Sunday, September 19, 2010

Carmelized Leek Soup

This past week, I got a leek in my share at the CSA. Admittedly I had never cooked with a leek so I looked up some recipes. I found mostly creamy soups with butter, potatoes and/or cream. Seeking a lighter taste I experimented with my leek and came up with this light and refreshing soup that even my preschool boys enjoyed.

1. one large leek- soaked in salt water to remove any excess dirt or bugs and then chopped fine
2. 1 T olive oil
3. 5 cloves of garlic, minced
4. 1 T rice wine vinegar
5. 64 oz chicken broth
6. several leaves of kale chopped fine
7. 5 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water and sliced
8. lentils

In a large pot, heat the olive oil, add garlic and the leek. Cook down. Add the rice wine vinegar to carmelize the leek and garlic. Add broth and simmer on low heat. Add kale and slice mushrooms. Add lentils to taste. The shitake mushrooms add a rich flavor to this broth and are brimming with nutrients. The soup was delicious without them so if you don't like shitake mushrooms you can leave them out and still have a yummy soup. I served this with quinoa to complete the protein with the lentils. I found that my boys ate the quinoa more when it was in the soup as opposed to just on their plates. This soup freezes well. I sure hope I find leeks in my share again this week.

Kale Pesto

Kale has become one of my favorite leafy green vegetables. I especially liek the tuscan kale that is purplish in color. My CSA rocks in the area of kale. I love pesto in the summer but it can be laden with fat. In an attempt to up my phytonutrient intake as well as reduce the fat in pesto I created this new version.

1 bunch of fresh basil
1 bunch of kale leaves removed from the step
1 fresh lemon
a handful of raw walnuts
1-2 T olive oil
parmesan to taste
1-2 cloves of raw or roasted garlic (depends on your preference)

In a food processor, chop the kale and basil until they are well blended. Squeeze the juice adn some pulp of one fresh lemon, add the nuts, oil, garlic and cheese to taste. This is an amazing spread. I love to have it spread on a piece of toasted Ezekeal sprouted bread with some slice tomatoes. I freeze this using an ice cube tray. Once it is frozen I store the cubes in a freezer bag and defrost as needed. This also tastes great over some steaming hot veggies or whole wheat pasta.