Leeks are a member of the lily family, related to the onion, with a slender white bulb, cylindrical stem and broad, flat leaves. They make a tasty addition to any soup or stew, and are particularly famous in Leek and Potato Soup. They contain sugards, dietary fiber and small amounts of protein. There is also some iron and carotene in the green leaves. They can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
When leeks grow, they often trap soil and grit between their leaves. The best way to clean them is to halve them lengthways, down to the bulb, but not all the way through. You can then fan out and rinse all the leaves, while keeping the leek intact. Leeks can be boiled or steamed, braised in stock, or sliced into rings and stir fried.
Here’s another delicious alternative to using eggs. Silken tofu can be used in many ways, such as for a breakfast scramble, a chocolate pudding, or as in this recipe, a quiche. This recipe is from our own Veg-Feasting Cookbook, which is packed with delicious recipes from around the world, all provided by local restaurants and Vegfest chefs.
Provençal Vegetable Quiche
By Chef Robin Robertson, Author, Presenter at Vegfest
Silken tofu is used instead of eggs and cream in this light and luscious quiche. Mediterranean spiced vegetables and a flaky crust make it a good choice for a light lunch or supper entrée served with a crisp green salad.
Serves 4 to 6
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup chilled corn oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cold water, or more as needed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, white part only, washed well and chopped
1½ cups chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped white mushrooms
1 cup finely chopped fresh or canned tomatoes, well drained
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup pitted black olives, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups drained and crumbled firm silken tofu
1 cup soymilk or other dairy-free milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup grated Parmesan-style nondairy cheese (optional)
To make the crust, combine the flour, corn oil and salt in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. With the machine running, add the water and process until the mixture forms a ball. Flatten the dough, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to fit into a 10-inch quiche pan or pie plate. Line the pan or plate with the dough and trim the edges.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leek, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and the liquid evaporates, about 7 minutes. Stir in the olives, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
In a food processor or blender, combine the tofu, soymilk, mustard, cayenne and salt to taste. Blend well. Spoon the vegetable mixture into the crust and sprinkle with the Parmesan-style cheese, if using. Pour the tofu mixture over all, distributing it evenly.
Bake until the filling is set and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting.