Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Friday, April 25, 2008


We had leeks in our CSA basket this week. As I often do, I turned to my son (a professional chef) and asked him for advice on how best to prepare the leeks in a way that will win over my husband's palate.

I will admit, one of my favorite aspects of these baskets is that extra shove I apparently need to explore how to prepare new vegetables at home. I've had and enjoyed leeks in restaurants any number of times, but was always intimidated about buying them to prepare in my own kitchen. When something shows up in my weekly basket - like leeks - necessity overcomes my inertia and gently insists that I override my fear of the unknown.

My son pointed out, coming off my turnip redux success (scalloped turnips winning out over roasted), that leeks lend themselves well to creamed concoctions. He said they practically cream themselves.

Gotta love a cooperative vegetable.

I tried it out and am pleased to report my son was correct. Leeks are a natural for creaming.

I simply chopped, sauteed in a little oil and butter, sprinkled with some flour and then stirred in a bit of cream. Creamed leeks, coming right up.While I was playing to previously demonstrated strengths, I ran another version of the pork tenderloin, only this time I prepared the fruit sauce with apples and loquats rather than strawberries and loquats.

With all due respect to the cookbook author who printed the original recipe, it was my premise that apples, being much closer in character and texture to loquats than strawberries, would hold up better when being prepared together in a sauce. The original recipe was delicious, but the strawberries did reduce themselves to squishy little bits by the time the sauce was reduced and ready for the pork. Using apples instead, the flavor was still complementary to the pork (if somewhat more traditional and expected), and the apples tended to cook at the same rate as the loquats, so to me the texture as well as the taste was more consistently satisfying.

My husband and I both enjoyed the leeks and the pork immensely. No leftovers this time around. Two more checks in the "winner's column!

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