Am I finished talking about my trip back home to Indiana? Not yet. I promise that next week will not include posts strictly about that time frame. This entire week, for any newcomers, has been about this trip and to catch up, check out those previous posts (if you so desire).
On one of the Wednesdays, we went to one of our old stomping grounds, Huntington. This is the town where I attended middle and high school, 20 or so minutes from my hometown. Greg also went to school here, in Huntington county, for high school only. (There were 3 middle schools in the county and he was on the opposite side from me.) Again, I knew him barely in high school, it was college that we reconnected and fell in love/went stupid for one another…whatever you want to call it.
I spent a good portion of my teenage years hanging out in this town. I had a lot of after-school activities that kept me 20 plus minutes from home every school day and several weekends when show choir/theatre/honor society/etc. was in session. I admit on some of those late nights I nearly fell asleep driving home and was lucky to arrive safe and sound.
We were in H-town to go to Market Street (a bar) because our friend helps/performs karaoke. I was impressed by the local talent. Well, I wouldn’t call it local for half of the performers because there is a private Christian college in town and this bar (nothing to look at but has some nice people) seems to be the place for karaoke. Friends were present and singing. Our friend Brant did a great job and I heard a few students (one that vocally resembled Janis Joplin) with amazing voices.
Overall, there were songs that I rather enjoy; we had reasonably priced drinks in a welcoming environment and watched a few entertainers work their Wednesday night magic. We had to leave early (karaoke didn’t begin until after 10PM) and missed conversing with a few friends (sorry Melissa, Matt and Erik). The only thing I would request changed would be the bathroom at this establishment-it’s behind the “stage” and requires patrons to walk through the performer’s area (while others laugh and point when you walk out awkwardly to Eye of the Tiger).
Monday, we asked that our friends meet us at Mad Anthony’s brewery in Fort Wayne. We love this place. The beer isn’t as good as the Lafayette Brewing Company (but much improved over anything we’ve had in Minnesota) which I will talk about tomorrow; it has a comfortable vibe and good music. I believe this was the first day that we actually saw some friends (the first 4 days were family-oriented) and happened to be one of my favorite non-family times since this is where the “catching up” began and Adrian complemented my blog in a way that will never leave my mind. Those words mean quite a bit to me and I cherish his opinion and sentiment.
Before we left, I made baked leeks and since it’s that time of the year where people seem to make resolutions or simply statements about “becoming healthier,” I would like to provide this recipe to you. Don’t get too happy, Skippy because they are smothered in a creamy Parmigiano and garlic sauce… leeks are so low in calories and taste similar to onions (same family) that I feel a balance. I also made this for myself because I forgot what a leek tastes like, it’s been that long. Thanks goes out to Susie Middleton at Fine Cooking for helping me remember this vegetable.
Creamy Baked Leeks with Garlic, Thyme and Parmigiano
1 tsp unsalted butter
8 medium leeks (see below for prep)
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 cup heavy cream
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat the oven to 350. Rub the bottom of a shallow dish with butter and sprinkle ¼ tsp salt on the dish bottom.
Cut the dark-green portion and all but about 1 inch of the light green off the top of the leeks. Peel away any tough or damaged outer leaves. Trim the ends by cutting the roots but leaving a bit of the base intact to hold the leek together. Cut each leek in half lengthwise. Gently wash each half under running water, fanning open the layers to rinse as thoroughly as possible. Pat the leeks dry and then arrange them cut side down in the baking dish. They should all fit snugly, but if they are crowded, turn a few on their sides. Sprinkle the thyme and 1/4 tsp. salt over the leeks.
Heat the cream and garlic in a small saucepan over high heat. As soon as the cream comes to a rolling boil (watch carefully and don’t let it boil over), remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Pour the cream and garlic evenly over the leeks.
Cover the leeks with a piece of parchment cut to fit inside the pan.
Bake the leeks until the thickest ends are tender all the way through when pierced with a paring knife and the cream is almost entirely reduced, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle the leeks with the Parmigiano and salt to taste. Bake just until the cheese melts, an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the leeks to a warm serving platter.