Thursday, April 21, 2011

Grain-Free Savory Crepes

The University was alive in color yesterday. I couldn’t help but be awed by the clouds rolling in the distance while the campus was basking in sunlight. There were girls in maxi dresses and sandals, walking with purpose in their natural feminine swagger. There were boys in their fraternity t-shirts, offering one of their brothers up as a target for a dollar an egg. Groups of twos and threes lazed on blankets in the grass, listening to music, studying, and gossiping.

It was a beautiful day, a gorgeous day in fact, that it seemed like a tragedy to be cooped up indoors. That may just be the most torturous thing a professor could do; deny their students a beautiful day. But really, they are stuck inside with us too, so we really can’t blame them for that.

I bring this up because this was likely one of the very few days I’ve witnessed the George Mason community stopping to smell the tulips simultaneously. As finals and graduation and other hectic things are weeks away, it seemed like the campus decided that there were other things more important than tedious PowerPoint slides and stressing out over which notes are relevant to the upcoming exams.

For once, the Universe and the weather told us concurrently “Enjoy today.” And it was a nice feeling, not taking life so seriously all the time.

I was (and sometimes am) what is called a “worrier”. The worrier is someone who is never at peace with themselves, insecure with what was, what is, and what will be. This is the person obsessed with the past, with all the things they did and didn’t do, all the opportunities that came and went. At the same time, they are equally as obsessed with the future, insecure with their own intuition and thus heading down the path of mediocrity simply because it’s the safest route. My “worrier” was rearing its nagging little head on Sunday, and for most of the night I was thinking of all the things I had to do this week. Mind you, with the workload I had anticipated, I would’ve been able to handle it. But on a Sunday night, when you’re certain the Armour Thyroid dose you’ve been taking isn’t enough and everything looks to be happening all at once… that’s when things get hairy.

Despite my worrier tendencies, I’m not much of a serious person. I do my best to not take life seriously. Does that mean I think life is a joke? Goodness, no! But when I see other college kids tearing their hair out and crying because the header for their final paper is a centimeter off, that’s when life is taken too seriously.

And honestly, there are just not enough hours in the day for such graveness.

I think there is this tacit expectation that we have to get life right every time, to be perfect in everything we do. These expectations, while it may seem like it’s great motivation or wonderful advice, in reality it just adds more and more stress upon the already strained shoulders of the student body.

We already have heavy books to carry around. We don’t need any more pressure.

Seriously though, yesterday couldn’t have been more perfect. Previous tensions seen in old friends’ eyes were significantly lessened, and there was a different mood heard in the voices throughout the campus. It was a lighthearted mood, a celebratory mood, an infectious mood. No one was immune.

I’m not the worrier I was on Sunday, nor the worrier I was on Monday. The things I had been fretting about since last week are no longer anxieties. I celebrate getting the summer internship I applied for. I celebrate having more time than I anticipated. I celebrate the finalization of CARmunity and look forward to next week’s interest meeting. I celebrate my official position as Officer of Diplomatic Affairs and Student Representatives for CARmunity. I celebrate the continuation of my journey in regards to health and healing. I celebrate my friend’s twentieth birthday (Happy birthday, E.!) I celebrate my inspirations, my recipes, and the random things that make me smile.

So remember this: the more time you spend on worrying, the less time you spend on celebrating. If I hadn’t gotten out of my own way, didn’t sweat the small stuff or worry over the things I couldn’t control, I wouldn’t have had the time to make the meal I did.

Although I must admit, I am quite proud of myself.

There seems to be a lot of things I’ve never made before, even BGF. First it was the biskies, now it’s these crepes. My first crepe attempt, actually. As in, my first crepe attempt ever. Grain-free too. And believe me when I say this, I was quite nervous.

Oh yes, my worrier was showing, but not for long.

I followed Ruhlman’s recipe to a “T” this time. I read and reread the directions until I could recite it from memory. I made the batter ahead of time before the boyfriend showed up for another Morri “Classic”. For one millisecond I thought I would screw up the crepes, at least the first one. But then I focused on how exciting making crepes for the first time was, how awesome this recipe was going to turn out, how epic this post was going to be. I came up with a way to getting underneath the crepe cleanly by the third one without hesitation, and the combination of flavors was better than I had expected.

You want to know what I didn’t do? I didn’t take myself seriously. I didn’t sweat it. That, along with my winning attitude and my patience towards every crepe, was the reason behind my success.

After dinner, the boyfriend and I talked about the meal. He and I both agreed that these crepes were to be for savory dishes solely, but I will do another crepe recipe specifically for a dessert or sweet breakfast. I’m thinking coconut, glutinous rice, and amaranth.


Grain-free Savory Crepes, Chili Sin Carne Filling, & Kale

For the crepes:
8 oz Milk
4 Large eggs
1.5 oz Quinoa flour
1.5 oz Buckwheat flour
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt, to taste

Combine the ingredients and blend with a whisk or hand blender until they are uniformly combined.
Let the batter rest for half an hour in the refrigerator, up to a day if you would like.  
Heat your pan over medium heat.
If you are using a well-seasoned cast iron or crepe pan, or you have a non-stick skillet, you only need to wipe the surface with some vegetable oil with a paper towel. (If you’re using stainless steel, swirl a teaspoon or so of butter in the pan to coat the bottom).
Pour just enough batter to coat the bottom (I used the 1/4 c. measuring cup for consistency) as you tip the pan.
Allow it to cook untouched until it’s set, about a minute.
Gently turn the crepe and briefly cook the other side, about fifteen seconds.
Remove the crepes to a plate or rack as you make more. (The can be used immediately or they can be allowed to cool. Once cool, stack them, cover, and put in the refrigerator until you want to use them.)

Makes 10 crepes.

For the filling:
1 14.5 oz Canned tomatoes, drained
1 15 oz Canned black beans, drained
1 Small onion, finely diced
2 Cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tsp Chili seasoning (mine was homemade)
1 tbsp Olive oil

Combine the ingredients for the filling in a medium-sized cooking pot over medium heat.
Once the onion has softened, set it to low while prepping the crepes
In a large cooking pot, add the ingredients for the bed of kale on medium to high heat until cooked down.
When the crepes are done and the filling is cooked down, lay out a crepe and place a litter of the filling in the center.
Using your fingers, roll the crepe around the filling. Place the crepe seam side down on the plate so it doesn't open.
Your crepe is now complete. Put as many you think you can on your plate over kale.

For the bed of kale:
1 Head of kale, roughly chopped 
Drizzle of Olive oil
Water (about 1/4 c.)
1/2 tsp Crushed garlic
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

Turn off the kale when the leaves have wilted and the stems have softened, but the greens still have a vibrant green color.

Serves 2, with a sure chance of leftovers.

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