Fun fact of the day: Did you know that nearly 65 per cent of rice consumed in Canada is grown in the U.S? Canada barely produces any rice of its own, so I guess we can thank our U.S neighbours for all of those whole grains. The USA Rice Federation sent me some recipes for summer using rice and this recipe for stuffed crepes caught my eye:
It also reminded me of the last time I ate crepes, which was in Laos. Yes, Laos. Believe it or not, with the strong French influence in that part of Southeast Asia, some of their street food includes freshly made crepes, pastries and baguettes. One night in Luang Prabang, after perusing the night markets, we stopped at a crepe stall for a late night sweet fix. The delicate, light crepes were flipped and served using only a stick and a hot pan. The ones we got were filled with gooey melted banana and Nutella; the art of the delivery though is in the crepe itself.
The next morning, someone on our tour group asked about the crepes and one of the girls said, "they were alright, but they could have used more Nutella." The phrase kind of stuck with us as a running joke throughout the trip. So when someone asked how something was or how we liked something we would say, "alright...but it could have used more Nutella."
It's funny how you associate food with a certain place or even time. That's why local food can say so much about a community. For example, something as simple as a stack of rhubarb from a co-worker's garden can become multiple jars of Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce. This was my first canning project of the summer.
I also made a Strawberry Rhubarb pie and it was definitely not my first pie of the season. The sauce works on yoghurt, ice cream, granola and pretty much anything you want summer rhubarb on. I also plan to make some Dandelion Jelly, Zucchini Relish and more salsa this summer all on my preserving to-do list.
I like to stock up on local vegetables when I can. We have one tomato plant on our porch ready to go this summer and I am always looking for fresh, leafy greens in season. These crepes are a great way to use up some vegetables and make a savoury, filling meal whether you like them French-style with traditional sauce or on the lighter side with just a bit of cheese grated inside and baked:
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup butter, melted
8 cups sliced cremini or white mushrooms
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
8 cups fresh trimmed spinach leaves (or kale)
1 3/4 cups brown or white rice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry sherry, dry white wine or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/4 cups milk
1 3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Note: I omitted these ingredients and made the crepes without the sauce on top. Instead, I grated about a 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese into the rice filling.
Crepes: In a blender, blend eggs, milk, flour, 2 tbsp of the butter and salt until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Heat 8-inch crepe pan or stick-resistant skillet over medium heat; brush lightly with some of the remaining butter. Stir half of the chives into batter. For each crepe, pour about 1/3 cup batter into centre of pan, swirling to coat; cook, turning once, until set and light golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to plate; repeat with remaining batter to make 12 crepes.
Filling: In large, wide saucepan, melt 1 tbsp of the butter over medium-high heat; sauté mushrooms, onion, garlic, half of the salt and pepper until golden brown and liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. In 2 or 3 batches, add spinach, letting each batch wilt before adding the next and stirring often. Once all is wilted, continue to cook until almost no liquid remains, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in rice.
Some exciting news for my Ontario readers who also like tasting, savouring and promoting local food. Food Story is a Toronto Farmer's Market Delivery Service that delivers a customizable weekly box of artisanal and farm fresh food to your door. Similar to a CSA box program, Food Story wants to connect local producers to local food enthusiasts: