Monday, April 06, 2009

What the F I do with leeks. [RECIPE]

Our farmshare started up again last week after a two week hiatus that fell between the end of the winter share and the beginning of the regular (spring/summer) share. 

That two weeks gave me some time to anticipate happily the upcoming barrage of vegetables and also start dreading the inevitable Mystery vegs and how I would possibly manage to get them all into our bodies in a satisfactory and, perhaps, even enjoyable way.

If at all possible, I prefer to not compost anything from the weekly box, but sometimes we get too much of some things (BASTARD CHARD) or some amounts of things we just don't like (collards) or a bunch of things that only one of us likes (beets) or we get Mystery vegetables that have never been prepared by my hands so I just am at a loss as to how to make them good (Brussels sprouts, fava beans, fennel bulbs, celeriac, turnips, leeks) and they end up getting hauled out to the compost pile at week's end or when they've turned goopy and nasty in my crisper.

Typically I feel incredibly guilty and malign myself enthusiastically while walking to and from the composter and sometimes I make a promise to Nature that I will do better to get these precious green (red, white, yellow, etc) things into our bodies instead of into the composter.

I've been better with some things more than others.

Like, you know how we now have a love affair with Brussels sprouts, fava beans, fennel (Wait? have I told you about the fennel? Soon. Trust me.) and celeriac/celery root

These are things that I look forward to in the farm share rather than dread as though they are Death Itself and even like cooking because they taste amazing and make me feel like a super hero cook since some of them were previously hated by Bubba (brussels sprouts) or feared by me (fava beans  - it's the Chianti thing. You know.)

Like I'm winning the battle against the box, you know? Just trust me. It's a good feeling.

But, even after all my battles last year, there are still some Mystery vegs that confound me and have yet to be conquered to the point where I no longer fear seeing them in the box.

Until last night, leeks were one of those Mystery vegs. 

Is it an onion or an iris? WHO CAN TELL? Not me.
Thankfully Kris and I were emailing on some random topic and she made mention of her recent (or upcoming? I can't remember.) leek planting and I took the opportunity to ask her what the F she did with leeks. 

Well, Kris is more of a "teach them how to fish" kinda gal, so sent me off to read up on leeks. All this made me want to do was find a way to eat them so that I didn't continue to feel like the ignorant American loser who is too dumb to understand what the French see in this green onion-like staple of amazing greatness or whatever.

Those French can really make me feel like shit, you know?

And with some stereotypical American bullheadedness welling up inside my person, I marched off to figure out what the F to do with these things so that I could feel better about myself, this country and The Mystery Leek of Greatness.

It might have gotten a touch dramatic in my head, I'll admit.

Well, thankfully my neighbors, who have been well-documented here as excellent chefs, casually passed along their easy going way of making leeks, and when I tried it last night, I was hooked.

The world of leeks has opened up to me, people, and so now I shall open it up to you. If only slightly, seeing as I have only made them well once and lord knows there's other shit you can do with them, but still - OPENING UP THE WORLD OF LEEKS! 

Here we go...

I wish you could smell this. FROM HEAVEN.
Mushroom Leek Saute with Wild Rice
Recipe by Awesome Neighbors
My changes in bold

1 Amazing leek, rinsed thoroughly, chopped 
2 cups of roughly chopped oyster mushrooms (or whatever kind)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/2 cup wild rice
2 T unsalted butter
1 T fresh ground black pepper

Please ignore the compost bag back there and don't include it with your recipe.

To make
Start the rice cooking per package instructions. Of all food things to which I pay closest attention to package instructions, rice is #1. Fucked up rice is no laughing matter, so don't get all "I know how to make rice, loser!" because you might fuck this up and that would be shameful.

Moving on. 

In a good sized skillet (I think I used the 9"er), melt a T of butter over medium heat and toss in your garlic and chopped leek to cover. It will look and smell delicious like a mellow onion and this is AOK with me. Throw some salt on there for good measure and toss occasionally until it starts to soften.

Add your other T of butter and toss in your mushrooms. Mix this all up in the pan and let the smell take you away. Not like Calgon, but more like when you walk into a restaurant and you're super hungry and suddenly you smell something that you MUST HAVE because that's kinda how this smells. To me.

I should have taken photos of the oyster mushrooms. Hotness.

Add some more salt and the pepper, stir and then turn the heat to low. 

It looks like it was all made to be together, no?
When your rice is ready (DO NOT BE HASTY OTHERWISE YOU'LL BE EATING CRUNCHY RICE EW), pour it right into the skillet with the leeks and onions, stir it up real well, sprinkle with a little more salt (to taste, of course) and serve with some totally unmatching bbq brisket because that's what you have and, well, it's good no matter what you eat it with.

Everything goes with bbq brisket. Even leeks. AMAZING fucking leeks.

Next on the Mystery what the F do I do with this list: TONS of beets. Not, like, 6 beets, but more like 20 beets. And don't just say "cook them" because that's not going to get rid of a lot of beets when I live in a house where only one of us eats them (me). I need creativity from you, folks. Help a sister out.


  1. That looks delicious! My favorite thing to make with leeks is Leek and Potato soup. The best recipe is from Cook's Illustrated. It is sooo easy and yummy.

    And, I am seriously jealous of your beets. I freakin love beets. Last year john and I picked 20 lbs of beets and I ate them all by myself (not at one time, of course). I usually put them in a quinoa salad. I roast the beets, then make a quick balsamic vinaigrette, mix it all together with some feta, and some other veggies, like cucumbers or broccoli. yum yum!

