I belong to the Lexington Field & Garden Club . Every year, the garden club and the Lexington Historical Society sponsor a joint program for their members. This year’s lecture took place back in April. The featured speaker was Russell Morash, a fellow Lexington resident, and producer of some of my favorite PBS shows. He produced Julia Child’s first show The French Chef as well as This Old House, The New Yankee Workshop, and The Victory Garden.
Mr. Morash gave an entertaining presentation. The first part of his talk and slide show was about the history of making The Victory Garden TV show. The second part of his talk was about his own passion for his vegetable garden.
After the talk, there was a raffle. There were several prizes, and each winner got to pick from the available selections. I was hopeful that I would win and be able to pick the copy of Marian Morash’s (the speaker’s wife) cookbook, The Victory Garden Cookbook. My own copy, which I’ve had since college, is falling apart. No such luck.
The last prize left was a pot of leek seedlings that Mr. Morash had started from seed. And, they drew Howard’s number, so he won the pot of seedlings! He planted them in the garden, and we’ve had a good crop. (There are still a few in the garden.)
Using the leeks from our garden, I’ve made a variety of leek tarts and a leek custard when there was too much filling for the crust. Here’s the best of what I’ve tried so far.
Leek Tart (Serves 6)
Adapted from “Ready When You Are” by Martha Rose Shulman
- 1 batch of your favorite pastry crust
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 5 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only (about 3 leeks, but it will depend on their size)
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup cream
- ¼ lb Black Forest ham, chopped
- ¼ lb Gruyere cheese, grated
Preheat the over to 400F. Roll out the crust and line an 8-inch springform pan. Prick the bottom with a fork and chill while you prepare the filling (or longer, if you want to prepare the crust ahead of time).
Line the crust with parchment paper or foil, then fill with beans. Partially bake the crust for 10 minutes. It won’t be brown.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add leeks. Cook, stirring as needed, until the leeks begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Cover the pan, turn heat to low, stirring occasionally, and cook for 15 more minutes, until very soft. Add salt & pepper to taste and remove from the heat.
Beat the eggs. Add milk, salt & pepper. Stir in the leeks, ham, and ¾ of the cheese. The filling mixture will be thick, definitely not as custardy as a quiche. Transfer the filling to the partially baked crust. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve warm with a green salad.