Caribbean Crepe Cake

First off, I would like to apologize for a mistake I made.  Yesterday when I made my post about the scallop and mushroom crepes, Scallop and Mushroom Crepes I added a mystery photo in there that did not belong at all.  Once again, I was trying to do to many things at a time and got distracted.  Fortunately, my friend Goldie at floatinggold saw the problem and I was able to correct it right away.  Good thing I have Goldie around.  She keeps me honest.  🙂

I had 6 crepes leftover from when I made my crepes, and you all know how much I love being creative with leftovers, so I decided to turn them into dessert this time.  A lot of you said sweet crepes were your favorites.  Hopefully you will like this rich and decadent Caribbean crepe cake.  I only used a few simple ingredients and made a fun and simple dessert.  My inspiration came from one of our timeshares we own in the Mexican Riviera.  They have a creperie station and one of our favorite crepes is the banana and nutella crepe.

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The only ingredients for this simple crepe cake were my leftover crepes, a couple of bananas, toasted coconuts, hazelnut spread, and some whipped cream with a dash of guava rum.  Whip it all together, and voila, you have a simple, fun Caribbean dessert in no time.  It is very rich though, so a little will go a long way.

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I toasted the coconut in a small skillet.  No oil is needed because of all the oil in the coconut, and it only takes about 3 minutes.  Watch it carefully though, because it can burn real easily.  Once the coconut is toasted, start layering everything together and repeat.  Take one of the crepes and spread the hazelnut spread all around, add a sprinkling of toasted coconut, then some banana sliced very thin.  When the cake is done, make the whipped cream and add to the top.

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Making whipped cream is easy-peasy.  I added about 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and just a dash, maybe 1-2 tsp of guava rum and whipped everything together until it formed firm peaks.  Then I added it to my piping bag and piped a bit on the top, with a bit more banana and toasted coconut to bring everything together.

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A simple, easy to make Caribbean dessert is ready to enjoy.

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Scallop and Mushroom Crepes

Crepes are loved all around the world.  They go by many names, and are found in most parts of the world.  The word crepe derives from the Latin word crispus, which means crisp.  Crepes are very thin pancakes that are eaten in many different ways.  They can be sweet or savory.  Savory crepes are traditionally made from buckwheat and sweet crepes are usually made from wheat flour.  The filling choices are limited only by one’s imagination.

Rumor has it that the first crepe was created by accident, in the 13th century, in the Northern part of France, in the Brittany, or Bretonne or Bretagne region of France, by a young kitchen helper.  She ladled a bit of thin porridge onto a hot flattop iron cooktop in the fireplace, and a thin, crisp pancake, that would later come to be loved all over the world, was born.  Today, crepes are known as the National dish of France.  Originally, crepes were made from buckwheat, since wheat did not grow well in the Northern regions of France, due to the very wet climate.  Crepes were eaten as part of the celebration feast for le jour de crepes, or the day of crepes, which was celebrated on February 2, in honor of La Chandeleur or Candelmas, marking the return of light and announcing winter’s end and the coming of spring.  Crepes became part of the meal because it is said they resembled the sun, and were a reminder that the cold winter would soon be over and the sun would soon be shining again.  Today, crepes are eaten and loved for no other reason other than they are just plain delicious.

I made savory crepes, though not from buckwheat, and I served them with wild rice, green beans with mushrooms and peppers, and a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  C’est ce bon!

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Scallop and Mushroom Crepes

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The Crepes

1 cup cold water

1 cup cold milk

4 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups flour, sifted

4 TBSP melted butter + more to cook each crepe

 

Mix everything together well, either by using a whisk or a mixer.  Then cover and refrigerate for at least 30-60 minutes before using.  When the batter is ready, in a small 7″ hot skillet, melt a small amount of butter, then ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter into the skillet.  Quickly tilt the pan in all directions to move the batter all around the skillet.  On a medium-high heat, cook the crepe for about 1 minute, then gently flip it over, using a spoon to loosen the edges and to help flip it over, and continue to cook for about 1 more minute.  Repeat this process until all the crepes are cooked.  If you do not want to use the crepes at that time, you can freeze them as well, and use them later.

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While the batter is setting in the refrigerator, make your scallop and mushroom filling.

