For the last five years I have been saying that I was going to have brunch or lunch for just the girls. But you know how it is. Everyone is busy, everyone is going here and there, everyone is having company, and so on.
Finally, I decided that this was the year. So, I sent out invitations to the girls in the nine houses that are in my little corner of the universe.
It was spring so I wanted to keep the menu simple but elegant so off to my stash of cookbooks and recipes I went. I had mentioned in an earlier blog that I had a really good seafood crêpe recipe that I would share at some point. I decided that this recipe would be the cornerstone of my menu.
What I really like about these crêpes is the different flavors and textures that fill your mouth all at once. First you have these wonderfully thin pancakes with a filling that is both soft and crunchy topped with whipped cream and cheese. I just love the waterchestnuts in the filling. The whole thing is just plain delicious.
Do you remember the cookbooks that were sold in grocery stores back in the seventies? Family Circle published a series of cookbooks back then and I collected several. In the end I gave away most but kept three of the cookbooks.
Volume 4 had great recipes for cakes, candies and canning. Volume 6 dealt with cooking for a crowd, cooking for just two, cooking on boats or over a campstove, barbequing and information about calories. Volume 11 covered recipes for lunch boxes, lunches and brunches, leftovers and tips on buy, storing and preparing nuts.
The seafood crêpe recipe was in Volume 11. I have been making this recipe for over thirty years now and it has always been a crowd pleaser and frankly once you master making the crêpes it is really easy.
Filling and sauce:
1 can (about 8 ounces) salmon, drained, boned, and flaked
1 can (about 7 ounces) tuna, drained and flakes
1 can (5 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 Tablespoon minced onion
5 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
¾ cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon melted butter or margarine
¼ cup cream for whipping
1) Make filling and sauce: Mix salmon, tuna and water chestnuts in a medium-sized bowl.
2) Sauté onion in butter or margarine just until soft in a medium-size saucepan. Blend in flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring all the time, just until mixture bubbles. Stir in milk; continue cooking and stirring until sauce thickens and boils 1 minute. Remove from heat; blend in 2 tablespoons of the cheese and lemon juice. (Save remaining cheese for Step 8).
3) Stir 1-cup sauce into tuna-salmon mixture; set remaining aside for Step 8.
4) Make crêpes: Measure flour, sugar and salt into sifter. Beat eggs until thick in a medium-size bowl; sift dry ingredients over; beat just until smooth. Stir in milk and butter or margarine.
5) Heat an 8-inch heavy frying pan slowly; test temperature by sprinkling in a few drops of water. When drops bounce about, temperature is right. Grease pan with butter or margarine.
6) Pour batter, a scant 1/3 cup at a time, into pan, tilting pan to cover bottom completely. Bake 1 to 2 minutes, or until top is set and underside golden; turn; brown other side. Repeat with remaining batter, lightly buttering pan before each baking, to make 8 crêpes.
7) Spoon about 1/3 cup filling into center of each crêpe as it’s baked; roll up and place, seam side down, in a shallow baking dish.
8) Make topping: Beat cream until stiff in a small bowl; fold into remaining sauce from Step 3; spoon over crêpes. Sprinkle with saved 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.
9) Bake in moderate over (350°) 30 minutes, or until filling is hot and cheese is golden.
The rest of the brunch menu was filled with nature’s bounty from the garden. I made a spinach and strawberry salad with poppy seed dressing, steamed asparagus with a little fresh lemon, salt and pepper, wonderfully red, ripe tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette and fresh basil.
I kept the beverages simple too. I offered mimosas, white and red wine and a non-alcoholic punch to start the afternoon with my friends.
I wanted my table setting to be simple but elegant too. White tablecloth and napkins with just one small spring flower arrangement.
I used my new Lenox Butterfly Meadow dishes. The dishes are white with four patterns of lovely spring flowers, butterflies and bees. I used my crystal water and wine glasses for beverages.
We girls had not seen each in a group in quite a while so after some hellos and individual conversations I proposed that we do a round robin about what had been going on in our lives since last we were altogether. It was really fun. It is amazing what goes on in our friends’ lives that we miss if we do not keep in touch or if we just do not ask.
I decided to keep desserts light also so I made a wonderfully light strawberry trifle and an Italian cream cake. The trifle I served in crystal water glasses.
The recipes for the salad and trifle I will blog about in the future.
I have always found that breaking bread with someone creates a very intimate climate to nurture friendship, understanding, caring, love and so many other wonderful feelings. I will always find time to invite family and friends to my table.
I received this a few days after the lunch:
Having lunch for the neighborhood girls was such a thoughtful thing for you to do. It was good to catch up on everyone’s lives–it had been a while. And the food was simple (or so it seemed!) yet elegant and tasted wonderful! I can’t choose which item I liked best. I was impressed with the crunch of the water chestnuts in the seafood crêpes. Everything was light, yet satisfying.
With your good cooking, I don’t know how Randy hasn’t turned “blimpy” by now! Very nicely done!!!!
Thank you so much for a lovely lunch. Love, Genny”.
Well, I think I met all the goals I set for this get together. I will have another soon.