savory

post67 // foodstuffs presents: how to pick crab 🦀

while back in the states, i spent most of my time at my family’s home on the chesapeake bay in maryland. oh am i lucky! we swam in the bay, sunbathed in the hot hot weather (aka jumping in and out of the water to cool down), ate my favorite maryland cookies, and most importantly, picked crab!!

picking crab is one of my family’s favorite summer activities at the bay. anyone who has come to visit our house knows that we love crab feasts and if you join our table, you’re going to learn how to eat crab. so come and watch my table side tutorial and learn how to pick maryland blue crab. you’ll be ready for the bay in no time! 


and in other, non-crabby news:

i met molly yeh in paris!! what a wonderful day we had. i’d actually met molly before at the food52 hq but it was so fun to bop around paris with her. read what she had to say about her paris trip and the awesome ice cream we ate!! 

i moved to a new apartment in paris. full debrief on my new neighborhood, pigalle, to come as it’s filled with so much great food. definitely put the Rue de Martyrs on your list for places to visit when you’re in paris!

#spagoals

i haven’t seen this movie in a while and i think it’s about time for a re-watch😂


photography and videography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs.blog with the fourth photo in the video by sean matheson/sonofmath.com

post66 // foodstuffs turns 1!

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hi guys and gals! today i’m celebrating something a lil’ special: foodstuffs’ first birthday! it was one year ago today that i launched this blog and i’m feeling quite nostalgic for all the fun i’ve had with it in the past year.

from launch day where i announced my big move to paris (and made some julia child croissants) to explaining french wine and all my incredible travels around europe this year (paris! london! amsterdam! normandy! lille!), this blog has been an incredible platform for me to share, cook, bake, and learn.

to celebrate what a year it’s been, i rounded up my reader’s top ten favorite foodstuffs recipes! and fittingly, the number one spot was narrowly clinched by a great recipe for celebrating, birthday sprinkle cake!


foodstuffs top 10 recipes of all time

  1. birthday sprinkle cake

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what’s more fun than making a cake and tossing sprinkles on it to celebrate? absolutely nothing (especially on your own birthday). inspired by christina tosi of milk bar and molly yeh of funfetti cake-dom, this cake is now a birthday staple in my kitchen. snag the recipe here!

2. dark chocolate chip cookiesIMG_1761

warm chocolate chip cookies are one of life’s best pleasures. amp up your standard recipe with dark chocolate chips and dark brown sugar like i do here for a richer, even tastier cookie. after posting this recipe, i received a lot of texts declaring just how good this recipe truly is. (*heart melts*) snag the recipe here!

3. avocado shrimp rollsfullsizeoutput_cc6

if one recipe could speak summer, this is it. after a big family party with leftover shrimp cocktail, i put the little shrimpies to use as the center of this roll. with easy-to-buy ingredients such as avocado, herbs, and mayo (don’t forget the potato chips!), this recipe is a simple lunch or dinner on a hot summer day. snag the recipe here!

4. homemade bagelsfullsizeoutput_b0c

want a fresh bagel in the morning? do you live in new york city? if you answered yes first and no second, this how-to is for you. and don’t be intimidated! this recipe is fool-proof. snag the recipe here!

5. fairground peanutsVersion 2

candied nuts are one of the best food gifts out there. you’ll see them more in the colder months but don’t underestimate their addictingly crunchy texture that’s perfect for your next dinner party’s aperitif hour. snag the recipe here!

6. saturday pancakes

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a go-to pancake recipe for weekend mornings is pretty necessary in my book. enter my easy pancakes, adapted from a classic martha stewart recipe. you’re ready for the weekend! snag the recipe here!

7. ricotta and tomato tartfullsizeoutput_fb0

tomato season is *almost* upon us so it’s time to get familiar with this recipe and add it to your repertoire. fresh ingredients are key to this dish so make sure you choose wisely at the farmers market or grocery store. snag the recipe here!

8. french crêpesfullsizeoutput_b2c

my crêpe-making skills have come a long way since this first post. maybe it’s time for a reboot? in the meantime, this recipe is a great place to start. and know that you can find the best crêpes in paris at breizh café and the best in france in the brittany region! snag the recipe here!

9. salted butterscotch apple pieIMG_1615

i made my own butterscotch! coupled with an all-butter pie crust and apple fruit compote, you’ve got pie perfection. this recipe also has a latticing how-to for pie decorating so it’s truly worth the read! snag the recipe here!

