I’m sure you all have seen, or heard reference to, the melanoma awareness video entitled “Dear 16-Year-Old Me“. It is a powerful message reminding us that melanoma is a young person’s cancer, and to check your skin monthly for any changing lesions or moles. Well, hypochondriac that I tend to be (curse you, WebMD!), I took it a step further and visited the dermatologist for the first time yesterday. Good news, everybody! I (probably) don’t have skin cancer! He checked over my whole body (including places like my scalp, inside my ears, and between my toes) and all my little spots and dots are perfectly benign. He said it’s good to establish a baseline anyway, though. That way, as I go forward, I know what sort of things to look out for. In his own words, melanoma is nothing if you catch it early, but if it spreads it can kill you within a year.
I was never a sun goddess growing up — I got burnt pretty easily when I was in high school and college, so I tried to stay out of it when I could, and slather on the SPF 50 when I couldn’t. That said, in the past year or so (as I’ve gotten more comfortable with my body), I will shamefully admit to being less and less safe in the sun. On came the bikinis, down went the SPF amount, and I will shamefully admit to having used a tanning bed more than once. I can attest to how addictive being tan is — all that Vitamin D makes you feel good, you look slimmer when you’re darker… I get it. But it’s a slippery slope, because the more tan you are, the less likely you are to burn, so the more immune you feel. Alas, as we all know, that’s not the case.
Apparently, the Chinese side of me does help lessen my chances of getting melanoma (and if you have Irish ancestry you may be more susceptible). So, you know, thanks for being Asian, Mama! In general, the whole experience gave me a lot of peace of mind, especially as my family is planning our next big vacation trip (to St. Maarten! Whoo!) in May. Much sunscreen shall be applied, fear not. I highly recommend making an appointment with a dermatologist just for a general checkup, even if you’re just bouncing the idea around. It took 20 minutes, a measly little co-pay, and I feel so at ease now. Plus, as an unplanned bonus, my dermatologist even gave me some samples of stuff to use for my super red cheeks, which are apparently the effect of me having a touch of rosacea (which only gets worse as you get older). Who knew?
After my appointment yesterday, I headed to the gym for a little cardio and legwork (I have a session with my personal trainer today, so I didn’t want to overdo it), then to the grocery store for some sweaty provisions-shopping. (I’m a classy lady, what can I say?) After a conversation with my sister, I had only one thing on my mind for dinner: crepes. Except, I had never made crepes before. I think you know what’s coming… More adventures in kitchendom? I THINK SO!
I looked online at a few of Gina’s crepe recipes before haphazardly deciding to give it a try on my own.
I was flabbergasted by how easy it was to make the batter! I ended up going with the following ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp melted butter
Pinch of kosher salt
Dash of herbal seasoning mix
Having never made crepes before, I wasn’t too sure what consistency to look for. I knew it had to be runnier than pancake batter, but I wasn’t sure by how much. Trial by fire it was! I heated a nonstick skillet to medium heat and sprayed it with fake butter spray (most recipes called for more butter to grease the pan, so if you’re uncomfortable with the calorie-free artificial ingredients in that stuff, feel free to use the real stuff instead). Then I poured in my first ladle-full.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad at first…
… until it was time to flip it. Whoops. I thinned out the batter with a little bit more milk, and went at it again.
Success! They spread smoothly, and got nice and browned on the first side before flipping effortlessly. Since I don’t have one of those wooden… crepe… twirly… thingies… I had to work pretty quickly. I poured the batter in, immediately picked up the pan to swirl the batter around into a larger circle, let it cook until it was loose when I shook the pan (about 20 – 30 seconds?), then flipped it with a spatula. I even managed to flip the crepe without a spatula once, simply by shaking the pan like it was an omelette! But nobody saw it, so maybe I just imagined that, hahaha.
I had thrown together a little savory filling before I actually started on the crepes – chicken breast and spinach, sauteed with garlic. I added it to the center of each crepe with some shredded mozzarella cheese, and threw together a light(ish) cheese sauce with skim milk and more cheese to put on top as well.
NOM! It was SO delicious. I think that if I had a real crepe pan and a little more time to experiment, I could have gotten the crepes even thinner and crisper. Still, not bad for my very first try! In addition to the chicken florentine crepes (ooh, don’t I sound fancy?), I also made up a few dessert crepes (uh, duh). I added a little bit of powdered sugar to the batter, then thinned it out again with more water.
I think I must have thinned out the batter even more when I added the water, because these crepes were super thin! They were still totally manageable to cook, though, and they didn’t break. So now I know not to be scared to thin it out too much — it holds together very well!
I filled the first two with bananas slices, strawberries, and a few chocolate chips (though really what I wanted was Nutella in these bad boys, hehe). The latter pair was just filled with raspberry preserves. All were extremely delicious! (For those of you who are aghast at the volume of crepes I seemingly devoured, fear not. I had plenty of help eating all of them, and have extras for lunch today.) It’s actually probably a little bit dangerous that I know how easy it is to make these delicate little fancy pancakes, haha. But considering how many crepes one batch of batter makes (at least 10!), the caloric damage really isn’t bad. Each crepe is only around 60 calories on its own, so it’s really all about what you choose to fill them with.
Much like the homemade pizza party I am always thinking about having, I think having a crepe party would be so much fun! You could lay out different fillings for both savory and sweet ones, make up the actual crepes, and go to town!
Are you a sun worshiper or sunscreen savant? Have you ever gone to the dermatologist for a general checkup? Are you a fan of crepes? What’s your favorite filling — savory or sweet?