by Melanie A. Albert, intuitive cooking expert, author, speaker, retreat host, Founder & CEO Experience Nutrition Group, LLCs
Today, I’m excited that I completed the requirements and received my certification for the Plantlab Culinary Fundamentals of Plant-based Cooking 120-hour course, including knife skills, 61 cooking projects, written exams, and my Final Project.
I’ll be sharing so much of my learning in future blogs and am also sharing my Final Project with you. My Final Culinary Project embraces our local Arizona farmers’ veggies with a menu featuring some of my favorite dishes and skills learned during the course.
Let’s take a look at our local Arizona Winter produce in my Final Project.
Arizona Winter Harvest Menu
- FIRST. Roasted Carrot Soup.
- Navel Orange Braised Leeks. Almond Cream. Edible Flowers.
- SECOND. Sprouted Spelt Flatbread.
- Arizona Winter Roasted Veggies. Pistachio Pesto. Almond Bechamel Sauce.
- THIRD. Cacao Crepe.
- Chickpea Crepe. Apples. Arizona Citrus Marmalade.
- DRINK. Root Matcha Latte.
- Chicory Root. Dandelion Root. Matcha Tea. Cashew Milk. Warm Spices.
NAVEL ORANGE BRAISED LEEKS
In the past, I’ve only eaten leeks in restaurants and love them, so I decided to include leeks as a green contrast to the sweet roasted carrot soup.
Today, I’m sharing the recipes and cooking process for Braised Leeks, Almond Nut Cream, and plating of the Roasted Carrot Soup. Hope this inspires you to cook interesting soups.
Almond Nut Cream
- 1 cup almonds, soaked 8-12 hours and rinsed
- 2 cups filtered water
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp sumac powder
- 1 tsp grapeseed oil
- Blend the almonds and water until smooth.
- Stain in nut bag.
- Return strained almond cream to blender and blend with salt and sumac.
- Gradually stream in oil on low to emulsify.
BRAISED LEEKS: INGREDIENTS
- 3 leeks, cut into 1-1 ½ inch pieces
- 2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp shallots, minced
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp caraway seeds
- ¼ cup vegetable stock
- Pinch sea salt
- 2 tbsp fresh navel orange juice
- 1 tbsp navel orange zest
- 1 cup almond cream
- 1/2 cup almond cream
- ¼ tsp sumac
- 1 tbsp orange zest
ORANGE BRAISED LEEKS
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Clean leeks in cold water in a bowl to removed dirt between the layers.
- Cut white and green part of leeks into 1-1 ½ inch rounds.
- Heat olive oil in medium-high saute pan.
- Add leeks to pan with round side face down on the pan. Press leeks down with spatula to evenly brown, for about 5 minutes. While cooking move leeks around pan to prevent them from sticking to the pan. After the first end has lightly browned flip and brown the other end.
- Once both sides have browned, remove from pan and set aside.
Cook Braising Sauce
- Add shallot, coriander and caraway seeds to pan and sauté until shallot becomes translucent.
- Add vegetable stock, salt, orange juice, and 1 tbsp orange zest and bring to a boil.
- Add almond cream and bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce to a simmer.
- Remove pan from stove, add leeks to pan with round side up.
- Cover the pan with a tight oven-safe lid.
- Place pan in oven to braise the leeks for 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft and tender when pierced with a fork.
- Remove leeks from pan and set aside for plating.
- Add ½ cup almond cream, sumac, and 1 tbsp navel orange zest to pan.
- Return pan to stove top and simmer, whisking frequently, until cream becomes thick. Once the sauce reaches desired thickness, remove from heat.
- Place braised leeks, with round side up on bottom of flat bowl. Gently pour carrot soup into the bowl, with the tops of the leeks exposed.
- Drizzle almond cream sauce on top of the leeks.
- Garnish with edible flowers.
The Roasted Carrot Soup. Orange Braised Leeks. Almond Nut Cream
Happy to share a video look at the soup…
Interested in my book, A New View of Healthy Eating, I’m happy to mail a copy to you.