Gluten Free Crêpe Recipe – Confetti Fruit + Mortadella & Cheese

Crêpes for all [wheat & dairy sensitivity]

I have a fondness for breakfast and brunch foods. In fact, I would say brunch is hands-down my favorite repast. On the weekends, the mid-morning meal represents the quality time I get to spend with people I love. Coffee that I can sip in comfort, and a meal that befits my more leisurely weekend tempo.

The hubs loves sweet and savory meals of french toast, pancakes, waffles and crepes. The challenge is that with a gluten sensitivity, we have to be more creative with options that taste almost or as good as the wheat version.

I want to share a simple crepe recipe that you can enjoy with your partner, your rambunctious family, or special date. If they have a gluten or dairy sensitivity, no problem!

Keep reading and you’ll see easy-peasy recipes for mortadella & cheese crepes and confetti fruit crepes. Fun fact, funfetti was trademarked by Pillsbury, so hence the references here to confetti and the use of rainbow sprinkles to achieve the effect.

A little crêpe history mon ami

The delicate, thin pancake is typically made of wheat flour. It’s French in origin and is a Latin derivative of the term crispa, which translates to ‘curled’. The history of crepes date back to the thirteenth century in Brittany, a region west of France. Crepes were made famous in Brittany and eventually became a national dish of France.  These delicate pancakes are most often filled with fruit fillings with sweet syrup, fresh fruit, and even a sweet lemon filling.

Crepes today can be found in much of the Western world. It’s popularity is seen in US, Canada, Belgium, and throughout Europe. Crepes are often eaten for breakfast, dessert, and the savory versions are ideal for lunch, snack or even dinner. Depending on the preparation, you could theoretically enjoy it breakfast, lunch and dinner. Popular savory versions include fillings of ham, cheese, and eggs with various types of veggies, i.e. mushrooms and spinach.

From time to time, you’ll see crêperies that specialize in an assortment of sweet and savory crepes. It’s also a popular item on some restaurant menus, but it’s easy to make at home. You don’t need any special equipment to make crepes in your own kitchen. Just grab that skillet, and let’s get started.

Basic Gluten Free Crepe Recipe

The first thing you want to do is to make the crepes themselves. You’ll need to gather up your ingredients. Dry ingredients of gluten-free flour and a pinch of salt. Wet ingredients of eggs, almond milk and vegan butter (for those with dairy sensitivities).  See the ingredients list below.

For gluten-free flour, I would recommend Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose baking flour, or King Arthur’s all-purpose flour. Both are high quality GF flours. The Bob’s Red Mill flour I use is made from a blend of garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, whole grain white sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and fava bean flour.  If you’re curious, the King Arthur all-purpose flour is a blend made from rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, and whole grain brown rice flour.

Gather ingredients
Ingredients of GF flour, eggs, butter and almond milk

Blend flour and a few pinches of sea salt
Quickly blend the GF flour with a few pinches of sea salt or kosher salt.

Gluten free flour
Blend GF flour and a few pinches of salt

Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl
In a separate bowl, blend all your wet ingredients first. Your eggs, almond milk and melted butter (cooled to room temperature) should be whisked together until its well combined.

Then add your blended flour in with the wet ingredients, whisk until its well combined. Then set your batter aside

Combine the ingredients
Whisk and combine all the ingredients

Heat up 9-inch skillet to make crepes
Use extra virgin olive oil spray oil to lightly grease the Skillet, then heat it up to a medium heat. Once the pan is hot, then ladle in the batter (~5 tablespoons) until the bottom of the pan is completely covered. You’ll want to tilt the pan around so the batter evenly spreads. Give it a minute to a minute-and-a-half and then carefully flip over with a large spatula. The other side will need half the time.

Stack up the cooked crepes on a platter
You’ll be able to make one crepe at a time, and the time goes by pretty fast. Stack up the crepes on a large plate or platter.

