Asian Pickled Leek Scapes

leek scapes

Scapes are the flowering stalks of the leek plant and can be eaten like asparagus — or pickled!

Yields half a pint. Recipe can be doubled or quadrupled.

1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
Small splash of fish sauce (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
1 leek, thinly sliced, or 1 shallot, sliced
1/2-1 whole hot chili pepper, sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 leek scapes, sliced thinly on the diagonal, or use 4-5 garlic scapes

Combine all but the sliced scapes in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the scapes and return to a simmer, then remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes.

Pour everything into a clean half-pint jar, tightly seal it, and give it a good shake to make sure all the aromatics in the brine are well distributed. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Pickled scapes go great with sweet and sour pork chops!

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Mother’s Day Quiche with Leeks and Bacon

Eggs

Farm-fresh pastured eggs make this Mother’s Day treat eggstra special!

Crust
2 cups Nash’s soft white flour
2/3 cup butter, chilled, chopped
1 egg yolk

Filling
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 large leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
6 1/2 ounces rindless bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup grated cheese
4 Nash’s eggs
1/2 cup milk

Combine flour and butter with a fork or in a food processor until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 2 tablespoons chilled water and egg yolk. Process until dough just comes together. Turn pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until just smooth. Shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add leek and bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes or until leek is soft. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Let cool. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a standard glass or ceramic pie dish.

Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper to form a 12 inch circle. Line base and side of prepared dish with pastry, trimming excess. Place dish on a baking tray. Line pastry with baking paper. Fill with uncooked rice or ceramic pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove baking paper and rice or weights. Bake for 10 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes.

Spoon leek mixture into pastry. Top with cheese. Whisk eggs and milk together in a separate bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Pour over leek mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Recipe adapted by Virginia Newman from Taste.com.

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Asparagus Leek Soup

1 1/2 pounds asparagus
3 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup minced leek
2 gloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup half-and-half or raw milk
3/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
Splash lemon juice (optional)

Cut asparagus into 1-inch chunks and simmer in chicken broth for about 5 minutes, until tender. In a small saucepan, melt butter and sauté leeks and garlic for five minutes on medium-low heat. Add flour and cook for one more minute.

Add the flour mixture to chicken broth and stir until thickened. Blend everything together until semi-smooth. Then return soup to sauce pan, add raw milk, thyme, and salt and pepper. Simmer everything for five minutes and then top with optional parmesan and lemon juice.

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Rutabaga Saute

rutabagas

Enjoy the sweetness of these lovely rutabagas!

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium leek, sliced fine
2-3 mushrooms, chopped
1 medium rutabaga, grated
1/2 pound ground meat (Nash’s pork or Clark’s beef)
1/2 cup broth or stock of any kind
1 small package Itsy-Bitsy Greens, any kind
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup grated cheese, any kind

Sauté the leek in the butter until it starts to soften, 3 minutes. Add the ground meat and sauté until cooked through. Add mushrooms, rutabaga, salt, pepper, paprika and broth. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes. Towards the end, toss on the greens and cover to wilt. You could also add about 1 cup of any leafy green, chopped fine; just add it when you add the broth to cook through. At the end, sprinkle the cheese on top, cover and wait a couple of minutes for it to melt. Voila!

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Caramelized Leek Pasta with Fresh Raab

red cabbage raab and green cabbage raab

Red cabbage raab and green cabbage raab are excellent options for this wonderfully seasonal recipe!

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large leek, or two small leeks, greens and all thinly sliced (about 1 pound)
1 bunch raab, any variety
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound pasta (linguine or other long, thin shape)

Saute leek over medium heat in olive oil, stirring occasionally until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Make sure heat is low enough so leeks don’t burn or cook to quickly.

Meanwhile, bring several quarts of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Roughly chop the whole bunch of raab — stems, leaves and all. Pop them into the boiling water for 2 minutes, and then drain them and set aside.

Add the garlic to the pan with the leeks and cook for just one minute. Then add the raab and salt and pepper and cook everything together, stirring occasionally, until the raab is tender, about 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as desired.

While preparing the leek sauce, cook and drain the pasta, making sure that some liquid still sticks to the noodles. Toss the hot pasta with the raab-leek sauce. Mix well and transfer portions to warm pasta bowls. Drizzle each bowl with olive oil to taste and serve immediately.

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Garlicky Leeks in Olive Oil

leeks

Celebrate the flavors of leeks and garlic.

