Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Signs Didn't Point to Galettes

I woke up, went into the bathroom, and the lights didn’t go on.

Bad sign.

Seems the florescent bulbs are shot, or sometimes they just don’t go on, and then later start working again. But really, it’s a sign.

I tried to make coffee. The grinder got halfway through the beans, and started to smoke.

Now, this is more than a sign. A bad day on half rations of coffee. This is a flashing lights, sirens, head for the bomb shelters type of warning. Warning me to go back to bed and forget today. Just erase it. Skip to the next day. Let it slide.

But no. Of course I can’t do that (in retrospect , I can’t see why not).

The day struggled on. Little things. Nothing huge. I don’t know if I was now tuned into watching for little things to go wrong. Like when you read your horoscope, and it starts to come true – sort of. You’re almost searching for the threads to follow that will tie everything together into the events that you know are destine to take place.

Well, it was that kind of day.

Maybe not the best day to try some Galette style crepes. Crepes always take a certain touch to make them come out right. A lot of practice helps, but I have to rely in a bit of luck.

But I’ve been thinking for a few days about some buckwheat I have. And thinking about a restaurant I went to occasionally in Hamburg (Germany). Where someone who was from the north Atlantic shore of France once told me that they make Galettes just like she remembered them from her home. I think it must be in Brittany where she came from, as the restaurant served a lot of Cidre, like they seem to do in that part of France.

Their Galettes were made from this somewhat hard to find buckwheat grain, and folded in a special way to make a square, with the middle open to let the filling peak through. Filled with cheeses or spinach or tomatoes or prosciutto, or dozens of other things. Or maybe just filled with an egg cracked onto of the Galette, and allowed to cook until still soft and runny. A few of these was all I could eat. They were big and filling. And you had to save a little room for a dessert crepe. Of course stuffed with chocolate.

So I wanted to make some with my buckwheat. I’d watched the cooks in the restaurant make the Galette crepes. How they quickly spread the batter on the hot pan, turned it, and folded the corners up just so. And I picked today to try this? Why not just challenge the powers that be to a swordfight, blindfolded, and get it over with?

But, after a few for the dog, I got enough to come out well enough to make a meal for everyone. The biggest problem was that I expected to make about 16 Galettes, but only had batter for about 10. This was certainly my error in either batter thickness or not being quick enough to spread the batter in the hot skillet. Or more likely both.

Anyway, the ones that came out were very good, and hinted at the great ones I had at that restaurant in Hamburg.

I stuffed them with Gorgonzola and tomatoes roasted with garlic and thyme. Whew! They were good.

On the side was a simple watercress, orange and jicama salad with an orange vinaigrette. With a sprinkle of roasted pistachios on top.

Galette Crepes with Gorgonzola and Tomatoes Roasted with Garlic and Thyme

For the Crepes:
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 cups milk
2 large eggs
Clarified butter
16 (6-inch) squares parchment or waxed paper

For the Filling:
½ pound Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
6 Roma tomatoes, sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled
Fresh thyme, chopped

Make the tomatoes: Heat over to 450ºF. Lay tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic. Sprinkle with thyme. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven when well roasted and blackened in places.

Make the Crepes:
Combine the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, eggs and whisk until blended. Add the liquid mixture a little at a time to the dry mixture, whisking to dissolve any lumps. Whisk until smooth.

Lightly brush a 6-inch nonstick skillet with butter and heat over medium heat. When the pan is hot, remove it from the heat and pour in ¼ to ½ cup of the batter. Swirl the pan around to spread the batter evenly over the bottom. Return the pan to the heat and cook until lightly golden, 30 to 40 seconds. Turn the crepe over, sprinkle Gorgonzola in the center, and place 4 or 5 of the roasted tomato slices in the center of the Galette. Fold the sides up towards the center to form a square, leaving the center area exposed. Remove the Galette to a plate and serve immediately. Repeat for remaining batter. Serve. Enjoy!

Watercress Salad with Oranges and Jicama

½ jicama, peeled, and sliced into a fine julienne
2 oranges, peeled and sliced
1 orange, zested and juiced
2 bunches watercress, washed and picked over
sherry vinegar
olive oil
toasted pistachios for garnish

Make a vinaigrette by whisking together the orange juice, 1 tbsp sherry vinegar and the zest, and then drizzling in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange watercress on salad plates. Arrange julienne jicama on top. Place 3 orange slices in center of salad. Drizzle with orange vinaigrette. Serve. Enjoy!

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