Saturday, February 13, 2010

Challenge #2: February-month of the Antipasti and Appetizers

For this challenge there were a lot more recipes to choose from. So, believe me when I say, it was really difficult to decide. I have to post this challenge a few days early, because I am leaving for the Olympics in a day. I am so excited!!! And a great way to keep the excitement inspiration. The best. I decided to try something for the first time that I have always wanted make. I hope you join me in this first attempt for me, maybe a refining attempt for you. That's the fun in this, to try new things, or make them better.
drum roll please.......
(Technically this is a total of three recipes. If you want to try another filling, feel free. The first recipe is the only required part of the challenge)
(not technically a great picture, but it tasted delicious. I will definitely make this again!)

Crepe Batter (basic recipe)
servings: about 12
scant 1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
vegetable oil

Spoon the flour into a measuring cup and sift into a large bowl. Add the eggs and approximately 3-4 tablespoons of the milk to the flour. Whisk well. Continue to whisk, adding a little milk at a time until you have a fairly runny batter. (It will thicken somewhat upon standing.) Melt the butter in a double boiler, or in the microwave. Once the butter is melted, take the bowl off the heat and let cool almost completely.  Whisk the butter into the batter and add salt to taste. Continue to whisk for a few minutes. Let the batter sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. If you have a crepe pan, use it, otherwise use a  7-inch non-stick skillet. Brush the pan with oil (or use a paper towel and wipe oil onto pan) and heat medium to medium-high heat. Pour in approximately 1 ounce/2 tablespoons batter into the pan. Turn and tilt the pan to cover the base evenly with crepe batter. (Work quickly) Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the bottom of the crepe is set and golden brown. Flip it over with a spatula and cook that side for about 2 minutes until golden brown and set. Carefully slide the crepe out onto a plate. Continue to do this until all the batter is used, re-oiling the pan after each crepe. If you want a sweet crepe, use sugar instead of salt.

Ham And Fontina Crepes
servings: about 12
2 tablespoons butter, plus extra
12 crepes (prior recipe)
generous 1 cup cooked cured ham, chopped
3 1/2 ounces fontina cheese, diced (7 tablespoons)
1 recipe Bechamel Sauce (to follow)
3 tablespoons Parmesan, freshly grated
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Lay out the crepes and sprinkle with the ham and fontina cheese. Roll up the crepes and place in the casserole dish in a single layer. Pour the Bechamel Sauce over the crepes, then sprinkle with Parmesan and nutmeg. Dot the crepes with the butter. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. You can eat a whole crepe, or cut them in half.

Bechamel Sauce
servings: about 4
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick of butter)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups milk (may need to use less)
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Place the butter in a small saucepan and melt it over medium heat. Briskly whisk in the flour. Pour in the milk, whisking constantly until it starts to boil. Season the sauce with salt and lower the heat. Cover the pan and simmer gently, stirring only occasionally. Do this for 20 minutes or more. The sauce should not taste floury. Take the pan off the heat. Taste your sauce, if bland, add more salt. The more the better, to me any way. If you find that your sauce is too thick, add more milk a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency. If the sauce is too runny, return it too the heat, and add in a pat of butter mixed with an equal amount of flour. If you would like a richer sauce, albeit a more fattening sauce, replace half of the milk with cream. Yum :) If you want to go the other way for a lighter sauce, replace half of the milk with water.


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