Monday, May 12, 2014

Crepe-making Lessons

Pages from Jan's Travel Journal:  April 13, 2014

That Sunday, we awoke to another beautiful spring morning. We didn't have big plans for the day, but were content to just linger over our coffee before we set out to find pastries. I don't expect to be constantly entertained by Darcy and Mathieu. I have never been one to cram my vacation days full of activities. I prefer a more relaxed pace. I enjoy exploring and becoming familiar with the area in which I find myself. We wandered around in the sunshine after breakfast, eventually finding ourselves at the small park atop the movie theater near the Loire. It's a sweet little place, with a tiny playground and lots of shade. Blooming plants brightened the space and surrounded us with their fragrance.


Darcy and Mathieu beneath the wisteria
 at the little park atop the cinema.


Looking toward the Loire from the park.

Home again, we spent some time on chores, straightening the apartment and washing dishes. I checked my email and sent off a couple of greetings to family back home. As lunchtime drew near, we decided to walk over to the new restaurant, Oh, Terroir. Darcy and Mathieu had eaten there on several occasions and knew it would be something I'd enjoy. Oh, Terroir specializes in healthy dishes which are made from locally sourced products. Since the Loire valley is such a fertile and abundant place, I knew I was in for a treat. After you step inside the restaurant, you select your meal using the computerized screens. You first choose a base of half-grain pasta, quinoa, lentils, or spelt. Your next step is to choose a topping and any other added ingredients from the many choices on offer. You can also select a beverage and dessert at this time. 


Lunch at "Oh, Terroir" was wonderful!

I had heard of spelt, which is an ancient ancestor of wheat, but had never tried it. That was my selection. I had it topped with a light creamy Dijon and ham sauce. It was sprinkled liberally with chives and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and it was so good that I later attempted to recreate this dish at home. (You'll find the recipe below.) Darcy chose a chicken curry over spelt, while Mathieu ordered the half-grain pasta with smoked trout. We were all very pleased. It was a delightful lunch in a lovely setting. The restaurant is decorated in colors of lime, chocolate, and pewter in a very modern style. We sat at a table in the loft, which gave us a nice view both inside and out. If you are ever in the area, you must stop for a meal there. It's quick, reasonably priced, and delicious.

On our way home, we shopped in Halles Chatelet for a few ingredients that we would need to prepare supper that evening. I enjoy shopping there, or just looking around. The grocery market takes up a large space within the mall, with a variety of shops selling everything from fresh fish to macarons. Halles Chatelet was begun in 1882 and was then an open market. The mall was built over the original market site in 1977, with a more recent renovation being done in 2005. 

That night, Mathieu and I received crepe-making lessons from Darcy, which resulted in a hilarious time and a delightful meal! Mathieu caught on to the process very quickly, but my arthritic wrist made it difficult for me to make a smooth, flat swipe around the pan. Still, they were delicious, even if the crepes weren't shaped exactly right. We had ham, two kinds of cheese, and some caramelized onions to put inside the crepes. We laughed so hard when Mathieu decided to take a shortcut by cracking an egg atop his crepe before folding it over. The egg slowly slid off the crepe, off the pan, and then onto the table where it slithered beneath the microwave. We were helpless to stop it; we were laughing too hard! We ended that fun meal with dessert crepes. My favorite was a simple lemon juice and sugar crepe. What a fun evening! 


A savory crepe is actually called a gallette. Whatever the name, they were yummy!

RECIPE: Dijon-ham sauce. To recreate the meal I enjoyed at Oh, Terroir, I started by making a simple white sauce, but substituted some chicken broth and white wine for about half the milk. I whisked in some Dijon mustard, about two to three teaspoons per cup of white sauce. I also seasoned it with a bit of salt and pepper, but remember to go easy on the salt if you will be using ham  After the sauce had thickened, I stirred in diced ham and heated the mixture through. I the poured this over half-grain pasta (as I hadn't found spelt berries at that time) and sprinkled the dish liberally with Parmesan cheese and fresh chives. It's a keeper!

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