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