Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A likely combination

I love, love, love to pair apples and cheddar. I'm not sure what region of the United States it originates from--Northerners and Southerners and Midwesterners alike have given me odd stares when I mentioned putting apples and cheddar together--but I'd like to thank whoever started it off. In any case, I took the combination and used it to go from last night's theme of "simple and partially canned" to something more erudite: roasted apple and garlic crepes with cheddar cheese and fennel-scented greens, dusted with a bit of nutmeg. I highly, highly recommend making this. The following proportions were enough to feed me for dinner, with leftovers for lunch tomorrow. If you don't want to save anything for the next day, you could just make the remaining crepes and fill them with Nutella or chocolate syrup or just dust them with powdered sugar.

Toss two cloves of garlic and one cored, sliced apple (peel if you want, I guess) with about a half-tablespoon of olive oil, and put in a 425-degree oven. Meanwhile, whisk a half-cup flour, one tablespoon melted and cooled butter, one egg, a pinch of salt, and 3/4 to 1 cup milk until smooth and very pourable; you want this stuff to spread in a thin layer over the saucepan when you put it in. Put the batter in the fridge to rest* while the apple and garlic roast. Meanwhile, toss some greens of your choice (I used collard, because that's how I roll, but asparagus or mustard greens would work well here) with a quarter-teaspoon of fennel seeds and cook in a hot nonstick or barely olive oil-coated pan. Set aside. When the roasting is done, remove the pan from the oven and slice one clove of garlic (the other is for tomorrow) as best you can; if it mushes up because it's too soft, whatever, that's fine. Heat a frying pan and put a small pat of butter in it to coat. When the butter is sizzling, pour just enough crepe batter in to thinly coat the pan. When the crepe is just cooked on both sides, layer grated or thinly sliced cheddar, some apple, and a few slices of garlic (I used a half clove per crepe), then fold the crepe and keep it on the heat for a moment to melt the cheese. Dust with the nutmeg and eat with the greens.

I felt so gourmet eating this. It also makes me nostalgic for my middle and high school days, when the French Club and Congres, the French competition team, would make crepes for class parties (which also entailed watching Disney movies in French) and to raise money at the Pine View Fair. The French food station was always the most popular, of course.

And now, in the Weird Coincidences Department: I asked Andy what he wanted me to bake for his post-exam visit next weekend (yes, I know, cloying, let's move on), and he chose ladyfingers, then mentioned that he was excited to see what sort of cream I'd fill them with. Uh. Cream? We eventually figured out that he was talking about ladylocks, which I can't exactly make without some sort of mold, and I have nothing that could serve as baking dowels. Those will have to wait, but I do plan to make them for him one day hence. His second choice: black forest cake. We rapidly discovered that we both have culinarily formative early-life memories revolving around black forest cake. This is just going to have to be the best one ever.

*Not all chefs agree that crepe batter needs to rest. My view is that it doesn't hurt anything, and it leaves you free to, say, catch up on your reading while the roasting finishes.

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