Some people don’t like garlic. I’m not friends with those people.
Perhaps it would be easier to dislike garlic and its pungent perfume, but though I won’t be dabbing it on my wrists and behind my ears anytime soon, I. Love. Garlic. In fact, I’m pretty sure I love everything about it. I love the taste. I love the smell that lingers in the kitchen. The fact that it’s good for you just makes it easier to adore. And my most favorite part about garlic? The smell of my fingers after chopping it. I’ll be at work the next day, thinking hard about some strategy or other, chin cradled in hand, and “oh, what’s that?” Yes, I just surreptitiously sniffed my fingers, and I liked it.
Lentil Vegetable Soup calls for three cloves of garlic, but I added four. I almost always add at least one more clove than is called for. And then I chopped the yellow onions. The kitchen is starting to smell ever so savory. Now, on to the leeks. And then I pause. These are not leeks. These are white bulb onions, or so says the farmer’s tag wrapped around the green stems.
This is a white bulb onion:
This is a leek:
So, on this blog post, you (and by you, I mean me, the amateur) might think leeks and white bulb onions look a lot a like. Well, they kinda do, but what you can’t see here is the size difference. White bulb onions are dainty little things, only a smidge larger than a chive or green onion (she says like she knows what the freak she’s talking about). Leeks are hefty and much larger.
I watched Ina Garten’s show. I watched her cut the leek and demonstrate how she recommended I, her sweet innocent viewer, cut the damn thing. And then I marched into Central Market and stood in front of the greens for five minutes trying to figure out which were the leeks. I shoulder most of the blame, but really, Central Market, mark your leeks better. Seriously, though, even if I hadn’t seen the episode, I would have needed only a modicum of logic to determine that the green thingy with white ends in my hand was not in fact a leek but instead a white bulb onion. See, Miss Ina is smart. She very clearly indicated that four cups of chopped leeks is ALSO three whole leeks (just the white bits). So, when examining the puny white onion compared to the recipe at hand, I SHOULD have deduced that there was NO way three of these little guys would make four cups of anything.
Never fear, yet another reason I prefer cooking over baking. I decided that in cooking, a little boo boo like leeks versus white bulb onions is like using a synonym. It’s all good. It still tastes lovely and is on the right track. But in baking, if, say, you were to accidentally purchase baking soda instead of baking powder, you might have a real disaster on your hands. I actually have no idea what I’m talking about, but I’m guessing this would be the case.
In the end, the soup is so delicious, white bulb onions and regular green lentils (they were out of French green lentils) and all.
And my fingers smell awesome.