Sweet and Savory Crêpes

vegan sweet and savory crêpes - conveganence

I should probably disclose the fact that I’m somewhat of a francophile. I love France and hope to move there someday. My husband and I got married in Paris almost 2 years ago, and we swore up and down that we’d return soon. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet. So when I have a craving for Paris but I don’t have the time or disposable income to swing a 7+ hour flight across the Atlantic, I try to infuse my day with something French. Today was one of those days, so I fired up Edith Piaf on my iPod and made some crêpes for breakfast. These turned out just as delicious as any crêpe I’ve had from the vendors in the Jardin des Tuileries. Added bonus: they are dairy and egg free, and friendlier to the waistline.

Another disclosure: this is my first time making vegan crêpes, so I had to search the Internet high and low for the perfect recipe. Thankfully I found it at Vegan Yum Yum. I adapted it just a bit so I wouldn’t have to make a trip to the grocery store. Click here for the original…she also has some great ideas for fillings. I opted to keep my fillings relatively simple, as I only have my husband and myself to feed, but I’ll definitely try some of her other suggestions next time I make this recipe.

vegan sweet and savory crêpes - conveganence

vegan sweet and savory crêpes - conveganencevegan sweet and savory crêpes - conveganence

Sweet and Savory Crêpes

Serves 4

Prep Time: 1 hour (including 30 minutes of chill time)

Crêpe Ingredients

2 C unbleached all purpose flour

1 C hazelnut milk, soy milk, or other nondairy milk (I used hazelnut milk)

1/2 C Earth Balance vegan butter

1 1/3 C water

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp vegan sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients

For Sweet Crêpes: assorted fresh berries, vegan chocolate hazelnut spread (recipe below), melted vegan chocolate, whipped coconut milk cream (recipe below)

For Savory Crepes: fresh asparagus (cut into 1/2″ dice), mushrooms (chopped), spinach, chives, thyme, garlic (Note: I just tried to use up what I got at the farmer’s market yesterday. You can use any types of herbs or veggies you have on hand.)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the crêpe batter, except for the sugar and the vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Divide batter equally between cups or bowls that will be easy to pour from (I used large liquid measuring cups).

2. Add the sugar and vanilla to only one of the bowls, and whisk until smooth. This will be the batter for the sweet crêpes. Place batter in refrigerator and let chill for at least 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the savory toppings. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add mushrooms, asparagus, thyme, and chives, cook for another few minutes, until mushrooms begin to give up their juices. Add the spinach gradually, by the handful, wilting each handful before adding the next. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.

4. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over boiling water (or just microwave it, like I did). Set aside.

5. To make the crêpes, use a nonstick skillet or better yet, a crepe pan. It is also helpful to have a pancake turner so you can flip the crêpes. Spray the pan with cooking oil and heat it to medium-high.

6. Remove the batter from the fridge. Whisk in a couple tablespoons of water to thin out, if necessary. Keep in mind you want your batter to be thick, but easy to pour.

7. Pour about 1/4 C crêpe batter into the center of the pan, and lift and rotate the pan slowly to allow the batter to spread out in a thin layer on the pan. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip. Cook for another 2 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Repeat the process until you go through your entire supply of batter. You should end up with about 8-10 crêpes. If you mess up your first crêpe, don’t worry! There is a 95% chance you will ruin the first one, even if you’ve made crêpes a million times before. With that information in mind, perhaps pour a smaller amount of batter on the pan for your first crêpe so it doesn’t go to waste. 

