Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Category: Appetizers

Spice Roasted Almonds

Spice Roasted Almonds

A touch of heat with a hint of sweet and spice plus a whole lot of crunch!

Salted and roasted almonds are a common snack for most of us. But turning up the flavor and roasting your own takes only a short amount of time and the results are worth the minor effort involved. Much like our Fried Walnuts and the Sweet and Spicy Cashews, you can also control the heat and sweet factor.

Start with whole raw almonds then add heat with cayenne pepper – just enough that it lingers on the back of your throat but not so much that it hides the distinct flavor of those gorgeous almonds. Whisk in spice with cinnamon and coriander along with a note of sweet from sugar. Toss in kosher salt to enhance the flavor of the almonds and the spices – plus it plays beautifully off that sweet factor.

Lightly coat in melted butter then roast until the almonds snap with crispiness!

There’s a two-step roasting process – one roasting just the almonds, then a second roast with the sugar and spices. You want to roast the almonds through and through. Raw nuts have a “chewy” texture inside and you want that roasted flavor and crunch to be part of the taste experience.

Perfect with a glass of chilled rosé on a warm spring day – enjoy!

Spice Roasted Almonds

1 pound raw whole almonds, about 3 cups

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

4 tablespoons sugar

2-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Spread the almonds out in a single layer onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 350-degrees for 15 minutes, stirring 2 to 3 times.

While the almonds are roasting whisk together the cayenne pepper, cinnamon, coriander, sugar and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt.

Pour in the melted butter. Add the hot almonds and stir to coat with the spices, sugar and butter.

Place a Silpat liner or sheet of parchment paper on the rimmed baking sheet and spread the coated almonds back out onto the pan.

Continue roasting for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, stirring 3 to 4 times. Roast until the almonds are toasted and crunchy. Check after 20 minutes – the nuts will continue to crisp a bit while they cool.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and let the almonds cool on the baking sheet, stirring occasionally as they cool. Makes 3 cups of roasted almonds.

Spice Roasted Almonds, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 15, 2019
: Makes 3 cups of roasted almonds.

A touch of heat with a hint of sweet and spice plus a whole lot of crunch!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 pound raw whole almonds, about 3 cups
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
Directions
  • Step 1 Spread the almonds out in a single layer onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 350-degrees for 15 minutes, stirring 2 to 3 times.
  • Step 2 While the almonds are roasting whisk together the cayenne pepper, cinnamon, coriander, sugar and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt.
  • Step 3 Pour in the melted butter. Add the hot almonds and stir to coat with the spices, sugar and butter.
  • Step 4 Place a Silpat liner or sheet of parchment paper on the rimmed baking sheet and spread the coated almonds back out onto the pan.
  • Step 5 Continue roasting for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, stirring 3 to 4 times. Roast until the almonds are toasted and crunchy. Check after 20 minutes – the nuts will continue to crisp a bit while they cool.
  • Step 6 Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and let the almonds cool on the baking sheet, stirring occasionally as they cool.
Egg Salad with Currants and Toasted Pecans

Egg Salad with Currants and Toasted Pecans

Overheard from my engineer – “What’s this? Is it any good? Oh, it is!” Egg salad – that classic comfort food that’s ridiculously easy to make. Take tender eggs, give them a gentle chop then toss with a blend of creamy mayonnaise and tangy Dijon mustard. And instead of pickle relish toss in sweet currants, toasted pecans and just a touch of fresh dill! Delightful!

The season of Easter is behind us and it’s now perfectly acceptable to wear white. And if you find yourself with half a dozen or so hard-boiled eggs left from the egg roll or hunt, then egg salad is a delicious way to use them. First things first. Hard-boiled eggs can be refrigerated for up to a week. But if the eggs were outside for more than two hours it might be best to make a fresh batch.

Most recipes for egg salad include pickle relish but that subtle sweet note in our egg salad comes compliments of the tiny currant. The crunch from celery is replaced with a more flavorful addition – toasted pecans – adding a wonderful nuttiness.

Then brighten it with a bit of fresh dill and blend everything together with mayo and Dijon mustard.

Smear a little more mayo on pumpernickel bread – crusts trimmed of course – then top with lusciousness that is egg salad.

This is how something so simple can be so good!

Egg Salad with Currants and Toasted Pecans

6 extra-large eggs

½ cup good mayonnaise, such as Duke’s

1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard, such as Maille

¼ cup currants

¼ cup chopped toasted pecans

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

For the hard-boiled eggs:

Place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to keep them in a single layer. Cover the eggs with water, and about 1” over the tops. Place the saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the water begins to boil remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave the eggs in the pan for 12 minutes.

After 12 minutes pour the hot water off the eggs. Cover the eggs with ice water to quickly cool and stop them from cooking any further.

For the egg salad:

Tap the eggshells all around and peel. Chop the eggs and place them in a mixing bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, the Dijon mustard, kosher salt and black pepper.

Toss in the currants and the toasted pecans.

Stir in the fresh chopped dill.

Makes about 2-1/2 cups of egg salad.

Egg Salad with Currants and Toasted Pecans, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

April 22, 2019
: Makes about 2-1/2 cups of egg salad.

