This Weeks Box 3/30/2013

The List
fuerte avocados
pink grapefruit
carrots
green onions
monster leek
romaine lettuce
spinach
red leaf lettuce
satsuma tangerines
pink lemons
large bunch arugula
love
Roasted Beet and Carrot Soup with Sauteed Leeks

Clean, chop and steam a handful of beets, a handful of carrots and a few potatoes together. blend them in a food processor with enough chicken or vegetable stock so that the soup can take on a creamy consistency. While your soup is warming on a pot, chop and saute one leek on high heat until they are caramelized and almost burned. Squeeze some lime juice into your soup and then toss in the leeks and serve! It goes great with a dollup of yogurt.

 Green Onions and Pecans Sauteed in Coconut Oil with Fresh Avocado and Tangerines in a Salad Wrap

Chop your bunch of green onions and saute them with a cup and a half of whole pecans in virgin coconut oil. You can use whatever oil you want of course. The virgin coconut oil just compliments this particular combination of tastes quite well.

Chop avocado, peel a couple tangerines and spread them out on a plate of romaine leaves as individual wraps.

Spoon the warm nuts and onions over the fruit and avocado.

I know you can also line the romaine leaves with sticky red or black rice to bulk it up. I have even had this dish with black beans in the wrap and it was good.

About Leeks 

In Europe, leeks are a cooking staple, prized for their warm and oniony flavor when cooked, and their almost buttery flavor when chopped and sauteed.

The ancient Egyptians adored leeks, and even adorned their pyramid tombs with drawings of them. The ancient Romans also valued leeks, considering them superior to onions and garlic, which were regarded as food for the masses.

 So if Onions are the Ford Escort of the garden, Leeks are the Rolls Royce. It takes a full year to bring a leek to harvest. Ok Maybe 9 months. But it can take a year. And that just sounds impressive to say.  That is a lot of weeding, watering and love to bring this garden VIP to the table. So try and find a way to enjoy them.
The word that instantly comes to mind when I am describing leek is integrity.  Leeks don’t lie. You can have a mealy tomato or a tough summer squash. Some lettuce can be bitter. And although valencia oranges look delicious enough to eat in March…..think again. Leek is a straight shooter. Whether she is 1/4 inches or 1/4 foot thick. She brings it all to the table. Every time.

 Leek has consistency in the kitchen. First with her flavor and flexibility. And then her durability. I say durability because in my experience, leeks taste great however you cook them. I have done them “Just right” according to recipes. I have also left them in the oven over an hour too long, only to find that it was only the outer layer that was damaged and was delighted to find that had the outer layer not been burnt, the inner nectar could not have reached it’s delicate state of enlightenment.

As for taste, I am not known for use of many adjectives. But there is a flavor balancing quality in leek that I find remarkable. She brings with her, an earthily complex sweetness that you could not cook out if you tried. And at the same time leek generously and unselfishly advocates for the  butters, herbs and wine she might married with. She is truly worthy of the title of Aristocrat. In the best sense of the word, that is.

Leek Flower


According to one legend, King Caldwater of Gwynedd ordered his soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets in an ancient battle against the Saxons that took place in a leek field.

Leeks

Two sticks in drifted snow
mark the trench where I laid the leeks
in cool dirt in October.
Now I dig down through old
frozen crust to damp dark hay
to the thick grey green leaves
of the leeks and pull them
from the piled earth and
shake dirt from their white
hairy roots. They come up
like creatures from under
the ocean. In the half-cold,
half-light the odor of earth
gone all these long months
wraps around me, and it is as if
these leeks have come from
a world where there are great
pleasures of the body, where
the mind grows smaller, where
libraries mold in the dark,
where worms in purple and brown
rule the streets, and the corridors
of power are moist and rich
in a way that radio voices
can’t conceive of, and the talk
is of the thick trunk
of seasons, the nose
of rootedness, the eye
that works its way through,
hair that feels its way,
the skull that follows,
the toad of desire, the beetle
of bone density, the grub
of grief, the larva of longing,
the moon coming up and the quiet
at the end of February. 
I pick up the pile of leeks
and carry them to the kitchen.
I wash them clean. I chop them
on the old board. I cook them
in oil and salt. I taste
their great sweetness. I remember
that the earth will hum into spring.

– Abbot Cutler

 

Easy Leek Potato Soup
3 leeks, trimmed, rinsed and sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic minced
½ cup of butter
Grind of fresh black pepper
4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
4-5 cups potatoes peeled and diced
2 cups half-and-half
Grated Gruyere cheese to sprinkle
Melt butter in large stockpot. Sauté leeks in the butter until tender.
Add grind of black pepper and pinch of salt. Add stock to pot. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Add half-and-half and reduce to a simmer until potatoes are tender about 20-30 minutes.
Using an immersion blender or a potato masher, mash the potatoes. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with Gruyere before serving.

Farm Leek Frittata
3 leeks
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 eggs
Pinch of Salt
Grind of fresh black pepper
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare leeks by trimming, washing and finely chopping. Heat the olive oil in an oven proof frying pan. I like to use my cast iron skillet.
Fry the onion and the garlic in the skillet until softened. Set aside in skillet. Whip the eggs with a fork in a bowl.
Add cottage cheese to the eggs. Add ¾ cup cheese to eggs. Add salt and pepper to egg mix. Pour the egg batter over the leeks in the frying pan.
Sprinkle top with remaining Gruyere. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, but start checking after 10 minutes.
Frittata is done when center is still lightly jiggly. It will continue to cook after you remove it from the onion. Serve with a green salad and whole wheat bread.

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