Bobby Flay. Giada de Laurentiis. Ming Tsai.
These are people you might expect a food blogger to answer when asked the question, “with which chef would you most like to team up with to cook a gourmet meal?”
My answer? It might surprise you. I’m just as happy cooking with Vanessa.
You don’t know her, but I wish you did. You would if she had a blog, which she totally should. I’ve told her this. Maybe if enough of you leave comments, she actually will?
Vanessa is one of my besties (yup, I love that word) and we first met almost six years ago on an online wedding-planning chat board. (I have no shame in meeting my friends online – especially because that’s how I met my husband.) While DIY invitations and sparkly pumpkins initially brought us together, our mutual love of good food, good clothes, sexy eyeshadow, and sarcasm kept the spark alive.
These days, I can’t possibly plan a dinner party or holiday menu without running it by V.
Whether I’m stumped for ideas or just need reassurance, I know I can trust her feedback. And, I know she’s completely on the same page about why every little detail is so important. I heart her.
Cooking side-by-side is another thing that’s worked out really well for us. You know those people that you’d rather chase out of your kitchen rather than accept their help? The ones you purposely leave the task of table-setting just so they stay out of your hair? V is not that friend. Rather, we’ve discovered a natural and seamless way of working together and around each other where tasks are understood without being outlined, and where tastebuds aline to produce exciting results. Well, we think so anyway.
If anyone was more excited about my Eggland’s Best Pink Party than me, I’m sure it was Vanessa. Naturally, she arrived early to help, and got right to work where I had left off: making the fresh fig filling for my gluten-free coconut flour crepes. By the way, V is gluten-free, and it’s because of her that I ever started to explore gluten-free cooking in the first place.
V doesn’t need recipes but I had bookmarked this one for a fresh fig compote when I was planning the menu. She took it and ran with it, first softening the figs on the stove top with butter and maple syrup, along with an orange I threw at her because I thought it would be good (not part of the original recipe.) After the figs simmered for a bit with the syrup, juice and zest, she popped it under the broiler to further caramelize and reduce the compote. Meanwhile, I flitted about – chopping garnishes, grating cheese, sweeping the floor – all the little bits that needed to get down before everyone else arrived. I had no reason to hover; I knew her result would be nothing less than stunning. I was right!
One thing I don’t have as a result of letting Vanessa take over my kitchen is an exact recipe for the fig filling to share with you. (Even when it’s just me cooking, I hardly stick to recipes and measurements when cooking for company.) However, I can tell you how to make the crepes, as I have made these carefully by myself a few times now. Just like other coconut flour recipes, they require a lot of eggs – perfect for this party, and for making these a healthier, low-carb dessert. Coconut flour crepes are light and tender and just a tad sweet and nutty from the coconut, perfect for an endless array of sweet fillings. Apples and cranberries for Rosh Hashanah? Check. Fresh fig and orange compote, served with a scoop of Roasted Buttercup Squash Goat Milk Ice Cream? Oh my. Checkity-check, you bet.
Coconut Flour Crepes (Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Dairy-Free Option)
Yield: 10 servings
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted (or coconut oil to make these dairy-free)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
6 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) coconut flour
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process for about one minute, until the mixture is smooth and no lumps remain. If necessary, scrape down the sides of the blender and process again. Let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush a small amount of butter or coconut oil onto the skillet. While holding the skillet away from the heat, quickly pour about 3 tablespoons of the crepe batter onto the skillet, tilting it so that the batter coats the bottom. Return the skillet to the stovetop. Allow the crepe to cook for about 2 minutes, or until set. Carefully lift the crepe with a rubber spatula, grab it by your fingertips, and gently (but quickly!) flip it over. Allow the opposite side to cook for 30-60 seconds, until browned. Remove the crepe from the pan and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining crepe batter, stacking the finished crepes.
At this point, the crepes can be covered and refrigerated until ready to use, up to a day in advance. However, I find that the crepes roll better when warm or room temperature, so if you have refrigerated the crepes, you might try warming them up in the microwave before filling.
Place a few tablespoons of filling along the lower of each crepe, and roll it up, jelly-roll style. Serve immediately, or transfer crepes to a parchment-lined baking sheet, seam-side down. Again, the filled crepes can be refrigerated, covered, for up to one day. Reheat in a 350ºF oven for about 10-15 minutes, until hot.
Servings Per Recipe: 10
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 6.1 g
Saturated Fat 2.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.9 g
Cholesterol 117.2 mg
Sodium 118.5 mg
Potassium 62.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 3.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Sugars 0.1 g
Protein 4.4 g
Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com