I have two brothers (and, of course, a sister, Toe Jam Monica, but her role is not relevant to my story). As a child, I was envious of their ability to pee on the side of the road during long road trips. I think that young girls learn to associate bladders with guilt because, as children, if we have to pee, it’s an ordeal — find a gas station or a Tim Horton’s, wait for a stall, sit, pee, wipe, wash. All the while, other people waiting in the hot mini-van are grunting and groaning about “What the #*^& is taking her so long!”
If you are a boy, the van roles to a stop, sits in idle while you stand a foot from the car, pee, shake, and we’re back on the road in under a minute. Guilt-free peeing. This is probably why girls don’t say, “I have to take a leak”. Girls say, “I have to go to the bathroom,” because we do — we literally have to go to a special room in which we can pee. Boys take their leaks anywhere and everywhere. This post is dedicated to re-appropriating the phrase “take a leak”. I’m a girl and I want to take a leak too. So I am going to take a leek this week in my kitchen.
This week’s feature food is leeks and we are going to take a leek in soup and then take a leek in rice pilaf.
This chowder is a fast an easy recipe to use potatoes or leftover corn on the cob. And it’s low in fat!
2 tsp of cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium leeks sliced (use the white and pale green parts only)
3 yukon gold potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed
1 cup of fat-free, reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 2/3 cups of fat free milk
1 can of kernel corn or corn from 2-3 cobs
Freshly ground pepper
Other spices are optional.
Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add leeks, potatoes, and onions. Sweat over medium to low heat until onions and leeks are soft. Add milk and soup stock, pepper and any other spices. I like to add 1 tsp of cumin and 1/2 tsp of nutmeg. I also add chili flakes for heat. Raise heat to medium high. Once soup is all a slow boil, turn heat down to simmer and half cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Let cool and transfer to a blender. Once soup is pureed all corn.
Crisp apples, earthy leeks and nutty pecans make this pilaf a standout. Try out a favorite brown rice blend in this recipe: Mix brown rice with wild rice, red rice or even barley and rye will work wonderfully. Just remember that different blends can cook or absorb at slightly different rates, so don’t hesitate to add a tablespoon more water or broth if the rice looks like it is drying out too quickly or, if the grains are tender and you see too much liquid, simmer the pilaf uncovered for a few minutes.
1 cup brown rice blend
1 leek, white and light green parts, split, rinsed
1 1/4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup apple cider (non-alcoholic)
1 Honeycrisp apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped (or any crisp apple will do)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
In a medium saucepan, combine rice, leek, broth and cider. Bring to a boil, stir once, lower heat, cover and cook at a bare simmer for 40 minutes. Sprinkle apple on top, cover pan again, and continue to simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice grains are very tender, 5 to 10 minutes more depending on rice varieties. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with pecans and fluff with a fork.