Sunday, May 24, 2009

Friday June 5, 2009 is the day I start cooking for the farm crew at Meadowlark Farm, an organic, though not certified, CSA (community-support-agriculture) in Lake Leelanau MI. This is my third year.

I'm a chef and chef-educator, which means I write and teach. Currently I teach cooking classes through Northwestern Michigan College and the winery Chateau Chantal, out on Old Mission peninsula. (Check out their I've worked in Manhattan teaching at 2 prestigious schools and also at several San Francisco Bay area restaurants, where I went to culinary school. I had a restaurant in Northern Michigan called City Kitchen, but I had to sell due to lyme disease.

Now I happily work from the farm during the summer months. I'll be posting food and recipes and photos of the farm food each week. I'm thinking of Indian food for our opening day. But I can't commit to a menu yet. Have to see what's hopping in the garden and hoophouses.

Come back and see what's out my farm kitchen window.

Here's a recipe for pickled wild leeks.

City Kitchen pickled wild leeks
About 1 quart

2 to 3 pounds wild leeks, 1 to 1 1/4 pounds cleaned and trimmed, root on
1 1/2 tablespoons pickling or Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Peel and wash leeks. Leaving 1-inch green, trim away remaining leaves from white bulb. Break away root ends, but do not cut into leek bulb—the root end will keep the leek from falling apart so don’t cut it off completely.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Blanch leeks, in batches, for 20 to 30 seconds--kills bacteria and stops enzyme action. Remove leeks from water with slotted spoon. Drain and place leeks in a non-reactive bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix well to distribute salt evenly. Let leeks sit overnight to 24 hours. Overnight salting gives the leeks snap/crunch.

Drain leeks and discard any liquid. Stuff leeks into a quart-size glass canning jar. In a small saucepan, mix vinegar, water and sugar. Bring to a boil and pour over leeks in jar. Cool leeks, cap and refrigerate jar. Allow leeks to sit for 1 week before using.

Alternatively, boil canning jars and lids. Stuff hot jars with leeks and pour boiling pickling liquid over top, leaving 1-inch headspace. Top jars with hot lid and tighten ring. Allow jars to cool on cotton towel. If jars do not seal, process in steam canner or in boiling water canner.

©2009 Chef-Educator Nancy Krcek Allen