Archive for February, 2009

Crepe station @ #PinkSlipParty

Crepe station @ #PinkSlipParty

I’ve now cooked crepes for a crowd twice in the past two months, both times on the occasion of a Pink Slip Party organized by Laura Fitton (@pistachio) and hosted by the Betahouse.

Given the fact that I’m not in a position to hire any of the newly unemployed party-goers, cooking a delicious dessert for those involved seemed like a good bet for a contribution.

I’m happy to say that my crepes were well-received. So much so, in fact, that when the second party came around, there was some genuine third-party interest in me making them again. Jeff Cutler even recorded a short podcast, crepe tips from Alex and Gradon. My voice is hoarse (I’ve been under the weather) but it’s a good summary of the event and provides some interactive commentary and context for crepe making. Thanks to Jeff for being such an able and generous mobile reporter.

Crepe Tips from Alex and Gradon [MP3]

Jeff wasn’t the only media present: Our local CBS affiliate, WBZ, sent a reporter and video cameraman to tape a short segment, Newly Unemployed Celebrate With Pink Slip Parties. The Boston Globe also sent a reporter and still photographer. I’m happy to note both members of the media sampled crepes and pronounced them tasty.

As I prepared for the party, packing crepe pans, apron, knives, bowls, zester and spatula into my backpack, I realized I hadn’t posted about my first experience cooking for the crowd at the first Pink Slip Party. That’s a shame — I had a blast and the crepes came out quite well.

The second time around, creating the batter in advance was considerably easier because of the research I’d done in January. Specifically, it led to determining a “magic ratio” of ingredients. I looked through 12 different recipes online and in my collection of French cookbooks, comparing what had worked in the past to the sugggestions therein.

Experience and the sum of these recipes suggest the following:

1 cup of liquid (ideally 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup H20, though all-milk works)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of sifted flour
2 tbsp melted butter

That’s it. Well, not quite — a large pinch of salt and some vanilla flavoring for sweet crepes are worth adding as well.

And there is some craft to making it; I found that mixing with my Cuisinart was much easier for creating two quick batches than handmixing as I often do. It’s key to add the butter after mixing the first three ingredients as well and to try to allow the batter at least an hour or two in the fridge before use to settle to remove bubbles.

I was glad to see happy faces last night and clean plates coming back as party-goers sampled the Nutella-strawberry-lemon juice crepes coming from the stove top. I added some mint to later versions; tasty. The substitution of fresh, handmade whipped cream for the canned variety was a marked improvement too.

Gradon Trip, Crepe Chef Extraordinaire

Gradon Tripp, Crepe Chef Extraordinaire

The evening was all the better for having transferred some cooking knowledge to a new friend, Gradon Tripp. Gradon needed to pick up crepe-making so that he could cook them for his girlfriend’s birthday in a few weeks. I was happy to help him — Meg is good people too and deserves to enjoy the benefit some TLC expressed in food.

Soon after the normal mangling of the flip of the first crepe, Gradon was turning them out like an old hand on the line. Pretty half moons of lightly-browned delicacies dusted with cinnamon sugar and adorned with a spare berry slice or two.

I put the extra batter to good use today after carrying it back home in a Ziploc bag in my backpack. I sauteed onions, broccoli and ham until soft, adding as a filling along with a hefty pinch of shredded cheddar cheese. Delicious.

All that remains is the cleanup, as usual.

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