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Crepes! (Vietnamese and Otherwise. Also, True Vegan Chocolate Croissants in Paris, Salads, and Sandwiches.)

June 14, 2010

These are the very exciting Indian sweet potato crepes we made a couple of nights ago. But I’ll get to those in a minute.

Between Graham’s very busy week a while back and my more recent sick week, there hasn’t been much culinary excitement to blog about. I could say more about my attempts at trying to find lozenges and a neti pot at the local pharmacie, but that would be embarrassing. (Try telling a Parisian that you want a teapot for your nose.)

Fortunately, I’m now feeling much better, and do have a few things to share. However, I should first apologize–the “pain au chocolate vegetalien” mentioned a few posts ago was not true pain au chocolate. It was, instead, a vegan croissant with vegan chocolate spread. But, as it turns out, the Loving Hut also has real pain of chocolate imported from the La Borie commune:

Real pain au chocolate, I’ve learned, is not just a chocolate croissant but is, rather, croissant dough shaped into a square with very dark chocolate in the center. We picked up a bag of these guys from Loving Hut a few days ago, and have not been disappointed.

These are super light and flaky, with very dark chocolate in the center, and when popped in the oven for a couple minutes are, well, perfect. If you ever want to get your day off to a high-caloric start, these are a good, tasty bet.

On Saturday afternoon, in preparation for our crepe experiment (see below), we stopped in at Naturalia, and while we were there we picked up some wonderful salads. These made for a great lunch (especially when paired with some Vegusto and mushroom pate).

One was a minty quinoa and vegetable salad, and the other was bulgur, tofu, carrot, and basil salad. Just wonderful.

So, crepes. I was terrified to try making these, since you always hear about how temperamental they can be. But, we have a crepe pan in our apartment, and Graham was extremely enthusiastic about the prospect of home-made crepes. We teamed up on this one, and I think the results were fantastic.

As it turns out, crepes are easy… if you have a crepe pan. I can see how they would be a disaster in a pan that wasn’t non-stick, or that was very deep. But if you have a very shallow pan that nothing will stick to, then crepes are a cinch. 

Here’s how we did them. First, we made the batter, which was a variation on Moskowitz’s crepe batter (in Vegan Brunch). Our batter included all-purpose flour (French type 65), chickpea flour, oatmilk, water, salt, sugar, and a little nooch (nutritional yeast). We let the batter set in the refrigerator for an hour, while I prepared the filling, topping, and side.

For the filling, I made some Indian coconut-sweet potatoes. This was, again, inspired by Isa Moskowitz, via Episode 2 of her cooking show. (Be warned: this link will take you to a cheesy, swearing- and sexual allusion-filled public access vegan cooking show with a punk rock theme. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) 

http://theppk.com/shows/

I boiled the sweet potatoes for ten or fifteen minutes, and then put them in a pan with a little oil, Indian spices, coconut milk, and salt. I cooked them until they began to get a little mushy-looking.

For the saucy-topping, I made a mint-cashew-lemon sauce. This was awesome, and went really well with the sweet and spicy sweet potatoes. The sauce was basically:

-chopped mint

-cashew butter

-water

-lemon juice

-salt

As a side, I made some (now predictable) balsamic-roasted asparagus.

We were then ready to embark on the scariest part of crepe-making, which I decided required the assistance of Flip-Master Pancake (who can do the thing where you flip a pancake in the air with no spatula).

If you want to make crepes in the way we did, here’s what you do. You pour about 1/3 C of the crepe batter into a preheated (about medium-high) and slightly oiled crepe pan,

and then tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the batter covers almost the entire surface of the pan.

You then wait about a minute and a half, until the center of the batter looks a little bubbly (or inflated), and the edges are starting to curl and are slightly golden.

You run a spatula underneath the crepe, and then flip it!

You’ll have a couple of scary moments,

but things will turn out just fine.

The whole process will be very exciting,

and in the end you’ll end up with some nice fluffy, golden crepes.

These really make for a beautiful meal, especially with the asparagus.

And, of course, you need to save at least one for dessert, provided that you have some chocolate.

We had a couple other noteworthy meals. First, we went to Tien Hiang 2 (the other Tien Hiang) for a delightful and unbelievably inexpensive meal.

Graham got a chicken-basil stir fry,

and I got a Vietnamese Crepe.

Graham’s dish was great–it was a lot like good, fresh Chinese food that you might get in the US. And I loved my crepe. It was very different from a French crepe; instead of being light and fluffy, it was light and crispy. I have no idea how they make it without eggs or milk. It was filled with vermicelli noodles, tofu, and vegetables, and was served with fresh mint leaves and a tangy red sauce. A real treat.

For dessert, we split an order of these guys.

These are amazing and… intense. I recommend sharing, if you can. They’re sliced bananas, dipped in a fluffy batter and deep-fried, and then dipped in sesame-caramel. They bring the gooey balls to your table, and dip them in a bowl of water, which turns the hot caramel into a hard, crispy shell on the outside. If you like things that are super sweet, deep fried, and covered in caramel, then these are for you. 

Finally, I thought these little croissant sandwiches we made might be worth sharing.

We’ll just call this a Loving Hut sandwich. It’s a vegan croissant, topped with Classic Vegusto cheese, along with some dill-crusted turkey-style seitan. Though not as pretty as the crepes, these still make for a pretty special lunch.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Bosch permalink
    June 14, 2010 4:59 pm

    The crepes are beautiful and I really loved the pictures of Graham at work and of course, the one of you! I wonder what treat you’ll have tomorrow, on your birthday…

  2. Scott Brooks permalink
    June 15, 2010 4:48 pm

    Now I want to make crepes. The whole process looks very exciting!

Trackbacks

  1. Loving Hut and Vegan Chocolate Croissants in Paris « Végétalien à Paris
  2. Vegan Chocolate In Paris « Végétalien à Paris

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