Saturday, February 25, 2012

leek madness

When I was grocery shopping last week, GIANT leeks greeted me in the fresh produce aisle at my local store. I am talking freakshow leeks. So I couldn't resist picking up two, figuring I would improvise my way to something great after making potato leek soup, which I have recently become obsessed with.

Emeril's recipe is fantastic and naturally gluten free.  I've also made it with green onions when leeks weren't available and it was different, sure, but still great. I've made it with and without bacon as well as with creme fraiche vs cream.  The creme fraiche adds a bit more tanginess, but can you reeeeally go wrong with cream? No.  This makes the perfect sized batch to get you and your plus one through a week of easy reheating.

But leeks are great for far more than just potato leek soup. I used them in a stir fry and in omelettes.  And still have another cup or so in the freezer in a ziploc. Perfect in a quiche or a frittata too.

Leek Stir Fry
2 bags shirataki noodles, rinsed well under cold water
1 1/2 cups of leeks, white and light green parts only sliced thin
1 zucchini, sliced into thin match sticks
1 red pepper, sliced into thin match sticks
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of minced ginger root
1/3 cup reduced sodium gluten free soy sauce
1 tablespoon tahini or peanut butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
optional: tablespoon of minced lemongrass (like gourmet garden) or a tablespoon of lime juice

Chop and mince away. Once everything is set and the shirataki noodles are rinsed and set aside (you can sub cooked rice noodles or spaghetti) heat a large skillet over medium heat. Right before the skillet begins to smoke, add coconut oil.  Once the coconut oil melts, add leeks, sauteeing for one minute.  Add ginger and garlic, stirring with leeks and sauteeing for one minute more. Add the rest of the veggies, sauteeing for three to five minutes or until veggies start to brown and are tender in the middle. add soy sauce, tahini/pb, lemongrass and red pepper flakes and stir well so that it forms a sauce. When sauce is formed and vegetables are cooked to your liking, add shirataki noodles and stir frequently, cooking the mixture for a few minutes until the noodles are warmed through. If you need more sauce to cover, try a few splashes of broth or some more soy sauce.

Leek Omelette for Two

1 cup of leeks
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 cup of thinly sliced mushrooms
4 eggs
3 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon herbs de provence
pinch of kosher salt
black pepper grinder
shredded gruyere

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add a tablespoon of coconut oil.  Once melted, add leeks and sautee for three minutes or until they begin to wilt and glisten. Add mushrooms and sautee until both are cooked to your liking but still have a bit of bite. Add a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper, tossing and setting aside.

Mix eggs, milk and herbs de provence with a whisk until slightly frothy. Add remainder of coconut oil in a small skillet. Once melted add egg mixture.  Push in on the edges to allow the liquid to go around the outside of the omelette so that the egg cooks equally.  Once it is firmly set throughout, flip the entire mixture over.  Cook for one minute and add shredded gruyere, leeks and mushrooms.  Fold over and serve immediately. 

So fronch. Yum.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I am SO pro Against the Grain.

So, gluten free friends, let me tell you about a little company called Against the Grain Gourmet.  At first I saw the name on a few bags in the Whole Foods freezer section and thought - whoa thats a strong statement.  I'm also a little weary of frozen breads.  They just never seemed to get to a texture that I loved. And then I started trying Against the Grain products one by one... and fell completely, utterly in love.

I was first introduced to Against the Grain Gourmet through their Rosemary rolls, which I used as buns for grilled mushroom cap burgers, cheeseburgers and as bread in delicious egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches. I ate them plain after 30 seconds in the microwave. And after sitting out on the counter for 30 minutes.  And with earth balance spread. And cream cheese. I was freaking hooked. Then, when I went back for more, I saw they had baguettes in original and rosemary flavors. Unbelievable.  To me, the baguettes have the best texture of all their products. Squishy, stretchy, chewy bread was but a distant memory before buying this stuff.

A friend and I were recently at a dinner party trading stories about loaves of store bought gluten free bread that were better suited to be doorstops when I pulled out Against the Grain's Rosemary Baguettes for her to try. Even the gluten friendly friends were tasting it and oohing and ahhing. Even though they had "real bread" on the table to choose from, they were going back for more of my baguettes. I've never seen anything like it with a packaged, frozen, gluten free product.

After realizing that I owed this monster of a company a blog post for all their deliciousness and convenience, I wanted to try a few more things. I tried their sesame and original bagels. FINALLY a chewy gluten free bagel. I have found nothing that comes anywhere close to that texture in a gluten free baked good.  Even those I bake myself are often delicious, yes, but crumbly and lacking in that unified, chewy consistency.  Not these bagels. Not this baguette.  Not these rolls.

I also noticed a new product - a frozen pizza shell - which had cheese baked right into the crust. I snatched up immediately as it was the last one in the A&P freezer case. Despite my now well documented love of everything else of theirs that I brought home, I was still skeptical.  But this crust blew every other frozen pizza, both gluten free and otherwise, completely out of the water. They now also manufacture and sell whole pizzas.  No other ingredients needed for an easy, tasty, weeknight meal. I also saw that they are now selling pumpernickel rolls, which I have been freaking clamoring for since giving up my beloved NY bagels.

I know you'll be skeptical... I was too.  But take a leap of faith against the grain with these guys.  They really know what they're doing. And no, I'm not being paid to write this.  Though if anyone is listening, I'd prefer to be bought with baguettes and bagels. Check out the website to look for a store locator, to read about ingredients (I haven't seen any dairy free products yet), sourcing, and to see the variety of stuff I haven't stumbled upon yet.  You'll be happy you did.

(All photos credit to Against the Grain Gourmet)