Tag Archives: leek

Leek Rice

1 Jun

My friends, Ana Yolanda and Angie, have a new found appreciation for cooking. Maybe a little bit inspired by me, who knows.

Lately they’ve invited me a few times to taste a few of the new learnings they’ve had in their weekly cooking class. However, something I have noticed every time they invite me over to taste these recipes is the amounts of butter and calories these recipes have.

This Leek Rice was something they created for me one night… it was the ONLY THING I could eat that night, but I get it. They’re not vegetarians and the menus they learn aren’t either. When I asked how the rice was made, I’ll be honest I can’t fully remember the amount of rice in the recipe, but I do remember that they “needed” to cook the leeks in 2 sticks of butter. WHAT???? 2 sticks of butter!!!!!!

I told them I could certainly be able to replicate this recipe and make it in a much healthier manner – without sacrificing flavor or texture in any way.

You be the judge…

LEEK RICE

3 cups of cooked brown rice, I use Texmati
2 medium leeks, washed and sliced finely, both the white and light green parts
1 tbs olive oil
2 ½ tbs of butter
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
½ cup toasted walnuts
  1. I cooked the rice in a rice cooker… I only seasoned lightly with a little bit of olive oil and salt. When the rice finished, I started on the rest of the dish.
  2. In a large skillet with high sides over medium heat, add the oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the leeks and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, moving them occasionally, until they’re soft. .
  3. Add the rice to the pot where you’re cooking the leeks. Toss well for the rice to be well coated with the leeks and butter. Add the walnuts and mix one more time really well.

That’s it… In my opinion, the rice still has that silky unctuous sensation in the mouth without having to melt 2 full sticks of butter. About ¼ of a stick will do, IMHO.

My mom never had the original version and she loved this one.    What’s your verdict???

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Roasted Veggie Stock

26 Jul

I always wanted to make my own vegetable stock… but I was inspired when I read about a year ago that someone had made a roasted vegetable stock to give added body to an Onion Soup.   I have wanted to make a vegetarian version of Onion Soup for a long time too. Why a vegetarian version?  It’s onion soup… no?  In case you were not aware, onion soup is made traditionally using beef stock or beef consommé – making it unsuitable for vegetarians.

So based on the idea that if you roast something in the oven it concentrates its flavors we got our hands dirty and made home-made roasted vegetable stock.  It’s simple; it just has a lot of ingredients and takes a little while.

 

 

 

ROASTED VEGETABLE STOCK

2 medium carrots, cut into large chunks
2 medium onions, quartered
4 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
2 medium zucchini, cut into large chunks
2 bell peppers, green or red, roughly chopped
1 leek, washed well
1 large shallot, cut in half with skin on
2 garlic heads
A bunch of flat leaf parsley
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 tbs Herbamare seasoning
1 cup crushed tomatoes
12 cups of water
4 bay leaves
½ cup balsamic vinegar
  1. First we need to roast the vegetables to make the stock…  so pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Place all the cut veggies (carrots thru parsley) in 2 baking sheets.  I tried to fit them all in one, but they were too much for my baking sheets.  Drizzle them lightly with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper generously.  Sprinkle the Herbamare too.  Using your clean hands, toss all the veggies until they’re well coated with the oil and seasonings.  Try to add as little oil as possible, because if you add too much oil now, it will make your stock oilier later on.
  3. Roast in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes, turning the vegetables once during cooking.  Try for the veggies not to get too dark.
  4. When the vegetables are done roasting, transfer them to the largest, deepest pot you have…  I had to do this in two batches because I do not own large enough pots. 
  5. To the roasted vegetables in the mega large pot you’ll add the water, the tomatoes, bay leaves and balsamic vinegar.  Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the flavors are extracted into the water.
  6. Let the stock cool down a bit so you can safely handle it.  When it is cool enough, strain the stock using a large colander over a very large bowl.  I suggest you strain the stock again using a fine mesh to make the stock as clear as possible.

 

Now you can store the stock in a bowl for use in the very near future or you can transfer to freezer bags and freeze in 1 cup or 2 cup increments to use later when making soups or risottos.

This yielded me about 10 cups of stock.  I used about 9 cups for the French Onion Soup and saved the rest for future use.

Easy to do and the flavor is spectacular.

Leek Rings

2 Jun

In this Good Eats show, Sprung a Leek, Alton Brown suggested that onion rings were invented when someone dropped a sliced onion in pancake batter and that we would have been better off if he would have dropped leeks in the batter… because leeks have less moisture and onions and therefore, remain crisper after frying.

