Vegetarian

Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crepes

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This past fall, I took a class at the Boston Public Market that focused on making crepes. Now, I can count on one hand how many times I've prepared pancakes, so crepes had yet to make it into my repertoire. I was excited to try something new and figured if anyone could teach me, the chef at Salt Box Kitchen could. I didn't realize just how fun and easy they'd be. It took a bit of practice figuring out how much batter I needed for the perfect thickness. But after a few failed attempts, I got the hang of it. The task of flipping each crepe wasn't as challenging as I'd anticipated. There's a chance they could tear around the edges, but they're surprisingly resilient.  And you know what's great?  Crepes can be made a few hours in advance, then warmed at the end (I'll often throw them in the microwave just before adding the filling). 

These have made their way into our weekly meal rotation. I find the spinach-mushroom combination is the ideal filling for brunch or dinner. If we have leftover smoked salmon in the fridge, I'll chop that up and add it to the mix. 

Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crepes - A Thought For Food
Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crepes - A Thought For Food
Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crepes - A Thought For Food
Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crepes - A Thought For Food
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Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crepes - A Thought For Food
Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crepes - A Thought For Food
Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crepes - A Thought For Food
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Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crepes - A Thought For Food
Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crepes - A Thought For Food
Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crepes - A Thought For Food

Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crepes

Source: Crepe batter provided by SaltBox Kitchen
Yield: 6-8 crepes (depending on size)
Special Tools:  Blender (optional)

Ingredients:
For the crepes
5 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk, plus more if needed
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
Butter

For the filling
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 lb cremini or white button mushrooms, trimmed, washed and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, and salt until thoroughly combined. Whisk in milk. Alternatively, you can put the ingredients in a blender, mix at low speed for 10 seconds and then high speed for 1 minute. Allow batter to rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour before making crêpes.

Meanwhile,  add olive oil to a saute pan set over medium heat.  Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and chopped thyme and cook for another 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and black pepper.

To prepare the crêpes, heat a shallow sauté pan or crêpe pan over medium-low heat. Add a small amount of butter to the pan (a couple teaspoons). Once the butter has melted, add 1 1/2 ladles of crepe mixture to the pan, just enough to coat the bottom (it may help to gently tilt the pan to allow it to spread).  Cook for about 1 minute, then, using a spatula, flip over crêpe and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer finished crêpes to a parchment-lined sheet tray. Crêpes can be served immediately, or frozen in layers between parchment and wrapped in plastic or freezer bags to use at another time.

Fill each crêpe with sauteed vegetables and crumbled goat cheese, and then fold the crepes.

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Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup
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A bowl of hot soup soothes the soul in ways few foods can. Even the process has a calming effect. The peeling and chopping of vegetables, the smell of them sautéing, the steam that escapes as it simmers on the stove. I find the whole experience comforting. I've made many batches over these last couple of months to serve to dinner guests (anyone else exhausted from all the holiday gatherings?). This carrot soup was for our friends who just had a baby a few weeks ago. We spent the afternoon at their home, cuddling with the little one, who slept soundly in my arms until she was ready for more food or wanted to be changed, all things I could pass her off for her mommies to do. It made my heart soar to see how happy the two of them are with their new addition. 

I'm looking forward to this coming year and all the dishes I have rattling around in my head. To be honest, things felt a bit disjointed over these last twelve months. There was a lot to juggle... the Cape house, work, travels... and I found it challenging to focus. But I'm feeling like this soup is the right direction. Cooking the things I love to eat and just sharing that with all of you. Here's to a great 2018! Cheers!

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Carrot Ginger Soup from A Thought For Food www.athoughtforfood.net
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Carrot Ginger Soup from A Thought For Food - www.athoughtforfood.net

Carrot Ginger Soup

Yield: 6-8 servings
Special Tools: Blender or Immersion Blender

Ingredients:
2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups vegetable broth
Salt
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons yellow miso paste (use gluten-free miso to make this fully gf)
Sesame oil (optional)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Cook onion for 3 minutes, stirring often, until. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Add chopped carrot, cover with 4 cups vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. 

Transfer the soup contents to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth. Add miso and maple syrup and blend to incorporate. Taste for seasoning and, if necessary, add salt. Transfer the mixture back to the pot. The soup will be on the thicker side, but you can thin it out with another cup of vegetable broth. 

Serve in bowls with a light drizzle of sesame oil and chopped cilantro on top. 

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Shaved Cauliflower and Radicchio Salad with Ginger-Lemongrass Dressing

Shaved Cauliflower and Radicchio Salad with Ginger-Lemongrass Dressing from A Thought For Food www.athoughtforfood.net

I know what my strengths and weaknesses are as a cook and I'd say that one thing I'm consistent with are salads and slaws. Like soups, I love the countless possibilities, the endless flavor combinations. You can go sweet, spicy, creamy, zesty. Whichever way you want it. You can make them during any season, using any produce that's available. I guess I'm kind of geeking over this, but I think they're a wonderful addition to meals. Especially epic dinners like a Thanksgiving feast, where the table tends to be overloaded with cream and butter and cheese (you know, all the good stuff). A bright, crunchy salad can lighten it all up.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, this next week we have a lot going on. On Saturday, we're hosting our annual Friendsgiving and have 18 guests joining us. Usually, I'm pretty stressed over the whole thing, but this year I'm really not worried. I guess I know it'll all come together. There'll be food and drinks and people will have a great time. That's really all that matters.  We're staying local for the actual Thanksgiving festivities, doing brunch with Eric's father and then heading over to do dinner with his mom. 

I may or may not pop in next week to post something else. If I don't, I hope everyone has a happy and delicious holiday.

Shaved Cauliflower and Radicchio Salad with Ginger-Lemongrass Dressing from A Thought For Food www.athoughtforfood.net
Shaved Cauliflower and Radicchio Salad with Ginger-Lemongrass Dressing from A Thought For Food www.athoughtforfood.net
Shaved Cauliflower and Radicchio Salad with Ginger-Lemongrass Dressing from A Thought For Food www.athoughtforfood.net

SHAVED CAULIFLOWER AND RADICCHIO SALAD WITH GINGER-LEMONGRASS DRESSING
Yield: 6-8 servings, as a side

Ingredients:
1 small cauliflower
4-5 radish
1 head radicchio
3 scallion, light and dark green parts only, sliced on the bias
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon chopped lemongrass
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
Salt

Directions:
Using a large chef's knife, remove the green leaves, as well as the stem, from the cauliflower. Quarter the cauliflower and then cut the pieces into thin (approximately 1/4-inch thick) slices. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Thinly slice radish and radicchio and add that, along with the scallion, to the bowl with the cauliflower.

In a separate bowl, add the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until blended. Taste for seasoning and add salt. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to combine. Let sit for at least 20 minutes before serving.  Taste for seasoning and, if necessary, add more salt.