Saturday, March 31, 2012

Leeks float and dirt doesn't

It dawned on me the other day that I didn't explain one simple fact about leeks.  They need special cleaning as the way they grow they trap dirt in-between the layers of leaves.  The best way to clean them I picked up on foodTV, don't ask me from which chef as I don't remember, is to put them in a large bowl of water.  Agitate them lightly with your hand to losen the rings and let the dirt fall down.  After agitating them let them rest for just a few seconds for the dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl and voila you have clean leeks to saute and use for your dish.

Call this a lesson in cooking 101.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Potato Leek soup

This righteous and tasty soup is easy to make, but the cutting and dicing is laborious.  I don't mind the dicing as it puts me in a relaxing zen space as I cut through all the spuds.  I use a 1/2 inch dice as those that don't get whizzed I like to fit on a spoon.

Hat tip to my friend Ruth who found the OCD cutting board.  This board is for those who haven't figured out  how to do the various dice and make them fit a prescribed size that is often referred to by name rather than some metric.  I don't have one, but looked the board and learned that the proper name for the 1/2" dice is a "batonnet".  Who knew that one?  I'll probably continue to refer to it as a "1/2 inch dice" to make it easier on whomever stumbles upon this little blog.

Potato Leek Soup

  • 6 cups (approx 1 1/2 lbs) Rose potatoes, 1/2" dice
  • 2 leeks thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1 T dill weed
  • 2 T parsley
  • 2 14 oz cans chicken broth
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • asiago cheese
  • sliced spring onion

In large sauce pot add butter, potato and leek.  Over medium heat sweat until the leeks are translucent, about 5-10 minutes.  Add chicken broth and herbs.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Place 2/3 of soup mixture in blender and whiz until smooth.  Return to sauce pan, stir in well and bring to simmer again.  Serve hot with a garnish of asiago cheese and spring onion.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pasta Salad

I have a small party that I am putting side dishes together for.  Since its an afternoon party with sandwiches catered I was left with the task of making sides.  Funny how that happens, eh?

One suggestion was a pasta salad.  I thought to my self, "self what can you do different other than just boiling pasta"?  I came up with a few ideas.  Pasta salads usually missing some crunch.  Italians use nuts to add crunch and another level of flavor to pesto, why not take that trick and add to the pasta salad?  I did and it worked out pretty good if I say so myself.

For the Salad dressing I opted to grab the Ken's Steak House Italian with Romano cheese.  Adds that nice cheesy salty flavor you get with pesto as well.  Gotta keep the flavor profile string moving along.

Pasta Salad

  • 12 oz rainbow rotini pasta cooked according to package directions
  • 4 oz pepperoni sliced and chopped
  • 1 bunch spring onions thinly sliced
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 c chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 c frozen peas
  • Italian Salad Dressing with Cheese to taste
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Take your cooked and cooled pasta.  Add the pepperoni, onions, tomato, walnut and peas.  Toss lightly and then add about 1/2 c salad dressing and toss again to coat.  Add more salad dressing if it appears to light for your tastes.  Add salt and pepper to taste as needed.