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.


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.


Ombre Carrots and Chard

Serves 5-6 as a side

8 medium rainbow carrots in various colors
1 bunch swiss or rainbow chard, stems only
10 mint leaves, roughly torn
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sumac (optional)
1 t flax or chia seeds (optional)
pinch of salt and cayenne pepper

Peel carrots and slice larger ones lengthwise so they are fairly uniform. Split chard stems as needed to achieve similar uniformity. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes, remove and cool in an ice water bath. Cook the chard in the same boiling water for 3 minutes, remove and cool in an ice water bath. Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a bowl. On a plate, arrange the carrots and chard by color. Drizzle dressing on top and sprinkle mint leaves. Serve cold or room temperature.


Lemon-Almond Torte

The first taste of spring is all about lemons. Sure the bright, fresh zing of lemons is great almost any time, but there’s something about this time of the year when it has particular resonance. It’s a tonic, a cleanser – of palate and gut (and house for that matter) – a lovely foil for fresh herbs, it goes with so many flavors. So before the garden is serving up its first harvest of stalwart baby greens, tightly packed peas, pointy asparagus and early onions; before ramps appear at farmers’ markets, morels raise their dusky, honeycombed fool’s caps; before the heart of summer sneaks up on you, we look to lemons to bring us sprightly flavor and a break from winter’s stews. We offer up a spate of spring recipes, many of which deploy this seasonal citrus – lemons are ripe for the picking where they grow in Southern California, Arizona and other parts of the Southwest.

lemon almond torte

 

This light, lemony cake is based on a traditional Spanish torte. We are accompanying it with ruby-red raspberry sauce for a great spring dessert. It has the ingredients of a souffle and that dish’s characteristic lightness, but cooks up like a cake – you could even glisten it with a lemon glaze instead of serving it with the raspberry sauce. Add a dollop of whipped cream for a touch of decadence, and don’t forget that garnish of fresh raspberries and sprigs of spring mint.  Adrienne demoed this at US Botanic Garden in DC in March 2015.

4 eggs, separated into 4 egg yolks and 4 egg whites, room temperature
2 T lemon zest, packed, from about three large lemons
2 T lemon juice, from about one lemon
1/4 t ground cardamom
½ C white sugar, divided
1½ C almond flour or almond meal (see below)*
1 t baking powder
1 t lemon or lime juice
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
Garnish: Fresh raspberries, sprigs of mint

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, and grease it and the sides of the pan with butter or cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat together with a wooden spoon the egg yolks, lemon zest, and 1/4 C sugar until smooth. Add lemon juice and beat again. In a separate bowl, whisk together almond, cardamom and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl and using an electric beater, beat egg whites,. As they begin to thicken, add a pinch of salt and the teaspoon of lemon or lime (the salt and the acid from the juice will help the meringue maintain better structure and increase creaminess). As the egg whites begin to increase in volume, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 C of sugar, a little at a time. Beat until soft peaks form. Fold the meringue into the almond mixture gently to create a light batter. Scoop the batter into a the prepared springform pan and place in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake helping it to separate from the side of the pan. Release the springform pan sides, and gently move the cake to a cake serving plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. Serve with Raspberry Sauce on the side.

Raspberry Sauce

One pint raspberries
2/3 C white sugar

Combine raspberries and sugar in a nio-reactive pan. Cover and cook on low heat about 10 minutes until sugar is fully disolved and the raspberries are comopletely broken down and lost their shape. Remove from heat and cool. Pass mixture through a small-mesh seive. Refrigerate until ready for use. It will keep in the refrigerator up to two weeks.

Lemon Glaze

1C confectioners sugar
1-2 T lemon juice

Combine the confectioners sugar and 1 T lemon juice in a bowl, mix thoroughly, adding more lemon juice as needed to achieve a consisency similar to pancake batter. Spread on cooled almond-lemon torte. Let the glaze harden about 30 minutes before serving.


Lemony New Potatoes

fingerlingThis treatment of the new potatoes that will soon be showing up in farmer’s markets is full of do-aheads. Parboil your potatoes the day before you plan to serve them; the browning can be done a few hours ahead of time; assemble the rest of the ingredients and the last step of making the sauce will come together in less than five minutes. Ultimately, you can do the whole dish in advance and keep it warm in the oven or microwave it before serving. The recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart and was part of our March 2015 repertoire at Brookside and U.S. Botanic Garden.

1 # fingerling potatoes
1 T coarse salt
1 T olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 C chicken stock
2 T dry white wine
1 T fresh or 1 t dried thyme leaves
1 T butter, chilled
2 T fresh lemon juice
Salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste

Garnish
fresh thyme leaves or parsley
coarse salt

Cover potatoes with water in a pan. Add 1 T salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until barely tender, 5 minutes. Drain potatoes, cool, and halve lengthwise. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add potatoes, cut sides down, and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in stock and wine. Cook until liquid is reduced by a third, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add thyme and butter, and stir until butter has melted. Stir in lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish withm more thyme leaves or parsley and sprinkle judiciously with coarse salt.