Basic Crepe Ingredients (makes ~12 servings)

– 1 3/4 cup of gluten-free flour
– Few pinches of sea salt
– 3 large brown eggs
– 2 tablespoons of vegan (or regular) butter
– 2 cups of Almond milk
– extra virgin olive oil spray

Mortadella & Cheese Crepes

What I do is split the 12 crepes and make half savory crepes, and half sweet crepes. The first batch of 6 crepes, I start with the savory filled crepe of mortadella (Italian bologna) combined with diced tomatoes, mushrooms, and shredded cheese. Mortadella is basically a fancier bologna that has become quite popular. It’s made from finely ground, cured pork and flavored with spices and includes whole peppercorns, myrtle berries and slices of pistachios. It’s certainly not the bologna I grew up with back in the day.

For dairy sensitivity, Daiya mozzarella shreds are fantastic. Otherwise go with a nice blend of mozzarella and cheddar shredded cheese.

Savory ingredients
Savory ingredients

Heat up the skillet and make savory crepes
Make one crepe at a time and fill with a large tablespoon of each type of savory ingredient. Then fold over the crepe to cover the filling, using the large spatula. A minute on each side (carefully flip over the closed crepe).

Serve up the crepes on a platter, and dig in.

Savory crepes served
Savory crepes ready to eat

Savory Filling Ingredients

– 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes
– 3/4 cup of shredded (vegan) cheese
– 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms
– 3-4 slices of Mortadella (Italian bologna) or ham. Diced up.
– 1/4 tsp Herbs de provence

Confetti Fruit Crepes

You can then use the remaining crepes to make sweet fruity versions, which the kids (or the kids at heart) will love.

Prep fresh bananas, strawberries and blueberries for the filling
Slice up the bananas and strawberries. Place them in a bowl along with the fresh blueberries. Sprinkle the fruit with cinnamon.

Heat up the skillet to make the fruit-filled crepes
Heat up the skillet at a medium temperature and place a generous tablespoon of each type of sliced fruit. Add more to your liking, and then fold over the crepe. Heat both sides of the folded crepe for about a minute.

Place the finished crepe on a serving plate and get ready to adorn with the funfetti part.

Melt dark chocolate down in a bowl
In a microwave safe bowl, you can melt down 70-80% dark chocolate (or bittersweet baking chocolate chips). Microwave on high for 1 minute when you’re actually ready to use the chocolate. Stir the chocolate with a spoon before you drizzle over each of the folded crepes. You can do zig-zags of melted chocolate over the folded crepe.

Top off the fruit-filled crepes with rainbow sprinkles
On each crepe, drizzle the melted dark chocolate using a table spoon. Then optionally add non-dairy (or regular) whip cream. You can add sprinkles at the top and then serve it up on a dish.

Confetti Fruit Filling Ingredients

– 1-2 large bananas (sliced)
– 1/2 cup of strawberries (stems removed, sliced)
– 1/2 cup of blueberries
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/4 cup of dark chocolate (70% cacao+) melted down
– Rainbow sprinkles (confetti effect)
– Non-dairy whip cream (optional)

Funfetti Crepe
Crêpes with a funfetti soul

Enjoy a fun new breakfast tradition. For a healthier sweet crepe version, you can tweak and adjust the toppings.  Enjoy and bon appétit!

English Comfort: Boiled Eggs & Soldiers

Healthy-ish Breakfast Comfort Food

Earlier in the week, my hubs and I lamented over England’s loss to Croatia in the World Cup semi-final. Instead of drowning our sorrows in the decidedly unhealthy chip butty (sandwich stuffed with fries), we opted for a healthy-ish British comfort food — boiled eggs and soldiers.

The important part is getting the boiled eggs just right so that you end up with gooey, runny yolk perfect for dipping soldiers (sliced toasts). As I typically boil 6 eggs (2 per person), the boiling time of large brown eggs clocks in at 6 minutes. If the eggs are left too long in the boiling water, they go hard. It’s best to be precise in timing your boiled eggs to get dippy yolk.

In scouring recipes online, I’ve seen a range of 5-7 minutes for boiling time depending on the number and size of eggs. Trial and error may be a factor in getting the eggs the way you want them.

Alternative to boiling eggs in a saucepan

One of the genius inventions that has helped us perfect the boiled egg is an Amazon best seller called the Dash Rapid Egg Cooker, which is currently available for $19.99 ($29.99 list price).

