there are many treasures to be found
In old cookbooks
More often than not .. as I find myself in a big-chain bookstore .. gazing at all of the cookbook covers .. I think .. “Is there really anything of substance here?” So many seem to be produced .. almost like movies .. superstar chefs .. glossy photos .. buzzwords of the day .. like us here .. follow us there .. so much hype
I think there's something to be said for those who've come before .. who really believed in doing things themselves .. shopping .. cooking .. with sweet husbands for tasters .. and puppies at their feet for clean-up. They knew the recipes intimately .. as they came out of their lives.
One of my favorites authors from a time gone by ..
Sara Leah Chase. A woman who .. right out of college in 1979 .. opened a small gourmet food shop in Nantucket (Que Sera Sarah) .. which she ran for the next decade until moving on to cater, write cookbooks, and travel around the country
I read of her once .. she chose her location not only for her fondness for Nantucket .. but her passion for food .. European travel .. and bike touring. She loved the way one could bike into a sleepy French village .. pick up supplies .. and have a simple afternoon picnic. Plus .. she figured correctly .. that people in Nantucket were sophisticated enough to appreciate her more eclectic cuisine
What a beautiful life philosophy .. based on food .. bike riding .. picnics .. and out of the ordinary eating .. it shows up again and again throughout her recipes
So this week as we treasured our first spring days here in Iowa .. I reached one last time for Cold Weather Cooking .. was there anything bookmarked that begged to be made before being put away for the next few months?
Of course .. the spinach crepes .. I'd nearly forgotten. They're laced with spinach, scallions, and dill .. smeared with a lemony greek yogurt spread .. topped with sliced smoked salmon .. and yes .. they taste just as wonderful as they sound. Good heavens.
The author categorizes them as appetizers .. once rolled into logs they're then sliced into bite-size morsels .. the spiral effect of pink & green producing a western sushi roll looking hors d'oeuvre .. nothing short of stunning
We instead .. had ours for dinner
A few modifications from the original
After having gone gluten-free (as part of Venice Nutrition's 8-Week Run) .. a different kind of flour was in order. I went with a quinoa/brown rice flour blend .. with great results. (** Note also that oats offer another .. possibly simpler alternative .. 1 cup oat flour = 1 cup all-purpose)
As part of the challenge I've also given up dairy .. but The Chef reports the sauce was exceptional.
~ Adapted Cold-Weather Cooking by Sara Leah Chase .. here
Spinach Crepes With Smoked Salmon And Lemony Greek Yogurt Sauce
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach thawed, & squeezed in paper towels to remove excess moisture
- 3 large eggs ** or 2 large eggs & 2 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk ** the original recipe calls for regular milk
- 1/2 cup quinoa flour
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1 bunch scallions trimmed and minced (** white parts only)
- 1/3 cup fresh dill chopped (** use fresh here .. it really does make a difference)
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup water + more if needed for thinning the batter
- 1 to 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 cup greek yogurt plain
- 1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 shallots finely minced
- 2 Tbsp capers drained
- 2 tsp paprika
- 12 ounces peppered smoked salmon ** or smoked salmon sliced thin
- To make the crepes
- Prepare the spinach by de-frosting & squeezing in paper towels to remove all of the excess moisture. Set aside.
- Blend the eggs and almond milk in a blender or food processor until well blended. Add the flours & blend until smooth.
- Add the spinach, scallions, half the dill, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and blend again until very smooth.
- Stir in the water and allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes.
- Heat a seven- to eight-inch crepe pan over medium-high heat. Brush with coconut oil. Pour 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan .. tilting it as you go .. allowing the batter to evenly coat the bottom. Cook about two minutes, until lightly browned, turn the crepe over and cook about 30 seconds longer. Remove the crepe from the pan and repeat with the remaining batter, making 10 to 12 crepes.
- To make the filling
- Combine the greek yogurt, lemon peel, juice, shallots, remaining dill, capers and paprika. Spread each crepe with some of this mixture, then cover with a layer of smoked salmon.
- Roll the crepe & enjoy