Cooking 101: How to Make Chocolate Crêpes

Cooking 101: Chocolate Crêpes

Cooking 101: How to Make Chocolate Crêpes

How to Make Chocolate Crêpes

This easy how-to will help you make delicious, light Chocolate Crêpes with just a few steps.  Eat these on their own, or use them in decadent breakfasts and desserts.

What single ingredient makes almost everything better?  Stumped?!  No– you aren’t!  You know! Of course you know!  It’s brussels sprouts… (pause)… I’m just kidding, guys– it’s obviously chocolate.   You know it’s true– Cake is good.  Chocolate cake is excellent.  Coffee is a morning staple, but add in some chocolate for a mocha, and you have a steaming cup of delicious extravagance.  I could go on, but you don’t need to be convinced, do you?  It’s only natural, therefore, that when I found myself devouring crêpe after crêpe, that I couldn’t help wishing they were chocolate.  Well, dear reader, here at Champagne Tastes, I don’t just ‘wish’ something had chocolate– I make it chocolate!  These Chocolate Crêpes are simple to prepare, delicious, and perfect for both breakfast and dessert.

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This easy how-to is a step-by-step tutorial on making French Crêpes

Cooking 101: French Crêpes

This easy how-to is a step-by-step tutorial on making French Crêpes

How to Make French Crepes

Do you wish you could take a basic cooking class?  Do you find yourself buying lots of pre-made ingredients, but suspect your food would taste even better from scratch?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Cooking 101’ recipes.  These cooking staples will take your food to the next level, and will help you make more ingredients from scratch.

If you find yourself impersonating the fabulous Julia Child while declaring, “Bon Appétit!” before a meal, you aren’t alone.  (Or maybe no one else does this?  I’m sure I can’t be the only one.  I also like to take selfies with cardboard Julia at the Smithsonian,* so maybe it really is just me.)   Whether or not you’re a Julia-fan, you should at least be aware that, if you’re looking for a basic, go-to, will-not-fail French recipe– she’s your gal.  Her recipes have never failed me, and are always delicious.  Her recipe for basic French Crêpes is easy to follow, and is sure to leave you with a stack of delicious, ultra-thin French pancakes.

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How to Make Lox- Easy, Delicious, and Afforable

Cooking 101: How to Make Lox

Do you wish you could take a basic cooking class?  Do you find yourself buying lots of pre-made ingredients, but suspect your food would taste even better from scratch?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Cooking 101’ recipes.  These cooking staples will take your food to the next level, and will help you make more ingredients from scratch.

How to Make Lox- Easy, Delicious, and Afforable

How to Make Lox

Every time we stay somewhere with a really nice breakfast buffet, the husband’s eyes dart back and forth until he finds what he’s looking for– piles of either lox or smoked salmon.  He is immediately on a mission, making a beeline past the glistening piles of fruit, eggs, and fluffy waffles, and straight to the seafood.  Only after he finishes devouring one, sometimes two, bagels, always overflowing with cream cheese and salmon, does he move on to the other options.  If you, like him, get positively giddy when you see lox, you may have had the same crushed look that he had on his face when he saw what lox costs to buy pre-made.  Even if you find a good price, pre-made lox typically comes in teeny-tiny, sad little packages.  It was therefore, with some relief, to both my wallet and to the husband, to realize that lox is INCREDIBLY simple to make at home.  For this ‘Cooking 101’ lesson, ‘How to Make Lox,’ we’ll take on those pretty pink salmon fillets and turn them into a delicious breakfast topping.

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Perfectly Poached Eggs with Dijon Sauce- No egg poacher needed, no vinegar needed, no swirling the water around the eggs. Easy. Fast. Delicious.

Cooking 101: Perfectly Poached Eggs with Dijon Sauce

Perfectly Poached Eggs with Dijon Sauce- No egg poacher needed, no vinegar needed, no swirling the water around the eggs. Easy. Fast. Delicious.

Perfectly Poached Eggs with Dijon Sauce

Do you wish you could take a basic cooking class?  Do you find yourself buying lots of pre-made ingredients, but suspect your food would taste even better from scratch?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Cooking 101’ recipes.  These cooking staples will take your food to the next level, and will help you make more ingredients from scratch.

I watch a lot of cooking competition shows with the husband, and whenever he hears someone tell a judge that their dish is prepared “perfectly,” he cringes.  “Don’t do it!” he cries, “don’t say it!” Inevitably, the judge takes a bite and says, “Well yes, it’s good, but you promised ‘perfection,’ and I’m just not sure it’s there.”  Therefore, it is with quite some risk, but nevertheless great confidence, that I present to you: Perfectly Poached Eggs with Dijon Sauce.

