Friday, September 30, 2011

Philly: Sausage and Asparagus Crepes

This week was filled with craziness and the sniffles. I didn't actually cook all week until Thursday, but like always, that doesn't mean I didn't eat.

A Voter Registraton Drive I held with the oh so healthy pizza in a college-like fashion.

Feeling sick, so I went for the classic Matzo Ball Soup (Jewish Penicilin.)

My former roommate, Lisa brought over a beautiful and delicious tray of Eggplant Parmesan that her mom made.

Thursday Night:
After work, homework, meeting with school groups etc., I made one of Aaron's favorite meal: chicken and asparagus crepes. But unfortunately the breast of chicken I had in the fridge had seen better days so instead I went with two links of turkey sausage. It was very tasty but I think I will stick with the chicken version in the future.

Many people only view crepes as a dessert loaded with whipped cream and fruit or chocolate. In France, the land of the crepe, (pronounced “crep” not “crape”, please,) this pancake-ish recipe is incredibly versatile and I must prefer savory crepes with chicken and sautéed vegetables. This is a good recipe because it can be a “one pan meal” which Aaron, the dishwasher likes a quite a bit!
One of my favorite stands in Reading Terminal Market is Profi's Creperie an all crepe, all the time stand with everything from Chicken and Pesto crepes to crepes stuffed with cheesecake and Nutella! If you are ever hanging around Philadelphia and end up near Market East/Chinatown, check this place out.
Along with that, I will share with you my revised Sausage, Asparagus, and Mushrooms Crepes. If you want the best taste, try some herbed chicken instead. For an example check out the chicken from my Chicken and Spinach Pita Pizzas. I occasionally make Parmesan sauce to put over the crepe filing instead of simply grated parmesan, but I was too tired.
Cook the filing first so the crepes are at their freshest and fluffiest. (You can make the batter ahead of time and refrigerate it so it thickens up a little.)

Sausage, Asparagus, and Mushroom Crepes:

Makes 5 crepes

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder

Black pepper
½ cup fat-free milk
½ cup water
2 links of turkey sausage, cut into chunks
8 oz. package of mushrooms (portabella is probably best)
1 bunch asparagus
Olive Oil
Garlic Salt
Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup Grated Parmesan (or Parmesan sauce)

Heat a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and cook the asparagus over medium heat. Season with pepper, dash of worcestershire sauce, and garlic salt.

Set aside asparagus in a bowl.

Using the same pan, cook chopped sausage over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil until no longer pink and slightly browned on the outside.

Set sausage aside and cook mushrooms in the same fashion as the asparagus until slightly browned.
Once filing is cooked, begin the crepes.

Whisk together the flour and the eggs.  Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the garlic salt and butter. Whisk until smooth like pancake batter.
Heat pan over medium high heat and drizzle olive oil.

 Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using a little less than 1/2 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.

Cook for about is lightly brown on the bottom. With a spatula, turn and cook the other side.

Place individual crepes on a plate and sprinkle some parmesan on the bottom.

Place an even amount of the sausage, asparagus, and mushrooms on each crepe. Top with more parmesan and fold over.
Serve and enjoy with a side salad and a glass of wine (or by itself shoving the contents down your throat, whatever works.)
Bon Appétit!
The College Cuisiner

What's your favorite way to eat a crepe or pancake? do you ever make a savory version?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Small Town: Chicken Sans Nom (Without a Name)

Back home for the first time since I left for school, Aaron and I found ourselves alone for dinner while my mom went to a 50th anniversary party. Spending the earlier part of the day with her was lots of fun but it left us tired and hungry!

Faced with the classic "what to make for dinner" dilemma, I raided the fridge for ingredients. I found thawed chicken breast, a red pepper, frozen peas, white wine, and rice. We can make this work.
I breaded and cooked chicken medallions and then made an onion, pepper, peas, lemon, and white wine sauce. Put the whole thing over steamed rice and we’ve got ourselves a meal.

The problem is, I have no idea what to call this dish. Any ideas?
Despite the namelessness of the dish, it was absolutely delicious if I do say myself. I suppose it would be close to a Chicken Picatta, but better. This is a MUST TRY.
As usual, this is a dish for two, so if you are cooking for more people, double the portion. I recommend serving the chicken over steamed minute rice (we made 1 ½ dry cups = 4-5 cups cooked rice.)
Chicken Sans Nom (Without a Name): 2 servings

1 chicken breast
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
½ bag of frozen peas, cooked
1 small onion, roughly chopped
4 leaves of basil, roughly chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp. butter
1 chicken bouillon cube, dissolved
Olive oil
Garlic salt
½ cup flour
1 egg, beaten

Start by cutting the chicken breast in round slivers.

Heat a large pan over medium heat with olive oil and ½ of the minced garlic.

Working in batches, dip chicken pieces first in egg and then in flour mixed with ½ tsp. of garlic salt and pepper.

Fry chicken pieces in the pan until golden brown and done, not burnt, set aside on a plate.
In a medium bowl cook frozen peas in the microwave.

Once the chicken is done, using the same pan, heat up tbsp. of butter and the rest of the garlic.

Add the chopped onions to the pan and sautéed.

Add red pepper and begin to brown.

Once the peas are cooked add them to the pan with other vegetables.

