Tag Archives: leek

February 2013

Not a very exciting title for this post, huh?

NWS Oklahoma Snowfall totals Feb 25, 2013

Click for a larger view.

I could have titled it The Snowstorm That Wasn’t. Twice in the last three weeks people have gotten all excited, closed down universities, cancelled events, and prompted a rush on groceries, based on winter weather advisories. I’m glad I’m not a meteorologist, because the general public doesn’t seem to understand probabilities. Parts of Oklahoma did get quite a bit of snow, but not here, even though it looked like we were going to get slammed big time. Oh well…we did get a nice rain, which we needed desperately.

Yes, we are still in a serious drought, and we’ve been on mandatory water rationing since January. This is the first time I remember water rationing in the winter. Two weekends ago Mike installed our graywater system, which is now legal in our municipality. Since then we’ve been shocked at  how much water two people can use every day.  We definitely need to replace our 20 year-old washing machine with something more efficient.

besan ka cheela and curry ketchup

besan ka cheela and curry ketchup

leeks

A bushel of leeks

Saturday and Sunday the weather was wonderful, and I spent a good amount of time in the hoop houses spreading compost, planting peas, and harvesting leeks.  This next weekend I’ll need to slice, blanch and freeze some of these leeks, but in the meantime I’ve been putting a leek into every meal I can – pasta dishes, chowders, beans, and besan ka cheela. By-the-way, if you can’t find curry ketchup for your pakoras and besan pancakes at your local international market, it’s easy to make. The yumminess of the ketchup is highly dependent upon your curry powder – I like mine with a lot of ground coriander.

Kate at Companion Bakery

Breakfast with Kate at Companion Bakery in Clayton

I visited KTM (Kate, Tuan, Mira) in St. Louis over President’s weekend to get my dose of adorable baby love. Kate and I hit Global Foods Market, Seafood City, and Trader Joe’s (because I just don’t have enough varieties of noodles and rice…ha ha ha ha). I really am going to miss STL if they move away for graduate school.

UPDATE February 28 – I made leek, green chili, and cheese pupusas for dinner tonight.

  • 2 cups masa flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups hot water

Mix in large bowl, first with a fork and then with your hands, and knead until dough is no longer sticky. Cover with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.

  • 1 medium leek,  white and light green part, diced
  • 1 Tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tsp green diced green chili
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
Leek, green chili, and cheese pupusa

Leek, green chili, and cheese pupusa

Saute leek in olive oil, add green chili and seasoning (cumin, garlic, red chili powder). Let it cool, then add the grated cheese.

Divide masa into 5 or 6 balls of dough. One at a time, pat the ball into a disk, about 4 to 5″ in diameter. Place heaping tablespoon of the leek and cheese mixture on the center of the disk. Pull/mold the sides of the disk around the filling so that it is enclosed in dough. Gently flatten the dough until it is about 1″ thick.

Place each pupusa on a very lightly oiled griddle or cast iron skillet and cook over a low heat. If some of the cheese oozes out, that’s fine. Cook until lightly toasted on one side, then flip over.

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Late fall update

In the (hoop) house: Still producing – one cherry tomato, one cucumber, several peppers, and green beans. Ready to eat – bok choi, onions, leeks, and KALE. Up and growing nicely – lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts, more leeks, broccoli, cilantro, Swiss chard, turnips, rutabagas and garlic.

New fireplaceNew fireplace: After living for 15 years with a mantel but no fireplace*, we finally made a decision and purchased (online) a ventless gas fireplace with mantel. Mike stained it in September, we put it in position in October, and connected the gas in November. We still need to finish the wall opening and put in some slate or tile beneath the surround. *The Universalist Fellowship, which owned our house in the 1970’s, removed the original gas fireplace. The next owners got so far as to buy an old mantel, but never completed their project.

Pickles, salsa, chutney: Throughout the fall I’ve been pickling and canning stuff, mostly involving peppers. Green sauce/salsa, pepper relish, Mexican escabeche, and chutney.

grating lemongrassLemongrass harvest: We finally got a frost last week, so we had to bring in all the houseplants, and my three big pots of lemongrass. Every year I’d tell myself that I was going to do something with the lemongrass, and this year I finally did. I cut the stalk about 3″ from the soil, then removed the leaves so all I had was the stalk. I washed and cut it into 4″ pieces and froze them in a ziplock bag. To use them in cooking I simply take out a stalk and grate it with my microplane grater, or throw a stalk or two into a soup. Here are links to previous posts that pertain to lemongrass: Vietnamese Penicillin, Viet FeastThai Seafood Hotpot, and Grass of Lemon

Oklahoma road trips: Since September Mike and I have done three Oklahoma weekend rambles.

