Buckwheat Ham and Cheese Crepes

 

 

Buckwheat Crepe Batter
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 eggs
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt
optional: tsp dried herbs I use Fines Herbs

Mix all ingredients in blender or with a hand mixer until blended really well.  Let batter stand for a minimum of 2 hours before cooking.  I also recommend allowing batter to come to room temp before using.  As the buckwheat rests, it can thicken.  Just add a bit of milk if too thick to swirl around in pan easily.

Crepe filling:

Shredded Fontina Cheese
Shredded Gouda Cheese
Mix blend of chopped ham varieties
 

Tips:

I find a true crepe pan works best.  It is lightweight and easy to hold as you swirl batter evenly to the edges of the pan.
Lightly smear butter to your pan if you feel it sticks.
Always pour your batter into a hot pan.  Allow crepe to cook completely before filling.  This will make crepe easier to remove from pan.
Have your fillings in bowl near your crepe station filled and ready to go.  This dish cooks quickly so have your table ready and the family near by to join in on the fun!
Make the batter before kids get home from school, or, if your having a party… can be made 1 day ahead.  (It is actually better the next day).
This recipe makes about 10 – 12 crepes.  I always find I have enough to make breakfast for my son the following am!  Scrambled eggs and a bit of cheese and ham.  A great breakfast will be the start of a great day for your kids.
Serve with a salad.  I served last night with a blueberry vinaigrette!  Scrumptious!  Recipe below.

 

Blueberry vinaigrette Herb Salad

2 tbsp good balsamic vinegar (I used pomegranate)
3 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh blueberries and handful for topping
couple of hands full of herb salad mix
 
Into salad mixing bold add balsamic and olive oil.  Mix well and add blueberries.  Smash blueberries and mix well into dressing.
Add to salad bowl herbs salad mix.  Toss to combine and plate.  Add a few extra blueberries to top of salad.
 
 
 

Cindi’s Scalloped Potatoes BBQ style

Outdoor cooking’… this is how I roll at the moment.  We  have had a flood in our house!!  EEEKKK….. As one friend has said..my house looks like a Tsunami hit it.  Through it all, we still have to eat.  We are going on a couple weeks of eating out and snacking on random things.  (I do love these random things…. cheese, crackers and wine).  No complaints! However, you do get to a point where you just want a good home cooked meal.

Yesterday, I finally felt inspired to create…. so, for me… that means cooking.  I remembered I had a cast iron pan that I store in the oven and …. the movers did not take it to storage!  It is a big one, so off to Cookin stuff for an 8 inch, pre seasoned cast iron skillet.  I am ready for the challenge.  My meal plan is steamed broccoli, scalloped potatoes and ribeye steaks.  While in Bristol Farms shopping for my ingredients, I found a fabulous loaf of french bread that Bristol had lovingly smothered with a most scrumptious garlic spread.  At checkout, the girl said to me… you will never eat garlic bread anywhere else after you have this.  She was right!  I head home thinking about how I will achieve cooking this meal, for me, the bbq is NOT my area of expertise and … having dined upon many many scrumptious bbq’d meals at the fabulous one and only Sonia Margarita’s awe inspiring home…. I know it can be a most incredible meal. These potatoes were amazing!

Ok, I must be truthful, I was exhausted at the end.  I would really only recommend this if you have easy access to a sink for clean up!  Since I had a flood in my home, no working water downstairs…. I can not tell you how many trips I made up and down those stairs last night to clean up this meal!  In my frustration, I broke three nails!!!!!  I think we will eat dinner out from here on.  I don’t know how people clean up when camping.  Back and forth to a river for clean up?  OMG!!!!

 

 

4 large Yukon Gold Potatoes

3 tbsp butter cut into little pieces

3/4 cup cream

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

3 tbsp mined fresh rosemary

1 tbsp marjoram

1 tsp kosher salt (Penzeys)

1/2 black pepper  (Penzeys… I love their tellicherry ground pepper)

1 tsp paprika (for that added smokey flavor… this is bbq after all!)

