Recipe: Vegan Wild Leek Pesto! »
Preface: My friend Andy Bly is from a tiny town in western PA (Kane represent!) that is apparently obsessed with ramps. Ever since I met him, he’s been telling me about his leek pesto and how he would make me a vegan version! Finally, he did. So he gives me two jars and tells me, “careful, it’s early in the season so they have a lot of bite.” I’m like, whatever bro. I tried the pesto in some pasta when I got home…holy cannoli! My eyes were watering! BITE INDEED! A few days later, when I was brave enough to give it another try, I found the perfect bread-to-pesto ratio and topped it with some sautéed mushrooms. Perfecto!
I thought all the vegans would enjoy this recipe and Andy was kind enough to write it up for us! He’s also a pro photographer, so I made him document the harvest. Pretty pictures, no? Take it away, Andy!:
You might know these pungent green friends as ramps, but to me—and everyone else who grew up in the Pennsylvania Wilds—they are simply leeks. Most everyone has their own secret spot outside of town where they go to dig the leeks (this is serious business). There’s even an entire Leek Festival held for the annual appearance of our smelly perennial. The wild leeks usually begin to appear shortly before Easter and more often than not in this area, they provide hope that another brutal winter is coming to an end.
Because of the whacky Spring we have had this year these leeks were fairly potent and in the interest of my fellow passengers on the journey back to New York City, I decided to turn this year’s crop into jars of pesto. The wild leek pesto adds a really nice bite to pasta, crostini, pizza or any other favorite dish of yours. Here is the typical recipe for the pesto itself:
1 bunch or 4 cups wild leeks (stem and leaves)
½ cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
zest of one lemon
1. Cut off the roots and wash the leeks well, removing all dirt. Drain and dry.
2. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until they are just starting to turn golden on one side. Remove from heat.
3. Put all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and pulse until well combined. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until a desired consistency is reached. If you like your pesto a little creamier, add more oil. Taste to adjust seasoning.
4. Serve or store in the fridge.
Just a warning that you may want to avoid close conversations or any physical displays of affection as these wild leeks pack quite the punch!
Yay thanks for sharing with us, Andy! You can follow Andy on Instagram (82acb) and Tumblr. And if you are admiring that poster below the jars, it’s from another Kane gem, The Laughing Owl Press. If you like letterpress, they are your new favorite people!
So, who is going to try this out? Is anybody also from the sticks and totally has a secret ramp spot?? So cool!
Recipe: Seasonal Affective Risotto (butternut squash and leeks, mainly) »
The yearly end of Daylight Savings Time puts me into a funk. I’m on the brink of another major depressive episode, and the only things keeping me going are Sadie (my cat companion), wine, and glitter.
Risotto takes a while to cook, it’s a good dish to make when you want to be brooding and pensive and listen to Bright Eyes’ Fevers and Mirrors. I made it with butternut squash and leeks and a bunch of random fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, and oregano) because those things came in my CSA box (so bourgey!). It lifted my mood enough to make me finally take a shower. Here’s how it went down.
Seasonal Affective Risotto
1 decent-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
6 cups vegetable broth
2 large leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional, but gives it a nice fall color and a cheesy flavor)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (if you have to pick just one, choose sage)
Salt and pepper
Preheat that oven to 400 degrees F. Put the squash on a baking sheet, and mix it up with two tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast it for 40 minutes, stirring when you remember.
Put the broth in a saucepan, heat it to a simmer, turn off the heat, and cover.
On medium-low, heat the remaining oil in another saucepan or wok or something big with some sort of sides. Throw those leeks in there, and saute until soft. I like to poke the spoon through the center of each leek slice so that the layers become kind of a cone, and then I laugh and ponder my existence.
Once the leeks are soft, add some garlic until it smells reeeeeeal nice. Pour the rice into the pan and stir for a minute or two. Then you want to add the wine:
Get one of these tiny bottles of crap white wine, and drink what you don’t use. You… might be sorry?
Stir some more until the wine is absorbed. Then you will add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring all the while. Every time you add some broth, stir until it’s absorbed before you add more. While you’re stirring, you’ll have plenty of time to think — about your nonexistent career path, your latest failed romantic endeavor, that time you farted at Burning Man. Then know that things can only go up from here.
Half an hour or so later, when all six cups of the broth are absorbed and you are all cried out, add the squash, nutritional yeast, and herbs, and cook until heated through. Add salt and pepper if you need to, but I don’t think you will. Take a deep breath, slap some bread on your plate, and smile for the first time in weeks.