Winter Potato Soup

April 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

Nothing says comfort after a hard day at work than a warm bowl of creamy hot potato soup.  It warms the body from the cold winter days and brightens the mood when the days seem so dark and long because the sun rises later and goes down earlier.  It makes all your worries go away, if only for the short time you are finishing every last drop from the bowl.


  • 4 lbs. of Yukon Gold potatoes (peel on and diced)
  • 2 bulbs of fennel (thinly sliced)
  • 3 leeks (thinly sliced and cleaned well)
  • olive oil
  • 2 boxes of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan/Romano grated cheese
  • salt and pepper
1.  Saute fennel and leeks in a dutch oven pot with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
2.  When the leeks and fennel have caramelized, add the diced potatoes and vegetable broth to the pot.  Cover and simmer until potatoes are cooked through.
3.  When the potatoes are cooked through, use a hand-held masher to mash-up the potatoes and thicken the soup.  When all of the potatoes are broken up, add the heavy cream and the Parmesan/Romano cheese.  Finish the soup up with salt and pepper to taste.

Gold and Sweet Tain Friday

February 12, 2010 § 1 Comment

For the last two weeks, I have eyed the leeks that one of the vendors bring to the farmer’s market.  I decided to keep my eye out for a recipe that I will have to buy leeks for.  I didn’t want to make soup, and I wanted to use the leeks in an easy one dish recipe.   The February edition of Martha Stewart Living has a great recipe that uses leeks.  It is in an article that boasts a lighter take on comfort foods.

The tain has an interesting flavor because of the combination of Yukon Gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, green apple, leeks, and Gruyère cheese.  The apple helps keep the dish moist, so it doesn’t need  calories or fat from cream.

Recipe:  See Martha Stewart online.  Search Potato and Sweet potato Tain.

My husband and I really enjoyed this recipe, but next time I try it I would like to adjust it a little bit.  I want to try to substitute a mild blue cheese for the Gruyère and add a walnut bread crumb topping.  I would also like to try a layer of escarole on the bottom of the pan, to add a little bit of a pepper taste and some greens.  I’ll give it a try later this month and post how it went.  I am not sure if I can make a Marth Stewart recipe better, but I’m sure going to give it a try.

Shades of Green over Brown Rice

February 10, 2010 § 2 Comments

The older I get, the more I come to the realization that I am really a minimalist at heart.  This recipe is a perfect example.  It has five ingredients, takes 20 minutes to make, and is three different shades of green, so it looks pretty!

Before you begin the vegetables, begin to cook your brown rice according to the instructions on the package.  You should start to cook the rice about 10-15 minutes before beginning the vegetables.

The ingredients:

  • Romanesco broccoli (this is a type of cauliflower)
  • 2 large leaves of a leek
  • a handful of snow peas
  • sesame oil
  • cooked brown rice

I just love the way the Romanesco broccoli looks — it seems unnatural the way the spirals are perfectly formed, but in fact, the Romanesco  broccoli (sometimes called the Romanesco cauliflower) is an heirloom breed that has been grown since the 16th century in Italy.  According to the guy from the farm I bought it from, this type of cauliflower has 5x more nutrients than regular cauliflower.  
Planet Green has some more great photos and a great description of the plant’s background.

Here is how to make the dish:

  • Chop the Romanesco cauliflower into quarters and remove the hard stem.  The flower should then disassemble (with your help) itself into small 1″ pieces.
  • Chop the leek leaves into small pieces.
  • Heat skillet and add two tablespoons of sesame oil, throw everything in, and salt to taste.
  • Sauté on med-high for about 5-10 minutes.  (Note: the time you cook will depend on whether you like your vegetables softer or crisper.  I like them somewhere in the middle, so I sauté for about 7 minutes.

Doesn’t it look so zen with all those shades of green?

The final dish is simple and amazing.  Because of its simplicity, you could really appreciate the taste of each vegetable and the hint of sesame.  The Romanesco cauliflower is really a unique taste that is quite distinct from both cauliflower and broccoli.

Bon appetit!

Mushroom Barley Monday

February 8, 2010 § 1 Comment

Today, I made mushroom barley soup.  It takes about 1.5 hours to make, but is ridiculously simple.  Also, you will notice how healthy this soup is just by looking at the ingredients.  There is nothing fattening or carb-heavy in here.


  • 8 cups of drinking water (please for the love of dogs do not use bottled water!!!)
  • 1 large portobello mushroom (cut into large slices)
  • 1-2 lbs shiitake mushrooms (cut into medium pieces)
  • Two small yellow onions (or one large one)
  • 1/4 cup of barley
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 large leek (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp, sesame oil (you could substitute with olive oil)
  • 1 packet of Trader Joe’s mixed wild mushroom medley
  • Sea salt (to taste)

Cooking directions:

  1. Place the contents of the wild mushroom mix into a small bowl and cover with hot water.  Let it stand until the rest of the ingredients are put into the soup.
  2. Place the sesame oil in a heated large pot (I use a cast iron one, but you could use any large pot) and add the barley.  Make sure the heat is on HIGH.  Mix the barley so that it wont burn, but let it stay in the oil for a few minutes so that it heats up a bit.  (Be careful not to let it burn!).  Add the 8 cups of water.
  3. Salt to taste.
  4. Place the wild mushroom medley mix (including the hot water it was in), portobellos, shiitakes, leeks, onions, and garlic into the mixture.  Note that the heat is still on HIGH.  Bring the entire mixture to a rapid boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the barley is nice and soft.  Resalt to taste.

Can you believe that is all?!! 🙂

Serving suggestions: you may serve the soup plain, with a dollop of sour cream, or sprinkle some parmesan on top (it will melt into a nice cheesy topping).  Also, you may garnish with chives, parsley, or dill.

TIP: When I make this soup, I make a large pot to ensure that I have leftovers — for some reason, the soup tastes better the second and third day!

The final product!  Enjoy!

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