Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Cannelloni, Part 1: Whole Wheat Crêpes

I know that Christmas dinner means a lot of different things to people, but I have never been especially invested in what we eat on Christmas day. We’ve tended to mix it up over the years with turkey or ham, lamb, or cornish game hens. Sometimes we have potatoes, we always have vegetables, but I don’t have one distinctive memory of Christmas dinner. 

When it came time to plan our holiday feast, I was continually drawn to Italian food. This might seem strange to some people, but it feels traditional to me. My great grandmother Adele was a first generation immigrant from Italy. Although she died when I was very small, I’ve grown up with stories of Adele rolling out sheets of pasta for lasagna and ravioli, cooking sauce on the stove for hours, and making meatballs the size of my head. Italian food is both vegan friendly and festive.

This dish is closest to a cannelloni, whole wheat crêpes stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, and onions in a béchamel sauce, topped with a slow cooked tomato sauce. It was delicious, creamy, and special enough for Christmas dinner. It also opens the door to a lot of different interpretations including lasagna and manicotti. I’ll start with the crêpes, as a good crêpe recipe is very versatile, and can be used in a wide variety of dishes.

Whole Wheat Crêpes

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
6 tablespoons water
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup whole wheat flour (you can also substitute whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour depending on your dish)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons non dairy butter melted

In a blender, whip the flaxseed and water until light and frothy. Add the milk, water, flour, salt, and butter and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.

Heat a small skillet or crepe pan over medium high heat. Spray the pan lightly with a canola cooking spray. You will need to do this before every crêpe. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan and rotate the pan to evenly distribute the batter. Cook until the crêpe begins to loosen and the edges begin to brown. Flip the crêpe and cook for 15 more seconds. Transfer to a clean dish towel. Repeat.

1 comment:

  1. This is something new to me. I have never tried this one. Thanks for sharing.