Scallop and Mushroom Filling and Sauce for the Crepes

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

3 green onions, sliced thin

3 celery stalks, cut into a small dice

1 bay leaf

1 tsp black pepper

2 lbs scallops, either bay scallops or sea scallops cut into smaller pieces

3/4 lb mushrooms, sliced

4 TBSP butter, melted

5 TBSP flour

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp salt

1 cup shredded light or white cheese of your choice

1-2 tomatoes, diced small

 

Mix the chicken broth, wine, green onions, celery, bay leaf and pepper together in a 3-qt sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 10 minutes.

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As I have said many times, I “like stuff in my stuff”, so I did not discard the cooked vegetables.  I chose to keep them and add them to the filling.  But if you do not want to use them, that’s fine too.  You can thrown them away at this point.  Remove the bay leaf and throw away.  Add the scallops and mushrooms and continue to cook for another 5 minutes at a simmer.  Remove the scallop mixture and set aside.

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Mix the egg yolks, milk and heavy cream together and set aside.  Mix the tomatoes and 1/2 the cheese with the scallop mixture and set aside.

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Add the butter, stir in the flour and bring the stock back up to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and slowly add the egg and cream mixture, making sure to whisk constantly so the eggs do not scramble.  Replace the saucepan back onto the heat and continue to cook until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly.  When the sauce has thickened, add the salt and lemon juice and mix thoroughly.

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Once the sauce is done, pour about 2/3 over the scallop and vegetable mixture and mix together well.

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Now it is time to fill the crepes.

Preheat the oven to 425* F.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.

 

Spoon the filling into  the center of a crepe and roll tightly and place in the cooking pan.  Continue until the pan is full.

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When the crepes are filled and rolled, top with the remaining sauce, then top with the rest of the cheese.  Bake uncovered for about 10 minutes.  If you are not ready to bake the crepes at this point, cover them and refrigerate until you are ready to use them.

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Now it is all ready to enjoy.  Bon Appetit!

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Finally, It’s Time for Salad

It is early June, and we still have not had much Spring-like weather.  We’ve been all over the place weather wise, and have had much colder, winter-like weather than Spring-like weather, despite what the calendar says.  I think though, maybe it is finally safe to say that Spring has arrived and will stay for more than just a couple of days at a time.  I think.  My backyard is over flowing with lemon verbena, which is definitely a good sign that Spring is here.  Already I have so much that I will not be able to get through it all, and more is on the way.  We took advantage of this Spring day and feasted on a healthy steak salad loaded with vegetables and topped with a soy-jalapeno dressing.  A big giant salad is a typical meal for us in the summer and warmer weather.  Usually we enjoy this big salad on our deck, but there were still threats of thunder and lightening, with black clouds circling above us, so we decided not to chance it, and ate inside instead.

This is only one patch of my lemon verbena.  It is a a member of the mint family and literally takes over everything.  But it smells and tastes so good.  I use it as much as possible in the Spring and Summer.

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We counted up the vegetables in this salad, and came up with 9 different vegetables.  Believe me when I say we eat a lot of vegetables.  I start off with just little bits of this and that, and before you know it, I have a huge salad.  One time one of my brothers-in-law came over for lunch and thought because we were having salads that it would be a light lunch.  Boy, was he in for a big surprise.

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Soy-Jalapeno Dressing

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1/4 cup soy sauce

4 TBSP lemon juice

1 large jalapeno, diced fine

2 TBSP sesame or peanut oil

4 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP honey

1 tsp black sesame seeds

1 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped fine

1 TBSP lemon verbena, chopped fine, optional

 

Mix all the ingredients together, chill and let rest for at least 30 minutes before using .  this allows for the flavors to really burst and come to life.  Top your favorite salad with this delicious dressing and enjoy.

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Braised Beef Short Ribs

First of all, many thanks to all of you.  “A Jeanne in the Kitchen” has come a long, long way since it’s humble beginnings, just a little over one year ago.  And that is all because of all of you.  I want to share a very nice compliment I just received – “I am so impressed with the site. The recipes are actually there without going through pages and pages of junk! Thanks!”  This totally made my day.   Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I will do my best to keep up the good work and to keep you all coming back for more.  I have plenty more ideas and recipes to share.

Now ….. for yet another delicious, satisfying recipe.