2 leeks
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons salt

Trim the dark green ends of the leeks, leaving only the light green and white ends. Rinse leeks well (cut in half lengthwise and rinse in between layers). Slice the leeks into 2-inch chunks.

In a small frying pan, heat olive oil to hot but not smoking. Turn down the heat and add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add cilantro and cook another 30 seconds. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

In a medium saucepan, bring 8 cups water to boil. Salt the water with 2 tablespoons salt. Add leeks to the boiling water and reduce heat to simmer. Poach until leeks are just tender to bite, about 4 minutes; do not overcook.

Drain the leeks and add them to the olive oil mixture, stirring gently to coat the leeks completely. Serve immediately, garnished with more cilantro.

Recipe adapted from Food52.com.

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About Leeks

leeks

Leeks add wonderful flavor to all sorts of tasty recipes.

In ancient Greece and Rome, it was thought that leeks had a beneficial effect on the throat, and it is said that the Roman Emperor Nero ate leeks every day to make his voice stronger.

Leeks, like their allium family members, have sulphur-containing compounds that support our antioxidant and detoxification systems. They also contain a flavonoid (phytochemical) called kaempferol which has been shown to protect our blood vessel linings from damage (which can help to prevent plaque formation as plaque is how our body responds to damage in our blood vessel lining).

Leeks are high in vitmain K, which is an important vitamin for blood coagulation and bone health. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin (along with A, D, and E), so be sure to cook those leeks in just enough of your choice of butter or oil. Leeks also provide us with a bioavailable (‘packaged’ and ready for our bodies to use) form of folate. Folate is an essential vitamin for our brain development and function. The US started to fortify the food supply with folic acid (the synthetic version of folate) because an inadequate intake of this vitamin in pregnant mothers can cause neural tube defects in their children. The number of babies born with neural tube defects was reduced after the fortification policy.

To get those lovely sweet white sections of the leek, we hill our nutrient dense soil around the base of the crop, which means sometimes some of that nutrient rich soil gets into your kitchen inside leeks’ layers. To get rid of the grit follow these prep steps: Chop the root base off, and then slice the leek in half lengthwise. Run water through each half of the leek to rinse out any soil. You can cut the halves into quarters and repeat if there is a lot of soil.

The green portion of Nash’s leeks are also tender and edible. If you feel they are too tough, cut off those portions and add them to soups for additional delicious flavor.

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Chinese Chicken

leeks

Leeks are back! Enjoy them with carrots, bell peppers, and chicken in this lovely recipe.

1 pound chicken
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 leek
1 carrot
1 bell pepper
1/2 cup soy sauce

Cut the chicken into thin strips. Marinate chicken for an hour or more (longer the better!) with soy sauce, chili flakes, ginger, minced garlic, and ground white pepper.

Heat sesame oil and canola oil in a saucepan on medium heat, then add chicken and cook till golden brown. Thinly slice the carrots, leek, and bell pepper. Add vegetables to the pan the while the chicken is cooking and lightly sauté until everything is tender. Enjoy over rice.

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Bay Leaf Beet Soup

A bunch of golden beets

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Wrap beets in foil.

Bake the beets until tender, about 1 hour; allow to cool, then peel the beets. Cut them into bite-size chunks.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat and cook the red onion, leek, and garlic until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth, and mix in the beets, bay leaves, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, cinnamon, cumin, and tarragon. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the flavors of the bay leaves and spices are blended, 20 to 25 minutes. Pick out bay leaves.

Ladle about 1/4 of the beets into a blender, and add soup liquid as needed to fill the blender about 1/4 full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the beets and broth moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree the beets until smooth, and pour back into the soup.

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Roasted Vegetable Bisque

1 bunch leeks, quartered
2-3 turnips, cut into 1″ cubes
2-4 carrots, quartered
2-4 stalks celery, quartered
1 bulb garlic, raw, cloves separated, paper and skin removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cups broth (whatever kind you prefer)
1-2 cups water

Place prepared vegetables and olive oil in plastic bag and toss to coat evenly. Place on ungreased baking sheet and spread out so they don’t touch. Roast 15 minutes at 425 F, turn over, and roast another 15 minutes until golden brown (caramelized) on both sides.
Transfer roasted vegetables to soup pot. Add broth and enough water to cover vegetables. Bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes. With ladle or measuring cup, transfer soup to food processor or blender and puree until smooth (may have to do in batches).

Serve in soup bowls and top with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream. Serves 4.

We thank Chef Annie McHale of Port Angeles for this recipe.

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