Cooking

Leeks and Potatoes

I woke up today with no plan. I had nothing to do. Having nothing to do over the past few weeks is part of my routine. I am only three weeks recovered from surgery, and my doctors want me to spend six weeks ‘recovering’. This means I have to take it easy. For me, that is hard to do. So I figure if I stick around the house, for the most part, that counts as taking it easy. For one thing, if I am suddenly hit with a wave of exhaustion, I can take a nap.

Anyhow. The book I am reading right now is not great. It is not grabbing me, and I certainly feel like I can put it down. And I do. A lot. I cannot decide if I need to suffer through and finish the book (ok, it would not be right to say suffering – but you know what I mean. I am not hit with an urge to finish the book) or can I just move on to something else?

Since reading is not helping me pass the time today, I decided to organize my kitchen drawer of utensils. Yes, I am serious.

Before:

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After:

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This took up about ten minutes of my time. I needed something a little more time consuming. That is when it hit me! Leeks.

I had picked up a leek at Whole Foods the other day, simply because it looked beautiful and I had never cooked with a leek before. (I know. Up until a week ago I had never made mashed potatoes, I had never cooked with fennel and now I am tackling leeks.)

I stacked up my favorite cookbooks and started searching for a recipe that I found appealing…

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So, between Martha, Jacques, Bittman and Ina, guess who I went with? Bittman. Duh. 🙂

I quickly made a list of things I needed to pick up for potato-leek gratin with buttery bread crumbs. I also picked up a zuchini, yellow squash and a pepper for making ratatouille. The Mark Bittman recipe came from his latest cookbook, The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living. If you do not have this cookbook yet, I do suggest picking it up or at least browsing through it. I really like it a lot. (But then again, you know how I feel like Bittman!)

My supplies:

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Leeks, and waxy potatoes. I trimmed and cleaned the leeks. I washed, peeled and sliced the potatoes thinly. It took a while 🙂 Leeks are filthy, in case you were wondering.

I put the leeks and potatoes in a 9 x 13 pan and tossed them in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper:

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Then I put the casserole in the oven, it baked. Meanwhile, I melted 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and stirred in the bread crumbs… once the casserole came out of the oven, I sprinkled the bread crumbs on top. Put everything back in the oven until the bread crumbs browned:

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Then mom and I both had two small servings…

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It was delicious. The the leeks, potatoes, thyme and yes, the buttery bread crumbs were a lovely combination. I will definitely be serving this sometime – per haps with a roasted chicken? We both loved how fresh and light everything tasted.

Now if I could just figure out what we are having for dinner… 🙂

Happy Weekend, everyone!

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6 thoughts on “Leeks and Potatoes

  1. Nice! I’m making mussel saffron chowder tonight with leeks, fennel, and potatoes, plus saffron, curry, garlic, onion, clam juice, canned tomoatos, white wine — recipe was in the Globe last week.

    Glad you’re on the mend.

    1. Hey Jan! Great to hear from you 🙂 Your recipe sounds amazing!! If you can find the link, would you mind sending it to me? Would love to make it, too! I’m glad to be on the mend – hope you are surviving this winter!!

  2. Heather,
    Larry and I just made a leek and potato soup. We are big fans of that. The recipe says to blend the finished product. We like the chunks of potatoes and leeks so never do that.
    I find the leeks I get at the farmers market are always cleaner than the ones in the store. I have a very good trick for cleaning them easily but I do not know how to explain it. Next time I see you I will demonstrate. We enjoy hearing from you and your pictures are fun. You will have plenty of time to do your taxes. Love Cathy

    1. Hi Cathy! I read about three of my cookbooks today to see how to trim and clean a leek – I can’t wait to have you demonstrate in person! I was thinking of making a soup today – I will definitely try one before the season is over 🙂 Hope to see you and Larry soon! love, Heather

  3. Your potato and leek casserole looks yummy and it would seem fairly easy to make. I’ve wanted to try potato/leek soup. I’ve never cooked with leeks.

  4. Marilyn – don’t let the leeks scare you! I was very confused with them at first, but they are easy and they taste great. The dish was very easy to make, I highly recommend it!

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