Once vegetables are mostly cooked, add cup of wine, lemon juice, bouillon, basil and pepper, cooking down but not too much, keeping a sufficient sauce.

Add cooked chicken and stir in the mixture.

Spoon the mixture over rice and serve.
Enjoy! See you on Thursday...
The College Cuisiner

Do you have any possible names for this dish?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Philly: Spinach and Chicken "Lighter" Alfredo

Do you know the feeling when you just want to procrasinate on just about everything...even getting up for water?

Yeah, I'm there.

I feel like a ton of bricks wrapped in two tons of something equally as damaging has been dropped on my lower back prompting a slightly odd hump for the likes of a twenty-something college student. I think it is a mix between stress, the unholy sickness that is already going around, and being overworked.

Who knows. But in order to further procrastinate and avoid reading about insurgency in predominately religious countries, or the differences between the Yoruba and Dogun culture in Africa, or the American Revolution in 1775 New York City, instead I am blogging. Yay productivity!

But back to the food, which I must admit there is occasional night when I don’t cook but when you are on a budget it usually comes between cooking or not eating. Forget this magical thing called “take-out.” That doesn’t exist in college land.

So here it is:

When you think cheese sauce you probably imagine some unbelievably rich and fattening dish. Am I right?

Don’t bet on it. Because this recipe allows you to have your cheese sauce, and eat it too. Of course this still has butter but with low-fat milk and part-skim mozzarella, light cream cheese, and parmesan it isn’t as bad. But please, trust me on the butter, it is worth it!

Now I like to serve this with pasta and chicken mixed in, but if you would like to make it more of a side dish, cut the quantities and skip the chicken, serve with baked chicken and/or a salad.

 I now realize that for this purpose, you actually should use very little cheese so it is more like a sauce than say a fondue. But eh, live and learn is my policy.

Chicken and Spinach “Lighter” Alfredo : 4 meal size servings


1 cup fat-free milk

2 tbsp. light cream cheese

2 tbsp. butter

1 tsp. flour

1 garlic clove minced

¼ cup grated parmesan

¼ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

1 bag of fresh spinach

1 chicken breast, cut in chunks

Olive oil


Worcestershire sauce


If serving with pasta, cook pasta ahead of time or while you are making the sauce.

In a medium sauce pan add olive oil and minced garlic.

Add chicken chunks to the pan and begin to brown, add pepper and a dash of worcestershire.

Add spinach and cook until both spinach and chicken are done.

Remove the mixture from the pan and put in a separate bowl.

In the same pan add butter and allow it to bubble.

Add tsp. of flour mixing quickly with the butter, making sure it doesn’t brown.

Begin to add milk slowly, ¼ cup at a time, constantly stirring with a whisk.

Once milk has thickened, whisk in cream cheese.

Mix in in cheeses.

Mix until sauce is smooth.


Add chicken and spinach mixture into the cheese sauce.

Mix pasta in with the sauce until the noodles are evenly coated.

Serve and enjoy your delicious and not-as-indulgent-as-you-think Alfredo.


The College Cuisiner

Friday, September 23, 2011

Philly: Thursday Night Throw-Latte Art Competition

My friend Sara and I have a favorite coffee shop in Merion Station (Main Line Philadelphia) called Town Hall which we go to when we have the time. This place has first class coffee and reminds me of my favorite shop back home.

I ran into Sara and she told me that our favorite Barista Rory had invited her to a "Latte Art Competition" at the shop on Thursday night. He said free food, lattes, and beer. We were in.

The spread was actually pretty nice: pita, lettuce cups, hummus, olive tapenade, cucumber tomato salad, cheese. I was happy. And the free beer helped.

Apparently this competition, known as Thursday Night Throwdown, is a monthly event sponsored by several Philly Coffee Shops and counter culture coffee which travels to a different coffee shop each month where baristas compete with the Latte art.

This was definitely the infamous Philly hipster crowd and while we were a little out of place, but eventually we blended in.

I had no idea how competitive and intense the latte-art scene could be. There is a metal for the best barista, prize money, and of course...bragging rights. Did you know there are actually international latte-art competitions?

Apparently the DC scene has a rivalry with the Philly scene and they sent an intimidating video dissing Philadelphia. I believe a rebutal was being created.

With 16 baristas they filled a full bracket and began the competition.

The competition was based on how well each barista could master the standard 3 latte designs:

1. The Heart

2. The Flower

3. The hardest of the all is the Rose, but I couldn't get my hands on one.

Honestly, I got pretty lost, but here are some of my action shots:

I think this is a pretty intense shot of a barista confrontation.


Our favorite Barista Rory, smashing the competition.

Steve, one of the most intense baristas who reminds me of Sheldon (Jim Parkins) from The Big Bang Theory. He is super nice though and even kept extra beers cold for us.

At first they started pouring out the lattes but eventually with our lead we grabbed them before they got poured out.

The tension gets to some people...

Sara's second latte, she just got in there!

The coordinated pour...

The guy in the bow tie with huge gage earrings is named Chip. Love it.

The backhanded pour....skills.

Ahh swerve in the knick of time! For what? Steam?


Overall it was a fun night with some really cool people, I think we might have to follow the competition to the next shop in October, hey free food of course.

Wishing you a beautiful cup of coffee with the people you love.                                                                    


The College Cuisiner