10. homemade french friesfullsizeoutput_c0d

humans and canines were big fans of this recipe. it’s always refreshing to learn what goes into something you eat at restaurants all the time. and for what it’s worth, french fries are very good in france as well! snag the recipe here!


so what’s next for foodstuffs??

i’m looking forward to more recipe creation in the year to come, much of which will be inspired by all the technical recipes and skills i learned while studying at cordon bleu.

and the kicker is that i’ll be working out of paris! i’ve just accepted a pastry externship at the ritz paris. “thrilled” is an understatement of my feelings right now. much like culinary school, i’ll be blogging about my experience over the next 6 months there. so stay tuned!


and last but not least, in this week’s other stuff:

the absolute cutest pajamas i’ve ever seen

just purchased a couple backdrops from these guys. looking forward to putting them to use!

this just got me. happy belated father’s day💛

oh and i have a new instagram handle! make sure you’re following @catherinekatemargaret

post59 // foodstuffs video guide: the best baguettes in paris

hey there guys and gals! how’s your friday? if it isn’t the best friday of your life, i’m just out here trying to make it better, by way of baguettes (lots of them).

i had so much fun filming my bakery crawl last month that i decided to bring these filming efforts to paris! this week i compared and contrasted 4 different baguettes from local bread bakeries in my neighborhood. boulangerie is the term for a french bakery that sells bread and you can find them at nearly every corner here in paris. so come ride along with me as i show you the insides of these shops, complete with handles shaped like croissants, and get into the nitty gritty of what makes a traditional french baguette.


foodstuffs video guide: the best baguettes in paris (15arr)

 


  1. le fournil sainte lucie (15arr) corner of rue de javel and rue sainte-lucie, 75015 paris, open 715am-730pm everyday except sunday
    • what i bought: baguette tradition
  2. maison koneth (15arr) 141 rue de la croix-nivert, 75015 paris, open 7am-8pm everyday except sunday
    • what i bought: baguette tradition
  3. borissou (15arr) 93 rue de commerce, 75015 paris, open 730am-8pm everyday except sunday
    • what i bought: baguette tradition
  4. eric kayser(15arr) 79 rue de commerce, 75015 paris, open 645am-830pm everyday except sunday
    • what i bought: baguette tradition

and in this week’s other stuff!

quite possibly the coolest dessert i’ve ever seen

these jeans fit so. good.

a quote in honor of the late paul bocuse, “classic or modern, there is only one cuisine… the good.” — paul bocuse, french chef (1926-2018)


what french storefronts do you want to see next?? charcuteries (meat shops)? fromageries (cheese shops)? comment below and i’ll take you there!

post48 // ricotta and tomato tart

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hello friends and happy friday!! despite the arrival of pumpkin season and my month to ideate halloween costumes, tomato season is not yet over! and from what i hear about the weather back stateside, it sure doesn’t feel like fall there either.

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last week my french host mom brought home a bevy of bright green tomatoes after visiting a friend’s farm in bourges, a city south of paris. yes, she casually spent her day picking tomatoes, foraging for mushrooms, and drinking wine. #frenchlifestyle like wut?? anyhow, i wanted to put these tomatoes to use! in my pastry courses at le cordon bleu, we’ve been baking many tarts that have me reminiscent of my homemade pies and their ever-buttery pie crusts. i decided to try out my pie crust recipe from the states in a french kitchen and turn it into the base for a tomato tart.

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learnings:

  1. my american recipe for a double pie crust didn’t even fit (!!) in my french mixing bowl. (see all that spilled flour?) this isn’t the first time i’ve noticed how my reference point for portions is far bigger than france’s.
  2. as a twist on the recipe, i used some of my french host mom’s leftover chestnut flour that she had in the pantry! the chestnut flour gave the pie crust a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that i’d highly recommend! i’m not sure where you can find chestnut flour in the states, likely at a whole foods or specialty foods shop. but if you can’t find it, don’t fret! the recipe is superb with regular ap flour.
  3. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, weighing ingredients is far superior to the endless cup and spoon measurements we make back home! i learned this while working at bread furst this summer and i’m never turning back. but don’t fear, i *do* include them for you below. i know this is how a lot of home cooks bake!

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the perk of this recipe is that you can make your tart base and use the baking time to prep your toppings. instead of making a completely green, wicked-themed tart, i went to the farmer’s market and picked up a couple more tomatoes in different colors for a rainbow effect. i chose ricotta cheese as the bed for these tomatoes, drizzled with honey, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. i used to make a bowl of ricotta just like this for meetings back at food52! throw same basil on top and voilà!

