Kale, Leeks, and Peppers

Kale is frequently paired with white beans and chicken broth in both Italian and Portugese cuisines to make a satisfying soup — sometimes including sausage. Stephen Cooks combined dinosaur kale (but any kale will do) with leeks, peppers, and garlic and used it very successfully as a side to a traditional Italian preparation of pork (braised in milk) for a casual Sunday supper.

Kale with Leeks and Peppers
Ingredients
1 bunch Lacinato Kale
1 leek
2 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
1/4 C white wine
1/2 C chicken broth or water
8 strips of roasted red pepper
salt, hot sauce to taste
Directions
1.Wash the kale and strip the leaves from the stalks, discarding stalks. Tear into pieces no more than about 4 or 5″ long. Clean the leek and cut the white and light green parts into strips about 1/4″ x 4″. Peel and slice the garlic.
2. Simmer the leeks about 5 minutes, covered, in the olive oil and wine, until the leeks are just starting to turn tender.  Turn up the heat, add the kale and toss to coat the kale with the liquid.
3. When the kale turns a darker shade, add the water or broth and garlic and cook, covered, about 8 more minutes. Kale should be tender but not mushy. Toss with the pepper strips and season to taste. May be prepared ahead and warmed gently for serving.

Leek Risotto

by Jocelyn Cook

Long time member Jocelyn whipped up a delectable Leek Risotto and shared the recipe with our members. Leeks are plentiful this time of year, keep the recipe on hand for when they show up in the Share. Raw leeks will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 14 days, or blanch and freeze for use up to 12 months later. Cooked leeks; however, only last a few days in the fridge. So do yourself a favor – make the risotto and eat it all in one sitting. Or maybe eat any (unlikely) leftovers for lunch promptly the following day. Continue reading

Grilled Zucchini and Leeks with Walnuts

This leek-heavy recipe is straight from the Bon Appetit website. The perfectly paired portions, grilled enough to soften the veg without completely turning it all to mush, tastes to me exactly like late summer should. Topped off with walnuts it leans into September taking with it the last remains of summer squash. Take a dive into leeks as a prominent flavor and see what you’ve been missing.

Ingredients
1/3 cup walnuts (easily omitted for non-nut consumers)
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
5 tbsps olive oil, divided
2 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise with root still attached
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup fresh parsley with tough stems removed
salt & pepper to taste
Directions
Heat grill to medium-high heat. Toast walnuts in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Coarsely chop toasted walnut and toss with garlic, lemon juice, and 3 tbsp oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Brush leeks and zucchini with remaining 2 tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables, turning frequently, until tender and charred in spots 5 – 8 minutes for leeks, 8 – 10 minutes for zucchini.

Transfer vegetables to a cutting board. Trim roots from leeks and cut zucchini into bite-size pieces. Add vegetables and parsley to bowl with walnuts and toss to combine. Season with more lemon juice, salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Summer Soup

Leeks are a European staple that resemble a large green onion, with a mild oniony flavor, that isn’t of the onion family. It’s delicate flavor often gets lost under the shadow of potatoes in an American favorite, potato leek soup. Let their flavor shine by pairing with other summer favorites like corn and carrots. Here’s a soup recipe to try this week showcasing all three of these mid summer favorites. Continue reading

Winter Vegetable Chowder

Adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen

My brother-in-law, Mark Ducey, has a talent for taking healthy recipes and turning them into something decidedly less so, but substantially more delicious. Here is his riff on Deborah Madison’s Winter Vegetable Chowder. To make it vegetarian, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

1) Place in a saucepan:

  • 3 cups milk or half & half
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 12 black peppercorns

Bring to a boil then set aside to steep.

2) Wash, peel (as needed) and slice into ½-inch by 1 1/2 inch chunks:

  • 4 large leeks
  • 3 cups carrots
  • 3 cups potatoes
  • 3 cups parsnips
  • 6 ribs celery

3) Heat ½ stick of butter in a large soup pot. Add veggies from step two, plus 2 bay leaves, 1 ½ tsp. thyme, ½ tsp. lavender, ½ tsp. tarragon. Heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4) Sprinkle the veggies with ¼ cup flour, toss, then add 4 cups chicken stock and 4 cups water. Cover and cook 20-25 minutes.

5) While veggies cook, melt some butter on a cast-iron griddle and grill slices of crusty bread on both sides. Place one slice in the bottom of each serving bowl and cover with grated gruyere.

6) When veggies are tender, strain milk from step 1 into a blender. Add 1 1/2 cups of veggies from the soup and puree. Return puree to pot.

7) Check soup and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Ladle over bread in bowls and serve.

Notes: Fresh herbs (quantity adjusted) would be better if available. I used whole milk; half and half would be better and whipping cream would be ideal.  Should have garnished with fresh thyme sprigs if they were not under the snow.