My husband is a big fan of ribs.  We don’t eat them as often as we eat other meats, but they we still enjoy them fairly often.  Larry likes ribs much mores so than I do.  He is a big fan of all kinds of ribs, whereas I prefer the beef short ribs, and even then, I try not to eat them all that much.  All ribs are very fattening, which is probably why they are so popular and taste so good.  I like the beef short ribs because they are much meatier than the pork spare ribs, and I think they are also more versatile.  No matter what recipe I choose to use though, they are almost always slow cooked, which makes them just fall off the bone tender and they just melt in your mouth.  I found a new recipe that I had to try.  It just looked and sounded so delicious, and believe me, it was.  It is definitely a hit.

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Braised Beef Short Ribs

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4 lbs beef short ribs, cut into large pieces

2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP butter

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

1 onion, cut into a medium dice

3-4 tomatoes, cut into a medium dice

1 cup beef broth

2 TBSP balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup flour

salt and pepper to taste

2 TBSP garlic

3/4 cup dry red wine

1 TBSP each fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano, chopped fine

1/4 cup water

 

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Mix the salt and pepper into the flour and coat the rib pieces with the flour.  Once the ribs are coated in the flour, add the oil and butter into a hot skillet, then add the meat and cook until the ribs are browned on all sides.

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While the meat is cooking, cut all the vegetables and set aside.

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When the meat is browned, place it in the slow cooker, then cover with the vegetables, the liquids and herbs.  Mix everything together well.

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Cover the slow cooker, turn it on to high, and forget about it for about 3-4 hours.  Just before serving, make some mashed potatoes.  When the ribs are ready, serve them over the mashed potatoes, then add the vegetables on top and spoon some of the juice over everything.  Enjoy with a glass of your favorite red wine or beverage of choice.  A delicious dinner without much effort.  Sit back and relax.  You’ve earned it.

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Carrot Pineapple Bread

I have been really trying to not have so many sweets and treats in the house because I am so sick and tired of being fat.  However, the house just doesn’t seem complete without some kind of goodies around.   Besides, my husband is a big dessert person, so I like to have sweet things around for him, although it makes it very hard for me to resist, and I am usually the one who eats most of them.  So I thought, since I had so many carrots I should make something “healthy” by using some of them for my dessert.  I came across a recipe for carrot pineapple muffins, but I made them into loaves instead.  Healthy, right?  After all, it contains carrots, which we all know are very healthy for us, and pineapples.  I guess it is a good compromise; sort of.  I have something sweet that contains both vegetables and fruit, so it can’t be all that bad.  I left off the cream cheese frosting, so that makes it a bit healthier as well.

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Carrot Pineapple Bread

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 8 oz can of pineapple with its juice

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 TBSP vanilla

2 1/2 cups shredded carrots

2/3 cup raisins, optional

 

Preheat the oven to 350* F

 

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Mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside.

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Mix the eggs and the sugars together at a high speed until they are creamy, for about 2 minutes.  Then add the oil, vanilla and pineapple with its juice and continue to mix at a medium speed until everything is well incorporated.

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Add 1/2 the flour and mix, and continue until all the flour is mixed in.  When the batter is made, fold in the shredded carrots and raisins, if using,  I love raisins, but my husband is not a big fan of them.  I already threw in some raisins when I made the drunken chicken, so I did not have the heart to make him eat more raisins.  The Drunken Chicken

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Once the batter is done, spray either the muffin pan or the loaf pans with cooking spray.  I used two loaf pans.  Pour the batter evenly into the pans, and bake.  If you are making muffins, bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick that has been inserted into the middle comes out clean.  If making a quick bread, bake for about 1 hour or, again, until the toothpick comes out clean and the bread is lightly golden in color.  Let cool, then remove from the pan.  If you are using a frosting, let the muffins/loaf cool completely before frosting.  I did add a light lemon glaze on top to really bring it all together.

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The Drunken Chicken

What????? A drunken chicken?  Yes, it really is.  It is a way of cooking chicken with alcohol as one of the main ingredients to the recipe.  It is a very popular way of cooking chicken in many different cultures around the world.  Because this method of cooking chicken is so versatile, there are many, many different versions and recipes.  Depending on the region of the world where this dish is being prepared, the recipe could call for wine or sherry, beer, ouzo, tequila, or whatever other type of alcohol you have on hand that you would like to experiment with in your cooking process.  I have used most of these types of alcohol for cooking, and of course for drinking too.  They are all different and all are very tasty, and all will give a distinct personality to the chicken and to the dish.  The alcohol itself burns off during the cooking process, but the flavors remain and the chicken is always very tender since the alcohol acts as a meat tenderizer as well as a flavoring agent.  Alcohol can also be used to cook many other types of meats besides chicken.  I cook a lot of recipes with alcohol, but mostly wine quite often.  As my mentor Julia Child used to say, “one for the pot and one for the cook”.  These are good words of advice to both live and cook by.   Once again, thank you Julia Child.