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you can see that one of my tart crusts is a bit browner than the other. i used a higher ratio of chestnut flour in the dough for this tart and that’s why it browned easier. what are your favorite alternative flours to use? i’d like to do more testing with them.

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if you’re looking to hold onto summer as long as you can, this recipe is a surefire way.

and in this week’s other stuff, i have lots of goodies!

until next week! xx


ricotta and tomato tart

makes two tarts

fixings

crust:

2½ cups ap flour // 320 grams (*i used 160 grams ap and 160 grams chestnut flour)

1 teaspoon salt // 6 grams

1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter // 225 grams

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan // 64 grams

extra butter or oil to prep pan

toppings:

6 beefsteak tomatoes, in various colors

16oz ricotta cheese // 500 grams

8-10 basil leaves

lemon, honey, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper for seasoning

tools

bag of rice or beans for par-bake

tin foil

tart pan (like this one) or a 9-inch pie pan

instructions

crust (adapted from Kate Lebo’s, Pie School):

  1. preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 3/4 cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prep the following steps.
  3. in a large bowl, mix the flour, parmesan and salt. drop 1-tablespoon pieces of butter into the flour and toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
  4. place your palms up and curl your fingers back to scoop up the flour and fat. rub, rub, rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. make sure you reach into the bottom and around the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. it should be chunky—mostly cherry-size pieces, the smaller bits resembling coarse cornmeal.
  5. take the water out of the freezer. pour it (slowly!) in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. toss to distribute the moisture. as you add a bit more water and toss, the dough will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. if it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. if the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done.
  6. split the dough into 2 and form each ball into a thick disk using your palms and thumbs. wrap both disks in plastic wrap. refrigerate for 30 minutes to 3 days before rolling.
  7. once rested, take the crust out of the fridge and roll to fit your tart or pie pan. before transferring to the pan, make sure you’ve buttered or oiled the pan. fit to the mold.
  8. layer a sheet of tin foil on the crust. pour the beans or rice onto the tin foil to prep the crust for par-baking.
  9. bake the crust for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 15 more minutes.

assembly (while your crust is baking!):

  1. finely chop the basil leaves. add half of the chopped leaves to the ricotta cheese and reserve the rest for decoration. add a hefty drizzle of lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and honey to the ricotta. season with salt and pepper.
  2. wash and slice your tomatoes. you’re looking for a width around 1cm. i also peeled my tomatoes but it’s not mandatory!
  3. once crust comes out of the oven, let cool completely. to speed things up, you can put it into the fridge or a quick dip in the freezer for cooling. (but don’t freeze it!)
  4. once cool, spoon a thick layer of ricotta on the crust. then layer the tomatoes on top. season to finish!

 

all photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

post42 // avocado shrimp rolls

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why hello there and happy day to you!! thanks for tuning in. seafood lovers rejoice because this week’s post is an ever-easy recipe to keep your summer feeling summery, by way of shrimp and avocado.

in the past week, i think i’ve eaten a year’s worth of seafood. my family and friends celebrated my brother rob’s big 3-0, which called for a crab feast (as good maryland birthdays do). said crab feast turned into crab cakes one day later and a bevy of shrimp cocktail turned into this very recipe.

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the thirtieth birthday party? well that was fun. we ate crab and shrimp, danced, and watched a tremendous storm from a peninsula on the chesapeake bay. it was scary and fun all at the same time! my brother jake and i gifted rob an original painting of us three made by my friend stewy. see below for a better look at his work!

okay, back to these shrimpies. i wanted an easy recipe to make with a whole batch of cooked shrimp and it seemed fitting to slide them into potato rolls with some mayonnaise. but what else? i looked up recipes for shrimp rolls and the following fillings kept popping up: tarragon, chives, celery, bibb lettuce. these green additions gave me some ideas for the type of roll i wanted: something herby and full of veggies. i ran rogue with mine though, bringing avocado, a favorite sandwich filling of mine, to the forefront of these rolls. along with dill and lemon for flavor and scallions for a bit of crunch, the shrimp and avocado mix quickly grew to be a tangy, herby, and addictive spread.

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but not without a properly buttered bun! make sure you butter your rolls and toast them up. i can’t repeat this enough. not to mention, add a dash of salt and pepper to the base of the roll. you can toast your rolls on the grill, in the toaster, or as i did, on the broil setting in the oven. just be sure to keep an eye on them if they’re oven bound.

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as you can see, i don’t go light on the mayo. you can adjust the measurements for your liking but the mayonnaise does lend to a rich and creamy roll. for this reason, make sure your avocados aren’t *too* mushy when you’re picking them.