Take tender eggs, give them a gentle chop then toss with a blend of creamy mayonnaise and tangy Dijon mustard. And instead of pickle relish toss in sweet currants, toasted pecans and just a touch of fresh dill! Delightful!

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • ½ cup good mayonnaise, such as Duke’s
  • 1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard, such as Maille
  • ¼ cup currants
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
Directions
  • Step 1 For the hard-boiled eggs:
  • Step 2 Place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to keep them in a single layer. Cover the eggs with water, and about 1” over the tops. Place the saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the water begins to boil remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave the eggs in the pan for 12 minutes.
  • Step 3 After 12 minutes pour the hot water off the eggs. Cover the eggs with ice water to quickly cool and stop them from cooking any further.
  • Step 4 For the egg salad:
  • Step 5 Tap the eggshells all around and peel. Chop the eggs and place them in a mixing bowl.
  • Step 6 Add the mayonnaise, the Dijon mustard, kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Step 7 Toss in the currants and the toasted pecans then stir in the fresh chopped dill.
  • Step 8 Keep chilled.
Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

A creamy yellow, fluffy filling with just the right amount of tang from a dollop of Dijon mustard, piled high into the tender egg white shells. Finish by topping with an array of flavors and colors with a sprinkling of paprika. It’s a perfect plate for your Easter table!

Deviled eggs epitomize spring. They’re a family favorite and always remind me of Emily and my son-in-law Matthew. In classic Southern style they served them at their wedding reception and they were a spectacular addition.

It’s a simple dish but there are dozens and dozens of recipes for deviled eggs. This version comes from one of my “go to” cookbooks from Southern Living, “Secrets from the Southern Living Test Kitchens”. It has three of the classic ingredients – a luscious mayonnaise, a vibrant Dijon mustard and that familiar dusting of paprika.

But an unusual addition of potato flakes adds an extra “fluff” to the egg yolks creating a sturdy filling that’s really easy to pipe.

The egg yolk filling has the right balance of flavor that can support a multitude of toppings. Add smoked salmon, fresh dill, capers, sweet pickle relish, toasted walnuts and thin slices of scallion to turn that ordinary little deviled egg into something quite extraordinary.

The most difficult thing about making deviled eggs has to be peeling the eggs. It can be frustrating when half of the egg sticks to the shell. So I’ve gathered a few tips on hard-boiled eggs. Don’t use “farm fresh” eggs. Meaning, if you have hens in the backyard and you just gathered their eggs, the shells are more likely to stick to the egg when peeling.

After cooking, “shock” them in a bath of ice water. This quickly stops the eggs from cooking further and it’s also said to help with removing the shells.

When you’re ready to peel, gently tap to crack the shell all the way around. Then peel them under cold, running water. I always boil a few extra just in case you have one or two contrary eggs. You can sample the rejects or save them for egg salad!

Whether spooning the filling or piping it in, mixing in the pickle relish or placing it on top – it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love a deviled egg!

Deviled Eggs

12 extra-large eggs, room temperature

¾ cup good mayonnaise, such as Duke’s

1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard, such as Maille

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

½ cup potato flakes

Garnish: capers, sweet pickle relish, fresh dill, smoked salmon, scallions, toasted chopped walnuts and smoked paprika

For the hard-boiled eggs:

Place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to keep them in a single layer. Cover the eggs with water, and about 1” over the tops.

Place the saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the water begins to boil remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave the eggs in the pan for 12 minutes. After the 12 minutes pour out the hot water and add ice water to quickly cool the eggs and stop them from cooking further.

For the deviled eggs:

Peel the eggs then slice them in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks and place them in a mixing bowl. Transfer the egg whites to a rimmed sheet pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Add the mayonnaise along with the mustard to the egg yolks. Toss in the kosher salt, the black pepper and the potato flakes.

Using an immersion blender whip until the egg yolk mixture is smooth. You can also cream the egg yolks in a food processor.

Pipe or spoon the egg yolk filling into the cavity of the egg white, about 2 tablespoons per egg white.

Top with your favorite garnish and dust with a sprinkling of smoked paprika.

If you’re not planning on piping the filling you can mash the yolks with a fork then fold in the other ingredients. Then spoon the filling into the egg whites.

Makes 24 deviled eggs.

Deviled Eggs, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

April 17, 2019
: Makes 24 deviled eggs.

A creamy yellow fluffy filling with just the right amount of tang from a dollop of Dijon mustard - piled high into the tender egg white shells. Finish by topping with an array of flavors and colors with a sprinkling of paprika.

