13 April 2008
Blog Party, French Street Food Style
This month, Stephanie picked diner food, street food, and the like as a Blog Party theme. I must admit, I've always wanted to live in a city where I could get really good street food - Middle Eastern, Jewish, North African, etc - but when I'm in France, I certainly don't care, because French street food is the best thing you could ask for. When I lived in Montpellier, I would literally to two patisseries every morning on the way to school for TWO pastry breakfasts, then have another pastry or perhaps a sandwich at our ten am break, then a crepe on the way to lunch... no wonder I gained weight. My favourite crepe is the Grand Marnier and sugar variety, and I make it whenever I get a chance in my cast-iron skillet at home, always with my trusty Joy of Cooking recipe. I have plenty of authentic French ones, but I just can't break away from good old Erma. So basically, you want to sift together 3/4 cup flour, 1 t baking powder, 1/2 t salt, and 2 T powdered sugar, then make a well, beat together two eggs with 2/3 cup milk, 1/3 cup water, and 1/2 t vanilla, and add to the well. Combine with a "few swift strokes," though I always use more than a few. Lumps are all right but not huge hunks of flour. Cover and let sit an hour at room temperature or several in the fridge, then give it a good stir. Add milk if it's thickened too much but I don't usually have to. Wipe a cast iron skillet with vegetable oil and put over medium heat. Do the water test, and when the water drops jump but don't immediately evaporate, it's ready. Use a measuring cup to pour the batter in a swirl from the centre of the pan outward, simultaneously holding the pan above the burner and swirling the pan itself to let the batter spread outward. It should be extremely thin. It takes a while to get the hang of this, so don't fret. When the top looks dry, loosen with a spatula around the edges and use your fingers to lift and check. When light brown over most of the bottom, flip, using your fingers to help, and cook only about thirty seconds on this side. Put on a plate, sprinkle with sugar, splash with Grand Marnier, fold into quarters, and consume immediately. Add a wee bit of oil to the pan after every two crepes, and lower the heat after three or four, because cast iron gets quite hot. As for the beverage, I hope Stephanie won't kill me for not divulging the recipe - yet. I've entered it into a contest, but in about a month when they announce the winners I'll be sure to post it. Suffice to to say, it's a fabulous dark drinking chocolate, and yes, a little of that Grand Marnier made it in as well.