We all know that dinner on the town for Valentine’s Day is amateur hour, and few of us have the luxury to lounge under the covers all day. The perfect solution: ‘breakfast in bed’ for dinner. We asked the amazing party planner and gastro-genius Annie Campbell to cook up this Valentine’s meal for a cozier affair: dinner with her husband Greg. Annie and Greg normally cook and serve together, whether at home or for their catering business, so the romantic holiday is a great chance for them to get out of the kitchen, and into the bedroom. This French-inspired menu focuses on the savory side of breakfast (after all, it is dinner!). Though slightly intimidating, crepes couldn’t be simpler and are the perfect vessel for all of your favorite fillings. The best part is that everything can be made in advance and assembled last minute to maximize time with your sweetheart. Plus, a frisee salad is a great excuse for bacon & eggs. And it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day unless we started with some bubbly and ended with ococoa chocolates—plus we love the way the printed menu feels like a sweet Valentine’s Day card a la Amy Blessing’s DIY! Try the yummy recipes for a ham & Gruyere crepes and frisee salad, found below, and check out Annie’s blog for her classic champagne cocktail recipe. Happy Valentine’s Day!
CREPES serves 2
½ C. milk
½ C. water
1 C. flour
3 T. melted butter, plus more for pan
Specialty equipment: a crepe pan or an 8 inch non stick pan
To make crepe batter: Combine eggs, milk, water, flour and melted butter in a blender and puree until smooth. This could also be done in a bowl with an immersion blender. Let batter stand for at least one hour. Batter can be made 24 hours in advance and kept in the refrigerator, covered.
To make the crepes: Brush the crepe pan with melted butter and heat over medium heat. Once the pan is hot but not smoking, pour slightly less than ¼ cup of crepe batter into pan. Right away, pick up the pan and swirl the batter until it covers the entire bottom of the pan. Cook for one minute, until the crepe no longer looks wet. Flip the crepe with a spatula and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer crepe to a plate. Repeat to make more crepes.
To fill and serve: Fill crepes with fillings of your choice down the center (see ideas below) and fold into thirds. If reheating, add a bit of melted butter to the pan, add the filled/folded crepes and cook on the stove for a minute per side over medium heat. If you have filled your crepes with cheese, you might need a little longer per side, until cheese melts. Place on plate and garnish with herbs, lemon or powdered sugar.
Tips: Crepes batter can be made a day or two in advance and refrigerated, covered. Crepes can also be made a day or two in advance. Once cooled, stack crepes with plastic wrap or wax paper and cover in the refrigerator. To reheat, simply put the crepe back into a pan, over medium heat, for 30 seconds per side, until warm.
This is a basic crepes recipe that can be used for both sweet & savory fillings.
CREPES FILLING VARIATIONS
Ham & Gruyere Crepes for two
8 slices of thinly sliced black forest ham or prosciutto
4 oz of Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
3 t. of finely diced chives
freshly ground pepper
To make crepes: Lay four crepes down flat and open. Divide ham and cheese between the four crepes, down the center of each. Spread a little Dijon mustard onto each crepe and season with freshly ground pepper. Fold the crepes into thirds around the meat and cheese. To melt cheese, place crepes (one at a time) in the crepe pan, brushed with melted butter over medium heat for one minute per side. Slide onto a plate and garnish with diced chives
Spinach, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Crepes for two
1-2 T. extra virgin olive oil or butter
1 shallot, thinly sliced or diced
½ pound mushrooms, chopped
1 t. fresh thyme, chopped
2 large handfuls of baby spinach, washed
a pinch of nutmeg
4 T. crumbled goat cheese
salt and pepper
zest of one lemon
3 t. of chives
To make filling: Melt butter or olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and add shallots. Cook shallots until softened, about five minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme and cook until soft, another ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil, if necessary. Once mushrooms are cooked through, add spinach and a touch of nutmeg and cook until wilted. Remove from heat and press out any liquid (you don’t want a soggy crepe). Taste for salt and pepper, adding more if necessary.
To make crepes: Lay four crepes down flat and open. Divide the spinach and mushroom mixture between the four crepes, down the center of each. Spread a little Dijon mustard onto each crepe and season with freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle goat cheese onto each crepe and fold them crepes into thirds around the filling. To reheat, place crepes (one at a time) in the crepe pan, brushed with melted butter, over medium heat for one minute per side. Slide onto a plate and garnish with diced chives and lemon zest.
Sweet Lemon Crepes for two
half of a lemon
To make crepes: Fold four warm crepes into thirds and squeeze with fresh lemon juice and sprinkle with powder sugar.
FRISEE SALAD WITH BACON & EGG, serves 2
extra virgin olive oil
5 slices of thickly cut good bacon
1 shallot, thinly sliced or diced
1 t. Dijon
1 t. maple syrup or honey
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. red wine vinegar
3-4 T. extra virgin olive oil, to taste
1 T. white vinegar
1 head of frisee lettuce, washed and dried, torn into pieces
salt & pepper
To prepare bacon: Cut the strips of bacon into ¼ inch lardons. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil into a saute pan, over medium low heat. Once warm, add the bacon pieces and saute, stirring occasionally until cooked to your desired crispness, about ten minutes. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon onto a towel lined plate to drain. Reserve bacon fat in pan.
To make dressing: Heat bacon fat over medium heat in a saute pan (if making a vegetarian version, simply heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan). Add shallots to the pan and cook until soft, 5-10 minutes. Put shallots in a bowl and add Dijon, maple syrup (or honey), lemon juice, red wine vinegar and a bit of salt and pepper. Whisk together and stream in 3-4 T. of olive oil (depending on how tart you like your dressing). Reserve dressing.
To poach eggs: Bring a pan of water (1-2 inches) and 1 T. white vinegar to a simmer in a sauté pan. Meanwhile, crack two eggs into individual ramekin or custard dishes. Once the water is simmering, gently slide eggs into the water, one at a time. After two-three minutes, the eggs should be set. Less time for a super runny egg, more time for a firmer one. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs, gently, and place on a towel lined plate.
To assemble and serve: Toss the frisee with spoonfuls of dressing, to your liking. Portion the dressed frisee between plates and add bacon lardons to each salad. Finally, set a poached egg atop each salad and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Tips: Bacon can be made a day in advance and kept covered. Dressing can be made a day in advance and kept covered. Lettuce can be washed and torn a day or two in advance.