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How To Make Your Food Taste Better

How to Make Your Food Taste Better- 5 Easy Steps for Better Flavors

Have you ever eaten a delicious, mouth-watering meal prepared by a friend, asked them for the recipe, and then discovered, to your dismay, that your version simply doesn’t taste the same?  What happened?!  What mysterious recipe secrets did your friend leave out?!  We’ll assume, for a moment, that your friend actually did follow the recipe.  We’ll also assume, because they love you, that they aren’t trying to sabotage your meal by giving you a faux-recipe, and did not leave out their top-secret ingredient.  What could have happened?  Today we’ll look at a few easy ways to make your food taste better.

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Red Wine Pasta Sauce

Cooking 101: Red Wine Pasta Sauce

Red Wine Pasta Sauce- Easy to make, and ready by the time your pasta is done cooking!

Do you wish you could take a basic cooking class?  Do you find yourself buying lots of pre-made ingredients, but suspect your food would taste even better from scratch?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Cooking 101’ recipes.  These cooking staples will take your food to the next level, and will help you make more ingredients from scratch.

Do you ever find yourself with less than 30 minutes to make dinner?  Of course you do.  When this happens to me, I usually find myself making some kind of pasta.  I even convince myself I’m saving time by starting the water boiling process in my electric kettle.  (I’m pretty sure this does NOT save me time, because I have to do this in two batches.  I do it anyway, and that’s okay).  This Red Wine Pasta Sauce is an easy, flavorful addition to a quick weeknight meal.

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Homemade Vegetable Stock - For the best flavor, make your own stock!

Cooking 101: Homemade Vegetable Broth

Do you wish you could take a basic cooking class?  Do you find yourself buying lots of pre-made ingredients, but suspect your food would taste even better from scratch?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Cooking 101’ recipes.  These cooking staples will take your food to the next level, and will help you make more ingredients from scratch.

Easy Homemade Vegetable Broth: Less Salt, More Flavor, Incredibly Simple

One basic recipe I find myself using over and over again is vegetable broth.  Yes, yes.. I know. Broth comes in a box.  It’s cheap.  It’s so so easy to just pop the lid off the box, and pour that broth into your soup (or whatever you’re making).  Well guess what.. pre-made broth also has tons of salt.  I don’t mind using it periodically, and typically in late spring or summer I just go ahead and use pre-made broth.  Once it starts getting cold outside, I start making soup almost daily, and I don’t really want to eat that much salt on a regular basis.  (Really… I eat So. Much. Soup.)

Another reason I love homemade vegetable broth is that I don’t always have pre-made broth in my pantry! And isn’t that sad?? You decide you want soup.. you have all the ingredients.. except the broth.  Sadness.  Well, be sad no more!! This homemade broth is delicious, takes about 30 minutes, and you can easily customize the ingredients.

vegetable broth

Vegetable Broth

My favorite thing about homemade broth is that it’s just so tasty!  My second favorite thing is that I use vegetable scraps to make it, and that makes me feel good about my life.  Like I’ve really got things together.  I’m reusing, recycling… and whatever the 3rd thing you’re supposed to do is.  I keep a ‘broth scraps’ bag in my freezer.  Yes that’s right- I have a weird bag full of onion peels, herb stems, carrot peels, mushroom stalks etc sitting underneath my ice cube tray.  And you can have one too!  (All the cool kids are doing it).  Save the scraps!

Some recipes I’ve seen call for all scraps, but personally, I’ve never gotten my broth to taste fantastic when I use ONLY scraps.  Instead, I use my scraps and mix in a few whole veggies.  I think the key is to have a variety.  You may also find that certain vegetables have stronger flavors than others (personally- I don’t like bell pepper scraps in my broth, but that’s just me!).  Also, although I go through more onions than any other vegetable, and would really love to use all my scraps at once in broth, too many onions makes for some very bitter broth.  Restrain yourself.

When making broth, either use it immediately, refrigerate it and use it within a few days, or freeze it.  It’s also a good idea to freeze it in different size containers- that way you don’t have to defrost an entire container if you only need 1 cup.

Go ahead- make broth.  And then make soup.

Need recipes to use your homemade broth? Try these:

Homemade Vegetable Stock - For the best flavor, make your own stock!
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Homemade Vegetable Broth

Yields 1 quart

Total Time 45 minutes
Author Champagne Tastes

Ingredients

  • *Vegetables may be substituted for equal quantity vegetable scraps. I've found a mixture of whole vegetables and scraps makes delicious broth.
  • **Vegetables can be subbed for other veggies that you have on hand
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 leek or 1 onion, roughly chopped (not peeled)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (not peeled)
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly sliced
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 3-4 tsp salt
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 1 sprig rosemary (fresh or dried)
  • 2 splashes white wine (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in soup pan on medium heat, and add leeks or onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and about 1 quart water.

  2. Cover, bring to a boil, and then lower heat to medium. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

  3. Ladle out all solid ingredients, or place a mesh strainer over another bowl or pot and pour broth through strainer to remove solid ingredients. Throw away the cooked veggies and keep the broth.

  4. Use broth immediately, refrigerate and use within a few days, or freeze.

Recipe adapted from: The French Market Cookbook