The very first time I went to Paris I was only 14, and it was a very stressed time for our family. We were fleeing our country, our whole family wasn’t together and our future was unknown. As a teenager I wasn’t aware of most of the pressure and anxiety but seeing my mom so distressed was quite upsetting. However, the baguettes, the French boys, the croissants, the French boys, the crepe stands and the French boys were quite memorable.
The second time I went to Paris, it was a much better experience. I had learned a bit of French, and did all the touristy stuff along with some of the none touristy stuff and fell in love with Paris all over again. It is no wonder that the best chefs do their training in France, because the French experience food as oppose to eat it for nourishment. Having my eyes opened to animal cruelty I would never condone one’s selfish satisfaction for taste to the torture and the killing of any animals, but it isn’t wrong to say that I did enjoy and miss the tastes of French food I experienced in Paris. However, one of the joys of being vegan is experimenting and being innovative in the kitchen without the guilt. So if you can replicate those wonderful tastes exactly, and I mean exactly, then why would you want the guilt of killing and torturing animals hang over your head?
The crepes I made today is from Isa Chandra’s Veganomicon or Vegan Brunch. Since this is Isa’s work and livelihood I don’t feel comfortable writting out the ingredients. I know it’s sort of cheating…inviting you here with mouth watering pictures and not telling you how to make them. But you should go and buy those books as they are excellent cookbooks and besides Veganomicon is the vegan Bible 😉 If you must have crepes now and can’t wait till your book(s) arrive from amazon, then there is a vegan crepes recipe floating around online, which I haven’t tried and can’t give my stamp of approval or disapproval, but it has gotten many stars on allrecipes.com. One thing I can say is that I have had vegan crepes at a few vegan restaurants, and none of them have had the consistency or the taste of the real thing like Isa’s!
Crepes are tricky to make! I’ve made them a total of 4 times, and since I was a bit rusty on the last 3 occasions, I still screwed up the first crepe every time. So don’t beat yourself up if you screw up a few crepes, you learn from your mistakes. One of the tricks to making the perfect crepe is a really good non-stick pan. Some say you need a crepe-pan, but unless you’re opening up a brunch restaurant why have an extra pan lying around which you might use once a year? The other trick is to be patient…very patient. Since I’m not, I actually put the timer on and clean up, but I’m not suggesting you do that until you’re a bit more experienced as you might burn them! Have everything ready! Your batter, ladle, EarthBalance, the thinnest spatula you have and then heat your pan on medium to high heat until a drop of water into your pan sizzles. Pour a ladle of batter in a swirling way onto your pan to cover the bottom. You can also swirl the pan to even out the batter. Now comes the patience. If you try to flip it too soon, which is what I seem to do always (you’d think I’d learn) the uncooked crepe will be too sticky and will not want to flip, sticking to the pan, sticking to itself becoming mushy and resembling scrambled eggs! If you do this, just give up on it. It is beyond saving and move on. I know, sad 😦 A good crepe will not be quite sticky on the top, the edges will be browned, and steam will be trying to escape from underneath it producing little bumps or hills on your crepe. If you have a good non-stick pan, it will be easy to flip with your spatula, well relatively speaking it will be easy. Just think, a somewhat burnt crepe is still edible, but a gummy, sticky crepe that ended up in the trash is not, so patience!
Once your crepes are done, you can enjoy them with fillings as simple as Vegan butter sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, or with fresh strawberries, bananas, or even a simple berry sauce from frozen berries, such as the one I made for the cashew cheesecake. Or the classic vegan nuttela, Hazelnut Chocoreale, picture bellow, if you can get your hands on it. Since I hadn’t had crepes in a long time, I didn’t know which filling to have first, so I went for four! Pig! Vegan nutella, vegan butter and cinnamon sugar, strawberries and bananas, and vegan nutella with strawberry sauce. I admit, I didn’t get very far…I ate it periodically through the day and then had a bit of tummy ache by lunch! The lesson here is to make crepes more often, so I don’t go crazy over them when I do!
Hope you do get Isa’s book or maybe you even have them and try out the crepes for Brunch, or even for dinner filled with something savoury like a mushroom ragoux! It starts the weekend with a…je ne sais quoi feeling! Bon appetite. And that’s enough French from me!