In which I eat my words…

I was standing around, making some crepes and stir frying up some shrimp, and getting ready to tell you that scallion crepes with stir fried shrimp and pea greens was stupid and wretched and not worth it and kind of a bust, and then I ate it. It is none of those things. Well, it may not be totally worth it, but it is pretty tasty. The shrimp and greens were easy peasy, the crepes, less so, Crepes are finicky and easier to mess up than get right, though I think if you go into making them knowing this, which I totally should have, since I have made crepes before, then you will have the patience and wherewithal to make this happen without too much difficulty.

This dinner came together from a couple different sources. The crepes came from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison. I am a carnivore – rather I would say I am an omnivore. I am a believer in the food chain. We are lucky enough to be at the top of it, and as long as the creatures are treated humanely I don’t have guilt about eating them. If evolution turns the tables on the food chain, and we are no longer at the top, I will attempt to build a community on the moon where we can once again reign supreme. Join me, won’t you? For real though, I do my very best to avoid factory farmed meat, both because of the way the animals are treated and because of they way they taste, which is pretty much like nothing, but I am very aware that that stance is an expensive and inconvenient luxury-and also sometimes I like a Micky D’s double cheeseburger. I am a study in contrasts. All this rambling had a point that was actually related to the cookbook I was using last night, and the point is this: Local Flavors is a mostly vegetarian cookbook, since it focuses on the vegetables you find a local farmers markets, so I went it to it with a healthy amount of skepticism, but the book is amazing. All of the recipes are enticing and great sounding and totally made me forget that I was only reading about vegetables. That is to say it was magical. And now, because there has been far too much chatter, and I am not ready to show the pics of what I actually made last night since I have lots more chattering about that to do, I am going to include a totally unrelated picture so I don’t lose any of you…

Saturday breakfast

Saturday breakfast

Ahh, that’s better. Stay with me people.

So the shrimp portion of the meal came from The Chinese Kitchen by Yin-Fei Lo. The crepes came first, and the idea in Local Flavors was to stir fry bok choy and pea greens to go with, which sounded lovely, but again, omnivore, and a meat-type protein was missing, so I thought of shrimp, and went looking for a good stir fry recipe . The Chinese Kitchen is lovely and they had just such a recipe. Actually it was shrimp stir fried with bok choy, and I bought bok choy the other day, but I am saving it for wonton or udon noodle soup with my chicken stock (it is supposed to get cooler at the end of the week, so I’ve been told, I’ll believe it when I see it.) I also had pea shoots, and I love the way they taste, so I thought I would use those. It was a pretty good idea, as they came out nicely.

The crepe batter comes together easily, you just throw everything in a blender until it’s mixed up. You need to chop scallions fairly small to sprinkle on there once the crepe is in the pan, but the batter is definitely not the difficult part. Crepe batter is really thin, and, ideally, a thin layer coats the whole bottom of the pan and cooks really quickly. Almost always you lose the first two because the pan is too hot or not oiled enough, but you can usually get the logistics perfect after one or two IF YOU ARE PATIENT. Last night was a week night, a MONDAY night even. I wasn’t patient. Only the last two stupid crepes came out of the EIGHT I made. This is totally my own fault. I could have mitigated this circumstance by not being a total impatient stress case. I have made many a successful crepe before. Blerg. The first one looked so promising and innocent in the pan…

making me complacent...

making me complacent...

I will say, there is a bit too much batter in the pan, that was my first mistake, but I was following the instructions, and they were a little off. I will not show you what an unholy mess this turned out to be, as I am too embarrassed and didn’t take pictures, but nevertheless, by the time I got around to the seventh and eighth crepe, I was in business (photo to follow) and the messed up ones were really very good to pick at as the disaster was unfolding.

On to the stir fry. Really really easy and straightforward, in fact here are the key ingredients…

stir fry mis en place

stir fry mis en place

On the right there is garlic and ginger, and then about a half pound of shrimp, some pea shoots and a sauce that consisted of soy sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil and chicken stock (which just happened to be simmering away on the next burner…needed some more time to get chicken-y.) Stir frying happens quickly so it all has to be ready before you start. Hot pan, add the oil, add the aromatics, cook for ten seconds, add the shrimp, turn when they start to get pink, add the pea shoots and the sauce, let sauce thicken for a minute, done. The crepes were in the low heat toaster oven while I was cooking the shrimp, I pulled the crepes out, set them on a plate, and dispersed the shrimp between the two. I only needed one to fill me up, and I kept the other for lunch, but larger appetites, or someone that didn’t stuff their face with the messed up crepes before cooking was finished might need two…

tasty, but not for the impatient...

tasty, but not for the impatient...

The overall download on this dish is that I would make it again, but I would be more patient and particular about getting the temperature of the pan for the crepes right after the first misstep, and then I would be in business…and I will definitely do the shrimp again with some rice or udon or something.


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