It's getting to be that time. I'm starting to think a little less about how I can stretch the turnip, rutabaga and cabbage and a little more about the new, fresh stuff starting to roll in.
The food box is shelling out stinging nettles and wild leeks. I couldn't help myself - I ordered both. Two weeks in a row. Who knows how long this stuff will be around right. Now I've still got some parsnips and carrots that need finishing up but other than that... oh and a little corn and green bean still left in the freezer... but other than that we're moving onward and upward my friends. Onwards and upwards. To... Wild Leek Pasta.
I must admit to you that I'm going to kind of miss my winter veg. I've grown quite fond of celeriac, cabbage and beets. I'm already missing my beet pickles and I think that roasted beet greens are just as good as anything else I've ever eaten. I don't know why we don't serve more of this stuff in restaurants. Is it that no one will eat it?
I was reading an article in Toronto's 'Now' Magazine in which the writer was lamenting that Steven Spielberg has bought the story to the Quebecois film 'Starbuck'. That's right... he didn't buy distributing rights to the film he bought the story rights and is going to remake it. The writer thought that the better thing to do would be to purchase the distribution rights and distribute the Quebecois film in the U.S. It's a wonderful film and why mess with it? 'Cause that's what Hollywood does? Do bad remakes of wonderful films. Turns out that statistically less than 50% of Americans ever leave their country. Seems that rather than watching 'Shall We Dance' in it's original Japanese (with subtitles) most audiences were much more interested in seeing the mediocre American remake. Don't even talk to me about 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'. The subtitles... it feels hoity-toity. It feels 'foreign' and therefor artsy and artsy is... bad(?). I don't understand it but I think a similar thing only in reverse happens in restaurants.
I would love to see what a chef could do with celeriac or rutabaga or beets or locally farmed goat or whatever. You've gotta search pretty hard for restaurants like that because it's a hard sell. That kind of food feels like country food. Food that poor, unsophisticated country folk might serve. Something your grandmother forced you to swallow when what you really wanted to eat was chef boy-ar-dee ravioli (or maybe that was just me) and you looked forward to the day when you didn't have to eat boiled turnip anymore if you didn't want to. You told yourself that when you grew up you could eat McDonalds every day if you wanted to. And then you grew up and decided that McD's actually made you want to puke but you still never reconsidered those crazy, weird turnips and parsnips. Yeah, it's like hoity-toity in reverse.
Having said all that, I was still pretty happy to see these locally grown leeks starring up at me from my food box. I did though, feel a little twinge of sadness too. I'd say that all in all this dish was a great way to kick off the spring growing season and send off the winter season with a big 'mwaaah'. Goodbye my winter lovelies and hello my spring lovies.
Wild Leek and Sausage Pasta (I threw this one together myself)
serves 4 (generously) - 6 (appetizer... but who does that?)
4 - 5 cups pasta (like rotini or penne) cooked al dente and drained
1 lg bunch of wild leeks (about 20 altogether) - the whites sliced small and the greens sliced thickly
1 1/2 lbs (about 4 med sized) sausage - I used Garlic and Honey but Italian would be fine too - sliced into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/3 cup goat cheese chèvre
1 veggie bouillion cube dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper sauce
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp paprika
Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add a couple of tbsp's of oil or butter. Turn the heat down a little and add in the diced leek whites. Saute just a couple of minutes and then add in the sausage slices and cook together until the sausage is cooked through (about 5 - 6 minutes). Add in the leek greens and cook together for another couple of minutes.
Turn the heat down a little more again.
Add in the water/boullion cube mixture. Cool together for a minute. Add in the cream and stir well. Let the cream warm in the pot for a couple of minutes.
Add in the parmesan and the goat cheese once the cream is warm. Stir until the cheeses are melted in.
Add in the salt, pepper sauce (a little cayenne in a pinch), nutmeg and paprika.
Check the taste and adjust if necessary.
Gently toss the sauce with the cooked pasta.
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- Wanda Thorne
- St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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