A telling thing has been happening during Lucinda Scala Quinn's fall book tour for "Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys": Food prepared for the photo sessions goes missing.
"Food stylists would tell me, 'I made the Shrimp Scampi [Page 173] and refrigerated it. Someone in my house must have eaten it,' " Quinn says. Maybe that's because her food looks great, both in the book and on the plate -- like the way you would want to eat it, she says.
Quinn's bio lists her day jobs: vice president and editorial director of food and entertaining for Martha Stewart Omnimedia; a weekly radio show on Sirius; co-hosting the "Everyday Food" cooking series on PBS; guest appearances on the "Today" show and "The Martha Stewart Show." But her real-life gig as mom and co-kitchen director in her family's Upper West Side apartment in Manhattan is the one she holds most dear and the one that prompted this book.
"Mad Hungry" represents several decades' worth of Quinn's living with and cooking for brothers, husband and sons. So much of what she writes rings true, especially small details such as the empty cartons she finds on shelves, the way her good knives get pinched for non-culinary endeavors and the need to keep some form of dessert always at hand.
At the moment, all three sons are living at home. Calder, her oldest at age 22 and a recent college graduate, pitched in on the book (he made, and styled the shot of, Pork Chops With Apples and Onions on Page 163) and came along to supervise his mom's crepe-making session at The Post last week. He even swirled one or two crepes of his own.
Man Crepes are fit to serve to all, of course. It's just a catchy title (the book's full of them) for the thin pancakes that are better than what you might buy at a street stand. The recipe is included in the Breakfast chapter, although Quinn was immediately keen to adapt it as an answer for Thanksgiving turkey leftovers: a little shredded cheese and roast turkey tucked inside warm crepes.
Serve with a salad. Lots of salad.
Yield: Makes 12 crepes
- 2/3 cup whole or low-fat milk
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup flour
- Unsalted butter, as needed
- 8 to 10 ounces leftover roasted turkey breast, preferably at room temperature
- 4 to 8 ounces finely shredded cheddar cheese (may substitute cheese of your choice)
Combine the milk, water and eggs in the jar of a blender, then the salt, baking powder and flour. Blend on low speed to start, then on medium-high speed to form a batter with the consistency of heavy cream. (Alternatively, the batter can be whisked together in a bowl; be sure to add the wet ingredients first to avoid flour clumping.)
Heat a well-seasoned 8-inch cast-iron skillet or crepe pan over medium-high heat. Add about 1 teaspoon of butter, swirling it to coat the bottom evenly.
Holding the skillet or pan off the heat, pour in enough of the batter (about 3 tablespoons) to cover the bottom of the skillet or pan with a thin, even layer. Cook for about 30 seconds or just until the edges look dry and begin to pull away from the skillet or pan. Use a spatula to lift up an edge and turn the crepe over; cook for 15 seconds or so, until lightly browned. Transfer to a large plate (no need to cover, as the crepes will be reheated). Repeat with the remaining batter to yield 12 crepes, which should take a total of about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Have a baking dish ready. If your leftover turkey breast is whole, cut it into 1/4-inch slices. If it's in pieces, cut them as needed so they are approximately the same thickness.
Place a crepe in the baking dish; sprinkle lightly with some of the shredded cheese, then fold the crepe in half. Sprinkle again, then add some of the turkey breast and sprinkle with a little more cheese. Fold over so the crepe is in a wedge, with a little of the turkey and cheese exposed. Repeat with the remaining crepes, cheese and turkey, layering the filled crepes in a stepped fashion in the baking dish. Heat through for 5 to 10 minutes or just until the cheese is melted.
Divide among individual plates; serve warm.
VARIATION: To make breakfast crepes, add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to the blender mixture. A 6-inch skillet or crepe pan can be used. Fold the finished crepes; sprinkle with sugar and serve with orange or lemon wedges, for squeezing.
Adapted from a recipe in Quinn's "Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys" (Artisan, 2009).
Tested by Lucinda Scala Quinn and Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.