By:

Ingredients
  • 12 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup good mayonnaise, such as Duke’s
  • 1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard, such as Maille
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup potato flakes
  • Garnish: capers, sweet pickle relish, fresh dill, smoked salmon, scallions, toasted chopped walnuts and smoked paprika
Directions
  • Step 1 For the hard-boiled eggs:
  • Step 2 Place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to keep them in a single layer. Cover the eggs with water, and about 1” over the tops. Place the saucepan over medium heat.
  • Step 3 As soon as the water begins to boil remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave the eggs in the pan for 12 minutes.
  • Step 4 After the 12 minutes pour out the hot water and add ice water to quickly cool the eggs and stop them from cooking further.
  • Step 5 For the deviled eggs:
  • Step 6 Peel the eggs then slice them in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks and place them in a mixing bowl. Transfer the egg whites to a rimmed sheet pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.
  • Step 7 Add the mayonnaise along with the mustard to the egg yolks. Toss in the kosher salt, the black pepper and the potato flakes.
  • Step 8 Using an immersion blender whip until the egg yolk mixture is smooth. You can also cream the egg yolks in a food processor.
  • Step 9 Pipe or spoon the egg yolk filling into the cavity of the egg white, about 2 tablespoons per egg white.
  • Step 10 Top with your favorite garnish and dust with a sprinkling of smoked paprika.
  • Step 11 If you’re not planning on piping the filling you can mash the yolks with a fork then fold in the other ingredients. Then spoon the filling into the egg whites.
Fennel, Arugula and Orange Salad with Orange Pecan Vinaigrette

Fennel, Arugula and Orange Salad with Orange Pecan Vinaigrette

Take the brightness of fennel mingle it with peppery arugula and toss with sweet orange, creamy avocados, toasted pecans and fresh Parmesan and Fontina. Then dress it with orange pecan vinaigrette – absolutely wonderful for a midweek meal!

It’s a simple salad with a gorgeous array of ingredients. Fennel and arugula get things started with a balance of flavors from the subtle sweetness of oranges and richness of ripe avocados. Toss in a nutty crunch from toasted pecans and luscious Parmesan and Fontina cheese.

Fennel is an often-overlooked bulb vegetable and it’s loaded with vitamin C along with iron and potassium. If you’ve avoided fennel because its flavor profile is most commonly compared to licorice, set that notion aside and give it a try. I’ve never been a fan of licorice but there’s something vibrant and fresh about fennel.

Arugula is often a minor player in recipes though it shouldn’t be. Known to boost the immune system, this sturdy green brings a nice spice to any plate. And unlike traditional salad greens arugula holds up even after it’s coated with vinaigrette.

Now drizzle everything in a rich orange and pecan vinaigrette.

This orange pecan vinaigrette has subtle notes of orange – compliments of fresh juice and zest – with a splash of champagne vinegar to add a bit of acid. Use a high quality olive oil – Olio Santo is one of my favorites. It’s known for it’s fruity flavor – it’s a key component so don’t skimp! The toasted pecans lend a depth that ties into the vinaigrette in an unsuspecting way.

First course, second course, lunch or dinner!

Fennel, Arugula and Orange Salad with Orange Pecan Vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette:

Zest from 1 navel orange, about 2 teaspoons

Juice from 1 large navel orange, about ½ cup

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

½ teaspoon chopped garlic

2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 teaspoons sugar

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 tablespoons toasted pecans

For the salad:

4 cups arugula

1-1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel, about 1 small bulb – white portion only

1 large navel orange, chopped

1 avocado, cubed

½ cup shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese blend

½ cup chopped toasted pecans

To make the vinaigrette:

Combine the orange zest and orange juice with the champagne vinegar, garlic, kosher salt, pepper and sugar in a food processor. Process for about 20 to 30 seconds to blend together.

Add the olive oil and process for about 30 seconds. Toss in the toasted pecans and process until the vinaigrette is blended and the pecans are finely chopped, about 1 to 2 minutes.

To assemble the salad:

Mix the arugula with the sliced fennel and orange pieces in a large bowl.

Add the shaved cheese, the avocado along with the toasted pecans.

Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat.

Fennel, Arugula and Orange Salad with Orange Pecan Vinaigrette, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

March 27, 2019
: Makes 4 servings for entrees, 6 for first course servings.

Take the brightness of fennel mingle it with peppery arugula and toss with orange, avocado, toasted pecans and some fresh Parmesan and Fontina. Then dress it with orange pecan vinaigrette – absolutely wonderful for a midweek or weekend meal!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • Zest from 1 navel orange, about 2 teaspoons
  • Juice from 1 large navel orange, about ½ cup
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons toasted pecans
  • For the salad:
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel, about 1 small bulb – white portion only
  • 1 large navel orange, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • ½ cup shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese blend
  • ½ cup chopped toasted pecans
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the vinaigrette:
  • Step 2 Combine the orange zest and orange juice with the champagne vinegar, garlic, kosher salt, pepper and sugar in a food processor. Process for about 20 to 30 seconds to blend together.
  • Step 3 Add the olive oil and process for about 30 seconds.
  • Step 4 Toss in the toasted pecans and process until the vinaigrette is blended and the pecans are finely chopped, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Step 5 To assemble the salad:
  • Step 6 Mix the arugula with the sliced fennel and orange pieces in a large bowl. Add the shaved cheese, the avocado along with the toasted pecans.
  • Step 7 Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat.
Cheese Tartlets

Cheese Tartlets

Okay, fair warning – these little bites are hard to stop eating! Creamy cheddar touched with a mild note of spice then topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan and baked in crispy phyllo shells. They might be small but they deliver a mouthful of wonderful!

