Saturday, August 28, 2010

Baby Leeks, Vacation Fallout


It's not that I lacked inspiration this past week, or past two to three weeks since starting to prepare for vacation. Motivation wasn't lacking either. I have been, however, overwhelmed. Vacation is funny that way, particularly with a toddler and a full time job. It takes so much to get ready to leave and you always return to so much to do.

We got back Monday after 9 days in the Northwest. We didn't make it to the grocery store, despite the empty refrigerator until Wednesday. The bags stayed unpacked until Thursday. Yesterday, some of the laundry was done. We are still picking up the pieces of the vacation nearly a week later.

With every day that went by since Monday, I had hoped to find the energy to sit down and write. I wanted to write. I also wanted to go to the grocery store, unpack, and do laundry and all of those things together became overwhelming. Which is why Monday and Tuesday I did nothing. I went to sleep early ...to rest up because I had so much to do, but couldn't really do any of it because there was just ...too much.

No one can pressure me more than I can. I make my rules and hold myself to a pace that is sometimes overwhelming even for me. And when there is too much on the plate, sometimes, none of it gets done.

A new recipe and a bit of rambling was in order. Summer's almost over- our farmers market still had tender baby leeks and they are on the menu at our house this weekend.

Baby Leeks with Mustard Vinaigrette

Mustard Vinaigrette: 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard; 2 teaspoons pickled mustard seeds or 2 teaspoons grain mustard; 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar; 1/3 cup olive oil; salt and pepper to taste.


Leeks: 10 baby leeks; 1 teaspoon kosher salt; 2 tablespoons creme fraiche; 1/4 cup onion micro greens

Cut off the top and the dark green part of the leek and rinse well to remove any trace of dirt that might be hiding under the many layers of the leek.

Try to match up two bundles of 5 leeks of similar size. Tie each of the 2 bundles with kitchen twine. In a medium size pot, boil enough water to hold the leeks comfortably. Add 1 - 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. When the water boils, put the 2 bundles of leeks in and reduce the heat to medium - more than a simmer, less than a roaring boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Check with a knife for doneness. The green color of the leek will begin to fade when ready.

In the meantime, make the vinaigrette. Start with the mustard and pickled mustard seeds (or grain mustard) and gradually add the oil while stirring to incorporate it. Add the vinegar the same way.

Carefully drain the leeks. Place on a clean towel, pat dry. Cut the twine. Place desired portions (3-4 leeks) on each plate. Drizzle the mustard vinaigrette over it.

Thin 2 tablespoons of creme fraiche with a little water until it has the consistency of runny sour cream.


Drizzle some of the creme fraiche over the leeks and top with the micro greens. A sprinkle of salt and the dish is done.

Serve, enjoy, and stay motivated. Summer's almost over- for better or for worse.

P.S. Happy Birthday Chris Cina! Chef, food blogger, food photographer- you can enjoy some of Chris's work and ramblings at www.christophercina.com

Photography by Jennifer Olson

16 comments:

  1. wow,wonderful pics for the lovely leek!i love leek and your moustard vinaigrette is perfect!
    on the other hand...autumn may be so beautiful !:))

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  2. Thanks for the shout out Andra. Been a nice, lazy birthday so far. The leeks look fabulous, lovely photos as well.

    C-

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  3. Sooo pretty. I have never used pickled mustard seed. I'll be giving this a try.

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  4. Love the pictures! As relaxing as a vacation is, I always hate coming back. Life is ridiculously overwhelming to catch up with!

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  5. A lovely post. I think leeks are under-appreciated...I know that I certainly don't eat enough of them. And traveling is exhausting...it always takes me a bit to recuperate.

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  6. What a cool way to prepare leeks! I've been wanting to give these little beauties a try--I don't have much experience working with them.

    Oh, and I totally understand your plight. Getting back to normal life after a vacation is always tough.

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  7. This dish is really beautiful in simple, modern kind of way, I esp love that last picture. And can I say, I also love that no matter how busy you say you are or how harried your week or vacation has been, you always have pretty painted nails? :) LOVE it!!!

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  8. Simple, contemporary, beautiful picture!

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  9. That is a gorgeous photo and the dish seems so elegant and clean. And I'm totally with you on the vacation thing. I put that kind of stuff off all the time--there's just so much to do when you get home and nothing wants to get done.

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  10. I love it when a dish I see makes me say, "oh my." It's a guarantee that it'll be on our table sometime soon. This is one of those. Wow.

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  11. Gorgeous photos. And I love how simple this recipe is.

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  12. Awesome pictures. Sounds delightful and looks elegant.

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  13. This is simple dish yet so elegant. Hope you have great vacation.

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  14. Great to be back from vacation. Glad you all enjoyed this recipe.

    Cilantropist- the nails are always done!

    MomChef, Koci- if you make it, tell me what you think.

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  15. Your post-vacation dilemma is a familiar one!

    I also have a young child, full time job and husband. I go through the same period of being so overwhelmed that nothing gets done for awhile

    Congrats to getting back on the wagon! It feels good, doesn't it?

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