Crêpes sucrées with chocolate, vanilla yogurt and berries.

As a self-proclaimed healthy foodie, I never would’ve dreamed that I could possibly eat crêpes for breakfast. Or for any meal, for that matter. Crêpes are made of flour and butter and egg. Flour and butter are no-nos in my world.

However, I recently stumbled across this recipe for cottage cheese pancakes, and it gave me an idea. The ingredients, all Perricone-friendly, could be combined in a similar fashion to form what a few reviewers described as “crêpe-like pancakes.” Since I no longer keep old-fashioned oatmeal handy (I prefer steel-cut), I used the aforementioned “pancake” recipe as a starting point rather than a strict guideline to construct this morning’s delicious and decadent breakfast.

Crêpes Sucrées with Chocolate, Vanilla Yogurt and Berries

Ingredients

For the crêpe
1 egg
1 egg white
1/4 cup lowfat (2%) cottage cheese
8-10 packets stevia
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp cornstarch

For the chocolate spread
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
8 packets stevia
1/4 cup water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the vanilla yogurt
2 tbsp lowfat plain yogurt (I used Yami 1%)
5 packets stevia
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the filling
1/2-1 cup berries (I used 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 1/2 cup raspberries)

Directions

1. Prepare the toppings. Boil the 1/4 cup water (1 1/2 minutes in the microwave should do it) and quickly stir in the cocoa powder and stevia in the bowl until it thickens, then adding the 1 tsp vanilla extract. You may need to use more cocoa powder if it’s too watery. Set aside.

2. In another bowl, combine the yogurt, stevia and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Set aside.

3. Chop the berries and set aside.

4. Make the crêpe. In a blender, combine the eggs, stevia, cottage cheese, 2 tsp vanilla extract, and cornstarch. Blend on low until the mixture’s consistency is smooth (like pancake batter). Spray a 12-inch skillet with olive oil cooking spray and heat on a medium setting for about a minute. Pour the batter into the skillet, using a rubber spatula to scrape the edges of the blender. Let batter sit, swirling after about a minute so it cooks evenly. When the batter is bubbling and the crêpe is set (slide the rubber spatula under it to make sure it won’t break), carefully but confidently flip the crêpe. After about 30 seconds, transfer the crêpe to a plate. Both sides should be a little brown.

5. Assemble the crêpe. Once it’s cooled a bit, spread the chocolate as evenly as possible over the crêpe (it was not that easy for me to spread, so don’t worry if it puts up a fight). Next spread the yogurt, then the berries or any other toppings you’re using.

6. Fold the crêpe as shown.

This breakfast absolutely made my morning. As the French would say, bon appétit!

Stir-fried scallops with spinach and forbidden rice.

I keep thinking one of these days would be the perfect day to stay home from work and bask in my own laziness. I don’t know which day yet, but I feel like Seattle’s gloomy, fall-like weather calls for at least one long, slovenly day of laying on the couch in front of the fire, watching old movies. Doesn’t that sound cozy? And baking pies. Pumpkin pies. Lots of ’em.

Contrary to some of my less-than-angelic foodie tendencies, last night’s dinner, while very special and preceded by an oh-so-deserved lazy Sunday, was quite nutritious, not to mention thoroughly delicious. After much pondering and searching of the vast interwebs, I decided on a recipe out of Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, a cookbook by fellow blogger Grace Young. Although I had purchased the cookbook many months ago (during my stir-frying kick back in April), I had had yet to test out a recipe. Last night was the night. I bring you: Stir-Fried Chili Scallops with Baby Bok Choy Spinach. (I did not happen to have baby bok choy on hand at the time.)

Stir-Fried Chili Scallops with Spinach

Ingredients

6 ounces medium fresh sea scallops
1 tablespoon chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon chili bean sauce
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips (about 1 cup)
2 chopped scallions

Directions

1. Rinse the scallops under cold water, removing the muscle and any visible bits of shell or grit, and set on paper towels. With more paper towels, pat the scallops dry. Cut the scallops horizontally in half so all the pieces are about 1/2 inch thick. In a small bowl combine the broth, chili bean sauce, soy sauce, and cornstarch.