One of our favorite things – whether it’s an afternoon snack or a casual meal – is to nibble on small bites. Sometimes it’s a simple slice of cheese and a piece of fruit. But then there are times I like to include layers of taste and texture in that one tiny bite. These tasty tartlets answer that quest.

These heavenly little tartlets are made with things I keep on hand – a good sharp cheddar cheese, a dollop of cream, and a hint of spice from dry mustard and paprika plus a tiny splash of Worcestershire sauce.

Take this gooey goodness and pour them into mini phyllo shells and dust with grated Parmesan cheese. Oh my!

The mini phyllo shells are one of my favorite staples. You will almost always find them in my freezer. They create the perfect vessel for sweet or savory snacks and a quick “go to” for last minute desserts or appetizers.

Depending on your preference you can make the cheese tartlets straight up – strictly cheese if you’re a cheese purest – or toss in a slice of cherry tomato, olive or ham. Or mix it up and you’ve got a feast of flavors.

Easy and delightful! The cheese tartlets make a delicious pairing with your favorite cocktail!

Cheese Tartlets

Pulling together a smattering of

8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

1 tablespoon heavy cream

¾ teaspoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

15 mini phyllo shells, one package*

2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Optional additions – sliced cherry tomatoes, sliced green olives or sliced ham

Set a double boiler on a pan of simmering water over medium-low heat. Add the grated cheddar cheese and the heavy cream.

Cook stirring occasionally until the cheese is melted and smooth, about 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in the dry mustard, the paprika and the Worcestershire sauce.

Place the frozen phyllo shells on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat liner or parchment paper. Place the tomatoes, olives or ham in the bottom of the shells. Using a small spoon fill each of the shells with the cheese filling.

Sprinkle each tartlet with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 7 minutes or just until the cheese starts to bubble.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes 15 tartlets.

*Athens Phyllo Shells can be found in the freezer section of most food markets or purchased online. https://athensfoods.com

Cheese Tartlets, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

February 25, 2019
: Makes 15 tartlets.

Creamy cheddar touched with a mild note of spice then topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan and baked in crispy phyllo shells.

By:

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ¾ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 15 mini phyllo shells, one package*
  • 2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • Optional additions – sliced cherry tomatoes, sliced green olives or sliced ham
Directions
  • Step 1 Set a double boiler over a pan of simmering water over medium-low heat. Add the grated cheddar cheese and the heavy cream.
  • Step 2 Cook stirring occasionally until the cheese is melted and smooth, about 15 minutes.
  • Step 3 Turn off the heat and stir in the dry mustard, the paprika and the Worcestershire sauce.
  • Step 4 Place the frozen phyllo shells on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat liner or parchment paper. Place the tomatoes, olives or ham in the bottom of the shells.
  • Step 5 Using a small spoon fill each of the shells with the cheese filling. Sprinkle each tartlet with the Parmesan cheese.
  • Step 6 Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 7 minutes or just until the cheese starts to bubble.
  • Step 7 Serve hot or at room temperature.
  • Step 8 *Athens Phyllo Shells can be found in the freezer section of most food markets or purchased online. https://athensfoods.com
Fried Walnuts

Fried Walnuts

These walnuts are so wonderfully crunchy with a little sweet, a little salty and kissed with a bit of spice. Irresistible!

This recipe has been on my list of “things to try” for years. I kept passing it by, wondering how good could these really be. Turns out they’re really good and something I should have tried these years ago.

I love virtually every type of nut but tend to cook with pecans more than any other. This past holiday season I was gifted with two beautiful bags of nuts from a dear friend, one full of gorgeous walnuts. This led me back to the fried walnut recipe. It’s a simple recipe with minimal ingredients. Walnuts tossed with sugar, Chinese five-spice powder and kosher salt.

Chinese five-spice – made with cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns – brings a subtle layer that lingers on the palate. Many recipes for fried walnuts only use sugar and salt. But I love the addition of the five-spice, it gently deepens the natural earthy flavor of the walnuts.

Rereading the various recipes for fried walnuts I wondered why – or if – it was even necessary to fry the walnuts. Could I roast them instead? But after one bite, the unbelievable crunch that comes from frying was proof enough. You can’t get a nut this crispy and crunchy from roasting.

There are a few kitchen tools that are handy to have on hand before you start. A wide, shallow stockpot is the perfect vessel for boiling the nuts and a colander works best to drain them. You’ll want two metal or heatproof mixing bowls – one large bowl to toss the boiled walnuts with the sugar and five-spice plus another to set underneath a sieve to drain the walnuts once they’re fried. A rimmed baking sheet works for spreading out the fried walnuts while they’re salted and cooling. A digital thermometer is also convenient to keep an eye on the temperature of your oil while you’re frying the nuts.

I don’t fry many foods these days but these walnuts are a delicious exception I’m willing to make!

Fried Walnuts

8 to 10 cups water

4 cups walnut halves

½ cup sugar

¾ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

4 to 5 cups vegetable or canola oil

½ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Bring the water to boil in a shallow stockpot. Add the walnuts and boil for 1 minute.