Once again… my dear friend Alton is right!!!!  I loved these Leek Rings and as a garnish to the Potato Leek Soup they work amazing.  They are crisp, oniony and incredible snacks… I must say, I ate all the Leek Rings leaving nothing for when my mom tried it.  Sorry…  I am a bad daughter, I know…

 

LEEK RINGS

About 2 cups of canola oil
1 leek, cleaned and trimmed of dark green parts
1/3 cup of whole-wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup of water, plus a few tbs more
Salt and Pepper to season the batter
Garlic Salt to sprinkle onto the rings after they’re fried

 

  1. Because we need the leek in rings, we need to cut the rings first and them dunk them in a large bowl or sink full of cold water to clean them thoroughly of any sand or dirt that they come with, particularly if you’re buying organic.    Cut the leeks in ½ inch rings. No green pasrts this time…
  2. Separate them into layers very carefully.  They might break open.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over high heat.  When you insert the back end of a wooden spoon, bubbles should form around the spoon end.  Careful, do not insert a moist wooden spoon, as the water in the spoon can make the oil splatter…  I learn these lessons the hard way… and make sure the pan is thoroughly dry to begin with…
  4. In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, water and seasonings.  Dunk the leek rings in the batter and transfer carefully into the hot oil in small batches.
  5. Watch the leek rings so they do not stick to much to each other.  When they’re light golden, remove them from the oil and place them in a paper towel to drain the excess oil.  Sprinkle them with garlic salt to taste while they’re still warm.

 

Enjoy as a garnish for our Potato Leek Soup or by themselves as a snack.  Yummy!!!

Potato Leek Soup

2 Jun

Ever since I read in the book French Women Don’t Get Fat that one of the reasons our French female counterparts were much thinner than us in the Americas was because they consumed a great amount of leeks… this beautiful green vegetable has captivated me immensely.

I always thought French women were thinner because they ate smaller portions, they walk everywhere and that to the French overall, quality is much more important than quantity.  And thinking about the Latin/Hispanic culture, so completely opposite to that of the French – quantity is more important that quality of the ingredients, where so many people live sedentary lives and take the car to go to the corner store… we should incorporate more leeks into our diet… actually, not should, we MUST!!!

Let’s start with this Potato Leek Soup.  It’s super easy and relatively quick to make.  I enjoyed the flavor a lot and most of all, I loved the fried Leek Rings as garnish…  hey, I speak French, love the French culture, but can’t take the Puerto Rican out of me…  This was a recipe I learned from Alton Brown in Good Eats.

Check it out…

 

POTATO LEEK SOUP

½ lbs of leeks, cleaned and dark and tough leaves removed
2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
3 small potatoes, I used russet – washed well,  peeled and diced small
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup Half and Half
Salt and Pepper to taste

 

  1. First you need to clean the leeks well.  They always come full of sand and dirt in between the layers, even more so when you’re buying organic.  You can cut the leek lengthwise without disturbing the root end so that the leek will sort-of “fan out”.  Submerge in a sinkful of cold water and shake it well to dislodge any sand and dirt trapped in between the layers.  Or you can just run it under cold water. (Note to self:  in my dream kitchen I want a sink for the sole purpose of cleaning produce…)
  2. After the leeks are cleaned… finish cutting the root end and slice thinly.  I use the white part and the tender green parts of the leek.  These are somewhat expensive in Puerto Rico, so I try to use most of it as possible… 
  3. In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the leeks with a heavy pinch of salt.  Sweat the leeks for about 5 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. While this is happening…  prep the potatoes.  I usually leave the skin on my potatoes, because in the thin film between the peel and the flesh is where a lot of nutrition lies, but in this case, because it’s a creamed soup, the skins will just get in the way.
  5. Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth.  Increase the heat to medium hi and bring to a boil.  I covered it to make it happen faster.  Once it reaches the boiling point, reduce the heat to low, maintain covered and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 30 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth.  I still left some chunky pieces of potatoes and it was a nice contrast to the smooth soup.  Stir in the half and half and add additional salt and pepper to taste.

 

The soup will remain warm enough to eat while you make these Leek Rings, which actually were incredible…

I also learned in the Good Eats episode that this soup is also called Vichyssoise, especially if served cold.  I am not too fond of cold soups so we’ll keep on calling it Potato Leek Soup.

Bon Appetit!!

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