September 8, 2010

cooking weather

Last week we were such wretched creatures while waiting out the heatwave that we did not cook much, if at all. The turn in weather has made us re-enter the kitchen with renewed vigor. Last night's dinner of a leek tart, & mixed greens with roasted beets, chevre & a maple balsamic vinaigrette helped us take care of some of the vegetables that had been patiently waiting in the refrigerator & garden. The edges of the tart got wonderfully carmelized & set off the creamy filling nicely.

Leek & Thyme Tart
adapted from The Greatest Vegetarian Cookbook by Nicola Graimes

for the filling
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 leeks, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp ground mace or nutmeg
sea salt & freshly ground pepper

for the crust
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp cold butter
6 Tbsp milk

prepare the filling
Heat the butter & oil in a medium-size frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the leeks & cook for 10-12 minutes until soft & golden. Season with thyme, salt & pepper. Remove from heat & let cool.
Beat the egg & yogurt together, stir in the  salt & cayenne. Set aside in cool place.

prepare the crust
Sift the flour, baking powder & salt into a bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the milk & stir in lightly with a wooden spoon to make a dough.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface & knead lightly.
Pat out the dough into a 9-inch round. Transfer to a 9-in springform pan.

assemble the tart
Cover the dough with an even layer of the prepared leeks. Pour in the yogurt mixture & spread evenly over the leeks. Sprinkle the top with freshly ground mace.

Bake for 30minutes at 425º F until golden brown. 
Leave the tart to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Slip a knife between the tart & the pan to loosen, then unmould on to a plate.

Balsamic & Maple Vinaigrette
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 large garlic clove, crushed
freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the ingredients together well in a bowl.  Transfer to a bottle or jar, & let marinate on the counter for about 1 hour. Shake well before using.
Delicious drizzled over roasted beets & goat cheese.


  1. YUM, leeks to me, say fall! Scream fall, I always eat lots of leeks when it is crisp outside. This whole summer has been so hot, I pretty much made salad, and that is it!

  2. Same here, or we ate out :(

    Fall, you couldn't have come soon enough...


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