Leek, the new red meat

Okay, before I go on, I need to preface this cooking spree I seem to be on.

Because I’m incredibly lazy and I liked the idea, I talked Sparky into signing up for an organic veggie/fruit/cheese delivery thing. A lady in my Hausfrau book group does it and recommended it. Sparky complains that I never make veggies. This is true. I cook like a single girl thrown into the task of cooking for two. For some reason, cake for breakfast is not his idea of a balanced meal. Ice cream is apparently not appropriate either and with Take-Out a completely different animal from that at home, I cook a main entrée. Sometimes, I throw in a Caesar Salat with store bought dressing.

Store bought ready-made salad is a VAST improvement for a girl who grew up eating SpaghettiO’s out of the can because her mother couldn’t be bothered to put them in a pan and heat them up. This was okay for me. I liked it as long as she didn’t get the type with meatballs. Uncooked, those meatballs left a fatty film on the roof of my mouth. I still prefer my SpaghettiO’s room temp.

So in that vein, I suggested that this veggie delivery thing would force me to cook more green stuff. It would be delivered and therefore I would cook it.

I get these ideas based wholly on my need to accessorize. I can kick ass in Deutsch School if I have the cute binder, graph paper, cool pens, mechanical pencil in pink and a hello kitty pink bubble gum eraser. When I got my car, a convertible, I needed a matching scarf to wear wrapped around my head like an old school film star (in reality, its more Isadora Duncan). Sure, I could cook great veggie dishes, but in order to do this, I need delivered organic veggies.

Sold! He ordered it and last Friday, our GemüseKiste was delivered. Oh boy. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. We got a sample kiste with cheeses and veggies and a couple of apples thrown in.

The organic cheeses were delicious. And the apples lasted about 3 minutes. The veggies… well, the veggies were types I had barely heard of in passing, let alone had any idea how to cook. I did not get, as I thought, a few normal, everyday type of veggies like brokkoli, zucchini, and eggplant. I got endive, parsnips, carrots, leeks, and collard greens.

What is a parsnip? I looked it up and it sounded like it could be a great new addition to my veggie repertoire. I made veggie bundles with leeks, carrots, parsnips and shallots tied with green onions. They were good, but parsnips have an initial taste that reminds me of urine, so I won’t eat anymore of those.

Endive looks like I can just throw it in a salat, but no, I cannot. They require soaking and onions minced and oil and vinegar and salt and pepper. I have to make the oil and vinegar thing from scratch.

Collard greens? I had these in North Carolina made with gobs of lard, I’m sure, but there is no way I’m cooking with lard. My ass is big enough without throwing lard in to my grocery cart. Its one thing when you don’t see how it’s made. It’s a horse of a different color if I have to make it myself.

So, with more veggies than my massive imported American fridge could store, Sparky called my bluff and demanded I cook every single thing delivered.

Hence my journey through the land of cookbooks began.

Dedicated in calling Sparky’s bluff in calling my bluff, I bought more veggies at the Wochende Markt. Well, one can’t make a meal out of parsnips, collards and carrots… I needed more stuff to make the stuff I have edible. Tonight we are having roasted zucchini, eggplant, carrots, parsnips, brokkoli and green onions over rice.

Markus wanted my special hamburgers. Hahahhahahahaaa. I got him, Mr. I-work-out-and-need-my-protein-why-don’t-you-make-veggie-man.

And this afternoon, I used the leeks in a little experiment that was delish. It’s gone now so he’ll just have to remember what that one bite tasted like when he comes home for his rice and veggie plate.

It all started with those damn leeks. I had something like 10 good-sized leeks. What do you do with 10 leeks? Make soup? I don’t have a blender or food processor to puree stuff. I do have a mixer, but that does nothing for leek soup. I can chop so chop I did. I made a leek quiche thingie.

I love quiche. I cannot/do not know how to make a piecrust.

When I first moved here and wanted to make it, I looked all over Aldi and Kaufland for ready-made piecrusts in the little tin pie plate to no avail. I even asked in a Bäckerei if I could buy one. I would have paid 20€ for a piecrust. The woman thought I was mad and shushed me out the door.

That was the end of my attempt to make quiche. I just wait until we go to Strasbourg and pick some up there.

I know, I give up too easily sometimes, but there is no freakin’ way I’m making my own piecrust. For some reason I feel like piecrust is the only thing keeping me from full membership to the Hausfraus-R-Us Association. As I’m a founding member of the Ladies of Leisure League, making piecrust is simply unacceptable.

So anyway, I had a ton of leeks and their time was running out. I had to do something as Sparky was keeping his eyes on the veggies, just waiting for them to go bad so he could win this battle of the GemüseKiste and curse his American veggie-wasting wife. So with the idea of a leek quiche in my head, I stopped by Minimal. There, under the ready-made pastas, was pastry dough. Ready-made pastry dough in Germany is like Lunchables for Americans. Only the working or divorced mothers must use ready-made. Or those mothers who don’t really care what their kids eat and feed them cold SpaghettiO’s.

Genetic memory kicked in and I cleverly bought the ready-made strudel pastry, stuck it in a gratin dish and went to town with my own ingenious leek thingie recipe.

It was delish and it’s gone and after school tomorrow I’m picking up 10 more leeks and making it again. After tonight’s veggie fest, I will have used all the veggies and wasted NOTHING!

Take that, Sparky!


