Leekfest 2010 was one of those endeavors. It began innocently enough, when my friend mentioned she was confounded by leeks.
9:46 AM Sarah: in the meantime, i feel you should devote some blog space this week to leeks. me: I can certainly facilitate that. You clearly understand my obsession with things in the onion family. Anything in particular?9:47 AMSarah: i feel like everyone just wants to use them in soupbut they also sort of confuse me, because i only use them in soup, or i saute them with other vegetables or put them in scrambled eggs.and that is it. me: I see. So you want something that is leek-centric. Sarah: yes.
This led to my casually mentioning that there had been a few leek projects batting around in my brain. Which led to my not so casually insisting that she and her roommate come to our place for leekstravaganza and cocktails. Most hungry people don't refuse offers like this. Sarah is a hungry person.
So... you guys, we went a little bit crazy. Sarah's lovely roommate brought a bunch of cheeses and assorted snacks (this is how you endear yourself to me, people), including a batch of her homemade strawberry jam that made both my sidekick and I coo gratefully. We snacked and caught up while we let the leeks sweat and blanch and generally get ready to fulfill their life purpose.
We started with Molly from Orangette's Leeks Vinaigrette, which were probably one of the most delicate and soothing things to come out of my kitchen for some time. I'm just... not great at subtlety, you guys, so when someone shares a recipe with me that forces me into it, I really appreciate it.
While I began tackling the leek bread pudding that was to serve as our main course, my Sidekick treated us all to Jamie Oliver's creamy white beans with leeks. This is, I kid you not, one of my favorite things on the planet.
This dish is comforting, creamy, rich with white wine and thyme and quite literally one of the reasons I became the Sidekick's wife. Boys, girls, learn how to cook this. It is very easy and will knock the socks off anyone you make it for.
Then it was time for the main event, Thomas Keller's leek bread pudding. I've made this a few times, each were great. I've messed with the proportions a bit and I usually end up using more cheese and less cream than the recipe suggests. Whatever you do, just be prepared for the fact that this recipe will take you longer than you think it will. Some of Thomas Keller's extra steps always seem unnecessary to me, but I take them anyway, because I trust that he loves me and wants me to be happy. He does. And I am.
This is akin to the best, butteriest, creamiest stuffing you've ever had. In fact, I made it for Thanksgiving this year in place of stuffing. Here's the greatest thing about it: it just gets better the next day. And the day after. And is appropriate for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Dear hulking mass of leek bread pudding, I love you. xoxo, Rebecca.
Leek Bread Pudding
adapted (only slightly) from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home