Crepe stack with roasted mushrooms, romesco, spinach, and ricotta

Crepe Stack

Crepe Stack

The other day on the way to school Isaac said, “You know how we’re supposed to be as jolly on Christmas day as Clio is every day?…” as if it was a truth, universally acknowledged, a rule that we all accept. He is, of course, speaking of Clio’s tendency to love everybody she meets, even if they’re complete strangers (unless they’re wearing hats or sunglasses. Very supsicious! Very suspicious! What are they hiding?) He was talking about the fact that she makes you happy because she’s so happy to see you. She’s so easily pleased with small things…walks, a bowl of kibble, a warm lap. She’s not afraid to show she loves you, and this makes her nice to be around. Isaac’s kind of like that, himself, all year long. And so, in the light of all this Christmas Jollity, I’d like to propose a new business plan, based on this: “Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” According to the specifications of my new business plan, the curriculum of our business schools will change somewhat. We’ll have courses examining the philosophical and practical applications of charity and generosity. We’ll learn how to combat ignorance and want. We’ll learn to share what we have and we’ll learn that we don’t want more than we need. Internships will be at shelters and soup kitchens or anywhere that people are in need of aid and support. Business acumen will describe the ability to sense when a person needs kindness or encouragement. Big business will mean that everybody is acting together as a community of epic proportions to spread happiness and good will. And even when we mind our own business, we’ll be minding the people around us, because they are our business! And business as usual will be benevolence, jolliness and cheer the whole year long; the whole year will be “a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people around them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

It’s a crepe stack!! It’s layers of peppery crepes sandwiched with romesco sauce, roasted mushrooms, sautéed spinach, and ricotta mixed with mozzarella, eggs and artichokes. I thought it was very tasty…lots of nice flavors together. It looks quite complicated by it’s really not hard to make. You can, of course, alter the fillings that you use, and put anything you like in between the crepes. You could also make this as a lasagna, layering all the fillings between cooked lasagna noodles, if you don’t feel like making the crepes.

Here’s Tom Waits with God’s Away on Business.

THE CREPES

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 t salt
2 t rosemary, chopped
black pepper

Butter, to fry

Whisk together the eggs and milk, and then whisk in the dry ingredients. It should be the consistency of unwhipped heavy cream. If it’s too thick, add a little water. Cover, and let sit for at least half an hour.

To fry…melt a pat of butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it’s just starting to brown, put about 1/3 – 1/2 cup of batter in, and swirl the pan around till you have a thin circle of batter. I like to use a pan that’s bigger than the crepes I’m going to make, so that I have room to flip them, and so the edges get nice and crispy. When the top of the crepe seems to have dried out, and has little holes forming in it, slide a spatula under the side and take a peek at the bottom, if it’s brown, flip the crepe. The second side only needs to cook for about 1 minute, the top will puff slightly. Remove to a plate, and fry all the other crepes in the same fashion.

THE MUSHROOMS

10 oz button mushrooms (just regular white mushrooms)
a few T olive oil
2t sage
2t rosemary
1t thyme
one medium shallot

preheat oven to 425.

cut the mushrooms into chunky pieces. Put in the food processor with the shallot and herbs, and process very briefly till the mushrooms are finely chopped but not pureed. It doesn’t need to be completely even – variation will just give the mushrooms nice texture.

Drizzle olive oil over and mix well. Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Stir frequently.

The mushrooms go through a few stages while they cook. They’ll release their juices, and then they’ll dry up again, and eventually get crispy and caramelized. This is what we’re going for! You don’t want them to be black and charred, but don’t be afraid to let them get quite dark brown. They’ll reduce a lot, too, you might end up with about a cup.

season well with salt and pepper.

Romesco sauce like this.

RICOTTA & MOZZARELLA

1 cup fresh ricotta
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, drained
4 oz mozzarella, roughly chopped
1 egg
salt and pepper

Combine everything in the food processor and process until quite smooth

THE SPINACH

1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t fresh rosemary
1 t red pepper flakes
4 cups packed baby spinach, chopped

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and herbs, stir and fry for half a minute. Add the spinach and a few spoonfuls of water and sautée until tender and bright, about five minutes.

TO ASSEMBLE

Preheat oven to 400.

In a tart pan or on a baking sheet (lightly buttered) place one crepe. Spread a layer of romesco sauce evenly across. Place another crepe on top. Spread a layer of mushrooms across the top. Place another crepe on top of that. Spread a layer of spinach. Place another crepe, spread a layer of ricotta. Keep repeating till you’re out of crepes or out of filling. You can go in any order you like, and make any kind of combination of elements you like.

Bake for about 15 minutes, till it’s hot through and the cheese is melted. Let cool for a few minutes, and then slice in wedges

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