  2. Looks good, sounds like it smells good, but you lost me at the oyster mushrooms. Um, maybe without those, I could do it.
    Beets?...Pickled? My grandma used to pickle hers, they were good. I don't have a recipe though, so I guess you'd have to do some research or something. Sorry.

  3. pickle them and send them ALL TO ME.. I'll glady pay for them. I cant jar/can, freakin love beets (only 1 in the family, bah! )and hate the shit in the can =\

    to quote a really smart,cute super hip chick

    "help a sister out"

    (btw, my "word verification" sounds like either a tasty italian dish or a really bad std. "ortechlai")

  4. Oooh Finny -- that looks yummy! Oven roast your beets from now until July or can them and then you can have them when you want them.

  5. Yum! I can almost smell it from here.

    My grandma was from Latvia and made a pretty awesome potato salad with beets. I know it may sound whack, but I loved it so much!

    Also, I have an awesome recipe for lentil soup that uses TWO bunches of chard! And once, when the grocery store was out of chard, I subbed collard greens, and that was also really good. If you want the recipe, for when you get way too many of the greens in your box and all, I can send it your way.

  6. I love leeks! I have a recipe for a leek and gorgonzola pasta sauce that's yummmmmmmy. Otherwise, you can kind of treat it like an onion - though I don't usually use the green part, just the whiter "heart"

  7. It was a recent planting, though none of them have come up yet. Bastards.

    This looks YUM. Take THAT, you snooty French people and your haughty love of leeks! Finny's American neighbors kick your ass!

    Wait. Your neighbors aren't French, are they?

    And how can you not like collards? You cook those up for hours with diced onion, chicken stock, and a ham bone and tell me you don't love THAT, and then I'll believe you don't like collards. Until that time, I must believe it's only because you're a poor, ignorant Yankee and don't know how to cook them properly.

    And beets? BEEEETS, I MISS YOU. I haven't had beets since the fall. Sad. I never really have enough to have to worry about, but I did make a recipe of borscht with them that was really good. If you like the sweet/sour kinda thing.

    What you really SHOULDN'T do, however, is eat all the beets by yourself in a short period of time. It will do bad things to your digestion. But it does make your toilet deposits a lovely red!

    Okay! Now that I've given you unsolicited opinions on every garden vegetable in the world, I'm shutting up now.

  8. Gonna have to try Leeks now. That looks sooo good.
    I don't like beets either, unless they are made into chips. I use a mandolin to slice beets and sweet potatoes really thin and fry them up in oil until crispy. Drain on a towel and sprinkle with salt. Perfect sweet, salty, crunchy snack!

  9. I need help with beets too. Although the beet chips sounds really good (and messy). Recently I've been eating them shredded on top of salads.

    How much of the leek are you supposed to use? Just the white up to the pale green or all the way up? I recently made leek potato and fennel soup and it was fantastic AND I got to use my new immersion blender. It was great. Thanks for the leek recipe, I'll have to try it next time!

  10. I was going to suggest pickling them, (don't know how, though) so you could save them for when you don't have 20 of them at a time. But then I saw SAHM suggest frying them like potato chips. I vote for that one.

  11. Mmmm...I bet that that does smell good! Damn you, now I want some Leeks.
    I like beet greens better than I like beets themselves, so I cook the beet greens and I cook and then puree the beets and freeze the puree to be used later as an extrememly healthy additive to other dishes.
    For instance, you could make Pink Pancakes with some of your beets:
    My husband wouldn't touch a beet with a ten foot pole and he can't even tell that there are super healthy beets in these pancakes.
    Or you could try this:
    or this:;jsessionid=1D913AD388F2B885CBC06A947349C8C4
    Beet puree is very versatile!
    Good luck!

  12. Wild rice: I like to cook it like pasta... simmer with lots of water until desired doneness reached. (Around 45-50 minutes, if I remember correctly, but I also like it a little on the under-done side.)

    Your recipe sounds great! I bet it would be tasty with pasta too. I also keep intending to try making leek and potato soup, but never remember to print out the ingredients before going to the store.

    Beet ideas: pickled beets? borscht? (Don't ask me for actual recipes... I'm not a beet eater.)

  13. So, I hate beets. But I found a way to get rid of them.

    Chocolate beetroot cake.

    SERIOUSLY. It tastes.. like chocolate cake. A tiny, tiny bit vegetal but still pretty damn good. I learned it from an awesome Australian chick, where choc. beetroot cake is apparently popular? hm. I took two cakes to two parties and didn't tell anyone what was in them, and it all got eaten.

    Don't remember which recipe I used but here are two that look promising.

    Try them. Don't tell your husband what's in them. No one will ever knowwwww.

  14. This looks great. A leek, wild rice, and mushroom combo...I will keep this recipe handy!

  15. Although I am vegan and my food blog has some different food choices than yours, your blog rocks! I love the excitement (and language) that you use! Love it! I am a follower now! :)

  16. Welcome HayMarket - Follow along as I cook a ton of vegetables because between my garden and our farmshare, there's a lot to be had. And, hey, why not post that Channa Masala recipe from your blog. It looked excellent and that's one of my favorite Indian dishes. Us meat heathens enjoy vegetarian fare, too, sometimes.


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Sucks, right?

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