Monday, 13 June 2011

Do horses like crepes?

Friday in Vancouver was a day to remember. It started off like every other Friday with a 9 am Lab Meeting. I'm sure I did some lab work while waiting for a friend to pass her comprehensive exam to become and official PhD candidate. Success was achieved at 3:45 whereupon we headed to a local Kitsilano pub to celebrate and watch Game 5 of the Canucks vs Bruins Stanley Cup Finals. Several pitchers of Granville Island Hefeweizen later we celebrated a win for the Vancouver Canucks. The energy in the city was electric. I was in Vancouver for the Olympics last winter and downtown in the city following the Gold Medal hockey game win and let me tell you, the excitement these days rivals that energy.

After the win we headed to the "Horse Bar". Let me tell you about Horse Bar. Its not an actual bar. It is a place where friends gather in an Alley in the Strathcona area of Vancouver. Let me tell you more. The focal point of this bar is the backside of a lane-way house where a few of my boyfriend's friends live. Near the top left corner of the outside wall, a transparent, cloth, image poster of the famous 'Cavalier' horse (a musical endorsed by Jay Leno) is tacked. Below, a bushel of bamboo is growing. Near the Bamboo is a makeshift, one meter or so long, half-of-a-tree-trunk, sliced vertically which is propped on two stilts and acts as the physical bar. On the bar sit some pink flowers, a jar for change and some cans of inexpensive beer. Plastic lights are strung across the front. A beer is $2. The change goes in the jar, you grab a beer and you enjoy the rest of the surroundings. To the right of the bar is a bench, a chair and a table.

On Friday, my fellow food adventurer, friend and cooking adviser, Vesna, sat in front of that table with a camp stove, a hot pan and a bowl of crepe mix. In addition, a jar of nutella was at hand. All of this was taking place in the late night, in an alleyway under the stars and few clouds. Vesna cooked up the crepes, slathered on a good serving of nutella, rolled them and diced them. I took a platter around the alley and served the stray folks coming in to play glow in the dark Frisbee, strum the acoustic guitar or just hang. Life does not get more enjoyable.

This morning, I felt the need to recapture the essence of that unique and memorable evening by cooking up some crepes. Not as exciting back in my own kitchen but a few more ingredients at my disposal. My favorite crepes, also introduced to me by Vesna, are mushroom and gruyere crepes. I did not have all of my favorite ingredients on hand today but improvised and used the fillings listed below. Also, I could not resist preparing nutella and strawberry crepes, hoping they would come close to being as delicious in my home as they were in the crisp air of the Horse Bar.

I should warn you, in case you are looking for specifics, most things I do in the kitchen involve watching what is going on. I rarely time anything that I do. I check for browning, bubbling, curling etc. Also, I simply eyeball ingredient quantities and only measure when it seems really important. I am always adjusting flavours and ingredients. Part of my goal in keeping this blog is to try to be more specific when I cook so I can repeat great recipes.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, unbleached
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, milk and eggs. Add the salt and butter and mix well. I usually add extra milk until the consistency is thin. When the batter hits the pan you want to be able to spread it fast and thin.
  2. Usually I will mix the batter in a food processor to make it really smooth but I did not do that today and it turned out great anyways. Next I placed the batter in the fridge to rest while I prepared the other ingredients.
  3. When everything is ready the crepes can be cooked and assembled as explained below in my mushroom crepe recipe from today.

Portobello mushroom, egg and goat cheese crepe

The only mushrooms I had in the fridge today were of the portobello variety. I think I prefer brown button mushrooms thinly sliced with shallots, garlic and Gruyere. What I had in the fridge and made on this occasion is outlined below.


  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced and chopped
  • 2 portobellos with the stalks removed
  • 2 tablespoons of parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons of goat cheese
  • basil
  • 1 fried egg


  1. First, I softened the onion and garlic in a pan in a tablespoon of olive oil. Then I turned up the heat and sautéed the mushrooms for about 5 or 10 minutes. I added chopped basil for the last minute. On the side I cooked up one egg (nothing fancy) in a pan and then put it aside.
  2. Next, I heated up my big, non-stick pan to medium heat and scooped a ladle full of crepe batter into the pan, swirling the pan to evenly distribute. Once the crepe starts to bubble and the edges curl, I flip the crepe and start adding the toppings: a sprinkle of grated parmesan, a small amount of crumbled goat cheese, 1/3 of the portobello mixture and a few bites of egg.
  3. Finally, I rolled up the crepe, put it on a plate and moved on to the next one. My mushroom ingredients made enough for 3 mushroom crepes. I had enough batter to also make 2 strawberry/nutella crepes.

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