Friday, December 24, 2010

Feeding the Meat Eaters

I love when they all come home. I hate having to find one thing that several picky eaters will want to eat. Worse - they're all carnivores and the idea of vegetarian has them heading to the nearest fast-food joint.

So far, I've managed to feed them "safe" foods that they're used to eating sans meat, like fettuccine Alfredo. However, once we get beyond vegetable soup and grilled cheese, I'm in a quandary. What now?

Here's a recipe I cooked up that may do the trick. I've been craving it since my favorite restaurant moved out of town to a downtown location. Crepes are great because even if I'm not eating meat, they can use leftover turkey to fill theirs with whatever keeps them happy.

Spinach Rice Crepes with Mushroom White Sauce

The Sauce:
2/3 cup sliced mushrooms
cooking spray
2 Tbl. butter
2 Tbl. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup water (or substitute both milk and water for 1 cup milk)

The Crepes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

The Filling:
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup minced or finely chopped onion
white sauce
dash of Herbes de Provence

Make the sauce first. Heat a skillet sprayed with cooking spray to medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until soft. Add butter, melt, then add flour and cook for a minute until the flour is browned a bit. Slowly stir in milk and water, making sure to get all the lumps out (except the mushrooms, of course). Heat until thick, adding salt whenever you like. Set aside. This is a medium-thick white sauce.

If you have troubles getting it un-lumpy, toss the whole thing in a food processor, mushrooms and all - unless you'd rather have whole mushroom slices in your sauce.

Make the filling next. Using the still-hot skillet, saute the onion until clear. Add the spinach for a minute, wilting it. Transfer to a bowl, then add about 1/4 cup of white sauce (keep things somewhat moist, but not wet) and the rice. Season with Herbes de Provence (or thyme/sage as you prefer). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Make the crepes last. Mix the flour and egg in a large bowl using a whisk. Add milk and water gradually, then salt and butter, beating it until it's all smooth.

Heat sprayed skillet to medium hot. Using a measuring cup, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan, turning it until the batter spreads to cover the bottom entirely. They'll be thin, as they should be. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes, then remove it to a dinner or serving plate (heated, if you prefer). Fill with filling mixture (I use about 1-2 Tbls. depending on crepe size). Spoon a Tbl. of white sauce over it, garnish it with a mushroom or sliced almonds, if you prefer, and serve.