Pour the water and walnuts into a colander. Rinse the nuts with very hot water, shake the water out and rinse with hot water again. If you have an electric teakettle, it works great for getting water really hot to rinse the walnuts. You want the walnuts still warm to help dissolve the sugar. After rinsing, shake off as much water as possible.

Pour ¼ cup of the sugar into the bottom of a large mixing bowl, toss in the drained walnuts and add the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the walnuts are coated.

Sprinkle on the five-spice powder and stir to blend into the nuts.

Before you begin to fry the walnuts, set a large sieve over a metal bowl to drain the walnuts. (Don’t lay them out on a paper towel to drain after frying. With the sugary coating the paper towels will stick to the walnuts.)

Pour the oil into a deep saucepan until it is about 4” deep. Heat the oil over medium until it reaches 350-degrees. Working in batches, add about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the walnuts to the hot oil. Be careful, the oil has a tendency to foam up and spatter when the nuts are added.

Fry the walnuts for about 2 to 3 minutes until the walnuts are crisp and golden brown.

Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the fried walnuts to the sieve to drain. Let the oil come back to temperature then add another batch of nuts. Drain each batch of the walnuts then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.

When you’re finished frying, sprinkle the kosher salt over the fried walnuts. Store in a sealed container for up to a week or bag and freeze.

Makes 4 cups of fried walnuts.

Fried Walnuts, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

February 20, 2019
: Makes 4 cups.

These walnuts are so wonderfully crunchy with a little sweet, a little salty and kissed with a bit of spice. Irresistible!

By:

Ingredients
  • 8 to 10 cups water
  • 4 cups walnut halves
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 4 to 5 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions
  • Step 1 Bring the water to boil in a shallow stockpot. Add the walnuts and boil for 1 minute.
  • Step 2 Pour the water and walnuts into a colander. Rinse the nuts with very hot water, shake the water out and rinse with hot water again. If you have an electric teakettle, it works great for getting really hot water to rinse the walnuts. You want the walnuts still warm to help dissolve the sugar. After rinsing, shake off as much water as possible.
  • Step 3 Pour ¼ cup of the sugar into the bottom of a large mixing bowl, toss in the drained walnuts and add the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the walnuts are coated.
  • Step 4 Sprinkle on the five-spice powder and stir to blend into the nuts.
  • Step 5 Before you begin to fry the walnuts, set a large sieve over a metal bowl to drain the walnuts. (Don’t lay them out on a paper towel to drain after frying. With the sugary coating the paper towels will stick to the walnuts.)
  • Step 6 Pour the oil into a deep saucepan until it is about 4” deep. Heat the oil over medium until it reaches 350-degrees.
  • Step 7 Working in batches, add about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the walnuts to the hot oil. Be careful, the oil has a tendency to foam up and spatter when the nuts are added.
  • Step 8 Fry the walnuts for about 2 to 3 minutes until the walnuts are crisp and golden brown.
  • Step 9 Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the fried walnuts to the sieve to drain.
  • Step 10 Let the oil come back to temperature then add another batch of nuts.
  • Step 11 Drain each batch of the walnuts then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Step 12 When you’re finished frying, sprinkle the kosher salt over the fried walnuts.
  • Step 13 Store in a sealed container for up to a week or bag and freeze.
Kale and Orange Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Kale and Orange Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

A beautiful contrast between the clean, brightness of lemon and the gentle sweetness of fresh orange brings a simple kale salad to life. Toss with Parmesan cheese and toasted pecans and simple becomes quite delicious!

Kale is a sturdy green that has been grown in gardens for thousands of years, first appearing in this country in the 1600s. Kale is more common now than in recent years but there are still a lot of naysayers when it comes to this gorgeous green. I love using this green in juices – it’s loaded with vitamin C, calcium and fiber and according to the American Kale Association kale was considered a super food during World War II. The balance of flavors in this salad  are quite basic – kale, lemon, orange, Parmesan, pecans, garlic and rich olive oil – but the results are really wonderful!

Kale’s tough leaves and stems can be a challenge. As with any hearty green you need to wash the leaves thoroughly. Start by placing the leaves in cold water, swish them around to loosen any grit in the leaves or on the stems. Then rinse and repeat until the water is clear and there is no sign of grit on the kale – about 2 to 3 times.

Roll up the leaves out in an absorbent towel and let the greens dry. You don’t want any moisture trapped in the leaves to water down your vinaigrette. You can wash the kale 2 to 3 days in advance and refrigerate.

Next tackle the stem, which is really quite easy. Lay the leaf out flat with the stem side up or fold the leaf in half and cut the stem away. Or simply grab hold of the stem in one hand and the leaf in the other and pull the stem from the leaf.

Next you need to tenderize the leaves. There are two ways. One is to “massage” the leaves. Emily found a great way to tackle this task. She drops the leaves into the bowl of her KitchenAid mixer and lets the beaters do the work. Beat until the leaves looked as though they’ve been sautéed. The second is to chop the leaves into very, very fine pieces – almost mincing them.

Kale has an slightly peppery note that plays well with both tangy and subtly sweet notes. Light and refreshing – this kale salad is perfect for a midwinter break!

