believe me, you need creme fraiche in your life. and once you realize how ridiculously easy it is, your life is officially altered. when i lived in germany, creme fraiche (“krem fresh”) was something i bought very often. it’s originally a french product, but i think it’s very common all over europe. it makes almost everything taste better in both baking and cooking, and at the grocery stores there it cost less than 50 cents for a small tub normally. i was in wegmans the other day and took a peek at their creme fraiche prices and i became so sad, although i didn’t expect it to be cheap here. it’s not really popular this side of the pond, so i guess they can get away with charging a stupid price for it (the tub i saw was about 5 dollars). i really wish that america would open it’s eyes to this precious ingredient, but until then homemade will do. actually now that i think about it, even if creme fraiche was cheap here i might just continue making it on my own because it’s super simple. and it’s sort of like a little chemistry experiment in your kitchen that makes you feel smart even though you barely did anything. this recipe i found in a new cookbook i have from flour bakery, and i was really happy to see it in there. i never knew how easy it was to make it on my own.
like i said before, creme fraiche goes with so many things. it can be used in baking, or added to sauces and baked savory things. you can also whip it with some sugar and dip some fruit in it. oh the versatility! one of my favorite ways to use it is as a pizza topping. when it’s baked it becomes so creamy and dreamy. just add it on top of the crust under some mozzarella cheese and whatever toppings you like and then bake it. i know, you’re welcome.
1/2 pint of heavy cream
1 tbsp. buttermilk
in a bowl or tub you can cover, stir together the heavy cream and buttermilk. cover and let sit at room temperature overnight, or for at least 10 hours. after that, stir it and it should be thicker. the consistency should be somewhat similar to sour cream. it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
as i mentioned before, i’m temporarily living in berlin for a few weeks to house sit a friend’s apartment. the last few days i stopped at the grocery store a few times to stock up the kitchen. i’ve been eyeing the figs lately, and ended up buying one yesterday. i really like buying new food because i’m curious of the taste, but i also like experimenting with different ways of preparing food. i’ve never eaten a raw fig before, and i’m not really sure why. i like fig newtons, but even those i haven’t eaten in a very long time, and i don’t think those can be considered the equivalent of a real raw fig. i googled (like i do everything these days) on how to eat a fig. i wasn’t sure if you can eat the skin, or if you have to cook it, or how to know when it’s ripe. on a side note, one of the reasons i don’t eat seafood often (besides not caring for the taste) is that i usually don’t know how to eat it. i always feel so awkward and embarrassed trying to figure out which parts are edible and which parts will make me look like a dummy if i eat them. anyways, back to figs. there were lots of recipes online for baking figs and adding them to sweet and savory dishes. but there were quite a few articles mentioning that you can totally eat them raw, skin and all. i did come across a really simple way of serving them with creme fraiche and honey, and i decided to try that because it just sounds nice. and the images from the recipe were so pretty, so that is what probably won me over. basically all you do is quarter the fig, and then serve with with a dollop of creme fraiche and drizzle some honey all over. easy peasy. and i have to say that a fig is probably one of the prettiest fruits to be photographed. it didn’t taste like much to me, i’m not sure if i ate it maybe too soon and it wasn’t exactly ripe enough, or maybe it’s because i added the extra flavors and i didn’t pay attention to the fig. the texture was nice though. and combined with the honey and the cream it was still very tasty.
later in the day i made a homemade pizza. i couldn’t find packets of yeast in the store i was at, so i bought a little bag of bread flour which already includes it. i haven’t ever made a homemade pizza before i think, but it turns out it is oh so easy. i followed the directions on various recipes on how to make dough, just skipped the step about adding the yeast of course. on top of it i put creme fraiche, arugula, tomatoes, zucchini, and mozzarella. before adding the toppings, i sauteed the tomatoes and zucchini with garlic first, and then added them on top of the cream and arugula. then it only had to bake for maybe 15 minutes and it was done! creme fraiche has turned into my favorite pizza topping. it’s so common over here in europe, and i’m afraid when i go back to the states i won’t find it as often, or it will be double in price. here it’s unbelievably cheap. i bought a mini tub yesterday for 30 cents. and it goes with everything. i think when you add it to recipes, the frenchiness of the name makes it sound super fancy without actually doing any super fancy tricks.
oh yeah, and also i had a beer with it. pizza and beer always is good together, and in germany you can buy single bottles, which means you can make many beer tastings!
i still had half a zucchini left after making the really tasty zucchinibirthdaycake. so i made these little patties which are an adaption from another smitten kitchen recipe. sometimes when i say recipes are adapted, it means that either i did not have all of the required ingredients so i improvised, or i somehow messed up the recipe and it doesn’t look like it does in the official recipe but i still like my results.
1 zucchini grated
1 egg beaten
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
salt and pepper
spices like garlic powder, thyme, herbes de provence (optional)
oil for frying (i used olive oil)
stir together the zucchini, egg, salt and pepper (however much you like), and any spices you prefer. i added some garlic powder and herbes de provence (a mixture of things like thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil…). you can pretty much add whatever spices your like. also, if you’d like you can add some chopped onions or scallions. in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, then stir this into the zucchini and egg mixture.
in a large skillet, heat up a couple tablespoons of the oil until it’s hot, then drop spoonfuls of the zucchini mixture onto it. after about 3 minutes or so one side, flip them over. cook on that side for another 3 or 4 minutes. both sides should be golden brown. transfer them to a paper towel covered plate and let them drain off some of the oil. to keep them warm, you can pop them in a warmed oven until ready to serve.