Monday, April 11, 2016

Raspberry Ricotta Crepes

We take food very seriously in our household. We don't skip meals, we rarely cut corners with prepared foods, we take pride in bringing delicious and unique meals to our table on a regular basis, and we top it all off with some of the very best ingredients. 

Ok, I know what some of you are thinking...I sound like a bit of a food snob (cringe!). Food snobs are the WORST, I know, but in this particular instance, I feel like 'food snob' may just be a euphemism for food enthusiast, am I right? So maybe I like to have $8 fermented, cultured, grass-fed butter in my fridge, $9 boxes of flaked sea salt from England in my cupboard, and the occasional $7 loaf of organic cilantro and olive bread made in the traditional French method on my counter. I see that all as just being someone with an appreciation for excellent food! Don't get me wrong, we're certainly not buying organics and speciality foods all the time, but there are just some products that I consider essentials (ie. bread, butter, and salt) that can completely transform the way you eat every single day. 

There are some products that aren't even considered "specialty" or "gourmet" and have a low price-point that we have become very accustomed to, such as jam. Though we've tried many local jams made from Mennonites, certified organic, with low-sugar and all those other buzzwords that I need not waste time typing, we love to have plain ol' Smuckers Raspberry Jam in our fridge at all times for spreading on toast. So a few weeks ago when our Smuckers Raspberry Jam supply was running low, and there was none on sale, I took a risk and purchased an on-sale, grocery store-branded jam with low-pectin that I was so sure would be just as great as our beloved Smuckers. To put it simply, I was wrong. It just wasn't the same. So with a fridge full of rejected jams (including those organic, local, Mennonite-made jams from many moons ago) I began brainstorming different recipes that would allow me to use up these "rejected jams" in ways other than spreading on toast. 

With a container of ricotta cheese begging to be used up, as well as some ruby red raspberries, I dreamt up a quick and simple recipe for Raspberry Ricotta Crepes that would allow me to use up more than just my low-pectin jam in a delicious and satisfying way! 
Why didn't I post ingredient quantities for the filling?
I've started posting recipes that do not include exact ingredient quantities to allow you to get the experience with winging it in the kitchen. I want you to have the confidence to be able to season and taste on your own with just the ingredients as a guide. I'm hoping that this will encourage you to go out of your comfort zone and experiment based on what you have. Not listing exact amounts for the ingredients will hopefully make you realize that recipes are not set in stone. Don't have raspberries on hand? How about strawberries? Play with recipes based on what you have on hand already! Yes, the success of many baked recipes comes down to science, but with practice and a some basic food knowledge you'll be able to play around with those recipes as well. 

I also didn't include ingredient amounts for this particular recipe because I didn't fill all of my crepes with the raspberry and ricotta filling. I just made a single serving for myself, meaning I had lots of crepe batter leftover. I like to keep any unused crepe batter in my fridge for a few days to allow me to whip up quick and tasty meals with ease, once again using up whatever I have on hand. One of my go-to's for leftover crepe batter is a simple ham and cheese crepe that, with the batter already prepared, takes less than five-minutes to get on the table! 
1 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
lemon zest
icing sugar
raspberry jam
fresh raspberries

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, flour, eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, and salt. Cover and chill for 1-hour.
  2. In a small bowl stir together ricotta with some lemon zest. Sweeten to taste with icing sugar. 
  3. Set a small crepe pan or non-stick pan to medium heat. Lightly spray pan with cooking spray and add about 1/3-cup crepe batter and swirl pan so that batter spreads evenly. When the top of the crepe begins to look matte and is no longer wet, flip crepe and turn off heat. With the crepe still in the pan, add about 3-Tbsp of the ricotta mixture to half of the crepe, and drizzle in about 1-2 Tbsp raspberry jam. Fold crepe and serve immediately with fresh raspberries on top. Repeat with remaining crepes. 
Listening To:

Monday, April 4, 2016

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Oh joy! Spring has arrived! Or...has it? There's a thick blanket of snow on my balcony and a chill in the air. Excuse my language, but what the f**k?!?! I guess there's nothing left to do but embrace what little time we have left of soup weather by indulging in a cheese-and-cream-filled soup. Enter Broccoli Cheddar Soup, one of my favourite excuses for eating melted cheese. Some soups I get sick of after the first bowl, but Broccoli Cheddar, I could eat that shit for days on end! It's just so comforting, hearty, and stick-to-your-ribs-delicious that I don't think I could ever get sick of it.
You can always add but you can never take away!
Though I've listed ingredient amounts with this recipe, I encourage you to forget about your measuring cups and spoons and just eyeball everything. Soups are so incredibly forgiving and are a great way to practice your improvised cooking skills. It's all about adding little bits at a time, tasting as you go, and remembering the golden rule of "you can always add, but you can never take away."

Tweet me @thisgingerrose to let me know what you thought of my recipe, or tag a photo of your soup on Instagram @gingerrosefood
- Why do we cut our vegetables into the same size? So they cook at the same time! 
- Soups are so forgiving, so ingredient amounts can be flexible based on what you have. You can also play around with using other vegetables that you have on hand such as carrots and celery.

* If your soup tastes like it's missing something ask yourself is it salt? Pepper? If it's not salt and pepper, it's likely that it's missing some acid. Try stirring in a little bit of fresh lemon juice and see if that does the trick! 

1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 dried bay leaf
4 heads of broccoli, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbsp sour cream
3/4 cup half-and-half cream
salt & pepper to season (preferably white pepper)
cheddar cheese, grated, to garnish (optional)
soup cream, to garnish (optional)
walnuts, toasted, chopped, to garnish (optional)

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven set to medium-heat, heat butter and olive oil. Add onion and cook until softened and translucent. Add garlic and cook, while stirring, for 30-seconds. 
  2. Add stock, bay leaf, broccoli, and potatoes and cook for about 30-minutes or until broccoli and potatoes are very tender. Let cool.
  3. Remove bay leaf and discard. Pour soup mixture into the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour back into pot along with cream and re-heat. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper. Stir in sour cream. Taste and season once again, if needed*. 
  4. Serve immediately garnished with grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chopped walnuts, or refrigerate until ready to serve.