It has been just over one year since my last post. I won’t bore you with a lengthy explanation for why I stopped — let’s just say it’s been a hectic year. But lately, more and more, when I cook something, I want to share it. Even if for the sole reason of documenting meals as proxy for documenting the rest of my life (which I certainly don’t want to immortalize on a blog). As I scroll back through old posts, memories flood back — and isn’t that the greatest gift of food? That the senses of smell and taste are a conduit to other emotions, remembrances, places and people.

I don’t mean to get all sappy in my first post back…and I can’t promise I’ll continue posting with any regularity. But I recently read Tamar Adler’s fantastic book An Everlasting Meal, and had the privilege of meeting her at a small reading. Her approach to food is profound, poetic, and yet humble. It has been inspiring me anew to cook and record it here. Read her book, as soon as you can.

I bought leeks and potatoes last week in order to make leek & potato soup, which just never came to pass. So I decided to make a tart instead, for a small Golden Globes get-together. I also had a hunk of roasted cauliflower left over, which I chopped up and included, lest it go to waste. Mustard and thyme seemed like nice supporting players, so here’s the tart, recipe after the jump.

Leek and Potato Tart
Serves 6

1 large or 2 small leeks, cut in half and then into 1/4″ half-moons (rinse very well!!)
1 small onion, sliced
1T chopped thyme
1 T butter
1/2 – 3/4 lb. small, waxy potatoes, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 eggs
1/2 cup half & half or whole milk
1 T. whole grain mustard
parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat the butter in a saute pan until foamy, over medium heat. Add the onions and leeks, and stir a bit. Sprinkle with some salt and let the leeks and onions cook, slowly, until lightly caramelized. The heat should be low enough that you’re sweating the vegetables — they will slowly release water and soften. If they get brown right away, lower your head and add a tiny bit of water. The cooking / caramelizing process should take 20 minutes at least. In the last few minutes, stir in the thyme and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.

Add your potato slices to a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 – 10 minutes, until potatoes are mostly tender but still hold together. Drain.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Assemble your tart (see link for tart shell recipe below). Layer your leeks & onions on the bottom and then spiral the potatoes on top. Salt the potatoes. In a bowl, mix together the 2 eggs and half & half or milk. Add the mustard and a pinch of salt. Slowly pour over the tart. If you want, grate a bit of parmesan cheese on top of the potatoes before baking.

I always bake tarts on a baking sheet covered in foil, just in case spillage of any kind occurs. It’s much better to toss a crusty piece of tin foil than to scrub your oven!

Bake the tart for about 40 minutes, or until the middle is set and the potatoes & cheese are nicely browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Tart Shell

Recipe on Smitten Kitchen.
note: I ran out of all purpose flour so used about 1/2 c. of white whole wheat and a few extra drops of water. I also decided to par bake mine, because I am paranoid about soggy crusts!

(there’s something so Andy Goldsworthy about these leeks!)