15 thoughts on “Leek, the new red meat

  1. Hi Jen, it’s not difficult to incorporate veggies into dishes. You can take the pot roast/bris recipe that you made the other day and stew it with the leeks and parsnip. When I make minestrone soup, I usually add collard greens in the last 15 minutes of simmering. Use the endive in appetizer dishes, where you have something tastier sitting on the leaf…sort of like lettuce wraps at a Chinese restaurant. If you ever need a good recipe, send me an email. I just recd a great cookbook called ‘The Cook’s Book’ and will be writing a review for the CC Times food section this month. It’s filled with lots of pictures.

  2. Don’t let the Ghost farter eat the leek quiche…..it will only increase its output 🙂

    In UK we roast parsnips (with meat) or put them in stews.

    Mixed vegetable in a white sauce covered with cheese and thrown in the oven is always good…..and easy to do.

  3. You are SO fabulous! Really. I loved this post. I have no idea what to do with a parsnip.

    But really DO get a blender or a food processor – they are so useful – you can steam all those veggies, throw them in there and make wonderful soups in a matter of minutes.

    Can’t wait to hear what other delicacies you’re going to cook up!

  4. You could combine the parsnip with the brisket..you’d have a bris snip…

    ok that’s so wrong.

    But as Christina said, get a mixer- you can get a stabmixer for like EUR19 and it purees soups wonderfully.

    What to do with leeks-
    6 stange (I can’t think of the English word :|) of leek, sliced thinly
    Bacon -diced (you can get this at Aldi)
    10 Medium Festkochend potatoes diced small.
    Vegetable Stock (store bought is fine)
    – if store bought follow instructions for 2litres of water.
    2 bayleaves
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 Bockwurst, sliced (optional)

    Fry diced bacon and then add leeks and fry until their colour turns a dark green. Add stock and potatoes. Add bayleaves and cover- allowing the vegetables to soften considerably. Taste and add whatever you think it needs. I usually add a dab of butter in at some point during the cooking.

    Take the pot off the burner and allow to cool to room temp. Get the stabmixer and puree till smooth. Reheat when ready to serve. While soup is reheating add slices of bockwurst if wanted. Serve with a little dollop of schmand if you like.

    Anyway, that’s how I like leeks… 🙂

  5. Schmand has got to be one of the weirdest German words.

    Stay tuned, Jen, I’m sending you recipes!

  6. WOW, i dont even know who you are anymore, that post might as well been in sandscript, the only thing i know what to do with a leek is to take one. My how my sister has blossmed into the reluctant house wife. As you said, pie crust may be the only thing keeping you from full on hausfrauism in your mind, but it sounds like you are already there.

  7. @Haddock:
    Don’t take it personally, but I insist that my wife takes no cooking tips from ANY English person, no matter how nice they are :).

    @Mim… err… Anonymous:
    Don’t make fun of my wife just because she suddenly learned how to write in SANSKRIT :).

    @Christina and Belinda:
    Thanks for the support :).

  8. my god, thanks so much for all the info. I’ve got it all written down in my recipe binder now.

    C: Markus explained schmand. It was described like English word that starts with sme… I hate that word.

    Had: I’ll take your advice gladly. I’m doing another roast this weekend. Parsnips will be included. Do i throw them in in the last hour or can i toss them in in the beginning?

    B: Sounds delish. Thanks. perfect for a cold german day.

    Anon or rather Bro: Yeah, yeah, yeah. When one can no longer party hardy, one must find other charms. See, all, when jeff and I lived together, he did the cooking. I did the dishes. Jeff can make a mean chicken.

    Mim: You are way more hausfrauy than me and you’re only 18!!. You cook better than jeff and I combined, sew, and have been knitting since you were 5. You know how to make truffles from scratch. Now if only I could teach you to clean, we could put you on the Marriage mart.

  9. JJ: Cool. Thanks for the tips. Stew is on my list for this winter. I tried it once in a crockpot, but added noodles with everythign else. It smelled delish, but the noodles were big enough to take over the world and there was no soup left. So, I’ve learned and will attempt it soon.

    Let me know when your review goes to print. that’s so cool.

  10. My girls would consider Spaghetti Os an exotic treat since we NEVER eat them. They do get a fair number of lunchables because I am burned out after 7-8 years of school lunches, though I limit it to the healthier varieties!

    Any and all root veggies are wonderful roasted. Cube them, throw them in a big pan, toss with olive oil and some herbs (rosemary or oregano work great) and roast at about 450 degrees F until tender. Garlic and onions are great in this too–in my house, of course I seldom cook WITHOUT garlic!

    Oh, and try a crustless quiche if you can’t get pastry dough–I’ve done that with a number of recipes. I’d like the leek recipe, BTW!

  11. sign me up to the ladies of leisure league! 😉

    they do have ready-made quiche crusts, and in aldi, too! blätterteig! you can find it along with the other frozen pizzas, tortellinis, lasagnas… i am magnetic to the ready-made-meals section of any supermarket! 😉

  12. LL: thanks for the tips. I’ll try it out.

    Ruth: You’re in. consider yourself a card carrying member. I wish i could make cards. Huh, a job for december.

    I couldn’t find it at aldi, but our Aldi is a bit sub-standard, so I’ll try another. thanks!

  13. You’ll find blaetterteig in the referigerator section. It is rolled up, so it will look like a triangular wand. It makes a good quiche crust.

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