Monthly Archives: April 2013

Caramelized Leek Risotto Recipe

Caramelized Leek Risotto Recipe

by katerina on November 13, 2009

Leek Risotto

The flavour of caramelized leeks is sweet, nutty and subtle. After trying caramelized leeks a few weeks ago them I knew there was a risotto with caramelized leeks in my future.
There aren’t that many leek recipes out there, but I can’t believe I have waited this long to make a leek risotto. When I tasted I was actually excited by how good it was, I think it is officially my new favorite.

Leek Risotto

If you are looking for a subtler leek flavour, but love bacon, then try this leek risotto with pancetta. It is not vegetarian friendly, but boy is it good.

Print Recipe

Caramelized Leek Risotto

(2-4 servings)

2 tablespoons butter
1 large leek
salt and pepper
3/4 cup arborio rice
3/4 cup white wine
~3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup grated Romano (Parmesan can be substituted)
1 tablespoon freshly minced chives

Trim off the dark green part of leek, you can reserve it for a future use. Cut remaining leek in half lengthwise then into 1/3″ half moons. Clean thoroughly. In a heavy bottomed pot melt butter over medium heat, add leeks and stir to coat. Cook leeks stirring every five minutes or so until they start to brown. Let the leeks lightly brown evenly, you can turn it down a bit if you like as you don’t want them to burn. It should take about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then add rice. Stir to coat and cook, stirring regularly for 2 minutes. Add wine and continue stirring until two thirds of the wine has evaporated. Start adding chicken stock in large ladelfuls, stirring often. You want the temperature of the mixture to be at a very light simmer. Continue adding stock until rice is tender and just a little bit al dente. Turn off heat and stir in cheese and chives. Taste and correct for seasoning.

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 50 minutes | Total Time:55 minutes

Calories(approximate per serving): 275

A Few Local CSA Farms in Lancaster County

Here is a link to a few other CSAs in Lancaster County besides my favorite, Blue Rock Farm.  This is by no means a complete list, but there are resources where you can get more information.  This one is Farmers’ Friend.  Another is the website of PA Buy Fresh Buy Local, and if you “Google” Lancaster County CSA you will find others.  Here is a quick link to a few. I haven’t tried any of them out, Blue Rock is my first venture into CSA.  I’ll keep you posted.

East Side Community Kitchen

I was recently asked about a kitchen that anyone in the community could use.  Here is the information:esck

It is called the East Side Community Kitchen, located at 347 North Plum Street in Lancaster.  Those who wish to use the kitchen are required to join the community as a member. The fee is $40.00 per month, which includes two hours of kitchen use, which can be banked up to 12 hours.  In other words, you will be billed $40.00 each month, but on a month in which you do not use the hours, they can be rolled over into the next month, until a maximum of 12 hours are saved.  Additional hours are billed at a rate of $20.00 per hour. The kitchen has virtually all the equipment one might need; members are asked to bring their own ingredients, any special equipment they might need, and extra paper towels and trash and garbage bags occasionally, as an in-kind contribution to help reduce costs.  Members are also required to clean up after themselves in a manner congruent with the requirements of a commercial kitchen.

More information about the East Side Community Kitchen can be found at:

Caitlin’s Chocolate Beet Cake from the Blue Rock Farm

In my last post I waxed poetic about the Blue Rock Farm in Willow Street.  Now, Caitlin Brady sends me this recipe for a sweet and tasty chocolate cake made with chocolate and beets.  It’s incredibly rich, and you may never go back to “normal” chocolate cake again.

