Provençal Leeks

provencal-leeks

 

We learned this recipe quite literally at our mother’s apron strings. As children, we spent summers on the beach of a coastal small village on the Cote d’Azur. Our mother occasionally brought in Madame Victoria, an elderly woman from Provence who then lived in St. Maxime, where she cooked and cleaned.  She taught our mom a lot about the cuisine of the region, leeks Povençal being a classic favorite. Mom made it every spring when leeks were abundant in the marchés near the village outside Paris where we lived. Danielle made this for our alluim ,month, May 2016.

3 medium-sized leeks, trimmed and washed and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 tomatoes, or 1 (15-oz) can, cut into eighths
¼ C pitted black Kalamata or green olives
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t Herbes de Provence
¼ C white wine
¼ C olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Trim and clean the leeks: remove one outer layer of the leek and remove the dark green top. Slit the leek vertically and rinse under running water to remove and sand or dirt. Cut the leeks into 2-inch pieces, removing any additional dark or touch pieces. You want to be left with the white and light green parts only. Put the trimmed, washed and cut leeks into an ovenproof baking pan.

In a separate bowl, mix the tomatoes, olives, lemon juice and zest, garlic and Herbes de Provence. Spread mixture over the leeks, mixing gently. Add the white wine and olive oil. Season with a bit of sea salt and pepper. Bake uncovered 20-30 minutes until leeks are very tender. Serve warm or chilled on a hot summer day. Serves 4-6.


Green Garlic Soup

green garlic

 

 

Green garlic is available for a very brief time in the spring and mainly at farmer’s markets. It resembles green onion (scallions), but has a flat, rather than tubular green top. Get it while you can! This recipe will serve six. Adrienne demoed it during our allium month, May 2016.

2 bunches green garlic (about 6-8 stalks)
1 good-sized onion
1 medium potato, such as Yukon Gold
2 T olive oil
4 C vegetable stockgarlic
salt & pepper
¼ C heavy cream
chopped chives for garnish

Prepare green garlic: Slice green part lengthwise and run under cold water to get out any grit. Remove root. Cut entire stalk and bulb into chunks and set aside. You should have about 3 C of green garlic. Peel and cut onion into chunks; you should have 1 C onion chunks. Wash and cut potatoes into chunks; you should have about ½ C potatoes. In a large pot or pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add all your vegetables. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add stock, salt, pepper. Cook another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, puree soup mix. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. Add heavy cream and process until incorporated. Serve hot, garnished with chives.


Warm Potato Salad with Lemon-Herb Dressing

potatoes

 

 

Baby new potatoes are great in this. The golf-ball sized tubers start hitting farmers markets around April. Use a variety of colors –purple, yellow, red-skinned – if you can find them for maximum nutrition, or stick with red-skinned or yellow Yukons. We love the sweet flavor of the new potatoes in this recipe, but any type of boiling potato works for year-round goodness. If you have a culinary mandolin, use that to slice the potatoes, or better yet, the slicing bade on a food processor. The sauce comes out thick, almost like a chimichurri sauce. Mix and match herbs – tarragon, chives, parsley; or dill, parsley and chives; or basil, cilantro and chives. Mix your sauce in while the potatoes are still warm for maximum flavor, and also to “cook” the raw garlic, making it less harsh. You can serve it any temperature, though it is best either warm or room-temperature. One last thing – if you don’t have a steamer (and lots of us don’t), just boil these gently in about an inch or so of water, covered.  Demoed at USBG in March 2016. Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking.

1¾ lb. baby potatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
Kosher salt
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 C lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ C lightly packed fresh basil
½ C thinly sliced chives
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large, wide pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring about ½-inch of water to a boil over medium high heat. Arrange the potatoes in an even layer in the steamer and sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt. Cover and steam, carefully stirring every now and again, until the potatoes are just tender, five to six minutes. Drain and put them back into the hot pan, cover.

