Monday, July 11, 2011

Ricotta and Spelt Crepe Brunch for Six

Like most 20-somethings I know, I've had roommates since my freshman year of college. Sometimes they were great, sometimes not so great, but I think you can't escape living with somebody without learning a few things from them. For example, my freshman year roommate taught me that Peanut Butter M&Ms are delicious and that there is a genre of movies called Good Bad Movies which you should watch while packing (Euro Trip, She's the Man). Another roommate tried to teach me how to read a book without cracking the spine, which I never mastered and now part of my brain always feels guilty when I make that first crease. But no roommate had ever influenced my cooking style until I moved in with Daniel and Marshall.

This brunch was heavily influenced by the boys. They're both excellent cooks and homebrewers extraordinaire. Daniel has an obsession with cooking with whole grains. Marshall believes you shouldn't buy things you can easily make yourself. By their powers combined, we came up with the centerpiece for this brunch: ricotta spelt crepes, from this book which my mother got for Daniel last winter. They only have spelt flour, which makes Daniel do a little dance, and delicious fresh ricotta, which Marshall had never made before but which came out perfectly. They were complemented beautifully by sauteed spinach and mushrooms and by fresh tomatoes with basil. Add some tasty fruit and an even tastier chocolate raspberry tart and you have a lovely summer brunch. 

Brunch with Ricotta Spelt Crepes
Ricotta Spelt Crepes
Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms
Fresh Tomatoes with Basil
Mimosas (we remembered the champagne!)
Soft Chocolate Raspberry Tart

This brunch took about two hours to throw together (with some work done the night before), but except for the part where you have to stand over the stove and flip delicate crepes, the whole thing was breezy, especially if you're good about delegating the chopping of fruit and tomatoes and the preparation of bacon. I will admit, standing over the stove watching crepes was not the best use of my un-airconditioned kitchen, but they were so good. Crispy edged, nutty, creamy, slightly salty, these are by far the best crepes I've ever made. If you have (heavens forfend) central air, please make them all the time. 

Putting this brunch together looked something like this: 

Night before: Shop. Watch your roommate make ricotta. Make and bake tart crust.
Two hours before: Make crepe batter.  
One and a half hours before: Fill and bake tart.
One hour before: Make spinach and mushroom filling. 
Half hour before: Put bacon in the oven. Start making crepes!
When guests arrive: Set them to work chopping fruit and tomatoes. 
When the bacon is crispy and the last crepe has been shaken from the pan: Eat!

Recipes to follow throughout the week!


  1. Is this timeline thing normal for brunch instructions? I am now a big fan, as for me, that's the hardest part about throwing a brunch or dinner party - how to plan the time, what to start when, CAN IT POSSIBLY ALL COME TOGETHER IN TIME WITH ONLY ONE OVEN??? So thank you!

  2. So random question - is the link to the "homebrew" page Marshall and Daniel's page?

    Just checking :)

    This seems like an awesome blog, I look forward to reading more! I just wish I had more time to cook in the morning...I think I'll have to institute a "brunch for dinner" philosophy to start making some of this.

  3. Yup, it's Daniel and Marshall....who don't post very much. Or at all. But maybe that'll change!

    Brunch for dinner is an EXCELLENT idea. Let me know how it turns out!