Crepes! I love crepes because they are a blank canvas, and are extremely versatile. They can be sweet or savory, can be breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, they are ideal for making in advance, and they're pretty.
They're really not hard to make. Don't be scared.
I'm going to give you the basic crepe recipe, and then I have two suggestions for fillings, one savory, one sweet.
BASIC CREPE RECIPE:
makes ~24 7-inch crepes
time: about 15 minutes prep, 30 minutes rest, 30 minutes cooking
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Put everything (except the butter) into a blender and blend it all up. At the end of the blending, pour the melted butter in and blend for a few more seconds. Pour it into a measuring cup, cover. Let the blended batter sit and rest for about a half hour to develop the gluten. (Can also be longer, overnight, even.) The consistency will be thin, not at all like pancake batter. It will be a lot like wall paint or eggnog.
When you're ready to cook the crepes, get your pan hot and spray with a little cooking spray (or use butter.) If you have a crepe pan, use it, I do not have one so I use a small round sautee pan. It's a 7-inch pan. Once the pan is hot, turn the heat down to medium.
Pour about 2 tablespoons of the batter into the center of your pan and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan. It takes very little and will be very thin. It might even have holes - that's okay if they're small. Be prepared for your first crepe to be a throwaway; mine usually wind up a weird shape. Let cook until the top is dry, and the edges begin to brown - less than a minute. Flip, cook for about 20 - 30 seconds on the other side (side 2 takes less time than side 1) and remove to a plate to keep warm. Proceed with the rest of the crepes, until the batter is gone. Each crepe only takes about a minute to cook.
The crepes will be paper thin and slightly stretchy-springey. This will make anywhere from 20 - 24 crepes, depending on the size of your pan and how much batter you use for each one.
You can make the crepes ahead of time. If you do, put a piece of wax paper between each one, wrap and keep in the fridge.
SAVORY RECIPE: Creamy spinach-mushroom crepes with cheddar cheese
Time: about 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/2 pound fresh baby spinach
1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
8 oz grated cheddar cheese
Heat olive oil in sautee pan. Add onions and sautee until soft, about 8-10 minutes. You don't really want them to brown, just turn soft and translucent.
Add mushrooms and sautee until slightly browned.
Add spinach. It will look like a lot. It will fill the pan, and then some. Just pack it in, cover with a lid, and wait three minutes. Remove lid and stir. The spinach will begin to wilt. Cover for another 2 minutes, then remove cover and stir. Continue to stir until spinach is all wilted down.
Hit it with some freshly ground black pepper and remove pan from heat.
Combine milk, broth, and white wine into a measuring cup and have it next to the stove. You'll want it at the ready for making the roux.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan. When melted, add two tablespoons of flour and whisk until it comes together into a paste. Sautee the paste for about a minute. Slowly add half of the milk/broth/wine mixture and whisk until smooth. It will be a little lumpy, but keep whisking. It will thicken up - when it does, add more of the liquid. Keep adding liquid until the sauce is thick and smooth - about the consistency of cream soup.
Add white pepper and ground mustard, and stir. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes, it will thicken slightly. Remove from heat.
Ladle about a cup of cream sauce into the spinach/mushroom mixture and stir.
Take each crepe and fill with a scoop of the spinach/mushroom mixture. Sprinkle in some cheddar cheese, and roll the crepe. Repeat for all 12 crepes.
Put a scoop of the cream sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, and line the crepes up on top of the sauce. Ladle a bit more sauce over the top and sprinkle generously with cheddar cheese. Alternately, if you have individual remekins, you can put 2-3 crepes in each ramekin, top with sauce, sprinkle with cheese.
(At this point you can cover the whole dish and refrigerate overnight if desired, and just bake it in the morning.)
Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. (If you refrigerate them, increase baking time to 25 - 30 minutes.)