Friday, October 1, 2010

The Food Desert Project - Crespelle al Pesto ai Carciofo (Crepes with Artichoke Pesto)

Remember those artichokes I had you save last week?  Well, today's the day we're going to put them to good use in a two-in-one fancy date-night recipe you can put together or use with other foods - and you can even get the ingredients at your nearest (decent) 24-hour drugstore!  If you got hungry and ate the artichokes instead, don't worry - you can use a half-size-jar of marinated artichokes and get the same results (or get a whole one and double the rest of the recipe.)  So, we begin with:

Artichoke Pesto:

1 small jar artichokes, drained and rinsed (or the leftovers from last week's recipe)
1 tsp minced jarred garlic
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 tbsp olive oil

002Place all ingredients in a food chopper, blend until you have a chunky paste.  Nutritional information. Serves 8 as a dip, a topping for crostini, or as a pasta sauce...or as a filling for:

Crespelle (crepes)

Combine the following ingredients in the blender until completely incorporated:

2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter

Batter should be quite thin and pourable, almost the consistency of cream; add water or milk as needed.  Allow to stand for a minimum of 20 minutes (an hour is better) or for up to 1 day in the refrigerator.  
To make the crepes, heat a little butter in a large nonstick frying pan.  When the butter is bubbling, lift the pan off the heat, pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan, then, quickly but carefully,* swirl the pan around like a gyroscope so that the small circle of batter widens into a large, thin circle.  (Here's another video that's more succinct.) When the crepe starts to pull away from the pan at the edges and the top is dry, flip it carefully with a large spatula, loosening it underneath a bit first. 

Don't worry, since there are so many variables with crepes (viscosity of batter, heat of pan, timing) consider your first two "practice" crepes and eat them right out of the pan if they aren't aesthetically pleasing.  Stack your crepes on a plate - they won't stick as long as they are warm (and if you refrigerate them, they will unstick from each other if you warm them slightly in the microwave or a low oven.)  Crepes also freeze well provided you put parchment or wax paper in between each crepe - but I can't resist them and never wind up with leftovers. Makes about 15 crepes.  Nutritional Information.

Crespelle al Pesto ai Carciofo

Put a thick line of the artichoke pesto down the center of your crepe.  Top with a shredded melting cheese, like mozzarella or queso chihuahua.  Fold one side of the crepe over the filling, and then roll your crepe towards the open side so that it forms a tube.  Place your tube seam-side down in the pan; continue filling and rolling crepes until your pan is almost full.  Place your pan on medium heat and cover it for about 3 minutes.  Remove the cover and turn the crepes, allowing them about 2 minutes per side to crisp up.  Serves 5. Nutritional Information.

Serve warm.

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*PS - Two quick ways to clean a blender: 1. throw in dishwasher.  2. Pour extremely hot water and a bit of dish soap in blender, blend, dump, repeat until blender looks clean - then blend plain hot water to rinse.


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