Green Kitchen is a bi-weekly column about nutritious, inexpensive, and ethical food and cooking. It's penned by the lovely Jaime Green.
In the three-and-a-half months my kitchen has been without gas, I’ve gotten creative. I’ve learned the moods of an electric cooktop. I’ve almost set my toaster oven on fire with parchment paper. I’ve microwaved a lot of tea. It’s been an adventure but I can’t say it’s been good, or easy, or fun.
So when my boyfriend, working from home on Friday to let the utility guys into the apartment (and make sure the cat ever came out from under the bed), texted me that we had gas, I was EXCITED! All-caps EXCITED, here. Cookies! Cake! Roasted broccoli! I did not pass many waking hours this weekend without the oven running. (As the temperature’s been hovering around six degrees farenheit today, I don’t feel very bad about that.)
I’ve resigned myself to a nonlocal winter, weighing good Whole Foods produce against its price, against the kinda dodgy broccoli I can get from the supermarket near me. (After nearly four months without roasted broccoli, I’m a little obsessed right now.) But even though it’s, did I mention, six degrees farenheit out, my farmers market is year-round, and not entirely produce-free!
In a month or two it will really be just jam, bison jerky, and onions, but a last few vegetables are still hanging around. The leeks I brought home were maybe a little soft, but once they’re roasted and carmelized and golden, are you drooling yet?
This meal came together by a bit of kismet, and a bit of what-I-had-around. When I was in Whole Foods with my friend J, I think it was as I was bagging these mushrooms that I complained about winter meal planning – in the summer I buy whatever’s cheap and pretty and in-season and build my meals around that. The rest of the year, when seasonal eating shuts down and I hit the supermarket produce aisles, it’s almost like there’s too much choice – everything’s there, everything’s an option. I bought the greenmarket leeks because they’ll probably be gone soon; I bought supermarket mushrooms because, I dunno, because it’s cold? Whatever, it worked out.
I decided to roast the leeks and mushrooms together, and the oniony and rich carmelized flavors do go well together, but it was all a bit savory and heavy. I looked around my fridge and kitchen, brightened things up with some tangy goat cheese and a crisp apple, and voila! It all felt fancy and chic, despite the fact that I ate it from a chipped bowl, in pajamas, on the couch, in front of the TV.
If this looks tasty, you'll love:
Roasted Leek and Mushroom Salad
1 bunch leeks (5-6 large, 8-10 small)
1 package crimini/baby bella mushrooms
1 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 oz goat cheese (herbed or plain)
1 medium apple (I like Gala or Empire, nothing mushy or too tart)
1) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Trim ends and dark green bits from leeks. Cut into about 6” pieces, and then in half lengthwise. Soak in a bowl of cool water to remove any grit or sand. Pat dry.
3) Rinse mushrooms and trim ends. Cut any big ones in half.
4) Spread leeks and mushrooms on baking sheet (covered with aluminum foil, perhaps) in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt (about ¼ tsp) and pepper (a few grinds or shakes). Toss to evenly coat, then make sure leeks are all cut side down.
5) Bake leeks and mushrooms for 20-30 minutes, until mushrooms are done and leeks are tender and caramelized. Toss once halfway through.
6) Core and quarter the apple, then cut into very thin slices. Use a mandoline if you like.
7) Plate leeks and mushrooms. Add crumbled goat cheese, then arrange apple slices on top. Pretend this is Iron Chef: Battle Leeks.
Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
3 Servings: 278 calories, 11g fat, 5.1g fiber, 10.6g protein, $2.48
4 Servings: 208.3 calories, 8.3g fat, 3.9g fiber, 8g protein, $1.86
1 bunch leeks: 271 calories, 1.3g fat, 8g fiber, 6.7g protein, $3.00
1 package crimini mushrooms: 135 calories, 0.5g fat, 3g fiber, 12.5g protein, $2.50
1 Tbs olive oil: 126 calories, 14g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.12
¼ tsp salt: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.01
¼ tsp pepper: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.01
2 oz goat cheese: 206 calories, 16.9g fat, 0g fiber, 12.2g protein, $1.50
1 apple: 95 calories, 0.3g fat, 4.4g fiber, 0.5g protein, $0.30
TOTALS: 833 calories, 33.1g fat, 15.4g fiber, 31.9g protein, $7.44
PER SERVING (TOTALS/3): 278 calories, 11g fat, 5.1g fiber, 10.6g protein, $2.48
PER (smaller) SERVING (TOTALS/4): 208.3 calories, 8.3g fat, 3.9g fiber, 8g protein, $1.86