  • First to Roman Nose State Park near Watonga, OK, where we stayed at the very nice, newly remodeled lodge. Saturday we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on the patio with two pots of French press coffee. The night before we’d stopped at Eischen’s Bar  in Okarche – the oldest bar in Oklahoma – for fried chicken and fried okra. Saturday afternoon we took back roads on the way home and I was amazed at the number of wind generators that had been put up.

Eischen's bar in Okarche, OK Roman Nose Lodge patio  Wind generator, south of Weatherford, OK

  • Second on our list was Lake Murray in southern Oklahoma. Beautiful setting, but an incredibly dumpy lodge. I felt like I’d fallen into a time warp and emerged in 1965. We did have a fabulous catfish dinner on the banks of the Washita River at McGehee’s near Marietta. Thank goodness they have big billboards directing you to the restaurant, else we’d never have found it.
  • Third on the list is the town of Woodward, where I went to attend a family wedding (at the old theater), and then Mike and I returned two weeks later to pick up some antique chairs I’d bought. Once again, lots more wind farms going up, and we met Mike’s cousins for a great lunch at Waggs Bar-B-Q. We weren’t there long enough to visit Alabaster Caverns, but that is definitely worth doing if you’re in the area.

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Leek & potato bread

Leek and potato bread

Whole wheat leek and potato bread

I’m on a bread kick right now. I have some nice big, fat leeks available in the hoop house, so here is today’s recipe:

  • 1 large leek – not the white part, but the green part that they usually tell you to throw away. (Use the white part in a soup, stew, or omelet.)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 cup water

Slice up the leek (about 2 cups) and saute in the olive oil for a bit, then put a lid on the pan and steam for several minutes. Pay attention and don’t let them burn, like I nearly did. Boil the potato in the water till soft, then remove and mash up. Save the water – you should have about 3/4 cup left. Process the leeks in a food chopper or food processor. Don’t worry if they seem fibrous, they’ll be fine in the bread.

  • 1.25 cups milk or buttermilk or sour milk
  • 3/4  cup potato water
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey

Add the hot potato water to the (cold) milk, then add sugar and yeast. Let it set for a few minutes for the yeast to activate. Add the mashed potato and processed leeks.

  • 1 cup whole wheat atta (chapati) flour, or bread flour
  • 1.5 cups regular whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Add the flours and salt gradually to the wet ingredients, first with a heavy spoon or paddle, then with your hands. I always start with the atta, then alternate with the whole wheat and all-purpose flours. Knead for about 4 to 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky add more all-purpose flour. You want the dough to be rather soft. Let it rise in a warm (not hot) location for about an hour, covered with a damp cloth. After it has doubled in size add the olive oil and knead briefly. You may need to add a little more flour. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with your damp cloth, and let rise again for about 45 minutes. Heat oven to 400 F. Oil a cookie sheet or baking stone, and turn the dough out on it. You can shape up the loaf a bit, and slash the top if you like. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes at 400 F, then turn down to 350 F for about 40 minutes. Brush with olive oil or butter when you take it out and let it cool for 20 minutes before you slice it.

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Leek forward

Leek seedlings

Every darn seed came up!

The title for this post, if you don’t get it, is a corny play on words – leap forward (as in spring forward) which is what we will did today as we switched to daylight savings time. [Wow! It seems like only yesterday that we did the fall back procedure.]  But why leek?  Because I have been contemplating how to deal with an excess of leeks in my garden, of course! Besides having ready-to-harvest leeks that overwintered, I have young leeks taking up a whole garden bed, and more seedlings that I

Young leeks

Young leeks

am trying to give away. You see, I saved some seed from last year’s crop, and because I wasn’t sure how well they would germinate, I overplanted. And because I can’t stand to pull out and throw away a viable plant… So I’ve scoped out some recipes and thought up some of my own. I added arugula into the search since I have an excess of that too.  Speaking of which, I just read that Obama was called elitist for eating/ordering/planting arugula, which is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. I consider arugula (aka rocket)  a weed!

Of course there is leek and potato soup or vichyssoise, which I made last week. Here are some other ideas I came up with:

  • Arugula and Leek Quesadilla
    Mature leeks

    Ready to eat

    • Saute the leeks and arugula in  olive oil  first. Use Pepper Jack cheese or cheddar with sliced jalapenos.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Leek and Arugula
    • On sourdough bread, naturally. Saute the leeks and arugula in butter or olive oil with garlic first.
  • Mac & Cheese with Leeks
  • Leek and Arugula Lasagna
  • Leek and Arugula Fried Pies
  • Leek and Veggie Pakoras

For your further amusement, check out this blog post about the history of leek growing clubs and shows in England. Near the end of this long post there are some leek recipes. Mike and I are going to this part of England in May. I wonder if there are still any leek clubs there?

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