Kale and Orange Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

For the salad:

1 bunch curly kale, about 10 to 12 ounces

¼ cup chopped toasted pecans

1 large Cara Cara or navel orange, peeled, sectioned and cut into bite-size pieces

¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving

For the lemon vinaigrette:

Zest from one small lemon, about ½ teaspoon

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 small lemon

¾ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon minced garlic

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Remove the stem from the back of the kale leaves. Finely chop the kale leaves – almost mincing them. You want 4 cups of chopped greens.

Toss the kale leaves into a large serving bowl along with the orange, the toasted pecans and the Parmesan cheese.

Place the lemon zest and the lemon juice along with the ¾ teaspoon of the kosher salt, pepper and the garlic into a small food processer or blender.

Add the olive oil and process until the vinaigrette is smooth and blended together. Check for seasoning and add the additional ¼ teaspoon kosher salt if desired.

Pour the vinaigrette over the kale salad and toss to fully coat.

Top with an extra sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

This salad keeps for a day or two in your fridge even with the dressing. Serves 4.

Kale and Orange Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

February 4, 2019
: Serves 4.

A beautiful contrast between the clean, brightness of lemon and the gentle sweetness of fresh orange brings a simple kale salad to life. Toss with Parmesan cheese and toasted pecans simple becomes quite delicious!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 1 bunch curly kale, about 10 to 12 ounces
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 large Cara Cara or navel orange, peeled, sectioned and cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
  • For the lemon vinaigrette:
  • Zest from one small lemon, about ½ teaspoon
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 small lemon
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Directions
  • Step 1 Remove the stem from the back of the kale leaves. Finely chop the kale leaves – almost mincing them. You want 4 cups of chopped greens.
  • Step 2 Toss the kale leaves into a large serving bowl along with the orange, the toasted pecans and the Parmesan cheese.
  • Step 3 Place the lemon zest and the lemon juice along with the ¾ teaspoon of the kosher salt, pepper and the garlic into a small food processer or blender. Add the olive oil and process until the vinaigrette is smooth and blended together. Check for seasoning and add the additional ¼ teaspoon kosher salt if desired.
  • Step 4 Pour the vinaigrette over the kale salad and toss to fully coat.
  • Step 5 Top with an extra sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
  • Step 6 This salad keeps for a day or two in your fridge even with the dressing.
Black Bean Dip

Black Bean Dip

One of our favorite spots when dining out is a wonderful restaurant that features Latin cuisine with Salvadorian specialties plus TexMex classics. They serve the much anticipated “chips and salsa” but they also bring a fabulous warm black bean dip.

Taking a page from this version I tweaked one of Emily’s delicious recipes to mirror this delightful appetizer. This dip’s star attraction comes from canned black beans. I almost always have canned black beans in my pantry. They’re a great addition to tortilla soup and they’re perfect for making our quick and easy black bean soup. So with this pantry staple – in a matter of minutes you can whip up this snack for afternoon nibbling!

Cumin, chili powder and minced garlic spice things up, then a bite of heat from jalapeño peppers and a bright note from lime bring the black beans to life.

A quick mix with a rich chicken stock followed by a gently heating on the stove and you’re ready to munch on a delectable treat.

A couple of notes of two ingredients. Always wear food service gloves when handling jalapeño or other hot peppers. The heat from the capsaicin can transfer to your skin and heaven forbid you touch your eyes! If you like more kick then by all means leave some of the seeds and membrane of the pepper intact. If you like a milder version, remove all the seeds and the membrane which is where the heat hangs out.

Queso fresco is a mild, slightly salty cheese that originated in Spain and came to the states via Mexico. Found frequently in Latin cuisine, this beautiful cheese made from cow’s milk will soften but not melt. You can crumble it by breaking it up with your hands or scrape it with a fork for smaller, finer pieces.

Dish up the tortilla chips, pop a top or two and you’re ready for an afternoon of goodness!

Black Bean Dip

Zest of 1 lime, about 1 teaspoon

2 tablespoons lime juice, about 2 limes

½ cup chicken stock

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed – 15-ounces each

1 tablespoons minced jalapeño pepper, about ½ pepper seeded and the membrane removed

½ teaspoon minced garlic, about 1 clove

¼ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Queso Fresco cheese for garnish, tortilla chips for serving

Add the lime zest with the lime juice and chicken stock into a Vitamix or blender.

Reserve ½ cup of the black beans and add the remainder to the blender. Toss in the jalapeño pepper, the garlic, chili powder, cumin, kosher salt and black pepper.

Process starting on low speed for about 10 seconds then on medium speed until fairly smooth, about 20 to 30 seconds.

Transfer the dip to a small saucepan and add the remaining ½ cup black beans. Warm over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until heated through. Transfer to a serving dish and top with crumbled queso fresco cheese.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Serves 6.

Black Bean Dip, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

January 30, 2019
: Serves 6.

Cumin, chili powder and minced garlic spice things up, then a bite of heat from jalapeño peppers and a bright note from lime are tossed into the blender. A quick mix with rich chicken stock followed by a gentle heating and you’re ready to munch on a delectable treat.

