Class was fun this last weekend. It’s almost like the reward for all the work leading up to it. The house is clean and full of flowers; all stations are prepped, and new people walk in the door and we get to work. And then we eat! It’s really energizing and reminds me why I do this work. It helps when everyone likes the dishes and is inspired to cook them at home, vary dishes to suit their tastes, pick up new varieties of veggies, etc.
I also had a realization of sorts last week as I prepared for class. I was musing (to myself) about why I started this business and in what ways I am qualified to teach people about cooking. I concluded the following:
1) Being organized (planning, sourcing, cleaning, prepping, budgeting) is more than half the battle!
2) Having cooked most of my life and having had good culinary mentors helps.
3) But most importantly, since my whole point is to demonstrate how simple and satisfying cooking with/for your family/friends can be, there really isn’t much pressure to be new, fancy, and trendy and that is such a blessing!
So back to the food. . . .One of my favorite dishes from Sunday’s class is a bruschetta that serves as a complete meal for our family this time of year.
This is a wonderfully hearty, one-dish dinner with the simplest of ingredients. Leeks are one of those farmers’ market mainstays that are with us from fall through spring. If you don’t have goat cheese on hand, feta would work too or cream cheese. Or you could take the hard-boiled egg yolks and mash them with a little olive oil and salt and spread it on the bread and just use the chopped whites on top. Quantities are approximate and feel free to make less or more depending on what you have on hand and/or want to use up.
5 slices of rustic bread
4-5 oz soft (fresh) goat cheese
3 hard-boiled eggs (chopped)
1 tsp fresh or dry thyme (finely chopped or crumbled)
salt and pepper
1 Tbs butter
Clean leeks well and cut in half lengthwise then cut into ½ inch half-rounds. Heat butter and a good splash of olive oil in a large sauté pan over med/high heat. Add the leeks when the butter is melted and oil is hot. Stir well to coat, salt generously with a couple of large pinches of kosher salt. Add thyme and stir well. Cook for a few minutes uncovered, then turn the heat down a bit and cover. Check occasionally to make sure the leeks aren’t browning or burning. Add a splash of water if they start to stick and turn the heat down a bit more. Cook for about 15 minutes until leeks are meltingly tender, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, toast the bread and hard-boil the eggs and peel and chop those. Spread the goat cheese on the bread, arrange stewed leeks on cheese, sprinkle with egg, sprinkle with salt and a couple of grinds of pepper and drizzle a little good olive oil over the whole thing.