The Beauty is in the Imperfection

Jun 07, 2010 by Kristi Rimkus

Wabi-sabi – I love how those words flow off my tongue. It sounds like an exotic Asian dish, doesn’t it?

According to Japanese culture, wabi-sabi is the beauty found in imperfection. How do I know this? I read an article written by Lori Erickson for Woman’s Day Magazine. I was so intrigued by the concept that I continued my research to learn that wabi-sabi encompasses the belief that nothing lasts, is finished completely, or is perfect.

I find this concept wonderfully affirming, especially when it comes to cooking.

When I cook a dish my family and friends rave about, my mind instantly starts working on ways to improve it. Now why would that be if everyone approved of my efforts? Wouldn’t you think I should be happy?

The concept of wabi-sabi has put a whole different perspective on cooking. My family was happy even though there might have been imperfections in my dish. Maybe it was a bit spicy, or maybe the meat was tough, or in the case of my first attempt at crepe making, my crepes were a bit lopsided.

Wabi-sabi sets me free. Those imperfections are part of the beauty of the dish I’ve created for the people I love – lopsided crepes and all.

Mediterranean Crepes with Spinach, Basil and Chicken

Crepe Batter:

½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 large egg, whipped
¼ cup low fat milk
¼ cup water
⅛ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Crepe Filling:

1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup shallot, chopped in small pieces
2 cups Crimini mushrooms, sliced

2 cups baby spinach, packed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 pinch salt
1 ½ cups cooked chicken breast, (I used rotisserie from the deli, shredded)
1 cup basil, finely chopped
4 tablespoons feta cheese

Servings: Makes 2 main dish servings, 2 crepes each person

Crepe Batter Directions:

1. Whisk together flour and egg.

2. Add milk and water and stir to combine.

3. Add salt and butter and beat until smooth.

4. Allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes while you make the filling.

Filling Mixture Directions:

1. Preheat nonstick skillet over medium heat with oil. Add shallot and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes until softened. Add mushrooms and cook another 3 – 4 minutes until tender.

2. Add balsamic spinach, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Cook 3 – 4 minutes until spinach just wilts. Add chicken and cook another 2 minutes to heat chicken through.

3. Keep warm in a 250 degree oven.

Crepe Serving Directions:

1. Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Ladle 1/4 cup crepe batter into the middle of the pan and lift the pan off the heat to swirl the pan slowly and spread the batter as thinly as possible.

2. Place the pan back over the heat and cook 1 – 2 minutes until the bottom of the crepe is lightly browned.

3. Flip the crepe and brown the other side another 1 -2 minutes.

4. Top the first half of 4 crepes with 1/4 chicken mixture, sprinkle of basil and 1 tablespoon feta cheese, then roll up.

5. Be sure to serve warm.

What’s good for me in this dish?

Chicken is a complete protein, with less saturated fat than beef. Much of the fat is in the skin, so it is best eaten without the skin, with chicken breasts being the leanest choice. Chicken provides 67% of your daily protein needs. It also has cancer protecting B vitamins, including Niacin and B6 for energy.

Spinach is another powerhouse of nutrition. Spinach contains iron for energy, and vitamins C and A, folic acid and B6 to help your heart. Spinach has 13 different flavonoid compounds that function as antioxidants, and as anti-cancer agents.

Amount Per Serving Calories: 531, , Total Fat: 24.46g, Cholesterol: 202mg, Sodium: 707mg, Total Carbs: 32.22g, Dietary Fiber: 5.39g, Sugars: 5.18, Protein: 41.08g, Weight Watchers Points 12

* Crepe recipe adapted from allrecipes.com, recipe submitted by JENNYC819. This article’s recipe exchanged whole-wheat pastry flour for the standard flour called for in the recipe.

Nutrition details obtained from whfoods.org, nutritiondata.com, about.com, and abouthomecooking.com.

Currently, Kristi Rimkus authors her own blog over at Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right.

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