Category Archives: leek

Barley with Stuffed Portobellos

This past weekend Sam and I drove into Virginia, it was beautiful to see the rolling hills- especially with the leaves beginning to change colors.  Absolutely breathtaking.  This means fall is here, summer has officially ended.

While living in the midwest I noticed that fall tends to come and go quickly.  School starts, football games begin…and winter abruptly begins.  Here, in Virginia, fall lingers.  I’ve learned to love it- it gives us more than enough time to try out many warm, filling and familiar dishes.

Whenever I’m in the mood for a natural, earthy flavor when cooking dinner I tend to add mushrooms into the dish.  Sometimes we’ll make a portobello mushroom burger- there are so many flavors in each bite.  So when I saw this dish in Vegetarian Times– I knew we had to try it.  Each bite has the perfect blend of leeks, pine nuts and portobello mushroom; the barley allows this dish to be a very filling dinner.

Barley with Stuffed Portobellos
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times (Oct 2011)

cooking spray
4 portobello mushrooms, stemmed
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp thyme, chopped
1 lb fresh spinach
4 oz goat cheese, chopped and softened
3 tbsp pine nuts

Cook 1 cup of barley in about 2 cups of water until it is tender.  Drain, and divide between 4 plates.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Brush mushrooms, on both sides, with 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Also, sprinkle the mushroom caps with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper.  Arrange the mushroom caps on the baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes.  Turn the mushrooms over and roast for another 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to soften.  Once the mushrooms are done, plate them on top of the barley.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Then add onions, leeks, garlic and thyme.  Sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the leeks are tender.  Then, add spinach and cook for another 10 minutes until the spinach has wilted.  Finally, stir in goat cheese and pine nuts.  Keep stirring until all of the cheese has melted and has been incorporated into the mixture.  Remove from heat and add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp of pepper.

Finally, fill each portobello mushroom with the leek-spinach mixture until it is spilling out.

Cauliflower Soup with Croutons

We had this for dinner a while ago, weeks actually.  When we still had to wear a hat and gloves outside, here in DC.  Yesterday (Monday) it was beautiful outside: 70’s, sunny and gorgeous! But this soup is great during the rain (or thunderstorm), so it’s not just a winter meal. Sometimes so many recipes come out just right, that there is a waiting line for new posts, which is why I’m only posting this now.  Other weeks, it’s trial and error in this kitchen.

Photographing this soup was a little difficult- it’s a little bland in color.  In contrast to a beautiful orange of butternut squash, this is definitely a little dimmer.  But sometimes the quiet, comforting soup is what everyone needs on a chilly, wintery night or a rainy day. 

But it’s a delicious soup (as always), and very easy to make.  To make things simpler (and cheaper), I used frozen cauliflower rather than fresh.  But if the fresh cauliflower sounds more delicious, go for it!  It was just nice to throw everything in and let it cook, puree a little, and sprinkle with croutons.  This is a perfect weeknight soup that takes less than 40 minutes, and half of that time you can spend doing laundry/cleaning up the kitchen/watching TV/etc.  If leeks aren’t your thing, or you don’t have any, a great substitute is an onion- gets the job done.

Cauliflower Soup with Croutons
Adapted from: The Wednesday Chef

1 leek, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1 lb frozen cauliflower
2 cups water
2 tsp salt
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup half ‘n half
handful of croutons

Heat the olive oil in a pot.  Add the chopped leeks, and saute until they are cooked and wilted, about 5-7 minutes.  Then add the frozen cauliflower, cook for about 3-5 minutes.  Once defrosted, add the water.  It’ll be about 2 cups- or enough to cover the vegetables.  Bring the water to a boil, cover and lower the heat, simmer for about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, pour the soup into a blender or food processor.  Add half and half.  Then puree until smooth, or whatever consistency you’d like- it can be thicker or thinner.  Add the lemon juice, stir.  Pour into bowls, top with croutons.