On a fine Sunday afternoon in Bellingham, I found myself casually stolling around the quiet downtown streets with my arms full of records. We had wandered downtown with the hopes of scoring big in the free piles, and score we did. Anyway, we happened to walk past a restaurant called MANPIES on the way home. I walk by this place frequently, and since I love savoury vegetarian treats, I’ll admit my interest has always been piqued. However, whenever I say something about MANPIES, my companion usually says, “NOT INTERESTED!” or “STUPID!” or “FULL OF MEAT and LARD!” What do I love baking more than cake? You guessed correctly! Pies! I usually have most of the ingredients on hand, so why not? Make it two! So I said to my dear, unconvinced friend, “I can make a man pie myself!” (note: I did NOT make a man pie, I created a man galette).
This week my CSA box was full of zucchini and I happened to have leeks left over from the previous box. I love the tender taste of zucchini, as the happy recipients of my recent experiment with zucchini muffins can attest to, but I’m sure any vegetable would suffice. For instance, kale and spinach for an iron-rich galette. But for the sake of a recipe, I used zucchini.
Zucchini and Leek Galette des Hommes
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup kefir (I didn’t have cream cheese, and I thought I’d experiment since I always have kefir or yogurt on hand)
5 tbsp butter (I used Earth Balance vegan butter)
1/4 cup ice water
2 zucchini (or any squash, really)
1 clove garlic
1 cup kefir (again, it’s all I had)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 egg, yolk and white separate
1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme
1/2 cup mozzarella
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, salt, kefir and butter in a medium bowl. I sifted the flour, so if you have a sifter it works best. Add butter, and once it’s mixed in, add water. Cover and refrigerate.
Chop zucchini, place on paper towel and sprinkle with salt. You want them dry, slightly, so set aside.
Chop leek until the green part. Stir fry with garlic in a little bit of butter. Julia Child says, “you can never have enough butter!” and I tend to agree. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the cardamom seeds, then add to the stir fry. Once the leeks are soft, mix in a bowl with kefir, sugar, egg white, thyme and mozzarella. Mix well and set aside. When subbing kefir or yogurt for cheese, some experts advice you strain the liquid overnight. I had no time for such trivial matters, but to prevent the time delay, try greek yogurt or any thicker variety. I usually make my own yogurt, and I like it European-style drippy, so I will experiment with various thickening agents in the future.
Now we’re back to the zucchini. I just want to take a moment to express my love for zucchini. Zucchini, I love you. Zucchini, it’s true.
Here’s a haiku for zucchini:
Zucchini, my love.
You smooth-skinned summer squash
Be always in fridge.
I digress. Dry off the salted zucchini.
Cover the bottom of a pie pan with the crust. I used my hands to assure that it reached every angle of the pan, and a little more. Arrange the zucchini in a circle, make a swirl until the bottom is covered. Pour the leek mixture over. Repeat the zucchini swirl over the top. Mix egg yolk and 1 tsp of water. Brush over the top of the galette and place in oven for 40-45 minutes.
I’ll admit the top was a little watery, but I think subbing marscapone for kefir in the filling would do the trick. Some fans say, “very good!” While others say, “too much cardamon!” But I think it’s quite tasty!
ps. it’s best made while listening to the Soviet Men’s Army Choir!
photo credit: Big G Entertainment