8. Reheat any toppings if necessary. Top crêpes with whatever you want, and serve!

Coconut Whipped Cream Recipe

Ingredients

1 can full fat coconut milk

1 tbsp vegan sugar

1.4 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions

Refrigerate can of coconut milk overnight. Freeze small mixing bowl overnight as well. When ready to make whipped cream. empty can of coconut milk into frozen bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously, until coconut milk begins to thicken. If it doesn’t thicken, stick the mixture in the freezer for about 20 minutes and try again. Keep cold.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Spread Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 C hazelnut butter

1 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp coconut oil

Directions

Whisk ingredients together (or use an electric mixer) until smooth.

vegan sweet and savory crêpesvegan sweet and savory crêpes - conveganence

Savory Sunday Brunch

table

Here in Chicago (and I assume most other urban areas in the Western world?) Sunday brunch is a pretty  big deal. When you’re young, brunch is key for soaking up all the booze (and stories!) from the night before. When you’re old, like me, brunch comes after hot yoga but before a trip to Home Depot. It’s the bright spot of Sunday, a cheerful crescendo before the ennui and dread of the workweek ahead team up to ruin the rest of your day.

Brunch can be challenging when you’re not eating animal products. The only vegan options at most brunch restaurants range from unappetizing to downright nauseating. Typically, vegans can choose from a selection of lumpy oatmeal, dry granola, a cup full of withered and flavorless fruits, tomato slices, and breakfast potatoes.

My husband and I, like most Chicagoans, have a relatively well-established tradition of brunching on Sundays. Eggs benedict (subbing spinach for the Canadian bacon) was my go-to dish. Pretty much every restaurant had it. After giving up eggs, I was a little worried whether I’d ever be able to brunch again. After suffering through a few brunches with a sad fruit cup and unlimited mimosas (it was the only vegan thing on the menu, I swear!) my husband finally agreed to give up his bacon and take me to a few vegetarian/vegan restaurants for brunch.

One of our favorite vegan friendly brunch places in Chicago is Handlebar, and my Simple Savory Scramble is inspired by one of their dishes (the Pepita Scramble). Mine’s a bit more basic than the Pepita Scramble (no pesto, no kale, no need to deep fry the onions), so it’s manageable to whip up on a weekend morning. To balance out the spice and heat from the scramble, I added a bright and colorful fruit cup. Then, I mixed up a refreshing Grapefruit and Blueberry Sparkler to wash it all down.

scramble

Simple Savory Scramble (serves 4)*

*to make this SUPER simple, use frozen, pre-chopped potatoes and bell peppers.You can get them at Trader Joe’s!

Ingredients:

1 package of extra firm organic tofu, drained and cut into 1″ cubes

1-2 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2″ dice (or use frozen red potatoes)

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 small bell peppers, sliced: 1 red, 1 green, and 1 orange (or use frozen sliced bell peppers)

1/2 medium yellow onion sliced thin

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1 tsp turmeric

salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste

olive oil

Optional: fried onions to put on top

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 425F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil, and arrange the potatoes on a single layer. Toss with  garlic and rosemary, plus a little more olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping potatoes halfway through.

2) Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the tofu and cook until tofu turns golden brown and crisp, flipping tofu every few minutes to cook evenly. Sprinkle the turmeric over the tofu and stir until coated (the tofu will turn yellow, like scrambled eggs). Lower heat to medium and add peppers, onion, and jalapeno. Cook for about 7 -10 minutes, until peppers and onions soften. Stir frequently so as not to overcook or burn tofu. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes as desired.

3) Top potatoes with tofu mixture, and top with fried onions if desired. (I left them out this time.) Add a bit of sriracha for more heat if you want.

fruitsalad

The fruit cup is self explanatory. Just take fresh papaya cubes and pineapple cubes and put them in a pretty dish. You could also add mint, berries, or whatever else you have on hand. I like to keep mine in the freezer while preparing the rest of the food, especially on a warm morning like today.

grapefruitspritzer

grapefruitspritzer2

Grapefruit Blueberry Sparkler:

Add some crushed iced to pre-chilled glasses. Add 3 parts freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, and 1 part Izze Blueberry Sparkling Juice. Garnish with a thyme sprig. I made these as mocktails, but you could also add sparkling wine if you want.

What are your favorite brunch dishes?