I never really had the occasion to make them. If I were to make them now, I'd certainly check and double check the recipe before dumping all that together. I know just enough about baking and cooking to sense that my 18-year-old self has forgotten the butter as she committed the recipe to memory.

Recently, however, in a fit of gumption, boredom, or both, I decided to make flour tortillas from scratch. The recipe called for a comal, a Mexican griddle. Instead of investing in yet more kitchen equipment for which there is little space in my tiny Chicago kitchen, I pulled out the crêpe pan. The one that had been languishing in my kitchen cupboards since July 2009 when I bought it.  It worked beautifully.  

And thus we started our family love affair with "food that rolls." Given an hour of time, a 1/4 cup of butter, some flour, and a dearth of anything good to eat in the house, I'll happily make a batch of flour tortillas, and fry them up on the crêpe pan. They are best straight off the griddle, plain or with a bit of quesadilla cheese melted in the middle. I'm hungry just thinking about it. 

My success with flour tortillas quickly expanded to Swedish pancakes, the Scandinavian version of the crêpe (or tortilla). Unlike American flapjacks, Swedish pancakes have a rapid cook time, making them an easier choice for this not-a-morning-person mama on a busy weekday morning, for a snack that feeds a crowd of kids, or a Daddy-is-out-of-town dinner. I made a double batch of Swedish pancakes again at mid-morning, feeding The Boy, The Girl, The Kindy (The Tot), and three of their friends, in an unscripted school's-out-for-the-summer celebration. Served with three kinds of jam, chocolate sauce, maple syrup, powdered sugar, and (untouched) Greek yogurt, Swedish pancakes are more of a dessert than a savory meal, but what is more fun that food that rolls up for easy consumption? After they were done, I sat down at the table of sticky to eat some with Greek yogurt and sour cherry jam.

And so summer begins...

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