3 Recipes to Try This Week: Leeks Vinaigrette, Olive Oil Cake, Herb Salad


Every mother’s day for the past three years I have cooked for my sisters. You see, they are both mothers, I am not, and we no longer have a mother to honor. Plus they like my cooking and I like cooking for them.

We all look forward to the yearly event and just hanging out with one another. We don’t do anything special. Just sit around and eat and talk. Then we do a puzzle or play scrabble as the afternoon stretches on. Normally I make some sort of frittata dish. This year I branched out and made a leek tart from one of Marcella Hazan’s books. It was fabulous.

And now I can’t seem to get enough leeks. They’re just one of those expressions of spring that I treasure, even though they are available year-round.

Here’s a wonderful sounding recipe for leeks vinaigrette from Rachel Eats that I’d like to try.

When I was in Portland recently for IACP, I had the pleasure of meeting and dining with Kim Boyce, pastry chef and cookbook author. Her new book, Good to the Grain, about cooking with whole grain flours has been getting lots of attention because she’s some kind of genius at combining the special characteristics of the various whole grains with complementary and unusual flavors. This is thoughtful baking, not at all about health for the sake of health. I have yet to buy the book, but in the meantime, I can try this recipe for olive oil cake shared by The Wednesday Chef on her blog.

Sometimes I work at home and sometimes I work at the home of my colleague. Come lunchtime, we usually throw together something out of our combined leftovers paired with fresh bread, cheese, salad, or whatever we have. It’s always fun because we never know how the meal will play out and it’s almost always better than we think it will be.

One day, we had no salad greens so we foraged in her backyard for herbs to create an herb salad. Combining parsley, cilantro, chives, and mustard green flowers from domesticated mustard that had gone to seed, we created a salad whose sharp flavors awakened our palate and kept us fueled for the afternoon’s work.

Here’s a recipe for herb salad from the award-winning Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook blog.

Image: Muffet

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.