First off, apologies for being late this week and skipping last week. I usually spend some time on my day off to work on these, but that wasn't in the cards. I will assure you, my pay was docked accordingly.
That said, this week our tailgate food is the blintz. For those of you wondering what the hell a blintz is, think of a brawnier, more user-friendly crepe. Now I know that crepes are more likely to conjure images of cheese-eating surrender monkeys than kickass tailgates, but trust me on this. The blintz is versatile, portable, and ideal for early kickoffs - something we might as well get used to this year.
On its own, a blintz isn't much to get excited about. However, much like its cousin the tortilla, it is a great vehicle for nearly any kind of filling. For a breakfast spread, I'd suggest laying out some fresh fruit, mascarpone cheese, or just a few different good preserves. My favorite treatment is to tuck some good blueberry compote inside a blintz, griddle for a minute or so on each side to warm, and then top it with fresh lemon curd. Being fresh out of both compote and curd, for the photo above I just used a hot blintz, filled it with berries, and topped it with fresh whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon. (Note: cinnamon and blueberries are one of the most underutilized pairings in the food world. Try them together. It might be the only useful bit of information in this blog post)
Usually, a blintz is either unsweetened or lightly sweetened. The recipe I'm providing today has a higher sugar content because most people are used to sweeter breakfast pastries and breads. Feel free to omit any or all of the sugar, especially if you are going to be using fillings that are savory or have a lot of added sugar.
- 1 C Flour
- 4 Eggs
- 1 C Milk
- 1 TBSP Vanilla
- 3/4 C White Sugar
- 1/4 C Brown Sugar
The easy part: mix all of the ingredients together. Do it with a whisk. Or a blender. Or a food processor. It doesn't really matter, as long as the whole mess comes together. Let rest for at least 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator. If kept cool, allow to warm slightly before using. Some people warn you may need to thin the batter with a little water as well, but I've never had that issue.
The hard part: cook the blintzes. This isn't really terribly hard, but you will more than likely wreck the first couple as you get the hang of it. Heat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little butter - the butter should melt and sputter a little, but not brown and definitely not smoke. Swirl the pan until completely coated. Add about 2 oz of batter. I use a ladle and sort of swirl it around starting from the center. Swirl the pan again gently, just enough to distribute the batter evenly. You should have a layer of batter slightly thicker than a crepe, not quite as thick as a tortilla - say, the thickness of a blintz.
Let me stop here to say this all sounds more complicated than it is. If you have made pancakes, you can make blintzes. Just be willing to screw a couple up and you'll get the hang of it. It isn't like the ugly ones won't taste good. Use them as a little chef's treat. You've earned it!
After 30-40 seconds, you should notice that the edges of your blintz don't look runny anymore and the whole thing feels pretty solid when you shake the pan. Now is the time to flip. I'm an arrogant show-off, so I just give them the wrist flip you see on TV. It works most of the time. If you aren't feeling that technique, use the biggest turner you have, be patient and take it slow. I've seen a lot of tips on how to flip blintzes, and I think most of them are only good for the person writing the advice. I will say that tilting the pan helps, but without video that's more than I can explain and more than you care to read.
You won't need more than a few seconds to set the second side of the blintz, assuming you got it flipped over in one piece. Which you didn't, but you will. Just try it a couple of times. Accounting for the inevitable broken attempts, you should be able to get about a dozen blintzes out of your batter. Stack them on a plate and either serve immediately, cover loosely and keep warm for later, or refrigerate until tomorrow. If refrigerating, cover and reheat in a low oven. Alternately, fill with damn near anything and cook in a warm skillet briefly as described above.
That was exhausting. Let's have a drink.
Somewhere in the world, Margaritas make sense as a breakfast-brunch drink. If you've been watching much football of late, most of you would agree that tequila isn't a bad option any time of day, especially on gameday.
The inspiration for this drink comes from a sample I got from a beer rep. It was a pear cider aged with oak from reposado tequila barrels. It isn't an intuitive match, but it was pretty tasty. For our cocktail, we start with the basics of a classic Margarita, but swap the Triple Sec out for a heavier dose of pear liqueur. Unlike the Paloma, I definitely recommend at least a mid-range tequila here, and definitely something aged. The end result is perfect for September, a drink that still sounds like Summer but with strong hints of Fall.
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1.5 oz Reposado Tequila
- 1.5 oz Pear Liqueur (I recommend Mathilde)
- 0.5 oz Agave Nectar
Shake well to combine, or blend with ice as you would a frozen Margarita. Serve with a wedge of lime and a float of Asian pear.