Garden, Plant, Cook!

Friday, December 18, 2015

25 Days of Herbs and Celebrations - December 18

Dear Folks,

Celebrating the Multicultural festivities of December, I thought I would pick an herb or spice which is referenced in the Bible (land of three of the Major Religions of the world) and used in many cuisines around the entire world, as a way of gathering together all the wealth of diversity around us - in true celebration. 
Day 18
My harvested leeks.

Herb:  Leek, Allium porrum, Number 11:5  "We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic.
The biblical reference aside, leeks have been recorded as early as 2000 BC.
The leek is one of the national emblems of Wales, worn along with the daffodil (in Welsh, the daffodil is known as "Peter's leek," Cenhinen Bedr) on St. David’s Day. The Welsh leek appeared on the coronation gown of Elizabeth II.  It was designed by Norman Hartnell; when Hartnell asked if he could exchange the leek for the more aesthetically pleasing Welsh daffodil, he was told no.  -- wikipedia
Think of the leek as a scallion on steroids – bigger with strappy leaves.  The leek’s mild onion flavor lends itself well to many dishes where the onion flavor is desired but not as pronounced.
Easily grown from seed, it does take about 100 days from sowing to harvest time, so it is best to seed in every 2-3 weeks through end of February in the desert garden for a supply going into late spring.
My first sowing are usually right at peek (BIG – but can be harvested sooner) just in time for St. Patrick’s day feasting and making colcannon, a mixture of leeks, cabbage and potatoes that is just plain comfort food.
A leaf of the leek, because of its size, is frequently used to contain herb bundles, then tied with string to form a Bouquet Garni for use in soups, stews and sauces.
There are many recipes for this dish, but you can’t make any mistakes really.  Leeks, Potatoes, Cabbage or Kale, salt, pepper, butter and maybe some bacon.
Here is a recipe from Allrecipes

My Note:  I frequently shred the cabbage and slice the leek ahead of time and when the potatoes are about half-way cooked I throw the cabbage and leeks in to finish cooking with the potatoes – 1 pot = all cooked and ready to mash or fold together with the butter and seasonings.

1 pound cabbage
1 pound potatoes
2 leeks
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch ground mace
1/2 cup butter


In a large saucepan, boil cabbage until tender; remove and chop or blend well. Set aside and keep warm. Boil potatoes until tender. Remove from heat and drain.

Chop leeks, green parts as well as white, and simmer them in just enough milk to cover, until they are soft.

Season and mash potatoes well. Stir in cooked leeks and milk. Blend in the kale or cabbage and heat until the whole is a pale green fluff. Make a well in the center and pour in the melted butter. Mix well.

Slow Foods Challenge Pizza
I used a Leek in a “Slow Foods Challenge”  4 years ago where the goal was to make a homemade version of a happy meal type food.  I chose to do a toaster-oven high protein/high fiber pizza with tortillas.  Check it out!


Up on the House Top
Gene Autry


Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)

Luciano Pavarotti

Here is Bing Crosby singing in English and Latin

Note:  I grew up singing in Latin and the Christmas hymns sung in Latin remind me so much of those beautiful songs, although I don’t remember all the Latin lyrics.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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