Behold the 6-egg capacity egg cooker

I had gifted it to my hubs as a Christmas gift (more for a laugh), but it’s gotten plenty of use. Boiled eggs and soldiers has become a staple weekend dish. And, it takes 10 minutes to make from prep to finish.

Really Short History 

Always curious about the origins of food, I inquired about the history of boiled eggs and soldiers, only to find that it has a short story. The mentions of “eggs with soldiers” only dates back to the flower power loving ’60s.

The dish may have become dishy during a series of 1965 TV commercials promoting eggs, starring British comedian Tony Hancock. Nicolas Freeling’s novel The Dresden Green published in 1966 mentioned “toast soldiers” used for dipping in soup.

While the history of boiled eggs and soldiers is short and somewhat ambiguous, the dish is fit for a Queen.

Eggs are Nutrient Rich

Eggs are a great source of protein, as well as selenium, vitamin D,B6,  B12, and minerals zinc, iron and copper. Eggs are also known for containing key nutrients such as betaine and choline, which is important for nursing and pregnant women, and essential for brain health. Since you’re boiling (and not frying up eggs in unnecessary oil or butter), you’ve got a heart healthy version of eggs.

Boiled Eggs with Soldiers
Here shown with dry toast (sans butter)

Brekkie fit for a royal

Ready to eat like a healthy-ish royal? You’ll need 6 large brown eggs (all about equal in size). It’s best to use eggs at room temperature. So, if you’ve taken the eggs out of the fridge, let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes.

If you use an appliance like the Dash Rapid Egg Cooker, just follow the instructions and it will give you perfect dippy eggs.

Boil water in a saucepan  (old school way)
If you don’t have a nifty egg cooker, then simply fill a saucepan with water (enough to completely submerge the eggs) and first bring the water to a boil.

Gently place eggs in boiling water
Then, carefully place the 6 refrigerated eggs into the boiling water using a ladle. Time it for approximately 6 minutes.

Toast and slice the bread
While the eggs are boiling, lightly butter the 6 slices of bread with some nice Kerrygold Irish butter. Then pop the slices of bread into the toaster (higher setting for crunchy soldiers). Each person gets two eggs and two toasts (sliced).

Once the toast is done, place on a cutting board and cut into even slices. Plate them up, along with the empty egg cups and teaspoon (or egg spoon). Crack some fresh black pepper over the toast soldiers.

Time’s up! Remove eggs
Don’t let the eggs linger in hot water. Once the timer goes off, immediately lift the eggs and place them each in an egg cup.

Crack and remove the egg shell pieces
Tap your egg spoon (or teaspoon) on the top of the egg and remove the shell pieces. Then spoon off the top of the egg and take that first bite.

Ingredients

Egg cups (to hold the eggs).
6 large brown eggs (equal in size)
6 slices of bread (gluten-free optional, Udi’s Delicious bread)
Irish butter (Kerrygold spreadable kind)
Cracked pepper
Salt to taste (optional)

Enjoying boiled eggs and soldiers with his eyes closed

With the runny egg yolk exposed, start dipping away with your toast soldier. Enjoy feeling regal and eating a healthy-ish breakfast of protein-rich eggs accompanied by gluten-free soldiers.

 

Probiotics & Keto Korean food

Korean side dishes are health trendy

As an immigrant child growing up in the Chicago area, my mom (a phenomenal cook) made sure we appreciated the wide spectrum of Korean cuisine. Most nights of the week we would have a spread of banchan, a menagerie of colorful side dishes comprised of various kinds of kimchi (fermented cabbage, cubed daikon, and cucumbers), kongnamul-muchim (seasoned, blanched soy bean sprouts), musaengchae (julienned daikon salad), gosari namul (seasoned, sautéed fiddlehead ferns), and sigeumchi namul (blanched, seasoned spinach). And those were only the side dishes.

Throughout a given week, we ate a balanced array of beef, pork, chicken, or seafood dishes. Of course, we didn’t eat all those tasty dishes at once. We sometimes enjoyed a bubbling pot of jigae (spicy delicious stew). My absolute favorite was the kimchi soondubu jigae – a mixed seafood and meat stew with kimchi, soft tofu, and veggies in a bubbling cauldron of deliciousness. During the hot summer months, my dad would fire up the grill and we would enjoy a feast of Korean barbecue, popularized by the kalbi (marinated short ribs) and bulgogi (thinly sliced marinated beef) always accompanied by banchan.