Preheat BBQ to 400.  I purchased a new temp gauge just to be sure.  It is placed directly on the bbq grate and can remain through the whole cooking process.  It goes to 700 degrees.. YOU NEED HIGH TEMP GAUGE FOR BBQ.  BBQ’s get realllllly hot.

Cut potatoes into 1/8 inch slices.  (I have always used a mandolin, but since that is in storage, I just cut with a knife and it was surprisingly easy!)  Layer 1/3 of your sliced potato into 8 inch cast skillet.

Pour 1/3 of your cream over the potatoes.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp rosemary, 1 tsp of the marjoram, sprinkle salt and pepper.

Begin a new layer of potato and repeat process above over second layer.

More potato layer and pour and sprinkle all remaining ingredients.  Sprinkle paprika over top and place into preheated BBQ.  Close bbq lid.

 

 

Cindi’s Easy Roasted Chicken

The coastal weather can be unpredictable.  Foggy… sunny… foggy… sunny.  I spent today in the garden.  It was a lovely day.  The fog and sun were in a fierce competition today and in the end, the fog won out!  By late afternoon, the very same time I was thinking to myself….”What is for dinner tonight?”..  It was clear,  a roasted dish was the perfect choice.  So, with that thought, I head out to Whole Foods for chicken and some root veggies!   I needed something scrumptious, healthy and easy.  I did garden all day and I am exhausted!   I decided on chicken pieces rather than the whole chicken.  Roasting chicken pieces, rather than the whole chicken, would speed up the cooking time and provide everyone the piece they enjoy most while allowing me to buy only what I need.  Whether you make this dish for your family, or a dinner party, both are sure to find it most scrumptious!

 

2 large bone in chicken breast pieces with skin on

2 chicken legs, thigh bone attached with skin on

2 large parsnips

2 large carrots

4 large yukon gold potatoes cut in half

1 large fennel (bulb only).  Save fennel fronds to beautify dish when serving.

1 small brown onion cut into quarters

8 sprigs fresh thyme

8 sprigs fresh rosemary

4 fresh sage leaves

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 tsp butter

1 tbsp chopped garlic (I use Penzeys dehydrated)

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

salt and pepper for seasoning

optional: additional dab of butter to be added to top of potato before roasting

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut and peel carrots and parsnips and put onto baking sheet.  Cut fennel into thick slices and add to baking sheet.  Add potatoes leaving cut side up.  Add onion.  Drizzle half the olive oil over veggies, sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix about evenly coat all veggies.

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Separate skin from meat creating a flavor pocket and stuff into each pocket :  1 sprig rosemary, 1 sage leaf, 1 sprig thyme, a bit of chopped garlic and 1 tsp butter into each piece of chicken.

Sprinkle remaining garlic and  herbs over chicken and veggies and drizzle with remaining extra virgin olive oil.

Bake at 400 degrees about 20 minutes, until chicken begins to brown.  After chicken has started to brown, reduce heat to 350 and cook for another 60 minutes or until meat is cooked through.

Remove chicken from oven when done cooking and let rest in pan for 10 minutes.  This will allow the juices to settle back into the chicken.

Use reserved fennel fronds to plate before serving.

Serves 4

 

 

Cindi’s BLT Pasta

In my craving for flavor, sometimes I just mix flavor together and hope it works!  In this case it did.  My family really enjoyed this dish.  It had something for everyone and when my son came through the door as I was cooking last night…. he excitedly said …. “I smell Bacon!”…What’s for dinner?  My original concept included home made pasta, I was thinking back to a dish from Rome.  To this day that dish was perhaps one of the most scrumptious meals I have ever tasted.  Simple, yet scrumptious, as I found all the meals in Italy.  This dish was made of  thinly pressed pasta in strips about  1 1/2 inches wide and 5 inches or so inches long.  It was covered in roasted baby tomatoes.  It had a very rustic appeal.  Well, my day ran longer than I expected and I found myself going for the packaged pasta.  This dish was still super scrumptious.  I hope you find yourself with a little time available some day and make your own pasta.  It is surprisingly easy … a bit messy… but the the flavor and consistency is to die for!