Caitlin’s Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes one 8 or 9-inch 2 layer cake

For the Cake:
2 medium beets, unpeeled and trimmed of their greens
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pans
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

For the Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces (1 brick) cream cheese, softened
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons finely grated beets, mashed with a fork
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons milk, depending on desired consistency
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt


Place a rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Wash beets under running water, and trim their leaves. Place clean beets in a piece of foil and drizzle with just a bit of vegetable oil.  Seal foil and place on a baking sheet in the oven.  Roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.  Remove the beets from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Using a box grater, grate the peeled beets on the finest grating plane.  Measure 3/4 cup of grated beets for the cake and 2 tablespoons for the frosting.  Set aside.  Use butter to grease two 8 or 9-inch round baking pans.   Add a dusting of flour to coat the pan.  Set pans aside while you prepare the cake.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars.  Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, for one minute after each addition.   Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Once eggs are incorporated, beat in beets and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture.  Beating on low  speed , slowly add the buttermilk.  Once just incorporated, add the other half of the dry ingredients.  Beat on medium speed until milk and dry ingredients are just incorporated.  Try not to overmix the batter.  Bowl can be removed from the mixer.  and mixture folded with a spatula to finish incorporating ingredients.  Cake batter will be on the thick side… not pourable.

Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans.  Bake for 23 to 25 minutes (for a 9-inch pan) or 30-32 minutes (for an 8-inch pan).  Cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove cakes from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Invert cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting and assembling the cake.

To make the frosting:
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat cream cheese for 30 seconds, until smooth.  Add the butter and beat for another 30 seconds, until well combined.   Beat in the beets.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, milk, lemon juice, and salt.  Beat on medium speed until smooth. Refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes before frosting the cooled cakes.

To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a cake stand or cake plate.  Top with a generous amount of pink frosting.  Spread evenly.  Place the other cake on top of the frosting.  Top with frosting.  Work frosting onto the sides of the cake.   Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

A Visit to My Produce

This week I met my farmers, and I walked the ground where my spring, summer, and autumn vegetables will grow.  We joined a CSA this week, so we will be receiving regular bags full of produce—from mustard greens to watermelons to butternut squash and virtually everything in between—from a tiny but growing farm in Willow Street called Blue Rock Farm.  And the farmers, Caitlin Brady and EmmaKate Martin are not what you’d expect.caitlin and EmmaKate

Caitlin Brady, 22, is the creative force behind the Blue Rock Farm.  She was raised in Missouri on a 2000-acre farm that grew corn, soybeans, sorghum, and tobacco, using large machinery and production-farm techniques that are common to business farms all over the country (not that there is anything wrong with that).  She’s been to five different colleges (currently Millersville University as a foreign-language major—Spanish, French, and Italian), she’s lived in several countries; and in big cities (Chicago) and small farming communities like Lancaster.

Caitlin started Blue Rock a couple of years ago and sold her products at several of the local farm markets—this year she will have a stand at the Eastern Market on East King Street on Saturdays.

EmmaKate grew up on the land she and Caitlin are currently farming.  In fact, the land has been in her family for 6 generations.  She graduated from Penn Manor High School and is now working the same land her father and her grandfather did, and further and further back.  EmmaKate is also passionate about the land we all live on, and works with a volunteer organization that holds concerns for the environment as acts of faith.

P1080648            In a conversation with her spry 94-year-old grandfather, Park Mellinger, the other day, he told me how pleased he was that she and Caitlin were doing this kind of work.  He told me that the plot they were currently working in was plowed under for planting for the first time since 1899—it’s been backyard to the farm house for generations.

Blue Rock  farm is totally organic; the fertilizer is compost and the water is rain water collected in large containers all over the property and fed into the gardens through drip hoses.  Caitlin and EmmaKate are making a serious go of this small family farm, currently having 15 half- and 6 whole shares in their CSA, which will deliver food weekly to three Lancaster County locations.  A limited number of shares are still available.

The New York City chef Dan Barber, a loud and passionate advocate for small, local, organic farms—he runs one himself in upstate New York that produces for his restaurant—encourages consumers to “get to know your farmer and your fishmonger,” so that you will know exactly where your food comes from and on what it’s been raised.

I concur.P1080641

I have gotten to know my farmers and I, for one, couldn’t be happier.  I know that my family will be eating some of the best, healthiest food available in Lancaster County, a place where there is more healthy food (and some pretty unhealthy stuff, too) than almost anywhere else in the nation.

Blue Rock Farm.  Check it out!

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