Back when kimchi was relatively unknown

Back in the ’80s, Korean food wasn’t something I could just tote in my lunch sack. For school lunches, I carried my brown bag of turkey, PB&J, ham, or egg salad sandwich. You couldn’t find Korean food in your typical American supermarket, and you had to shop at an Asian market for specialty items.

These were the days of Stranger Things fame where I revel in flash backs of Eleven’s Eggo waffles, toaster strudels that came with packets of DIY frosting, Chef Boyardee Beefaroni and Spaghettios, Little Debbie’s snacks, Gorton’s fish sticks, blocks of Velveeta cheese, and of course, Hot Pockets. The heyday of packaged meals and Happy Meal boxes.

I see kimchi everywhere

Now when I step into a major supermarket, I smile to myself when I see the many varieties of kimchi that are marketed as probiotic, gut-friendly, diet-conscious health food products. It’s the stuff I grew up with as part of my regular eating existence. Can I bastardize a line from The Six Sense? I see kimchi everywhere. That and Korean-dressed mashups.

Just the other day I walked through the aisles at Whole Food and was confronted with Gochujang Ketchup. Basically, ketchup infused with Korean-fermented chili paste.  The mashup is intriguing to stay the least. Whole Foods now also carries its own brand of 365 Kettle Cooked Gochujang Chips. I have yet to try these. Save for a future post.

Kimchi makes the top 10 list except…

Aside from the now trendiness of Korean cuisine, kimchi has been sweeping the top 10 lists of gut-friendly foods. Men’s Journal proclaimed it as one of the top 8 probiotic foods you should be eating. Similarly, Dr. Axe ranked kimchi on his top 13 list of great probiotic foods. Healthline listed it as one the top 8 fermented foods that boost digestion and health, and Dr. Oz highlighted kimchi as one of the top 5 foods that TV chefs always have in their refrigerators. In a recent Time.com article published in April 2018, kimchi was lauded as a probiotic rich dish that may help reduce cancer risk. And, kimchi consistently makes the keto friendly list of foods, so check that off your ketogenic food diary.

Then you see conflicting advice from Dr. Michael Greger, author of How Not to Die, who cites epidemiological evidence that indicates that elevated consumption of kimchi (fermented vegetables) could possibly increase the risk of cancer. In a published 2011 study in the Journal of Gastric Cancer, the research revealed the average consumption of kimchi in Korea represents 20% of daily sodium intake. The case-control studies link high intake of kimchi with an increased risk for gastric cancer. A leading culprit may be the high daily intake of sodium, in which salt can damage the stomach lining thereby promoting the carcinogenic effects. Food for thought. Balance and moderation continue to be the keys to a healthy diet.

Chock full of vitamins and lactobacilli

Nutritionists generally regard kimchi as a good source of vitamins A, B, C and of course the probiotic gut-supporting bacteria called lactobacilli, which one finds in fermented foods.  This aids in moving things along and in healthy digestion. Koreans are said to eat on average 40 pounds per person annually.

Kimchi has been around for +2,000 years

Whatever your impressions of kimchi are, it is a longtime staple dish in the Korean diet and a source of nationalistic pride. It dates back at least as early as 37 BC-7 AD. The process of salting and fermenting vegetables was one of necessity to preserve food throughout the year. I recall my grandmothers took pride in making their own variations of kimchi, which would ferment in large airtight glass jars.

Kimchi for every palate

With all the store options, you can have the pick of the litter. My favorites always involve the delectable, crunchy daikon and refreshing cucumber. The nappa cabbage version is the most popular kind of kimchi. If you cannot stomach spice, you can try the milder white nappa cabbage version. Of the store-bought varietals, I like Sinto Gourmet brand for its clean flavors and pretty, resealable packaging that keep the aromas airtight inside.

Kimchi Soondubu Jigae recipe for home

As there are a plethora of kimchi options at your local supermarket or Asian market (i.e. Ranch 99), you can arrange your own colorful tableau of banchan. To create a savory soondubu jigae, I’ll give you my version of a favorite comfort food. As with all cookery, you can experiment to make it your own.

Soup Starter Hack

If you happen to shop at Ranch 99 or equivalent Asian market, a great hack is to buy a carton of House Foods BCD Soon Tofu Soup Starter. It’s an easy hack and all you need to throw in is veggies and whatever meat or seafood you so desire.

The Non-Hack Recipe 

Now if you don’t have a soup starter, don’t fret. I’ve got you covered. You’ll need some store-bought kimchi, soft silken tofu, veggies, seafood (optional), and a bit of imagination. The following is enough for 1-3 servings depending on your appetite, and if you plan to share.

Ingredients (seafood version)

Kimchi (one cup)
Soft silken tofu (12 to 16 ounce carton)
Can of clams (littleneck clams)
Can of tuna (responsibly caught, tuna in water vs. oil)
2 cups of beef or vegetable stock
1 large zucchini
2 green scallions, or chives
Couple tsps of Gochujang (Korean chili paste)
1 tsp of minced garlic (or smash a glove)
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 tsp of soy sauce (or tamari sauce for GF sensitivities)
1 Tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
2 eggs

Instructions

Prep
Open the carton of silken tofu, and carefully cut into large blocks or chunks to make it easier for placing in a large saucepan. Chop up the zucchini and scallions, and place on the side. If you prefer your kimchi to be in smaller pieces, then you can chop that as well.

Heat up a large sauce pan
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, pour in your olive oil, gochujang, and sesame oil. Toss in your minced garlic and zucchini. Give that a good stir for a minute. Then add the kimchi and stir it around for a minute or two.

Add the broth (boil then simmer)
After a couple minutes, add the broth and soy sauce. Bring your stew to a boil. Then lower the heat to a simmer. Add salt to taste.

Add the canned clams and tuna
Make sure to drain the canned clams and tuna before you drop them into the simmering sauce pan.

Incorporate the chunks of silken soft tofu
Remember that the silken tofu is delicate and breaks apart easily. Using a large spatula or large ladle, add the pieces of silken tofu into the simmering pot. Give it 3-5 minutes, and keep the pot covered.

Lastly the eggs
While the jigae is simmering (and still bubbling), drop in one egg at a time. You want the lovely stew to cook up the yellow yolks nicely. Keep the simmering pot covered for a couple minutes. Once the eggs are nicely incorporated, you’re ready to serve up your soondubu jigae creation.

Garnish with scallions or chives
Garnish your finished soondubu jigae with scallions (or chives) and ladle them into bowls.

Steamed white rice (or brown rice).
Invest in a good rice cooker to get the perfect consistency of rice. An Asian rice cooker generally makes a perfect pot of moist rice, more so than an Instant Pot. I like medium grain white rice like Kokuho Rose white rice. If Kokuho Rose is unavailable, I’d recommend Nishiki’s premium white or brown rice version. When using a rice cooker, I rinse and use 2 cups of medium grain white rice with nearly 3 cups of water in total. As a rule of thumb, for every 1 cup of medium grain white rice, use 1.5 cups of water. For brown rice, you’ll need to double the water otherwise the rice is super hard. So for every 1 cup of brown rice, use 2 cups of water.

Depending on the make/model and setting of the rice cooker, your rice can take anywhere from 30-50 minutes to cook rice. The great thing about leftover rice is that you can leave it in the rice cooker as it has a “warm” setting.

I now leave you with this boomerang video of bubbling kimchi soondubu jigae. I recently enjoyed this stew full of belly-pleasing probiotics. Enjoy some adventurous eats!

 

 

Keto Friendly Smoked Salmon Scramble

by Vivian Lee

Going soft on salmon

Before the terms keto or ketogenic entered our dietary conscience, smoked salmon played a supporting role in diets around the world. Over the centuries, smoking was a common way to preserve and cure meat of any kind to prevent spoilage. The smoking process generally involves curing and partially drying out the meat. GoT fans could imagine the House of Stark highly regarding the smoked cured meats alongside their motto “Winter is coming.” With the scarcity of fresh food during the harsh winter months, smoking and curing meat was a necessity for survival.

Native Americans were said to have relied on smoked salmon in their diet with salmon being quite abundant along the coastal waters of America. In Greek and Roman history, smoked fish was often a dish eaten at celebratory gatherings. Throughout the Middle Ages, people incorporated smoked salmon as part of their regular diet.

Smoked salmon makes it special

In today’s world, smoked salmon is often regarded as a delicacy with choices ranging from the Pacific Northwest variety and the North Atlantic Scottish style to the Norwegian and burgeoning Chilean scene. It’s not something you eat every day, but incorporating smoked salmon in a canapé for a special occasion or a savory breakfast dish can make any eating occasion a memorable one.

Cold smoke out

According to a historical account on gourmetfoodstore.com, salmon is typically smoked when it is under 3 years of age to maximize the flavor and freshness. Smoking involves curing (salting) the fish. The majority of the commercial smoked salmon you buy at the store involves a wet cure, which involves dunking the fish in a salty solution (aka brine). The brine itself becomes a savory liquid concoction of salt, pepper, and spices. Following the brining process, the salmon is taken out to the smokehouse. The more popular “cold smoking” gives the salmon a more subtle flavoring vs. “hot smoking” which gives the fish a more intense smoky flavor and more desiccated texture.

Soft Scramble with Smoked Salmon

On a recent trip to Geneva, Illinois, a famed Midwestern town known for its annual Swedish Days, we popped into a local hipster joint called Craft Urban, and I settled in for a nice weekend brunch of soft scrambled eggs layered with smoked salmon, heirloom tomatoes and spinach, garnished with slivers of pickled onions and snuggling with brightly beaded roe.  This beauty sat comfortably on two pieces of toasted bread. The eggs were “soft scrambled” so each bite of egg seemingly melted in my mouth with a flavorful piece of smoked salmon, roe, and tomatoes.

The meal was an even more memorable experience catching up with old friends and bouncing my niece on my lap.

DIY Breakfast at Home

When we got back home, I regaled over the yummy meal we had back in Geneva, and my hubs thought it best to whip up a lovely Sunday brunch at home, his way.  With his British roots intact, he opted for the Scottish Style smoked salmon (wild caught). From my understanding, the Scottish style smoked salmon has a smokier flavor than your typical Pacific Northwest varietal.  The Scots like to smoke their fish using oak. He picked up a small packet of smoked Scottish Style salmon at the local market, pre-sliced and perfectly portioned.

Gist of the recipe at home

He then whisked several eggs together with a little almond milk (due to our collective dairy sensitivities) and poured the egg mixture into a medium-hot pan. He scrambled the eggs and quickly turned off the heat while the eggs were still soft.

The key to a soft scramble is to keep the eggs constantly moving on the pan (lean into that wooden spoon or spatula). As soon as the liquidy mixture turns solid, remove the the eggs immediately from the hot pan. Leaving eggs in a pan will leave you with a hard scramble.

He then laid out the soft scrambled eggs next to the sliced smoked salmon, and sprinkled some thyme, dill, and cracked pepper. To give the smoked salmon and soft egg scramble a bit of tang, he added a dollop of lemon-infused hummus and whipped together a basic homemade salsa (pulsing a handful of roma tomatoes in a blender, combined with fresh garlic, a little lemon juice, olive oil, coconut sugar, and a tiny pinch of salt.  You can find a ready assortment of hummus from TJ’s, Whole Foods, or your local market.

He toasted slices of Udi’s Delicious Soft White bread (gluten free), buttered with soft Irish butter (keeping with the UK theme). Keeping it simple, we sat down to a delicious meal. The following are the ingredients, serves 4.

Ingredients

Smoked Salmon (4oz): 1 to 2 packets

Scramble
Eggs (8 large brown eggs)
Almond milk (1/4-1/3 cup). Less liquid for thickier consistency
Pinch of sea salt
Black pepper
Pinches of thyme and dill
Butter (couple tablespoons to grease the pan)

Basic Mild Salsa
4-5 Roma tomatoes (quartered)
Garlic (couple cloves, or equivalent minced)
Half a lemon (squeezed)
1 Tsp coconut sugar
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Pinch of sea salt

For those of you on a keto diet, skip the toast.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Make your upcoming weekend brunch a special occasion. Bon appétit!