2. Heat 12-inch skillet over high heat until very hot. Swirl in 1/2 tablespoon of the oil, add the ginger and garlic, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry for 10 seconds or until the aromatics are fragrant. Push the aromatics to the sides of the skillet. Carefully add the scallops and spread them evenly in one layer in the pan. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the scallops begin to sear. Sprinkle on 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and stir-fry 30 seconds or until the scallops are opaque but not cooked through. Transfer the scallops to a plate.

3. Swirl the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil into the wok, add the spinach and bell peppers, sprinkle on the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the spinach just begins to wilt. Return the scallops with any juices that have accumulated to the wok. Restir the broth mixture, swirl it into the wok, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the scallops are just cooked. Stir in the scallions.

4. Serve over 1/2 cup cooked forbidden rice. Yes, I added this step. Forbidden rice is kinda my new favorite thing.

The wonder that is cottage cheesecake.

I just donated $80 to the Seattle Public Library. And, by that, I mean I just paid my library fines because they sent me a very threatening email. Well, a threatening email by library standards. Fortunately for them, I’m easily intimidated and don’t like paying bills late. Unfortunately for me, I am now $80 poorer than I was ten minutes ago. Le sigh.

Work was unusually stressful today, as is almost always the case the day after a three-day weekend. I had done some serious baking this weekend, which produced, among other things, my first cheesecake. Prior to the cheesecake creation, I finally procured my first set of springform pans, courtesy of Ross, of all places. $9.99 for three springform pans! It would be a miracle if Ross happened to be a more pleasant place to shop. Alas, it is not, but I’m not above conducting a treasure hunt for cheap housewares.

This, however, was not just any cheesecake. This was a cottage cheesecake. Why use cream cheese when you can use cottage cheese?

Cottage Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the crust
A bunch of leftover cookies (I used a chocolate cookie recipe I’d invented on Sunday)
1/2 to 1 cup olive oil, adjust depend how many cookies

For the cheesecake filling
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup almond milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup stevia or Splenda
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the chocolate cheesecake swirl
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
2 tablespoons almond milk
1/2 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup stevia or Splenda
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F.

2. Crumble the cookies in a small bowl. Mix the olive oil into the cookie crumbs until the crumbs are close to the consistency of dough. Tightly pack mixture to the bottom of the springform pan.

3. Pour all the ingredients for the cheesecake filling into a blender and blend for about 2 minutes, or until the mix becomes a liquid consistency. Pour over the crust.

4. Pour the chocolate cheesecake swirl ingredients into the blender. Blend for about 2 minutes, until the ingredients are completely mixed and there are no lumps. Pour in the center of the cheesecake.

5. Swirl the chocolate center with a knife, making a circular pattern (or really, whatever you want – but I’m a fan of circles!).

6. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until filling is firm. Allow to cool completely before removing the pan from the cake.

This was devoured by my coworkers today, but I sampled – I had to! It’s my obligation as a self-proclaimed chef to test my own creations. It was delicious, and because it was cottage cheese, I didn’t feel quite so guilty about eating it.

I’ve been blogging quite a bit lately about sweets, I’ve noticed. I’ll try to diversify. I recently invented a new(ish) chicken recipe, so… maybe that will be my next post.

I heart my grill.

I did some grilling this weekend. Well, I’ve been doing a lot of grilling this week – mostly salmon, but on Friday I hosted a dinner party and grilled some chicken from Trader Joe’s. And my little electric grill? Amazing.

I’m still working on getting the grill marks, but this meal (I think it was on Tuesday) was delicious. Grilled salmon and grilled asparagus… how could that be wrong? Oh! And iced tea! I made that myself. Oh so summery.

I figured it was apropos to blog about grilling, since it is Labor Day, the unofficial last weekend of summer. I also had homemade frozen yogurt for breakfast. It just felt right. It is a holiday, after all. I think I’ll spend today doing some residual grocery shopping – I went to Target for much of my weekly food supply on Saturday, then walked to Uwajimaya for the remainder yesterday – but I went into cleaning-out-the-cabinet-by-baking-sweets mode last night, so now I need more lemon juice (I took my first shot at baking lemon bars). I also baked some cookies. Don’t worry, I won’t be eating either of these concoctions. I will be donating them to a very special cause, the My Coworkers Need Snack Food Fund.

It’s almost 10:30 am. Guess I should get dressed and go walk around in the sun while we still have it!