Music Pairing: Edith Piaf, Le Vie En Rose
To this day, I fondly remember and cherish waking up to the smell of fresh crepe batter at my parents’ apartment in district 9A, Baku, Azerbaijan. My mother Rouzela (Roza, for short) a woman of strength and grace beyond measure, was and is a wonderful, wholesome cook. As a young person, I worked rather hard on my school work while also seriously pursuing my violin studies. Studying in the youth division of our State Music Conservatory, our school days went through Saturday, so I always longed for Sunday mornings. Crepes were a beloved staple, and each of us liked them a little differently. By the time my dad, sister and I made it to the kitchen, mom had our tiny kitchen table set, with a pot of fresh brewed Ceylon tea. The combination of those aromas coupled with mom’s gently hummed tune of “La Vie en Rose” is something we all processed as an expression of her love. So was mom’s offering of customized fillings for each family member: the sour crème, farmer’s cheese and raw honey for my dad, red caviar for my sister, and slices of Russian salty brinza cheese for me. On New Year’s (our favorite family holiday), the crepes did come with osetra (black/sturgeon) caviar. We either rolled them like a flute or folded them like a pocket. On the last crepe, my sister and I would create small holes in our crepes and pretend to wear them like zombie masks, until mom would give us “the look”. They were so perfectly delicious, we consumed even those last ones. Conversation, laughter and making day plans made those mornings special. My mom’s love is what made them unforgettable.
About 15 years ago, Aaron’s mom, Sue, introduced the idea of folding delicious fresh mozzarella into these crepes. Today, I am blessed to have my own family, and one of the things we love is upholding the crepe tradition. I prepare the batter, while Aaron makes the crepes tableside (using an electric crepe griddle). We have created our own elements for the tradition, by filling them with additional alternatives, like fresh mozzarella, Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread), scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. It brings me enormous joy to be able to keep the love going through this tradition now shared with our boys, extended family and friends.
Base Crepe Recipe
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk, stirring to combine. Add the olive oil; beat until smooth.
- Heat a lightly oiled griddle or crepe pan
- Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. It is critical not to exceed that measurement, as the crepes must be razor thin. If making these in a pan or a stovetop griddle, tilt the pan quite immediately with a circular motion so that the batter quickly coats the surface evenly.
- Cook each crepe for about 1-1.5 mins on each side.
Fresh Mozzarella, lightly salted; Smoked salmon/lox; Scrambled eggs (optional: cooked with chorizo and cheddar cheese, or plain), Osetra caviar
Nutella; Raspberry jam; Grade A Dark Maple Syrup