While the potatoes are cooking, finely grate the zest from the lemon and then juice the lemon. Put the zest in a food processor and set the juice aside. Add the garlic to the food processor and pulse a few times. Add the herbs and pulse to coarsely chop. Add the olive oil, 1t salt, and ½ t pepper and pulse until the mixture is fairly homogenous, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. (Avoid overprocessing or the herbs will heat up and discolor; 10 to 12 pulses should do.) Add 3 T of the lemon juice and pulse once to mix.

Drizzle the herb mixture over the potatoes and toss gently to combine. Season to taste with more salt or lemon juice. Serve warm.


Coconut Quinoa Bowl

quinoa

 

This recipe is a great way to use leftover cooked quinoa, but it is so delicious, you’ll be cooking up extra quinoa just so you can make this. While the nutty flavor of the quinoa is particularly nice in this combo, rice, bulgur or couscous would make good substitutes. For a gluten- (and carb-) free alternative, you could make cauliflower rice by grating it and steaming or sauteing it just enough to get rid of the raw flavor. Leftovers? Just slice up a fresh avocado and add some yogurt. This was such a hit at Brookside Gardens last fall, we thought we’d roll it out again for US Botanic Garden this month. This recipe was adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

2 C cooked quinoa
1 lemon
1 C yogurtkale
¼ t salt
2 t olive oil
½ C sliced or slivered almonds
½ C unsweetened shredded coconut
2 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed into a paste with ¼ t sea salt
4 C stemmed & shredded kale, from about 10 large leaves
1 avocado, pitted and sliced

Warm the quinoa. Grate the peel of the lemon and squeeze out the juice; reserve each separately. Stir salt into yogurt, drizzle with olive oil. Set aside. In a skillet over medium heat gently toast almonds; add coconut flakes and mashed garlic to the skillet. Remove skillet from heat and continue stirring until coconut is toasted and garlic is fully incorporated into nut mixture. Transfer skillet contents to a small bowl and reserve. Return skillet to heat; add a splash of olive oil, stir in the kale with a pinch of salt, and cook for just a minute, until the kale collapses a bit, and brightens. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over it, and transfer out of the pan immediately.

To serve, combine half of the almond coconut mixture with the quinoa in a large bowl. You can serve this individually, or family-style. Top the quinoa with the kale, plenty of the salted yogurt, and top with the remaining almond mixture, avocado, and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Garnish with grated lemon.

Serves 4.


Marinated Tomatoes

cherriesWhen you grow cherry tomatoes, you get a bargain for the space you must a lot them. Yes, they are rambunctious and prone to wandering about.  But staying on top of the prodigious output of a cherry variety — a close descendant of the wild cherry native to the roadways, fields and forest edges of South America  — is a summer feat without the famine. This recipes does cherry tomatoes justice, taking full advantage of the characteristic sweetness inherent in the fruit while providing a colorful and flavor-packed condiment, which you can play with by adding hot peppers and/or sliced lemons. And of course, you can always sub out regular tomatoes, just cut them into smallish chunks.  Fill an attractive jar with the marinated tomatoes and make a gift of it.  If you keep yours in the refrigerator — recommended — you’ll have to bring the tomatoes to room temperature before using as the olive oil congeals with the cold to a butter-like consistency.  The original recipe comes from Southern Living. Adrienne demoed this at the US Botanic Garden in August 2015.

8 cups halved assorted grape tomatoes
1/8 C coarse salt
1 large shallot, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1½ C olive oil
14 fresh thyme sprigs
1/3 C white wine vinegar
1 C fresh basil, torn
½ t black pepper
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes

Put grape tomatoes in a large non-reactive bowl, sprinkle with the salt and toss gently with your hands; let stand 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté shallot and garlic in hot oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until vegetables are translucent but not brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in thyme. Cool completely. Toss together vinegar, next 3 ingredients, tomato mixture, and shallot mixture. Serve, or cover and refrigerate up to 4 weeks.  Serve over grilled fish, meat or vegetables; atop crackers and cheese; add to salads.