Friday, October 29, 2010

Her Name was Mrs. Pfunder...

Mrs. Pfunder was my French teacher in eighth and ninth grade.  When I was in seventh grade, she was my "Comparative Languages" teacher. The languages we compared were German, Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, and Hungarian all of which, she spoke fluently.

She was one of those teachers who demanded respect from her students, respect in the form of fear.  When not in the classroom though, we made endless fun of her name which unfortunately rhymed with "thunder" and was not too far a jump to the word"underware" the sure fire giggle inducer of my generation of pre-teen

I cannot fathom what set of circumstances caused this talented woman to find herself teaching in a small town junior high school instead of teaching advanced language arts at one of the nearby institutes of higher, much higher learning.  I remember her as being very demanding, stern, and maybe to my seventh grade self, a bit scary.  I also remember "Crepe Day" when we were allowed to see the softer side of Mrs. Pfunder.

A sign-up sheet was passed around the class for each of us to write our "French name" (mine was Antoinette as in "Je m'appelle Antoinette") on the blank line beside the food item we would supply for the big day.  The ingredients were simple: whipped cream in a can, strawberry jam, and Mrs. Pfunder supplied the crepe batter and the crepe maker.  Life was sweet on crepe day, sweet and full of sticky-faced, sugar-filled French students.

To this day, I cannot hear the word crepe (Mrs. Pfunder pronounced it so that it rhymed with step, though many folks pronounce it so that it rhymes with cape) without fond thoughts of Mrs. Pfunder.  It is because of this teacher and her work in my junior high days, that I was undaunted by a crepe recipe I came across a few years ago in a magazine.

Since that day, I've made many versions of the crepe for my gang, some for dessert, and some as the main course of our dinner.  It is the Savory Crepe (the main course kind) that has become my "go-to" meal when I'm running low on energy, ingredients, and time.  Soooooo, for all of us who plan on running low on energy, ingredients, and time...

Recipe for...let's call 'em "Crepes Antoinette"

Crepe Batter:
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 and 3/4 cups milk
2 eggs
6 tablespoons butter (melted) for the skillet

Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together.
Add milk and eggs and stir.  Batter will be thin.  Whisk to remove any lumps.

Crepe-making is made even more simple with a well thought-out arrangement of batter bowl, butter bowl, cooling plate, and crepe holding container around the stove top.  Here's my set-up:
(The cooling plate is off to the left of the skillet.)

Heat skillet over low to medium heat.  Brush with melted butter

and pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the butter in the skillet.
Now, pretend you're sporting the fluffy white chef's hat and swirl the skillet until the batter is evenly coating over the bottom of the skillet.
Allow the batter to cook for about one minute before turning the crepe over so that the other side can brown.  The best way to tell if the crepe is ready to be turned is to watch the edges, which will turn dry and a tad brown when the first side is cooked well.

Turning the crepe is where you earn your chef's hat. With a rubber spatula ease the dried edges from the pan and then take the edge into the index and thumb of each hand and gently flip.
(Does this crepe make my hand look fat?)
If you find the crepe too hot to flip with your bare fingers, use tongs to do the job.  I have a pair of bamboo tongs that work nicely. If you don't have tongs that work well, turn the crepe out onto a dinner plate and slide it back into the skillet, uncooked side down. (I usually have to begin this way until my fingertips take on their asbestos-ness.)

Once the crepe is turned, cook it for slightly less than a minute longer or until the second side begins to look like the first.  IMPORTANT: Don't let your skillet get too hot.  I usually have to continue to edge the heat down on my skillet to make sure I didn't burn the crepes.  After the crepe has finished cooking, remove it from the skillet and place it on a plate to cool.

 Re-butter your skillet and begin again with the next crepe.  You must re-butter between each crepe, trust me.  Forgetting is just ugly.

Move the cooled crepe to the awaiting container.  Crepes can be stored in an air-tight container for up to three days in the fridge.

After refrigerating, you can fill the crepes with desired filling and microwave to heat. We place two filled crepes on a plate and heat for about 30 seconds.  Time will vary according to filling ingredients.

Speaking of filling...tonight we filled ours with a cream cheese and chicken mixture (and a few other things that were hanging around in the fridge).

Cream Cheese & Chicken Filling
8 oz. cream cheese (can use low fat)
1/3 cup sour cream (more if you need to thin mixture a bit)
1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked chicken (cut into bite size pieces)
3 gentle shakes of onion powder (shhhhhhh)
1/2 teaspoon dried chives (or 1 teasp. fresh) (again, shhhhhh)
salt and pepper to taste
anything else you'd like to toss in...
whole kernel corn (drained)

Tonight we added corn, left over from lunch, and olives (well to a few of them we added olives, you remember who I'm cookin' for).

All that's left is to place about 1/4 cup (two or three heaping serving spoon size dollops) onto the crepe and fold.

NOTE: The crepes can double for dessert by filling them with fruit preserves and sweetened sour cream or yogurt and then drizzle chocolate sauce over the folded creation. Also, banana slices and honey...or peanut butter and jelly...or the possibilities are endless!

Bon Appetite! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds fun. That filling I use for my chicken crescents made w/ crescent rolls sounds like your filling. On an energetic day or a day ahead, I may try some of those. Thanks for sharing. Love you!

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