Pumpkinseed sage sauce & smokey masa harina crepes

Pumpkinseed sage sauce

I’m really taken with this sauce! I wish I had better words to describe food, because I’d love to tell you what this tastes like. Though I think perhaps the reason I like it so much is that it has a mysterious sort of flavor. That’s the pumpkinseeds! I think they’re just lovely. I was wondering if their indescribable taste is “umami.” That’s the fifth basic taste. It’s described as a “pleasant savory flavor,” quite distinct from salty, sweet, sour and bitter. That’s how this sauce tastes to me! It’s very simple and very easy to put together. It’s creamy, though vegan, and is actually another example of a nut sauce, which I seem to go on and on about. (I call them “tarator sauces,” but I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate.) I think the sage is just perfect with the pumpkinseeds (they’re similar colors, no wonder they taste good together!) And the cayenne adds just a little kick to what is quite a mild sauce. It’s extremely versatile! Good as a dip for crackers, chips, or veg. Good as a sauce for roasted vegetables. Or a sauce for enchiladas or tacos, or pasta.

And these crepes. I’m sorry, I wasn’t going to write about masa harina again for a while, a long while. I didn’t want to talk about it so much that people got tired of hearing about it. But if you cast your memory back, you might recall that I had some trouble making tortillas without a tortilla press. Well, a good cook doesn’t blame her equipment (or lack thereof!), she just reinvents the recipe.

Masa harina crepes

So I applied the cheater’s treatment to it – the same one I used to make socca more simple. I added a couple of eggs. It helps to hold them together and make them more flippable, and because it’s a batter rather than a dough, you don’t need to roll them out. So they’re still gluten-free, but I’m afraid they’re not vegan any more. I added some smoked paprika, because that’s another ingredient I can’t resist using, and it goes so well with the sage & pumpkinseed flavors.

We had these with my every kind of favorite meal, as Isaac would say. We had fat balsamic roasted musrhooms (with shallots); french lentils; some lightly dressed baby spinach (olive oil and balsamic); some tinsy crispy roasted potatoes with rosemary; and some grated mozzarella cheese. You take whatever you like, and use the crepes to wrap around little bundles of delicious food. Plus we ate at the picnic table outside, which makes me very happy!!

Here’s The Sage by The Chico Hamilton Quintet. So strange and beautiful!

The Crepes

1 1/2 cups masa harina
salt & black pepper
pinch cayenne
1 t smoked paprika
2 eggs
1 – 2 cups water

olive oil for frying

Mix the masa harina, salt, pepper and spices in a bowl. Add enough water to make it stir-able. The masa harina acts like a sponge, and you’ll end up adding more water than you thought likely. When it’s thick but workable, add the eggs, and mix in well. If it’s still to thick to ladle, add some more water. You can whisk it or use a blender, but you want it to be lump free.

Warm a big frying pan. Add enough olive oil to very lightly coat the bottom. Pour a ladle-ful of batter in, and use the back of the ladle to smooth the batter towards the edges, thinning the crepe out somewhat. (My ladle holds about half a cup, which left plenty of room in my frying pan to slide the spatula in when I was trying to turn it.) You won’t get it as thin as a regular crepe (at least I didn’t!) but I think that’s part of its charm. Cook till the bottom starts to brown. The top will get little holes in it, and the edges will look cooked, and that’s how you know it’s time to very carefully flip it. I used two spatulas – one to steady the edge and kind of hold it together, and the other to slide under and flip. Cook on the other side till that’s starting to brown, too, and then place in a toaster oven to keep warm till you’re ready to eat.

Repeat till all the batter is gone!! I messed up quite a few, but the crepe-scrapple was tasty, too, so it’s all okay!

PUMPKINSEED – SAGE SAUCE

1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup pumpkinseed kernals
2 cloves toasted garlic
1 t dried sage, or 7 or 8 leaves of fresh sage (about a tablespoon, loosely packed)
1/2 t cayenne, or to taste
2 T olive oil
1 t balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine everything in a blender. Process. Add enough water to make a smooth sauce. Start with half a cup, and work your way up till you’re happy with the consistency. Taste, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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