This particular version of drunken chicken is rich in flavor and is more of a sweeter version than many other versions, since I used sherry, cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar and golden raisins.   This is just one of countless different recipes of coq au vin, Shaoxing, pollo boracho or drunken chicken, or whatever name you choose to call it by,  that can be found all over the world.  This recipe is a Colorado version of drunken chicken.

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Colorado Drunken Chicken

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4 chicken chicken breasts

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup flour

2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP butter

1 onion, peeled and diced fine

1 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped fine

2 whole tomatoes, cut into wedges

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed tightly

1 cup sherry

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup slivered almonds

 

Mix the salt, pepper and flour together and completely coat the chicken.

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Add the butter and olive oil to the skillet and allow the butter to melt completely.  In a hot skillet, add the chicken and cook until it is lightly golden brown on all sides.

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While the chicken is cooking, mix together the sherry, brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves.

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Preheat the oven to 375* F

Once the chicken is lightly browned on all sides, remove it and place it in a casserole baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

In the same pan, add the liquid mixture, the tomatoes, onions, parsley and raisins.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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After the sauce has cooked down, pour it over the chicken and add sliced almonds on top.  Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes.

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Once everything was cooked, I served it over wild rice along with green beans with mushrooms and almonds, and a cool, refreshing chardonnay on the side.  Delicious!!!

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Jalapeno Biscuits with Ancho-Cinnamon Butter

I LOVE breads of all kinds.  It doesn’t matter what kind of bread either.  As long as there is enough butter to go with all the bread, I could easily live on bread and butter alone and be quite happy and content.  I try to make our meals as complete as possible with protein, vegetables, carbs, and starches, and there is almost always some kind of bread to go with the meal as well.  I know, there are many that think bread, gluten and carbs are the roots of all evil, but I assure you, I am not one of them.

When I made my Cuban shrimp stew Cuban Shrimp Stew  I needed something else to go with it.  I looked through all my Latin cookbooks until I found just what I was looking for.  The recipe I found actually called for nopales or cactus strips, which I thought I had, but did not.  I did have jalapenos though, so I substituted the nopales for the jalapenos, and the biscuits still came out great.  I always have jalapenos on hand.  We eat them quite often.  I looked for the nopales after, because I would still like to make those as well, but I have been having a hard time finding them lately.  Usually you can find them at any place where they sell Latin foods.  I will just have to keep searching for them, and I will make the nopales biscuits again when I do find them.

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Jalapeno Biscuits

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This recipe is simple and only calls for a few basic ingredients, other than the nopales, which I did not use this time.

1 cup light or white cheese – jack, pepper, jack, or mozzarella are all fine.  If using something other than pepper jack cheese, add some red pepper flakes as well.  If you like it spicy, you can still add red pepper flakes even if you are using pepper jack cheese.

2 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste

3 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped fine

1 large jalapeno, diced fine

1 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter at room temperature, cubed in small cubes

 

Preheat the oven to 400* F or 200* C

 

Mix all the dry ingredients and the cheese together.  Then add the jalapeno and the butter and mix with a fork or a pastry cutter until the dough forms into a sticky ball.

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You can either use a spoon and drop the dough in about 1 TBSP portions, or you can roll out the dough to about 1-1 1/2 ” high and cut with a cookie cutter.  This time I used the cookie cutter to make them more uniform.  Place them on an ungreased baking sheet about 2″ apart and bake for about 40 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and slightly crisp on the bottom.  Mine came out with a slight greenish tint before baking because, silly me, I put everything in the food processor instead of mixing everything together with either a fork or a pastry cutter.  Once they baked up, however, the greenish tint faded.  They still came out tasting really good, regardless of their greenish tint though.

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Ancho-Cinnamon Butter

1 tsp minced ancho peppers

2 TBSP orange juice

1 1/2 cups butter at room temperature

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cumin

2 1/2 tsp honey

 

Mix everything together in a food processor until well blended.

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You can use this sweet and spicy butter for anything to add a little more zest and pizzazz to the dish.

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Serve the biscuits hot or warm so the ancho-cinnamon butter melts into the biscuits.   Believe me, with every bite, your taste buds will be begging for more.