Happy new year folks! I know the blogosphere is abuzz with resolutions, words-for-the-year, setting intentions and going through detoxes. Well, I haven’t really given any of the above much thought- I’m not much of a resolution setter or keeper, but I’ve decided to devote more time in the months ahead to reading, writing and journaling, and showcasing more everyday meals on the blog. (I still love my cakes & cookies, brownies & bars, pies & tarts; but so much of what I do cook on a day to day basis doesn’t end up here.)
I started a bit of a tradition last year of getting myself one or two nice cookbooks/food memoirs around the holidays. Online sellers have some amazing sales, and I scroll through my wishlist and the food & drink sections to see what’s on sale and quickly add to cart. To some, spending so much on cookbooks doesn’t make sense, especially since millions of recipes are available online, at little to no cost. But to a food lover and kitchen gnome like me, there’s always space on the bookshelf for one more glossy tome 🙂
Which brings me to my question: Are you fans of Rachel Khoo? I first heard of her on Purple Foodie, where she referenced Khoo’s book. I saw the BBC series, and really enjoyed her simplified spin on French classics. I never tried her recipes despite enjoying the show, however. I’m more of an Italian food fan myself, and I had some preconceived notions about French food being too complicated, heavy and rich. (Which is exactly what Khoo dispels in the book.)
But, after going through Thanh’s blog and her successes with the book, I had to buy it. Plus, I really wanted to learn more about French cooking and figured Little Paris Kitchen would be a good place to start. So LPK and Julia Child’s My Life In France were my food book gifts to myself for 2014.
The first recipe I tried was a buckwheat galette, topped with some cheese and cherry tomatoes. It calls for nothing more than salt, buckwheat flour and water, and I much prefer this savoury version to the vegan buckwheat pancake recipe from It’s All Good. It’s easy and can be customized with sweet and savoury toppings.
The second recipe I turned to was the leeks in vinaigrette with a poached egg and ham. I love the concept of topping dishes with an egg, whether it’s a bowl of noodles and broth, bibimbap, or just some lemon-parmesan pasta.
Now you know me- I rarely follow recipes down to the wire (unless I am baking,) and will substitute or go without an ingredient if necessary- so I did just that with these leeks. I didn’t have ham, so I added sundried tomatoes for a salty kick. I served the leeks with some simple lemon-pepper-parmesan pasta.
LEEKS IN VINAIGRETTE WITH POACHED EGGS AND SUNDRIED TOMATOES (Adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen.)
For The Leeks
- 8 young leeks, white and light green parts only
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 egg per person
- 1 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped roughly
- Salt and pepper to taste
For The Vinaigrette
- 6 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
- A pinch of sugar + salt to taste
- Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- Soak the sundried tomatoes in warm water for 30 minutes until soft and pliable. (If you are using sundried tomatoes that are packed in olive oil, you can scatter over the leeks as they are, once plated.)
- Trim the roots of the leeks and slice lengthways. Soak in cold water for 10 mins, then wash thoroughly under running cold water to get rid of any dirt and grit that may be stuck between the leaves.
- Heat a griddle pan until smoking. Brush the cut sides of the leeks with olive oil, place them cut-side-down on the griddle pan until grill marks appear, about 4-5 mins.
- Brush the tops of the leeks with olive oil, flip and cook on the other side for 4-5 mins.
- Poach your eggs in the meantime. I am a terrible poacher of eggs, so I just use a Nordic Ware microwave egg poacher. For the authentic way to poach eggs, follow Amanda Hesser’s instructions on Food52.
- Once the eggs and leeks are ready, plate up. Place two leek halves on a plate, drizzle with the vinaigrette, place an egg on top and scatter some sundried tomato pieces over the top. I finished with an extra swirl of olive oil, along with some salt and cracked pepper.