Oh lovely leeks. How could it be that we only found one another five months ago.
Yes, it's true.
How could someone so terribly obsessed with onions (someday I will figure out a way to appropriately cook them into a double fudge chocolate cake) and also garlic simply not know about leeks?
I mean, really.
I cannot even recall how I learned about leeks. But it was sometime during the summer and likely while browsing a cooking site that I learned about this amazing treat.
What a beautiful vegetable. It must be a woman -- a tall, gentle stalk with her skirt splayed, eternally poised in a dance of circular motions. It truly is vegetable in motion and loving of life.
But what to do with her?
I had rushed after work to my local grocery and, to my utter glee, the store had a few leeks still in stock.
No more than six available, I picked over each one, studying intensely the color density and the smoothness of the stalk and cylinder-shaped bud. I flicked the soft leaves, also squeezing gently to feel them give slighty at the touch of my finger tips.
What to do, I wondered, all the while eyeballing the produce stacker who had already given me the evil eye because, at this point, I had already pursued the mushrooms, eggplants, green onions and bell peppers. And I wasn't finished. I wanted, also, to check out the avocados and wonton wrappers, which are oddly placed in the produce section.
Oh, dearest Libra -- make a decision quick.
I decided on the two strongest appearing ones. One for tonight's dish -- whatever it may be; the other for another time. Maybe for a marriage with that plump eggplant? Hum...
I decided on the fly and as I was preparing this real-time evolving dish I though: Someone on this planet must have thought up this recipe before and perfected it.
I am sure, I pondered, that some restaurant somewhere in Thailand must be serving this dish as a Monday night special.
Ah, well, we enjoyed it.
I sauteed the leeks in a bit of olive oil. Just a tiny bit because as I recently learned at Miraval, no matter the wonderful qualities of olive oil, one must still be very careful and mindful of the fat content it carries.
Meanwhile, I prepared a boil with vegetable stock, fresh garlic and three bay leaves. I also added a bit of Old Bay seasoning for fun and nostalgia.
Next, I boiled water. Simply water for the rice sticks.
When the leeks were poised to begin turning golden brown, I added chopped red bell peppers (about half) and a tiny bit of chopped shallot, hoping to slow the cooking process a bit to also ensure that the leeks were slightly undercooked.
Meanwhile, I chopped mint and basil to toss in the mixture at the end.
It was quite simple and lovely, and the assembly was easy.
Before plating, I added a bit of a mixture: About three to four tablespoons of soy sauce with two tablespoons of black and white sesame seeds along with some mirin and rice wine vinegar.
After this, I put the bowl in the freezer to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Don't ask why -- but I imagined this as a cold dish.
For my plate, I added a bit of siracha and, to both bowls, a small shaving of ginger to finish it all off. So, really, very, very little salt and fat with this dish.
What would I have changed? I would have done a better job cleaning the shrimp. I really need to improve this skill to get all of the vein out!
I also would not have let the basil sit in the fridge for one day too long. Also, I may have added some yellow bell peppers for fun and a few freshly chopped green onions at the end.
In all, nice dish -- very light, very refreshing for these late-in-the-season-hot evenings.
And, look at what I also picked up from the market today:
Who's That Girl
- Create. Snap. Eat.
- WHO'S THAT GIRL: A higher education obsessed foodie who is documenting her life in the kitchen. I love to cook delicious, gourmet-style foods for those I love and always welcome a challenge in the kitchen. With that challenge comes an impromptu nature. I tend to avoid following recipes to the exact, so you are not likely to find very many posted here. Being that I am a Libra and am learning to be free in the kitchen, the story always goes, "A pinch of this and a smattering of that!" Thank you for visiting -- and happy reading!
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