Monday, April 18, 2011

Radical Cooking - Easy Easter Brunch

Cooking outside the take out box....
Better, easier, healthier and cheaper

This arrangement of daffodils,
spring flowers and asparagus
took top prize at the
Upperville Daffodil Show
In less time than it takes to eat out on Easter (and for lots less money) you can gather the clan for this oh so easy brunch menu that will make everyone hop to the table quick like a bunny!

Today's recipe is for a warm leek salad - a nice, unexpected, gourmet touch to Easter Brunch.  Does dual duty as a vegetable and a salad so it's one less thing to make. Why cook more than you have to?

Make it a day or two in advance and serve it chilled, at room temperature or gently warmed in the microwave.   

Easy Easter Brunch Menu
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
Parmesan and Cheddar Quiche
Gently Heated Spiral Glazed Ham
Warm Leek Salad with Tomato, Lemon and Balsamic Vinegar*
Biscuits and Lamb Shaped Creamery Butter
Sweet Orange Marmalade
Slow Cooker Baked Creamy Peanut Butter Cup Swirl Cheesecake
French Roast Coffee or Strawberry Spiced Tea

* Recipe follows

We plant our pansies in
galvanized wash tubs

Warm Leek Salad with Tomato, Lemon
and Balsamic Vinegar 

Leeks are mild tasting and utterly lovely.  For the best taste, choose leeks that are fresh looking, firm and with moist root ends.

This elegant salad will impress the socks off of your gourmet pals and chilled leftovers piled into a crusty baguette make a divine sandwich.

Serves 4 to 6


2 large leeks
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic (or to taste - smashed)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Cutting:  Cut off root ends. Trim or remove any wilted or damaged leaves. Cut each leek into three pieces. Cut each piece in half lengthwise then cut (lengthwise again) into half inch strips. Separate strips. You should have about 6 cups.

Washing:   Leeks can be very sandy so put them into a bowl and cover with tepid tap water. Swish leeks around. Let sit 3 minutes. Drain. Rinse under running water. Repeat 2 more times. Drain.

Cooking:   Heat oil and garlic in a skillet. Add prepared leeks, salt and cayenne. Toss to coat. Cover pan. Cook on low (stirring occasionally) until leeks are tender - about 15 minutes. Toss cooked leeks with balsamic vinegar and arrange on a heat proof platter.

Prepare dressing while leeks cook.

Ready for Easter!
Pansies at our barn
2-3 medium tomatoes (peeled, seeded and chopped)
1 (14-16 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
1 tablespoon fresh basil (shredded) or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Finely shredded rind of 1 lemon

Put all ingredients (except lemon rind) into a skillet (not cast iron) and cook, whisking, until reduced by half - about 5 minutes. Pour over cooked leeks. Sprinkle lemon rind over top.

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