All The Things I Eat




Chicken Crepes With Béchamel Sauce

By on Friday, November 5th, 2021 at 1:17 pm

Savory chicken crepes

Savory dinner crepes are an underrated food. What I love about them is they seem fancy, but are actually rather simple to make.

The first time I had a savory chicken crepe was in college at the North Star Bar, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was one of the more upscale bars in the downtown intended for the business people and young professionals in the city rather than college students. At happy hour though the drinks were cheap enough and the bar menu discounted, so we could pretend we belonged.

The crepes were filled with chicken, an assortment of vegetables including asparagus and red peppers, and a creamy sauce. I’m sure the memory of these crepes were far better than they really were, or maybe just relative to the other types of things I was eating in college, they seemed especially good. I think about those crepes every time I make savory crepes for dinner. It is not that I am trying to to replicate the dish, nor would I be able to.

For the crepes, I started with a basic recipe. I don’t have a specific goto that I prefer for crepes and usually just pull the top listing off of Google. The essentials are Eggs, flour, milk, and melted butter. Some recipes suggest adding sugar, but I avoid these recipes even if I’m making sweet crepes. I also like recipes that suggesting thinning out the batter with water.

The most important step in making crepes is allowing the batter to sit. Some recipes will insist the batter needs to sit overnight in the refrigerator. Generally I think a thirty minute rest period is enough. That is enough time for thin batter to spread easily across the pan. Mixing in a bit of water at this point can help thin the batter out too.

The longest part of the whole process is cooking the crepes. Each crepe will cook relatively quickly but the time adds up when it comes to the volume of crepes. And a smaller pan means smaller crepes, and ultimately more crepes to make.

Sometimes I wish I had a crepe specific pan or even a professional grade crepe hotplate. Both tools create extremely thin crepes. On the other hand, I don’t need the extra equipment clogging up the kitchen.

I could have started the filling while the batter was resting, but I wanted to finish watching the last twenty minutes of Sideways. The film mostly holds up, although the portrait of a man willing to bang his way through Napa Valley three days before his wedding seems tired and outdated. Anyway, I waited until the crepes were cooking to get to work on the filling.

The filling started with olive oil and onions. Once they were translucent, I added in slices of a chicken breast. You can argue about how much more flavorful dark meat is, but béchamel is a rich and fatty sauce anyway. After lightly browning the chicken, I tossed in some mushrooms and simmered those for a few minutes. I continued flipping out crepes.

A good crepe maker can flip a crepe with a simple flick of the wrist. I’m not good enough to do this perfectly every time and so I use the assistance of a spatula.

One the meat arrived at a stable place in the cooking process, I could start on the white sauce. I would love to pretend like I’ve memorized the béchamel ratios, but I’m not a French trained chef, and the internet is in my pocket. In addition to the butter, flour, and milk, I also added some garlic powder. Once the sauce was thickened, I added about half of it to the chicken and mushrooms, reserving the rest for the top of the crepe.

To assemble them, I laid a crepe out flat, added some filling, and rolled it over on itself. I plated two each and then drizzled some sauce over each one. One recipe online suggested topping the crepes with gruyere and then baking them briefly. I had forgotten to get gruyere and the cheddar I had in the refrigerator just didn’t seem a good match. Instead, I shaved some Parmigiano-Reggiano over the crepes.

Cross section of a crepe

As you can see in the above cross section, the sauce inside the crepe was gooey and creamy.

I debated stuffing in some green beans that I had prepared as side dish, but thought the texture would not be quite right. I also think a roasted sweet potato would make an excellent substitute for the chicken for vegetarians, but then that’s probably a different post altogether.





Salted Chicken

By on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 at 5:17 am


I was out at Brooklyn’s second Chinatown on Avenue U and stopped for lunch.

Identifying interesting dishes can be a challenge the names of the dishes aren’t necessarily translated well. My friend made some attempted conversation with the waiter who spoke about as much English as we spoke Cantonese. This is what we got:

“Salted Chicken” which was salty, but only in the sense that it wasn’t sweet. Large chunks of eggplant floated with small pieces of white meat chicken.

Chicken on the bone, the waiter expressed. Yes, we were okay with that. This was not as good as the first, but still still very good. Lots of onions with dark meat.

Making some awkward banter beforehand paid off when our whole fish arrived. The waiter kindly stripped the flesh from the bones more elegantly than we ever would have.

Yes, that is a fish head. No, we didn’t eat it.

Shing Wong Restauant Inc
1232 Avenue U
Brooklyn





Spicy Korean BBQ Chicken

By on Monday, June 25th, 2012 at 6:50 am

Spicy BBQ chicken platter

College campuses usually produce a variety of cheap food like this Spicy Korean Barbecue chicken from Danny’s.

Rutgers University’s Newark campus isn’t exactly a place you’ll find fine dining, but there are comfort foods like this Korean style chicken platter served over what I imagine is about a pound of rice. There is even a side salad.

Attending graduate classes at night left little time between work and class to grab food. Danny’s though was always fast and will forever remind of my days there.

The chicken could have been spicier, but did avoid the failings of many low cost Asian inspired cuisines: I never felt it was too greasy.

The salad was a nice touch because you could always convince yourself you were having something green.

Spicy chicken BBQ

Platter of rice, chicken and salad from Danny's in Newark

Danny’s
164 University Avenue
Newark, New Jersey