Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘leeks’

I’ve had some people ask how they can make weeknight cooking easier. Boy, I understand that. I have a two-year-old and a full-time job. It’s hard to come home from work and get dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time. Here, I try to provide recipes that can be cooked on a weeknight (most of the time), and if the recipe isn’t inherently fast, I try to come up with modifications that make it quicker to prepare. Just so we’re on the same page, “fast” to me means getting dinner cooked and on the table in under an hour, including prep time.

My advice for weeknight dinners is this: First, plan ahead. Use the menu plans I provide on this blog, or make your own. Either way, take a day a week to look through your pantry and your fridge and figure out what you need to buy at the grocery store to make enough food for the week.

Then, as you plan your week’s menus, pick one element of each meal to concentrate on, and make the rest of it easy. By that I mean, if you are serving a side dish that takes some preparation, like this summer squash gratin, fix easy grilled chicken or pork as the entree. You get the idea.

This recipe should help your weeknight dinners come together quickly. Some foods just lend themselves to fast preparation, and green beans are one of them. This stir-fry only has six ingredients, plus some water, and cooks in less than 10 minutes. It’s also really tasty. I used some of the baby onions and leeks I had on hand in place of the 1/2 onion in the original recipe, and the oyster sauce adds some salty depth to the beans’ flavor. If you don’t have it, just season with soy sauce at the end instead. Be sure to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go when you start cooking.

Easy Garlicky Green Beans (adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 tbsp chopped garlic
2 baby onions, cut into slivers about the same size as the green beans
1 leek, cut into slivers about the same size as the green beans
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water (plus a bit more if you check and the pan seems dry)
2 tbsp oyster sauce (comes in a bottle near the Asian foods in the grocery store)

Heat the wok or a heavy frying pan over high heat for 1-2 minutes, until it’s too hot to hold your hand over it. Add the oil and heat about 30 seconds more, then add the garlic, onion, and leeks and cook for 20-30 seconds, stirring the whole time.

Add beans and salt and cook about 2 minutes, stirring several times. Then add water, cover wok, and let beans steam for 5 minutes. Check about halfway through to see if the pan is dry, and added about 1 tsp more water if necessary.

Uncover the pan and add oyster sauce, then cook 2 minutes more, stirring so all the beans are uniformly covered with the sauce. Beans should still be slightly crisp when they’re done. Serve hot.

Read Full Post »

I’d been craving a good, creamy risotto for several days when I came across some pencil-thin asparagus on sale last weekend. I combined it in my risotto with fresh parsley, spring onions, and some other Local Box goodness, and I had a winner. I topped it with prosciutto that I tossed in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up, like bacon.

Now, risotto does require a bit of elbow grease in the form of near-constant stirring. You might break a sweat. I usually do. But the stirring is necessary to unlock the starches in the Arborio rice and give the risotto that telltale creamy texture, so just do what I do: put on some good music, pour a glass of wine, and sing along as you stir. It’ll go by before you know it. I promise.

Spring Risotto with Asparagus and Parsley

2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of spring onion bulbs, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 carrot, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup Arborio rice*
1/8 tsp saffron threads, crushed
3/4 cup white wine*
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb thin asparagus, bottom 1 1/2 inches removed, the rest cut into 1 in. pieces
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay prosciutto slices on a greased cookie sheet and bake 7-8 minutes, until crisp. Set aside.

Heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, leek, and carrots, and cook 4 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan and keep warm. Add rice and saffron to vegetable mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir wine and cook 1 minute or until liquid is mostly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is mostly absorbed before adding the next — this takes about 25 minutes total. When you’ve gone through about half of the stock, add the asparagus. When rice is cooked, remove from heat and stir in cheese, salt, and pepper. Top with parsley and crumbled prosciutto.

Makes about 4 servings.

