‘Mother Grains’: Go beyond all-purpose flour, make these buckwheat crepes with chef Roxana Jullapat

A recipe for buckwheat crepes is featured in “Mother Grains: Recipes for the Grain Revolution.” Photo by Kristin Teig.

At the bakery and cafe Friends and Family near Little Armenia, you can find all sorts of delicious pastries, usually with a little twist. There are the sonora wheat croissants, banana bread and pancakes made with buckwheat flour, and rye flour chocolate chip cookies.

Roxana Jullapat runs the bakery. She worked under Nancy Silverton at Campanile, then as pastry chef at Lucques and A.O.C.

After those jobs, she discovered a passion for baking with ancient grains, which include barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, rice, rye, sorghum, and wheat. Now she's out with a new cookbook called “Mother Grains: Recipes for the Grain Revolution.” 

She says ancient grains have been around humans for millennia, and they’re not modified to meet present-day agricultural needs. They can also be adequately grown in the U.S. without a massive environmental footprint. 

“We have to question … where does this all-purpose [flour] come from, and what was it before it was all-purpose? And in creating that generic melting pot of flour that is just multi-functional … we have missed an opportunity to really appreciate texture, flavor, history from other wheat varieties, and that’s just covering wheat,” Jullapat says. 


After working at Campanile, Lucques and A.O.C., Roxana Jullapat discovered a passion for using ancient and heirloom grains in her baked goods. Photo by Kristin Teig.

Buckwheat Crepes with Spring Onions, Asparagus, and Brie
Serves 4 to 6
Equipment: 13-by-9-inch baking dish

Buckwheat’s grounding flavor makes these crepes an ideal canvas for many fillings. Inspired by buckwheat’s short growing season and deserved reputation as a regenerative crop, my first impulse is always to load them with spring vegetables. This crepe recipe, served with sautéed spring onions, asparagus, and melted Brie, makes a satisfying breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I like using Saint André, a Brielike soft cheese from Normandy, which is available in markets and cheese shops nationwide. But if you enjoy geeking out over cheese, feel free to experiment with other triple crèmes. This is an excellent dish to prepare ahead of time. Think of it as lasagna. You can fill and assemble the crepes in a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and reheat for a few minutes right before serving.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound (455 g) asparagus, 2 inches trimmed off the bottom
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick/55 g) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (60 g) sliced spring onions
  • 8 ounces (225 g) Brie, rind removed and cut into chunks
  • Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Buckwheat Crepes

Instructions

-Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
-Slice the asparagus on a diagonal into 2-inch-long pieces.
-Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat.
-Add the spring onions and cook until soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
-Add the asparagus and sauté until tender but still bright green, 3 to 4 minutes. Take care not to overcook them.
-Add the cheese, then stir with a wooden spoon to encourage it to melt over medium heat.
-Turn off the heat, stir in the lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
-To fill, spread about 2 tablespoons of filling on half of each crepe. You’ll notice that every crepe has a prettier side, usually the first side to hit the pan. Make sure this side is face down and you’re spreading the filling on the opposite side.
-Fold the crepe in half and then in half again to form a triangle.
-Place them, slightly overlapping, in the baking dish.
-Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven to heat through, 15 to 20 minutes.
-Serve immediately.

Crepes Suzette with Blood Orange and Mascarpone
Serves 4

This version of classic crepes Suzette—crepes sautéed in orange sauce and flambéed just before serving—is one of my favorite citrus-season desserts. I’ve diverged from the original by swapping blood oranges for regular navel oranges and filling the crepes with mascarpone. You will also notice, perhaps with a little disappointment, that I also skipped the step of setting the crepes aflame with brandy. But the intense color of the sauce made with the vibrant red juice of blood oranges will provide enough drama. The result is delicate and balanced, exemplifying how well a distinctive flour like buckwheat can take the backseat in support of brighter flavors.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup (225 g) mascarpone
  • Buckwheat Crepes
  • ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) water
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • 1 cup (240 ml) blood orange juice (from about 4 medium blood oranges)
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick/55 g) unsalted butter, cubed

Instructions

-Start by filling the crepes. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the mascarpone on half of each crepe. You’ll notice that every crepe has a prettier side, usually the first side to hit the pan. Make sure this side is face down and you’re spreading the mascarpone on the opposite side.
-Fold the crepe in half and then in half again to form a triangle.
-Place them, slightly overlapping, in a serving dish large enough to hold all the folded crepes.
-Put the sugar in a small saucepan.
-Add the water to moisten the sugar, but do not stir.
-Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a paring knife, scrape out the pulp with the back of the knife, and put both pulp and pod into the pot.
-Cook over high heat until the mixture comes to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and reduce to a thick syrup, 3 to 4 minutes. When the sugar starts to caramelize, add the blood orange juice and let it reduce in volume by half. -Turn off the heat, remove the vanilla bean, and, working quickly, whisk the butter into the sauce one cube at a time to ensure proper emulsification.
-Pour the warm sauce over the filled crepes and serve immediately.

KCRW Good Food: Baker Roxana Jullapat brings mother grains to modern times — and makes chocolate chip cookies

Credits

Guest:

  • Roxana Jullapat - head baker at Friends and Family, and author of “Mother Grains: Recipes for the Grain Revolution”