Welcome Back! … and Leek Fritters

The answer to your question is, yes, I am alive.  Unfortunately, however, it is September, and I have not posted a single thing since December of 2011.  At this point, I think it is fair to say that I have been more than a little bit of a failure at this for the better part of a year.  Between everything to do with planning a wedding, a job that was consuming my soul in a way that I would prefer not to discuss, applying for jobs, getting an interview three days before my wedding, getting married, getting a new job two days later, giving my notice, traveling to Ohio for a second wedding reception, starting my new job, and all those millions of little things in between that life throws at you, I have been both physically and emotionally exhausted.  However, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel now that I have posted the last of my thank you notes!

Over the past year, there have been so very many recipes that I have wanted to share, and while I have taken many photos and made many notes, I have failed to post anything at all.  Now I am left with a terrible loss of words at where to start…as a result, I have decided to start fresh…so I guess I will jump right in… My CSA (community sustainable agriculture – a way of supporting a local farm and getting local food in return where you buy a seasonal share of a farm’s produce in the spring so that they have the upfront cost needed to plant and grow, and then you reap the rewards off your investment as the season progresses in the way of produce) this year yielded many wonderful things, and faced with my very last pick up tomorrow I deeply regret not having been able to share with you the many wonderful things that I created from this summer’s bounty.

The good news is that I have signed up for a winter CSA share this year which will consist mostly of root vegetables but will also include things like leeks, spinach, lettuce mix, arugula, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli leaf, collards and kale for as long as they can be produced in Vermont, as well as both chicken and pork.  This CSA will start November first and run on a biweekly pick up schedule through December and then revert to once a month schedule through March.  As a result, I will still have lots of local food to work with and perhaps some things that I will have to get creative with.

Over the course of the summer it has been a challenge to get through everything we receive at any given week’s CSA pick up before the next weekly pick up arrives.  If you get behind on your weekly consumption then things start piling up in the fridge, which can be nearly impossible to claw back from if you are not careful.  Making sure that nothing goes to waste requires creativity.  The fact that you never know what you are going to get at your weekly pick up makes menu planning impossible ahead of time, but essential once you know what you have to consume that week so that no stray veggie gets left out.

These leek fritters, from my beloved Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty (Did you know he has a new book out?!  I am so excited!  It is called Jerusalem.  I can’t wait for its release in the States next month!), are a great early fall dish.  The make wonderful use of fall produce, yet they are still a lovely light meal for when your body has not sunken into its need for lots of hearty starchy goodness.  They are crispy on the outside while the inside melts in your mouth.  They showcase the delicate leek flavor beautifully and are delicious when served with this cool and refreshing citrus accompaniment.

Leek Fritters

Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

3 leeks, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
5 shallots, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white 
3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
4 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté leeks and shallots until soft, about 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl combine jalapeño, parsley, spices, salt and sugar.
  3. Once the leeks and shallots are soft add them to the bowl and mix until combined.  Set aside to cool.
  4. In a second bowl, whisk the egg white into soft peaks.
  5. In a third bowl, combine flour, baking powder, egg, milk and butter.
  6. Fold the egg whites into the vegetable spice mixture and then gently mix in the flour batter.  Do not over mix.
  7. Wipe out the skillet used to cook the leeks and use it to heat the vegetable oil over medium heat until skillet is very hot.
  8. Spoon the batter into the pan to make three or four fritters at a time depending on the size of your pan, about 1/3 cup of batter each.
  9. Cook the fitters for 2 to 4 minutes a side or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  10. Repeat the cooking process until all the batter is gone.  Serve warm topped with creamy lemon and herb sauce (recipe to follow).

Makes 4 servings.

Creamy Lemon and Herb Sauce

1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, about 3 Tablespoons
1 small bunch cilantro, about 4 Tablespoons
  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Makes about 3/4 of a cup.


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