If you find yourself in Rome, (and I hope you do) try this amazing restaurant, Target.  In the Heart of Rome, two blocks or so from the St. Regis Hotel, you will not be disappointed!

 

 

1 1/2 lb Baby Heirloom Tomatos

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp Penzeys garlic powder

1 tsp Penzeys Mural of Flavor salt free seasoning  (this is a new flavor from Penzeys)

6 oz apple wood smoked lardons (cooked crispy)

12 oz penne pasta (or if you have time… make your own pasta!)

3 oz herb salad mix

pinch of salt and pepper – if needed

Optional: Poached eggs and shaved parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425

Add tomatoes to baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle garlic powder and Mural of Flavor seasoning.  Toss to coat. Roast tomatoes about 12 – 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, add tomatoes and all of their delish juices into a deep large sauté pan.

Bring heavily salted (kosher salt or if you have it sea salt) water to boil and add pasta.  The salt in the water will season your pasta.  I always hear the water in which you  boil pasta should taste of the sea!  So, taste your water!  This trick really does make a difference in the flavor of your pasta.

While tomatoes are roasting and water is coming to a boil,  crisp your lardons.  When crispy, remove from pan and place onto paper towels.  This helps to remove the additional bacon fat.  Set aside.

When pasta is ready, and I find this to be to ones own taste ( I don’t like my pasta al dente, I like it cooked a bit more)…Shock!  Reserve a cup of the starchy boiling water and keep to the side, drain pasta.  Add drained pasta to the large sauté pan with tomatoes and mix together over medium heat.   If your pasta is dry and you need a bit of liquid, use the pasta water.  Add in the herb salad mix and stir to incorporate into the pasta dish.  This will slightly wilt and cook the herb salad and add the delish flavors of the herbs!  Now is the time to taste and add a sprinkle of salt if needed.

Serve with bacon sprinkled on top and a couple pieces of crusting.

Optional- Poached eggs and Parmesan top.  I personally like poached eggs on pasta.  I started doing this a long time ago…I think because I love poached eggs!  And, who doesn’t like their pasta with parm???

4 – 6 servings

 

Cindi’s Parisian Panini

Today I craved the flavors of Paris.  The streets of Paris are filled with delis foods in the windows lining the streets as you stroll.  I have never seen so many scrumptious Panini’s!  So hard to choose from so many fabulous choices.  But, I am home in southern California and must create my own!  Here is my version of Paris flavor.

 

 

1 French style Baguette (I use 6 inch)

2 tbsp dijon mustard

6 slices deli meat (I use 3 different Italian style deli meats)

3 slices crispy sweet apple (I LOVE HONEYCRISP!)

1 slice brie cheese

drizzle of good quality balsamic (I used pomegranate)

 

Slice open baguette

spead dijon evenly across both pieces of baguette

layer deli meat

add apple

add cheese

drizzle balsamic

Put panini into panini press until cheese is melty.

 

You will crave these flavors after one bite!

 

 

 

Cindi’s Minty Brownies

minty brownie photo

1 box Ghiradelli chocolate brownie mix (I use plain mix with chocolate sauce in the box)

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

3 ounces good dark chocolate broken into little pieces

1 cup mini marshmallows

Make brownie mix as directed on box.

Immediately scatter chopped chocolate pieces on top of the cooked brownies and stick back into hot oven 1 more minute.  You want to soften the chocolate pieces so that you can spread the melted chocolate over the brownies.

add marshmallows over the melted chocolate and stick back into oven at 400 degrees on the broil mode and toast marshmallow until it begins to puff and turn golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Use a knife sprayed with non-stick cooking spray so that you can cut brownies without sticking in the marshmallow!