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what is necessary for your shrimp, crab, or lobster roll platter? potato chips!! a quick grocery store run led to these kettle cooked chips with black pepper and salt by cape cod. they were definitely a good decision.

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so if you’re trying to savor the summer — literally — these rolls are for you. buttery, creamy, filled with fresh veggies and shrimp, they’re the perfect august meal for you, you and your honey, or you and a whole batch of friends.

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and in other stuff!

stewy, my friend from college, made this incredible painting for my brother. check out his work on his instagram and site!! #wildcats

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hip hip hooray! my friend abby from high school made my bagel recipe!! feeling v proud and happy right now. #eagles

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i have two weeks left in dc!! any restaurant recommendations for me? comment below!


shrimp avocado rolls

serves 4

fixings

18 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

potato rolls (i used martin’s long rolls)

2 medium avocados, cut into cubes

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon old bay seasoning

1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning

1/4 teaspoon paprika

4 sprigs dill, chopped

bunch of scallions, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

butter for buns

instructions

  1. take your peeled and deveined shrimp and cook them if they’re not already cooked. you can do so by boiling them in a pot of salted water for 2-5 minutes. drain and rinse with cool water. once cool, cut the shrimp into bite size pieces.
  2. put the mayonnaise, lemon juice, paprika, old bay, and lemon-pepper seasonings in a medium sized bowl. whisk to incorporate.
  3. fold in the avocados, scallions, dill and lastly, the chopped shrimp. add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. heat potato rolls as described above. once heated, lightly butter your rolls and add salt and pepper.
  5. load on your avocado and shrimp filling. eat!

 

photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

 

post40 // homemade french fries

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hi folks, happy august!! i hope you’re currently reading this on a beach with your out of office up. buuuut in case you aren’t, close your eyes and pretend that’s where you are: on a beach, in a sun chair, with an order of my homemade french fries in front of you. can’t you smell them already?

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yesterday i was craving something greasy, something fatty, something homemade. i was fresh off a trip to new york city for my soon-to-be cousin victoria’s bridal shower! oh, we had so much fun. we had so much fun that i was in need of hungover food, one whole day later. karaoke and a night out dancing will do that to you. oops!

french fries fit the bill. hand-cut, fried, and salted, these fries proved their worth when my family and i couldn’t stop eating them. i built the recipe from smitten kitchen’s, easiest french fries, adding some maryland twang (old bay seasoning) and subbing out the peanut oil for canola oil to make the french fries a *bit* lighter.

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this recipe is truly simple. four ingredients, one vegetable peeler, and one large pot later, you’ve got homemade french fries on your hands. this video helped me a ton in learning how to cut the yukon goldies just right for french fries. the overall gist is to slice the the potato into “planks” and then cut those slices into 1/4 inch batons. once you get the hang of it, the slicing goes by fast.

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next comes the frying! the best part about this recipe? you don’t need a fryer to make french fries! you heard it hear first. instead, a dutch oven or deep frying pan will work just as well. and you don’t have the mess, or smell, of the fryer. i like to call that a win, win — for you, and your kitchen.

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the verdict: homemade french fries are an easy and cheap recipe to make on a lazy day off. they require minimal groceries, you can peel the potatoes while watching tv, and you’ll feel nothing but full and content after eating them.

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and why not cover them in ketchup and make a mess on your new white shirt? i did!!

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here are a couple more tidbits from my week in the rearview!

remember how amazing selena was? i watched her movie twice in the past four days 🙃

one of the best sandwiches i’ve ever had

my go to karaoke song (i even got to sing it with my mom this past weekend!)

have a great day everyone!

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homemade french fries

serves a crowd (about 10)

slightly adapted from smitten kitchen’s, easiest french fries

fixings

3 pounds yukon gold potatoes

1 liter canola oil

2 teaspoons old bay seasoning

table salt to add

+ so much ketchup

tools

dutch oven or deep frying pan

veggie peeler

slotted spoon (helpful but not necessary!)

instructions

  1. wash your potatoes! once they’re nice and clean, peel them completely. you can start slicing them as explained by me and the video above once they’re all peeled.
  2. dump all your potato batons and the liter of oil into your cooking pan. turn the heat to high and let the potatoes sit in their for 20+ minutes. while the potatoes are cooking, place a couple paper towel squares on your largest sheet pan.
  3. start checking the fries’ brownness at 20 minutes and assess how crispy you want them from there. once ready, pull your fries out of the cooking pan with a slotted spoon.
  4. sprinkle with the old bay and table spot and toss to coat 5 minutes after the fries have rested on the sheet pan.
  5. eat!!! (with ketchup of course)

post38 // french crêpes

good morning to you! or afternoon, or evening — just the time of the day you happen to be reading this. you’re in luck because whatever time it is, it’s time for a crêpe.

