A little disclaimer as I dive in to writing this post: I don’t think it will have much to do with food; I hope that won’t stop you from reading it.
This has become so much more than strictly a food blog; it’s a record of my life, seen through food.
There’s been so much going on in my life recently. This month my grandfather passed away. I turned 32. I spent hours searching for near-future and distant-future plane tickets. Paula and I started planning our wedding.
I’ve been very sad but not surprised about my grandfather. He was diagnosed with cancer back in March, and refused treatment for the cancer itself (only accepting treatment for the pain). He still suffered greatly despite pain medications and could no longer walk. I think he may have been scared to face death, but I’d like to think that he was also a little relieved (and finally free from pain) when it arrived.
Since this had been going on since March, my family and I have all had some time to grieve already. It was still a shock the moment I heard the news that he had passed away. This weekend we are gathering in NJ/NY—his and my grandma’s home for as long as I’ve been alive—to have a memorial service for him.
If I’d had the foresight to plan a blog post in honor of my grandfather, I might have chosen poppy seed bagels, after my sister’s and my nickname for our grandfather: Poppy. (A name that always reminded me, as a child, of the best-ever poppy seed bagels we would eat together, whenever I visited my grandparents in New York.)
Instead I have a post for Caprese Crepes. Not quite as appropriate, though not entirely un-appropriate either; my grandfather always made sure to take us to some of the best (his favorite) Italian restaurants in New Jersey, where we’d enjoy pasta dishes far more decadent than these crepes, and where the restaurant owners often knew him by name. (Though, if you’re curious, my family is Jewish; not Italian.)
We’d always go for “linner” (yes, that’s lunch + dinner; the largest meal of the day at 3pm), and he’d always bring a bottle of red wine along to the restaurant (gotta love all of those BYOB spots in New Jersey!). If we only drank half the bottle of wine, he’d cork the bottle with a plastic stopper and stick it into the cup-holder in the center console of the car as we drove home.
(Once I pointed out to him that according to “open container laws,” it was technically illegal to keep a half-empty bottle of red wine inside the passenger area of the car. His response was to drape a single tissue over the top of the bottle.)
I will miss my grandfather immensely. It’s been an odd and unpleasant feeling, being so geographically removed from my grandparents as they’ve gone through so much recently. And despite feeling that I’d mostly come to terms with the reality of my grandfather’s health and my sadness about it, when I finally got word that he’d passed away, things suddenly felt different. Something had shifted in the world. Something was missing from it.
Tomorrow I fly to meet my family in New Jersey. I’m especially looking forward to seeing my grandma again.
The past few months have driven home the point for me that the U.S. is so gigantic that you can live in the same country as your family, but still feel worlds away. That has been the single downside of living in California so far. But I’m glad that I’ll be able to join everyone this time; all the flying will be worth it.
So: Caprese Crepes. This makes for an incredibly simple yet fancy-looking brunch, lunch, or dinner. (Or linner!)
The crepe batter recipe is actually different than the previous one I posted (for Crepes with Homemade Applesauce). That batter was adapted from smitten kitchen, and while I still love it very much, I’ve found it less ideal for crepes that you want to fold up or roll up around some substantial amount of fillings, for the simple reason that they crisp up quite a bit and will actually crack apart if you try to fold them.
Earlier this summer, the crepe recipe over at Spicie Foodie caught my eye, since her crepes looked utterly soft, floppy, and foldable—not at all like they’d crack apart upon wrapping them up around some juicy tomatoes and melty mozzarella.
(This recipe also has the benefit of only needing to be whisked up within the hour in advance of crepe-making!)
Whether you like your caprese in salad form or inside a crepe (not many things are not better inside a crepe!), I hope you are finding a way to enjoy the late summer tomatoes while they last.
Print this recipe. (PDF)
(Crepe batter ingredients adapted from Spicie Foodie.)
(Makes about 10 crepes; Serves 4-5)
Ingredients for the crepe batter:
~ 2 eggs
~ 1¼ cups flour
~ 1 cup whole milk
~ ¾ cup water
~ 1 Tbsp. butter, melted (then slightly cooled)
~ ½ tsp. salt
~ ½ tsp. sugar (optional)
~ butter for the crepe pan
Ingredients for Caprese Crepes:
~ ripe tomato, thinly sliced
~ fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
~ fresh basil chiffonade
~ sea salt and black pepper
~ olive oil (1 Tbsp. or so per crepe)
~ balsamic vinegar (1-2 tsp. per crepe)
Special equipment needed:
~ 9-10″ non-stick pan or electric griddle
~ wooden crepe spreader (optional)
How to make it:
1. Make the crepe batter: In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in the flour, adding the milk a little at a time to make sure the flour doesn’t clump too much. Whisk in the water, melted butter, salt, and sugar. (The batter should be pretty thin and liquidy.) Cover and let it sit out at room temperature for at least 45-60 minutes (or refrigerate overnight).
2. Make the crepes: Heat a non-stick pan or electric pancake griddle. Melt about ½ Tbsp. butter, spreading it around the surface before the first crepe, and adding more as needed. Measure ¼-⅓ cup crepe batter, depending on the size of crepes you want to make. Swirl the batter evenly around the pan, or twirl a wooden crepe spreader lightly over the center of the batter to spread it out into a larger circle. Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, until the bottom is lightly browned and the crepe is flip-able. Flip and cook for at least another minute.
3. Assemble a Caprese Crepe: Once you’ve flipped your crepe to the other side, immediately place a few slices of mozzarella in the center so they can start to melt. Top the mozzarella with tomato slices and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Cook for several minutes—you may need to lower the heat just a bit—until the mozzarella is sufficiently melty.
4. Just before serving, drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (Be careful not to get too much balsamic vinegar on the crepe itself or that part will become soggy.) Then use a spatula to carefully fold one third of the crepe in on each side. Transfer to a plate and serve warm.
Print this recipe! (PDF)
Related recipe posts:
|Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad||Slow-Roasted Tomato Bruschetta||Crepes with Homemade Applesauce||Heirloom Tomato Goat Cheese Tart|