Monday, August 18, 2008

Creamed Leeks (Page 545)


  • Date: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 -- 8pm
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Kitchen: Emilee and Brian's Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Emilee and Brian
  • Recipe Rating: A-

I often cook when I come to visit Emilee and Brian, and it is not uncommon for me and Brian to construct a meal together with the following breakdown: he makes a main course and I make some side dishes. Last week he grilled up some beef and I threw together these creamed leeks and some friend green tomatoes. This leek recipe was quick and very tasty. I chopped the leeks, then cooked them until tender in butter, cream, and chicken stock. I then seasoned with nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and served. It was as simple as that! Despite its simplicity, it came out with a nice depth of flavor from the stock, and a lovely richness from the cream and butter. Sometimes cooked leeks can be a bit slimy, but in this recipe the creamy sauce prevented any sliminess. It wasn't the cutest side dish I have ever made (Emilee called it my plate full of worms) but it was refined enough in flavor to serve at a nice dinner. Em and Brian deemed it good enough to "add to the rotation" and I agree that it is a dish I will likely make again.

This recipe isn't online.

Brian asked me at dinner tonight, "Why exactly did you start this project in the first place?" I thought about it for a few minutes, and realized that honestly, I don't remember exactly. Here's what I do remember. I moved away from Northern California in the summer of 2002, but since then I have come back many, many times to visit. My first few years in graduate school I would come for week-long visits every once and a while and stay with Em and Brian. Later in graduate school my ex-fiance moved out here too (for clarity: he was my ex even at that time). My advisor at MIT was often in Japan during that time period, so I started coming out to Stanford not only for social reasons but also to talk math with people in the department. So there was a year or two when I came out for much longer visits -- 4 or 5 weeks at a time instead of 1. So I would split time, staying partly with Em and Brian and party with my ex-fiance.

So there I was, at my ex-fiance's place one night, thinking about cooking something. It was January 2006 and I was hungry. But I didn't know what I wanted. My ex had The Book (as did I, but my copy was in Boston) and I started to flip. I had already done a reasonable amount of cooking from The Book, but I had never really taken the time to examine it. That evening I did, and I thought to myself, casually, "Man, it would be nice to have tried all of these things." This is where I stop remembering. How exactly did it seem like a good idea to go ahead and make all 1293 recipes? And why did I start a blog about it? Not exactly sure. I do remember that when I pitched this harebrained scheme to my ex he encouraged me (which, in retrospect, was the right thing to do, but most people probably would have just laughed...).

So, this project was born in Palo Alto, and it has returned here many times. Emilee and Brian's kitchen has plenty of remnants from adventures in Book cooking (Emilee busted out the banana run tonight as evidence of some Book cooking gone awry years ago...). It has always been fun cooking from The Book with Emilee and Brian, and perhaps I wouldn't have latched on the project as I have if I had attempted to launch it anywhere but here... Who knows!?!


Anonymous said...

Aiiiiaiiii!! What if you had cooked this meal alone? "I often cook when I come to visit Emilee and Brian, and it is not uncommon for ... I to construct a meal..." You want "me" in that first sentence! You really do. First time commentator, sorry to crash in with a nit as I'm entranced with geek/non-geek crossover and a mathematician who likes to cook is just cool.

Teena said...

Sorry! I often blog quickly and sometimes my grammar suffers -- my apologies.