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Rainbow Kitchen

Keeping It Simply Delicious

By Allison St. Claire
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Crepes are a good example: they can be dressed up, down or sideways with everything from sweets to savories, meats to treats. You can make them in an ordinary skillet or there are specialized crepe pans available.

I love fruit. It’s healthy. Most are satisfyingly sweet.

It’s simple. No cooking or recipes required.

It’s fast. Pick (from tree, bush, patch or produce bin), peel or pare (if necessary), wash (if appropriate) and eat.

Enjoy. Repeat.

But, just as every woman knows having a little basic black dress that can be accessorized for everything from a cocktail party to a condolence visit, and a guy needs that no-wrinkle pair of khakis to either dress up with a classy blazer or down with a simple golf shirt, it’s good to have a few simple somethings in your food repertoire that can serve as a palate for whatever you might want to heap upon them to suit almost any occasion.

Crepes are a good example: they can be dressed up, down or sideways with everything from sweets to savories, meats to treats. You can make them in an ordinary skillet or there are specialized crepe pans available.

Another excellent “starter” food that cries out for all sorts of fruity additions especially is sponge cake. Try this version from Alice Waters’ newest cookbook, The Art of Simple Food II.


 

Sponge Cake

(Makes one 12 x 18" rectangular cake)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Butter a half-sheet pan (12 x 18 inches) and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper and dust the pan with flour, shaking out the excess.

 

Separate: 5 eggs at room temperature

Sift together:

1-1/2 cups cake flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Put the yolks into a mixing bowl and whip for 5 minutes until light in color.

 

Add:

½ cup cold water

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/4 cups sugar

 

Continue whipping for 5 more minutes. The mixture will form a faint ribbon when the whisk or beater is lifted.

Whip the egg whites into soft peaks with: ½ teaspoon cream of tartar.

Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg yolks. When the flour is incorporated, gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cake is lightly brown and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool completely. The cake can be made 1 or 2 days ahead, wrapped well, and held at room temperature. It also freezes well.


 

Sweet Crepes

Makes 8 crepes. (To make savory instead of sweet crepes, omit the sugar and vanilla extract in this recipe, and add a pinch of salt. Fill savory crepes with vegetables, cheese or meat mixtures.)

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

Melted unsalted butter for greasing pan

 

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Using a pastry brush dipped in melted butter, lightly grease the entire surface of a 9-inch crepe pan or nonstick fry pan and place over medium heat.

Fill a 1/4-cup ladle with batter to just below the lip. Holding the pan at an angle above the burner, pour the batter into the pan close to one edge. Quickly swirl the pan so the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. This should happen very fast since the batter will start to cook upon contact with the hot pan.

Cook, shaking the pan from time to time, until the crepe begins to bubble, the bottom is lightly browned and the batter looks set, about 1-2 minutes.

Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot or cold.


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Allison St. Claire loves to dream about, study, grow, play with, prepare and ultimately enjoy eating great food.

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