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Flavor First
March 2015



Ooh la la Leeks
By Cheryl Forberg, RD


The ancient Egyptians believed the concentric rings of the onion symbolized eternal life. Who knew that modern science would prove their belief so prophetic?

Shallots


The onion belongs to the allium family, which also includes scallions, leeks, shallots, and garlic. There are few cultures throughout the world that don't regularly season their meals with a hint of one or a gargantuan dose of another. Thinly sliced chives on a steaming bowl of broth, a glistening mound of caramelized shallots, or a translucent onion that melts into the essence of a sauce; there are hundreds of ways to savor the flavors of the Allium family.

In addition to their versatility, flavor and reasonable cost, these veggies also possess a bounty of healthy plant chemicals. Quercetin, found in many green vegetables, is also prevalent in red and violet onions. Quercetin has several heart-healthy properties. Along with diallyl sulfide, it fights cancer. Both are antioxidants and both promote overall oxidative balance. Sulfonate compounds are prominent in onions, chives, leeks, and shallots, and are similar to the sulfur compounds found in cabbage and cruciferous vegetables. They interact beneficially with our liver's detoxification processes, promoting aggressive attack on cancer-causing substances. While onions and chives have been popular in the U.S. for some time, leeks have been slower to catch on. Used by Romans (and throughout Europe and Asia) for centuries, we have just begun enjoying them in the last 100 years. Milder than onions, leeks are perfect in salads, soups and as a side dish. This flavorful recipe is easy to prepare and the perfect accompaniment to roast or grilled fish or meat.

Roast Leeks and Peppers with Chopped Pistachios
Serves 6


Ingredients:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange leeks and peppers on a non stick sheet pan. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of the oil and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, flipping once, until veggies are soft and starting to brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes.


Ingredients:

Ingredients:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange leeks and peppers on a non stick sheet pan. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of the oil and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, flipping once, until veggies are soft and starting to brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

2 Belgian Leeks (12 ounces), halved lengthwise and rinsed well
1 Red Bell Pepper, halved, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1 inch strips
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, halved, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1 inch strips
2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided
Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoons Finely Grated Lemon Zest, divided
4 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Shallot, minced
½ ounce (2 tablespoons) Pistachios, chopped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange leeks and peppers on a non stick sheet pan. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of the oil and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, flipping once, until veggies are soft and starting to brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange leeks and peppers on a non stick sheet pan. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of the oil and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, flipping once, until veggies are soft and starting to brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, Whisk together mustard, zest juice, and shallots. Slowly add oil, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange vegetables on a platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with nuts and garnish with zest. Serve immediately.

Roast Leeks and Peppers with Chopped Pistachios