*It’s important to use Arborio or another short-grain rice — don’t try to sub regular long-grain rice. It doesn’t have the starch necessary to produce a creamy texture.
*3/4 cup is about the amount in a picnic bottle of wine. I don’t like putting my drinking wine in my dishes (feels like a waste), so I buy the little four-packs of wine and use those instead. It’s much better than that salted “cooking” wine you buy in the vinegar section of the grocery store.

Read Full Post »

This recipe was born out of practicality. I hate wasting anything, especially food, and leek greens have always bothered me because they aren’t very useful, but they’re twice as big as the part of the leek you actually use and I hate throwing them away. Now that I have my compost bin, I feel a little better about throwing food scraps in it because I know they’ll become useful in my garden at some point.

Still, when I got three giant leeks in my box this week, I couldn’t help trying to figure out something to do with the greens. They’re stringy and tough, but I still wondered if they could serve some sort of ancillary, possibly decorative function, in a dish. And then it hit me: they’re stringy, so what if I could figure out some way for them to tie something together?

I had some paper-thin slices of salami and a block of Gruyere in the fridge, which I knew would taste great together, but I needed a veggie to balance out the meat and cheese. Enter this monstrous celery:

I put a ruler by it so you could see how big it is, but I had to back up so far to get the entire thing in the picture that you can’t read the numbers. It’s more than 2 feet long, and made up of extremely thin, smaller-than-a-pencil thin stalks. I’m used to bigger stalks I can stuff with peanut butter and cheese and the like, so these guys were throwing me for a loop. I mean, sure, you can chop them up and use them like grocery store celery, but where’s the fun in that when you have two feet of celery to use up?

So, I used the leek greens to tie the celery, cheese, and salami together. You get a rich little appetizer that has some crunch from the celery, and a mild onion-y flavor from the leek green. And just like that, no part of the leek is wasted, and you have something fun to do with those tiny celery stalks! (Of course, if you have regular celery, simply trim it into thin slices for this recipe.)

Just cut your celery and cheese into equal lengths, and lay a few pieces of each on a slice of salami:

Slide a thin, flexible piece of leek green underneath the salami — you can just gently tear the leek lengthwise, or slice it with a knife. Tie the leek green around the celery, salami, and cheese, and there you go:

Here’s a pic of the whole leek greens next to the ones I sliced up:

After making a few of these, I found that I liked them better when I used bite-sized pieces of cheese and celery, and cut the salami in half to fold around them. The celery can be stringy, so it’s easier to eat if you make these small enough to pop in your mouth in one bite.

Gruyere, Salami, and Celery Bundles

Note: You can use any mix of hard cheese and meat you want for this recipe. I wouldn’t use soft or crumbly cheeses, like Brie or goat cheese, because they’ll fall apart. I imagine manchego and serrano ham would be good, or even chunks of parmesan with prosciutto. Also, I’m not going to give specific amounts for each ingredient here, because you can really make as many or as few as you want based on how much meat, cheese, celery, and leek you have.

Ingredients

Leek greens, cut into thin, about 6-in long pieces
Small, thin slices of salami (or cured meat of your choice)
2-in long pieces of Gruyere (or hard cheese of your choice)
2-in long thin pieces of celery

Arrange a piece of celery and a piece of cheese on top of a slice of salami. Slip a leek green under the meat and tie celery, cheese, and salami together to form a bundle. Repeat to form as many as your heart desires.

Read Full Post »

I figured I’d go ahead and post my local box meal plans here in addition to the Greenling blog. The recipes are still great even if you don’t get a local box. 🙂

Lots of tasty greens coming in this week. We are getting:

  • Bok choy from Naegelin
  • Swiss chard from Acadian
  • Red lettuce from Acadian
  • Green onions from Acadian
  • Rosemary or sorrel from Pure Luck
  • Grapefruit and limes from G&S
  • Beets from My Father’s Farm
  • Russian kale from TX Natural
  • Endive from Acadian
  • Spinach from My Father’s Farm
  • Leeks

So I am making:

Read Full Post »