Leeks a la Grecque and other Inspirations
From The Produce Bible by Leanne Kitchen
Leanne Kitchen. What a great name for the writer of a recipe book. And what a great book too. I was given it (thanks Fatemeh) less than three weeks ago and already it looks well lived in. (Probably something to do with the fact the lid jumped off the blender as I was making lettuce and lovage soup, and totally splattered the open book. But that's another story for another day since the soup was otherwise nothing to do with this particular tome).
On the surface The Produce Bible didn't grab me as anything extraordinary. I flicked through it few times without really thinking too hard or paying it too much attention. But the next thing I knew, after a trip to the market, where I was pretty much buying ingredients on a whim, this book was suddenly my new best friend helping me form ideas for the week's meals from my random selection of produce. First I found myself prepping ginger ready for pickling and next up I was making Leeks a La Grecque, barely stopping to wonder why. Not only did they taste good on their own, the leeks were fantastic mixed with leftover chicken and stuffed into a toasted pita for a packed lunch.
Two days later there I was, leafing through the Bible again, this time in order to make what turned out to be a very tasty Aloo Gobi which was especially good served with a cool cucumber raita. I thought that was it for the book for one week, but the next night I arrived home from work after 8pm with an overwhelming desire to make some kind of deconstructed lasagne from scratch. I kneaded up a small batch of pasta dough which I cut into large sheets and then simmered until tender before using them to sandwich togther a satisfying mix of shiitakes, more of that left over chicken, finely chopped onion, garlic, sherry and a dollop of creme fraiche. It was fairly impressive for a late evening meal and I was ready to congratulate myself on my inventiveness before the bible fell open on a page entitled "open lasagna of mushroom..." Although I hadn't even realised the Bible contained such a recipe, mine looked exactly like the lasagna in the book's picture. It's funny how things you don't think you are paying any attention to at all stick firmly in your consciousness sometimes.
Since it makes such a good companion to my vegetable shopping, I am pretty sure that from now on I will be making a conscious decision to stick The Produce Bible in the most-used section of my recipe collection too.