Thursday, March 25, 2010

Leek Pie

Leek Health Benefits

A good source of dietary Fiber , leeks also contain goodly amounts of folic acid, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. Easier to digest than standard onions, leeks have laxative, antiseptic, diuretic, and anti-arthritic properties.

The leek, Allium porrum, is a member of the onion family, but the flavour is much more refined, subtle, and sweet than the standard onion. Thought to be native to the Mediterranean area and Asia, leeks have been cultivated for more than 3,000 years and have long been popular in Europe.

Leek Pie

Pate Brisee

225g plain flour

100g of butter diced


1 egg yolk + tbsp water

(Instead of water I just use the whole egg)


2 tbsp butter

Big bunch of leeks thinly sliced- including one inch of the tender green leaves.

Pinch of ground nutmeg or paprika

Salt and pepper

3 egg yolks

125ml double cream

My addition to the filling:

- 2 tbsp of cream Fraiche or sour cream (optional)

- 1 ½ cup Swiss cheese or gruyere)

- ¼ cup of parmesan cheese


Put the butter into a bowl; add the salt work together with a wooden spatula until creamy.

Break in the egg and work until smooth. Pour in the flour and mix rapidly. Empty onto a floured board and work the ingredient together with one hand. Gathering them up lightly with the fingers and pushing the mixture with the heal and palm of the hand. To incorporate the flour do this only until a ball forms. Leave the pastry to rest for 1 hour in the fridge before use.

After the pastry has rested, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it out evenly to fit a round 9 inch pie plate. You can use a loose bottom pie tray. ( I am afraid that the stuffing will pour over and spill in the oven) Roll the pastry, pressing it into the corners. Trim the edges with a sharp knife.

Because the stuffing is a custard base I like to bake the dough for 10-12 minutes before adding the stuffing, this will dry it a bit.

Thinly slice the leeks leaving one inch of the tender green leaves, as they are full of nutrition, wash the leeks several time, and preferably if you can soak them in water several times so they completely clean .

In a pan melt the butter over a gentle heat, add the sliced leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until they sweat down. It will take around 20 minutes. Stir from time to time. Remove from the heat and leave them to cool.

Whisk together the egg yolks, nutmeg and the creams. Take the dough out of the oven, sprinkle the leeks in the bottom of the pie, then pour the custard over then the two cheeses. Bake in a hot 400F oven for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350F and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the filling is set and is a pale golden colour and the pastry is crisp (if you are using a loose tart pan use less time) Let the tart rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

We were hungry so we only rested the pie for 5 minutes exact. When I sliced it the cheese was oozing out… I don’t think this is bad!!!!!!!!!!!!

we served home made pickled baby beets and pickled carrot sticks.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Puttanesca Sauce


Puttanesca sauce, most often employed for pasta, originated in Naples. It is made from tomatoes, black olives, capers, anchovies, onions, garlic, and herbs, usually oregano and parsley but sometimes also basil. It is an easy sauce, briefly cooked, and is very fragrant and spicy. Puttanesca translates as "in the style of the whore." The name derives from the Italian word puttana which means whore. Puttana in turn arises from the Latin word putida which means stinking.

There are multiple explanations. The first interpretation is that the intense aroma, (harking back to the "stinking" Latin definition), would lure men from the street into the local house of ill repute. Thus, the Nepalese harlots were characterized as the sirens of the culinary world. Three additional accounts all hinge on the fact that Puttanesca sauce is easy and quick to make. The first is that the prostitutes made it for themselves to keep the interruption of their business to a minimum. The second is that they made it for the men awaiting their turn at the brothel. And the final version is that it was a favorite of married women who wished to limit their time in the kitchen so that they may visit their paramour

Whatever is the origin, Puttanesca is a tasty and vibrant sauce. I like it best with pasta , especially during Lent weeks, where we try cut on eating protein and substitute instead on eating healthy vegetables and seafood diet.

This sauce is also perfect on roasted chicken. In Lebanon when I got this recipe from a friend I tried to experiment with more flavours, and I was into spicy and aromatic flavours and one day I added one tbsp of curry powder to the sauce, and suddenly you are on the other side of the world. Whatever is your taste…? Use your imagination and experiment adding and decreasing the ingredients to your taste.

Here is the original recipe served with linguine pasta.



  • 1 Onion, chopped (I used green onion)
  • 3 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 Anchovy fillets, finely sliced (optional)
  • 3 cup Tomato sauce - (used fresh sliced tomato)
  • 2 tablespoons Capers, drained and chopped
  • 1/3 cup Oil-packed black olives, drained, pitted and halved
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Fresh parsley, chopped (leave some for decoration)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, soften the onion and garlic in the oil. Add the anchovies and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Toss with cooked pasta. Serve immediately.

Note:You can add tomato sauce instead, the cooking time will be around 5 minutes instead.

** Try to keep around an couple inches of parsley stem , its full of nutritious and vitamins.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lebanese Potato Salad

Today I am presenting to you a delicious, vegetarian potato salad very simple to prepare and only needs couple of ingredients which is found in your pantry.
This salad is excellent served at room temperature, or as a side dish, great for outdoors BBQ Parties, healthy refreshing and nutritious. An excellent Vegan dish.

1 pound baby potatoes
1 cup cleaned and chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup cleaned and chopped green onions
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
salt, pepper, chili flakes (optional)

clean and wash the parsley and strain, same with the green onions. Chop the veggies and prepare the dressing...
wash and boil the potatoes, and when they are done, drain them. Using a towel in your hand
try to peel the potatoes when they are hot. Add the chopped herbs and dressing, adjust the seasoning to your taste and mix well