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crêpes have never been a routine meal of mine. i’m usually eating their cousins (a.k.a. pancakes and dutch babies), which i have more confidence in cooking. my memories of crêpes are special though, associated with château montebello, a hotel in quebec that my family used to drive 12 hours to each new years eve. the endless hot chocolates and crêpes at the hotel made up for the “when are we there yet” and often nauseating car rides for my brothers and i. year after year, crêpes with maple syrup were reason enough to go back.

since those days at montebello, i haven’t spent much time eating crêpes. until now! just two months ago i was invited over to my friend stella’s apartment, which she shares with her sister sarah. sarah is a francophile and has lived in france on-and-off over the years. she has a wonderful host mother from paris, who was visiting new york at the time. given my impending move to france for the year, the sisters thought that i should meet sarah’s host mum and experience a true french crêpe.

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aside from learning so much about paris, i learned how to make (and eat) many french crêpes that night. fast forward two months and sarah is now living with my family for the summer in washington, d.c. (her own american homestay of sorts!). within her first week here, crêpe ingredients were added to our grocery list.

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crêpes are an anytime meal. while we made these ham, egg, and cheese crêpes for dinner, they could just as well be your breakfast or lunch. the batter itself is simple, as sarah says, “think 4-4-2: four eggs, four cups of milk, and 2 cups of flour.” a bit of salt and vegetable oil added complete the batter and next is just the fillings. both sarah and sofie, her parisian host mum, cooked off the entire crêpe batter, kept the cakes warm, and then prepared the fillings right before serving. this is the best way to ensure your crêpe comes out hot. the batter will be much thinner than a normal pancake batter, so don’t be afraid if it looks runny! sarah describes that the consistency is best when it coats a wooden spoon upon lifting, but still drips back into the batter bowl.

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once you’ve cooked off all your crêpe batter and have a stack of eager cakes waiting to be filled, it’s time to load on the toppings. a couple good tips for fillings are to keep them thinly sliced so that they don’t overwhelm the crêpe, another being to spread your crêpe with sour cream (for flavor!) before adding the fillings. if working with uncooked eggs, cover your pan so that the egg can cook off while the rest of the toppings are melting together.

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folding the crêpe together at the end is a simple envelope fold. visually divide the crêpe into three, fold the bottom third up and fix it together by folding the top third down. you can use a little sour cream to seal. by this time, your egg yolk will have burst and it is seriously time to sit down and eat your crêpe.

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very soon, i’m sure you’ll be reading about all the different types of crêpes i’ll be trying in france. until then, i’ll be working on my own crêpe-making skills.

au revoir!

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p.s. this week’s other stuff!!!

i’ll admit to singing this with the windows down very loudly this past weekend. one of my favorites

obsessed with this account and their shop in greenpoint, bk

the drink of my summer (recipe comin’ soon to foodstuffs!)


french crêpes

makes 12 crêpes

fixings

4 eggs

4 cups milk

2 cups flour (all-purpose is fine)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (+ more for coating the pan)

1 teaspoon salt

sour cream

toppings: parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, nutella, powdered sugar, maple syrup, etc.

special tools

a medium-sized fry pan

instructions

  1. mix the milk, flour, eggs, and salt together to form your batter. heat the fry pan over medium-high heat. prepare any toppings such as slicing or shaving the cheeses.
  2. pour a large spoonful of batter into the pan and move it around so that the entire pan is coated in a thin layer. let warm until the bottom side turns lightly brown. turn and repeat. take the crêpe off the burner and let it rest on a nearby plate. repeat until you’ve baked off all the crêpe batter.
  3. you can eat your crêpes now as is with sweet toppings but if you are looking for a more savory crêpe, keep your fry pan warm and add a crêpe back to it.
  4. top crêpe with a thin layer of sour cream. add your egg immediately to the center of the crêpe. as the egg begins to cook, add other toppings around it. cover pan until the egg cooks off and other toppings have melted.
  5. fold the crêpe in an envelope manner, as i described above. visually divide the crêpe into three, fold the bottom third up and fix it together by folding the top third down. you can use a little sour cream to seal.
  6. serve immediately and enjoy!