Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Medley of Leek, Carrot, Squash and Tomato Cooked in Olive Oil -- Zeytınyağlı Pırasa (Kind Of, Sort Of)

It's not that I dislike meat, it's just that I really LOVE vegetables, and let's face it, vegetables are exceedingly more attractive than animal flesh, and they require a lot less processing to make them taste delicious.  Take this super simple vegetable medley comprised of leeks, carrots, squash, tomatoes, and onion, cooked with a bit of rice in some extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned with nothing more than salt, ground black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.  This is actually my loose interpretation of the Turkish olive oil dish Zeytınyağlı Pırasa, or Leeks in Olive Oil, and it is really delicious.  In fact, my guinea pigs for this lovely plate of cooked vegetables were my sixteen year old son Noah and his posse, Wylie, Khing, and Kha, and I must say this group of insatiable teenage boys pretty much devoured the entire plate of cooked vegetables, which of course made me very happy!

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I start with 4 leeks, 3 long, skinny carrots, 2 yellow zucchinis (you can certainly substitute green ones), 1 medium sized tomato, and 1/2 a white onion.  First, I wash the leeks really well, slice them -- at an angle -- into a combination of 1-inch and 2-inch pieces, including some of the more tender green portions, and wash them a second time.  Next I slice all the remaining vegetables into long, thin slices, like so.

I start by heating up 1/4 cup of very good olive oil in a shallow pot, and sautéing the onion over a medium heat for about 2 minutes, until tender.  Then I add the leeks and carrots, and continue to sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring pretty much constantly.

Next, I add in the squash and tomatoes, along with a couple of fresh basil leaves, and sauté everything, stirring gently, for just a few more minutes.

I sprinkle in a scant 1/3 cup of long grain rice, along with a 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper, and about 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.  Finally, I pour 1-1/2 cups of hot water over the top, give everything a quick stir, and when the liquid comes to a boil, I cover the pot, and simmer everything over a very low heat for about 30 minutes until the rice is cooked and the vegetables are tender (but not mushy).

The finished dish has a great balance of color, texture, and flavor.  This large plate of vegetables was gobbled up by the boys so quickly, in fact, that I wish I had made more!


  1. I love this dish! it is really delicious

  2. You are so sweet, Khing, and I am so glad you liked it! Still waiting for you to teach me and Noah how to make Thai curry!