Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In times like these - Vichyssoise


In economic downturns, when there is a sense of so much loss, one can still find comfort in homemaking. The benefits are not yet measurable, when individuals turn to home gardening and to the kitchen to awaken new inspirations in honor of our bodies and family's well being, but we know it feels right. How do we know? Look at your family's and partner's beaming smiles.

I find myself more and more, turning to the kitchen to make special meals to add spice to the humdrum of Monday or Tuesday night. When one cannot get out to the best and favorite restaurants (Gather, in Berkeley or El Camino, in Oakland), I find inspiration in soup. Soup was a staple by my grandmother, when I was in her care in Colombia. Every major meal had a pureed soup. Currently my favorite is: Vichyssoise ("vee shee swahzz") a potato & leek variation, with uncertain origins. Originally a French soup, but rumors have it that it began in the Ritz Carlton in New York City, by a Chef that recalled his mother pouring cold milk into the soup to cool it down. Below you will find the recipe I acquired on my travels through Europe, from a family I stayed with many years back. Luckily, this recipe is not a budget buster. I have made meals with salmon cakes, and delicate spring salad served on the side. Don't forget to wherever possible support your local organic produce and dairy farmers!

1 Tb unsalted butter
1/2 cup-1 medium small onion chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 leek thinly sliced only the stem not the leaves.
1 cup-2 medium potatoes pealed and chopped
1 cup of chicken broth
1 cup half-half
1 cup of milk
1 large garlic pressed
1/4 Tsp of white pepper
1/4 Tsp of ground nutmeg
Salt to taste

Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat add leeks and onion for about 2 minutes. Next add potatoes celery and chicken broth. Heating to a boil; then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Place undrained mix in a blender. Blend at a low speed until smooth (I prefer a bit chunky). Stir in remaining ingredients.
Refrigeration of soup is recommended for about 5 hours, but I find an hour is plenty to get the mixture at a comfortable temperature. Garnish with your choice of fresh chives or thin slice of lemon as seen above.
This recipe serves 2 comfortably, recipe can be doubled to serve 4.

Buy Local, Eat Organic, Save the Planet!
Bon appetit, mon ami,
Tarabud

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