meatless mondays

simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
leonardo da vinci

2011© from maggie's farm
few could argue with the assertion that the french are an indulgent people.  some of the finest, richest, food is french in origin.  they use cream like we use water.  julia child, one of the grande dames of the cuisine de la france said it herself
if you're afraid of butter, use cream!
so why are they so darned skinny?  did they make a deal with the devil?  are they just playing a cruel trick on us?  do they secretly eat only celery and tic-tacs and snicker behind their hands at us?  well, no. not about that, anyway. apparently they are simply selective about what they eat.  they indulge themselves, but choose quality over quantity.  and although we think of the french meal as some bacchanalian feast with copious amounts of cream and butter and potatoes and bread and free-flowing wine, the typical french meal is quite a bit more simple.  simple, but delicious.  simple and sophisticated. some of their slender secrets, below, from french women don't get fat--
  • deprivation is the mother of failure.
  • feed your body reasonably and on schedule
  • less is more...a single piece of fine dark chocolate can be as enjoyable as a dozen snickers bars.
  • slow and steady. there is not lasting glory in rapid weight loss. diets offer a round of misery for temporary results
  • gastronomic boredom leads to unhealthy eating. try new food and flavors. choose quality over quantity. 
i'd also have to add--slow down.  we are always in such a rush.  we take pride in doing five things at once (although we've done them each with about 1/5th the effectiveness).  we really pat ourselves on the back when we can rush through preparation and meal in twenty minutes or less.  i say use one meal of the day, whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, to honor yourself, your families, connect with one another, and enjoy the tastes, sights, smells of preparing and enjoying that with which you've been blessed.  and instead of a rushed meat+starch+vegetable+bread+salad+dessert--why not just one or two of those things?  one or two of them prepared with love and intention, a type of cooking meditation that helps us focus on the pleasure of food and enjoy true satisfaction.
i'd love to share with you one of our favorite meals, both simple, sophisticated, and satisfying.  and meatless, to boot!  (and, ooo-la-la, oh so french.)

2011© from maggie's farm
tarte aux poireaux et chevre
which is the very fancy french name for leek and
 goat cheese tart.
serves six

2011© from maggie's farm
one tart crust  (okay, i'm fessing up here, if it's a weeknight, i'ma using a ready-made pie crust, but not the ones in a foil tin--i want to roll it out and place it in my tart pan in order to get the correct thickness. if you'd like to make your own, this is the recipe i use when i have a little more time. if you haven't already been introduced to david lebovitz, let me be the first to share--he's fabulous.  french tart dough recipe )
tart filling
1/2 stick butter
3 leeks, cleaned, trimmed, sliced in thin rounds, then washed again (these little buddies hide a little more dirt than other vegetables, and you won't want to ruin your meditative dinner experience with an unexpected crunch.)
3 large eggs, beaten
1 pint half and half
8 ounces chevre (rindless goat cheese) can't find any?  well we do have a connection. ;  }
1t kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

preheat oven to 350 degrees. butter bottom and sides of tart pan.
on a lightly floured surface, roll tart crust to a diameter of 1-2" larger than your pan.  roll crust onto rolling pin, then transfer to tart pan, easing crust down sides and trimming excess. 
line crust with aluminum foil, and fill with beans to prevent crust from puffing up during baking.  bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned. 
meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat.  saute leeks until soft, being careful not to scorch.  turn off heat and allow to cool five minutes.  add beaten eggs, half and half, salt, and pepper.  (seem like a lot of salt?  well, cream just eats up salt.  always need to salt a bit more liberally when milk, half and half, or cream is used in a dish)
when crust is browned, remove from oven and let sit five minutes.  placing the tart on a cooking sheet will make the rest of this process go a little more smoothly.  fill with leek mixture almost to top of  pan.  bake an additional 45 minutes, uncovered, or until center is set.  (if you've used a regular pie pan, it will likely be thicker, thus needing additional cooking time.)  remove from oven and allow to rest before slicing and serving.

2011© from maggie's farm
serve with this spring-fresh salad of mixed baby salad greens, sliced radishes, and a simple herb vinaigrette (recipe below).

2011© from maggie's farm
whisk together 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar with 1/8th cup good quality olive oil..  (don't skimp, remember the whole quality/quantity thing?), handful of fresh herbs of your choice, finely chopped.  (parsley, thyme, chives, and marjoram were our choice herbs, today).  add a tablespoon of grated parmesan, 1 tsp dijon mustard, kosher or sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. whisk until well blended.  toss torn greens and radishes, sliced, with dressing just prior to serving.
superfoods we used
bone builders
these scallion-like cousins of garlic and onions are packed with bone-bolstering thiamine, riboflavin, calcium and potassium. leeks are also rich in folic acid, a b vitamin that studies have shown to lower levels of an artery-damaging amino acid, homocystein, in the blood.  slice these little lovelies, including as much of the dark green that is tender, and sprinkle over soups, salads, stews, and casseroles as often as possible.
source: tufts-new england journal of medicine
thank you for your lovely quote, mr. davinci

have a great week, friends. see on wordless wednesday.


  1. Tom: Designated Eater16 June, 2011

    The tart was wonderful BTW.

  2. you're adorable. righteously adorable.


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