By:

Ingredients
  • Zest of 1 lime, about 1 teaspoon
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, about 2 limes
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed – 15-ounces each
  • 1 tablespoons minced jalapeño pepper, about ½ pepper seeded and the membrane removed
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic, about 1 clove
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • Queso Fresco cheese for garnish, tortilla chips for serving
Directions
  • Step 1 Add the lime zest with the lime juice and chicken stock into a Vitamix or blender.
  • Step 2 Reserve ½ cup of the black beans and add the remainder to the blender.
  • Step 3 Toss in the jalapeño pepper, the garlic, chili powder, cumin, kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Step 4 Process starting on low speed for about 10 seconds then on medium speed until fairly smooth, about 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Step 5 Transfer the dip to a small saucepan and add the remaining ½ cup black beans. Warm over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until heated through. Transfer to a serving dish and top with crumbled queso fresco cheese.
  • Step 6 Serve with tortilla chips.
Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

This is a breath of brightness and beauty in the middle of winter – roasted beets served with juicy oranges and piquant red onions perched atop peppery arugula and fresh greens.

One of my many favorite things in popping in for a visit with Emily and Matthew is the discovery of new recipes on their menu. Our last trip was no exception! Emily served this gorgeous salad along with a succulent beef tenderloin for the holidays. I knew immediately this would be added to my files.

Anything with roasted beets is a yes for me. We grew up eating beets, pulling them out of the ground from my Grandmother’s enormous garden. She would can jars of those deep red beauties storing them in her root cellar for the harsh Panhandle winter months. For years fresh beets were difficult to find in the markets but now, luckily they are frequently available.

The roasted beets for this salad are paired with slices of sweet oranges and thinly sliced red onions. Luscious goat cheese is whisked into an orange juice reduction creating a creamy citrus vinaigrette. You can use your favorite mixed greens for this salad – the arugula adds a peppery bite.

But don’t be quick to toss those beet greens!. Chop them along with some of those deep crimson stems for the salad and save any extra for your favorite juice blend. (We use them in our Beet and Apple Juice.) Make sure you wash the beet greens and stems really well to remove any dirt or sand that tends to cling to them.

You can roast the beets and make the vinaigrette a day or two in advance making the prep easier.

A wonderful salad full of flavor and color – perfect for any season!

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

2 bunches of beets, about 7- 8 medium size with greens if available

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 large navel oranges

4 cups arugula

2 cups mixed greens or beet greens and stems, rinsed well and chopped

½ small red onion, sliced very thin

½ cup toasted walnuts

For the orange vinaigrette:

¾ cup orange juice plus 2 tablespoons, divided

1-1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 package honey goat cheese, 4-ounces at room temperature plus extra for serving

1 tablespoon heavy cream

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for finishing the salad

1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra for finishing the salad

2 tablespoon champagne vinegar

1-1/2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

To roast the beets:

Trim the tops and roots off the beets, peel and cut into quarters.

Reserve the beet greens and stems if you’re using them for the salad. (Quick tip: wear food service gloves to prevent your hands from getting stained from the beet juice.) Toss the beets with the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. For easy cleanup line the baking sheet with foil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Roast the beets at 400-degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes. Cook until the beets are cooked through and very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

The beets can be roasted in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to make the salad.

To make the dressing:

Combine ¾ cup of the orange juice and the sugar in a small saucepan.

Place the pan over medium heat and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the juice is reduced down to about 3 tablespoons, stirring occasionally.

Let the juice cool then add the olive oil, the 4-ounce package of softened goat cheese and the cream, whisking until the goat cheese is smooth and blended well.

Whisk in the kosher salt and pepper with both the champagne and balsamic vinegar.

The dressing can be made in advance and refrigerated until you make the salad. Let it warm to room temperature for full flavor.

To assemble the salad:

On individual salad plates, add a handful of arugula and the mixed greens, dividing between plates then layer in the sliced red onion.

Add slices of the oranges then top with the roasted beets.

Top with toasted walnuts and additional crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with the orange vinaigrette then sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings.

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

January 9, 2019
: Makes 4 servings.

This is a breath of brightness and beauty – roasted beets served with juicy oranges and piquant red onions perched atop peppery arugula and fresh greens.

By:

Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 2 bunches of beets, about 7- 8 medium size with greens if available
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 large navel oranges
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 2 cups mixed greens or beet greens and stems, rinsed well and chopped
  • ½ small red onion, sliced very thin
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts
  • For the orange vinaigrette:
  • ¾ cup orange juice plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package honey goat cheese, 4-ounces at room temperature plus extra for serving
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for finishing the salad
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra for finishing the salad
  • 2 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
Directions
  • Step 1 To roast the beets:
  • Step 2 Trim the tops and roots off the beets, peel and cut into quarters. Reserve the beet greens and stems if you’re using them for the salad. (Quick tip: wear food service gloves to prevent your hands from getting stained from the beet juice.)
  • Step 3 Toss the beets with the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. For easy cleanup line the baking sheet with foil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
  • Step 4 Roast the beets at 400-degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes. Cook until the beets are cooked through and very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
  • Step 5 The beets can be roasted in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to make the salad.
  • Step 6 Make the dressing:
  • Step 7 Combine ¾ cup of the orange juice and the sugar in a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the juice is reduced down to about 3 tablespoons, stirring occasionally.
  • Step 8 Let the juice cool then add the olive oil, the 4-ounce package of softened goat cheese and the cream, whisking until the goat cheese is smooth and blended well.
  • Step 9 Whisk in the kosher salt and pepper with both the champagne and balsamic vinegar.
  • Step 10 The dressing can be made in advance and refrigerated until you make the salad. Let it warm to room temperature for full flavor.
  • Step 11 To assemble the salad:
  • Step 12 On individual salad plates, add a handful of arugula and the mixed greens, dividing between plates.
  • Step 13 Layer in the sliced red onion and pieces of the oranges then top with the roasted beets.
  • Step 14 Add the toasted walnuts and additional crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with the orange vinaigrette then sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

