Monday, June 1, 2009

Missing Home/Curried Chickpea Crespelle

As I have mentioned several times before my year in Italy has been an incredible series of ups and downs. Don't get me wrong, it has been absolutely amazing, I wouldn't trade in any second of it and I am so sad that it is slowly drawing to a close, but on some days I just want to be home with the people I know and love so much who make me feel safe and comfy no matter what. This weekend I went to meet up with two my friends from uni in the Cinque Terre. Aside from the fact that it was beautiful, it was absolutely wonderful.

I sometimes forget what it's like to be among girlfriends, three of us in a bed, talking until we fall asleep, trying to keep talking but eventually only muttering as our mouths follow our brains and find time to rest for a moment. You can only really find friendship like that with time and history, neither of which I have here. As my weekend becomes a memory, I find myself feeling a little alone, wishing we had had just one more day together. Aside from the girly-ness, my incredible weekend also included a five hour hike among the cliffs on the seaside and of course some great food to counterbalance any calories I may have burned during the hike.

Liguria, the region in which the Cinque Terre are found, is known for pesto, focaccia and farinata. The latter is a combination of chickpea flour, water and a little bit of oil which is then baked until the outside is golden and crisp. Nutty and dense this oven-baked pancake is great as a snack and can be eaten plain or topped in any which way. Today, in an attempt to relive the flavors of my weekend, I finally made use of the chickpea flour that has been sitting in my pantry and decided to make Chickpea crespelle. After browsing a few recipes, I figured out the basic proportions I would need and just eye-balled it from there. I decided to flavor the crespelle with curry and peperoncino and fill them with veal and zucchini.

The flavors melded together perfectly and I had an exquisite dinner for one. Although it didn't teleport me back to my friends, I just remind myself that every moment is worth savoring, even the more difficult ones. But a delicious homecooked dinner and the flavors of good memories definitely help to make those moments a little more tolerable.

Chickpea Crespelle with Veal and Zucchini Filling
30 mins. serves 1.

Crespelle (makes 2):
50 gr. chickpea flour
1 egg
1 c. water
1.5 tbsp curry powder, toasted in a dry pan until fragrant
1 tsp. dried peperoncino (add more or less depending on taste)
pinch of salt

1. Whisk all the ingredients the ingredients together until smooth. Set aside.
2. Prepare filling (below).
3. Heat some olive oil in a pan over med-high heat. Pour in enough batter to cover the bottom. Let it cook until the top looks dry about 2 mins. Flip. Cook the for another 10 seconds.
4. Roll with half the filling.
5. Make the second crepe and fill. Eat while warm.

1 small round zucchini, grated
100 g. ground veal
1 tbsp. chopped chives.
Salt to taste

1. Sautee the zucchini with some olive oil over medium heat. When it is tender (3 mins) add the veal and brown it evenly. Add the chives, and sautee until the meat is cooked through (2-3 mins).


Jess said...

Hi, Frenchie
Thank you for the stunning photos and for your thoughts on home and friendship. I think I know just what you mean. I had the pleasure of visiting Cinque Terre a couple of years ago. I tasted the most amazing chestnut honey there, and even managed to smuggle some back to the States! Enjoy the rest of your time in Italy. I'm sure your homecoming will be sweet.