Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Squash and Zucchini Crêpes


I recall late one night (or was it early in the morning), sitting at the bar at La Cave du Vin discussing the merits of hedonism with pals Becky and eine schlechte kleine affe, Erich Lasher.*

"It's not that we are hedonistic," mused Lasher, rolling a Chave Hermitage around in an oversized Spiegelau. "Hedonism is too formal. Hedonism is the belief that the only virtue is pleasure. It's pleasure for it's own sake, it's shallow. There's no there there."

I sipped my cocktail, a drink Lasher had concocted years before that I had the honor of dubbing "Chocolate Raspberry Butt-Sex" (it appears on the cocktails menu today as the "Chocolate Raspberry Surprise!").

"What we do, how we stumble through life, is far more complex," Lasher continues, just hitting his stride. "We're more like sensualists." We allowed the word to hang in the air. "We want to feel the whole range, pleasure, pain. We laugh louder, cry harder, fuck better, eat with passion, take a dump with passion, curse, smoke and love a good glass of wine."

Glasses were clinked. "Sensualist," I said, "I dig it."

* Note: all dialogue is wildly and recklessly misquoted by the author, who's memories of said conversation are foggy at best.

--

Being excited by vegetables is a good thing, right? Because sometimes I feel a little too excited... like, creepy excited.

The fuzzy curve of a peace, the sweet smell of it's sap. Cucumbers and zucchinis in lurid poses. Shy mushrooms showing off their frilly undergarments. The proud shining skin of a pepper. So many colors! From Matisse to van Gogh to Renoir. No wonder the fruit bowl was such a favored subject for the still life.

The soil around these parts has been pretty generous this spring, giving up the goods like the randy little tart she is!

I made the following the other day for a late lunch, but this could just as well be brunch with a nice rosé.

Summer Crêpes:

Crêpe Batter -
  • 1 chicken egg.
  • 3/4 cup of milk.
  • 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour.
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt.
  • 1/2 shallot, diced.
  • 1/2 small zucchini or summer squash, diced.
Garnish -
  • 1/2 small zucchini, peeled into strips with a vegetable peeler.
  • Pecorino Romano, peeled into strips with a vegetable peeler.
  • Sheep's milk Gouda, peeled into strips with a vegetable peeler.
  • 1 small heirloom tomato, roughly chopped.
  • Optional (if this is coming out of your own garden): nasturtiums and squash blossoms, if available.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Fresh cracked pepper.
Mix crepe batter, adding milk as needed until the consistency of heavy cream.

Allow batter to rest for at least half an hour to allow flour to hydrate.

Spoon out onto a buttered skillet in whatever size you like (I got two 9" diameter crêpes out of this batch), flip after a few minutes, allow to cook through for about half a minute and serve with the first side up as your "presentation side".

Shave garnish onto the crêpes and drizzle with oil. Crack pepper and serve.