Savory notes from fresh leeks along with thyme and garlic provide the perfect accent to golden roasted butternut squash. A soul-satisfying soup perfect for a cold winter night.

With the holiday season in full swing your life is no doubt a bit hectic. This is a gorgeous soup, simple to make and full of flavor. Most butternut squash seem to have an almost cloyingly sweet taste. Instead, this version is rustic, almost hearty. Butternut squash are cooked with fresh leeks, thyme and garlic then simmered in a rich chicken stock.

Roasting butternut squash is easy enough to do – just a brush or two of olive oil and a dash of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. But butternut squash is now readily available in the freezer section of most food markets. If you’re in a pinch for time, using this option will cut one step off the recipe making it even quicker to get on the table.

The squash, leeks, garlic and thyme simmer for a short bit on the stovetop to meld the flavors.

Then the soup is pureed and a touch of half and half is added to create a creamy soup.

The stockings are hopefully hung and gifts are mostly wrapped. So take a minute or two, settle back and enjoy this warm soup on a cold winter’s night!

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

2 butternut squash, about 4 to 5 pounds fresh or three 10-ounce packages, frozen. You want about 6 cups of squash for the soup.

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided

3 tablespoons butter

3 leeks, root end and green portion trimmed, thoroughly cleaned* and chopped. See note below.

7 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

5 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons concentrated chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon

½ cup half and half

Shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese for serving

For roasted butternut squash:

Split the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and brush the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper.

Place the squash with the cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with a cooking spray.

Roast the squash in a 400-degree oven for about 45 minutes or until the pieces of squash are cooked through and tender. When cool enough to handle scoop out the squash. You should have about 10 cups of squash.

For the soup:

Place a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat and melt the 3 tablespoons of butter with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped leeks and thyme and sauté until the leeks are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Stir in the squash plus the chicken stock, concentrated chicken base, the remaining ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper.

Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove the sprigs of thyme and using an immersion blender puree the soup until it’s smooth.

Stir in the half and half and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to heat through.

Serve with shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese.

Serves 6 to 8.

*Cleaning leeks is an important step. As the leaves push up through the ground they capture a lot of dirt along the way. To clean, cut the dark green leaves down to the light green part of the leek. Then cut an “X” about 3” to 4” from the leaves down towards the bulb.

Place the leeks cut side down in a large measuring cup or bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for about 20 minutes to let the leeks open up a bit. Chop and rinse the leeks under cold running water to make sure all the dirt is removed.

Butternut Squash Leek Soup, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 21, 2018
: Serves 6 to 8.

Savory notes of leeks along with thyme and garlic are the perfect accent to golden roasted butternut squash creating a soul-satisfying soup perfect for a cold winter night.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 butternut squash, about 4 to 5 pounds fresh or three 10-ounce packages, frozen. You want about 6 cups of squash for the soup.
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 leeks, root end and green portion trimmed, thoroughly cleaned* and chopped
  • 7 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons concentrated chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon
  • ½ cup half and half
  • Shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese for serving
Directions
  • Step 1 For roasted butternut squash:
  • Step 2 Split the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and brush the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper.
  • Step 3 Place the squash with the cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with a cooking spray. Roast the squash in a 400-degree oven for about 45 minutes or until the pieces of squash are cooked through and tender. When cool enough to handle scoop out the squash. You should have about 10 cups of squash.
  • Step 4 For the soup:
  • Step 5 Place a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat and melt the 3 tablespoons of butter with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped leeks and thyme and sauté until the leeks are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Step 6 Stir in the squash plus the chicken stock, concentrated chicken base, the remaining ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  • Step 7 Remove the sprigs of thyme and using an immersion blender puree the soup until it’s smooth.
  • Step 8 Stir in the half and half and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to heat through.
  • Step 9 Serve with shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese.
  • Step 10 *Cleaning leeks is an important step. As the leaves push up through the ground they capture a lot of dirt along the way. To clean, cut the dark green leaves down to the light green part of the leek. Then cut an “X” about 3” to 4” from the leaves down towards the bulb. Place the leeks cut side down in a large measuring cup or bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for about 20 minutes to let the leeks open up a bit. Rinse the leeks under cold running water to make sure all the dirt is removed.