Posts Tagged ‘Quick’

I love Julia Child.  She wasn’t about necessarily fussy food (although she wasn’t afraid to try a complicated recipe). She was about food that was delicious, and making that accessible to the average person.

Potato Leek Soup (or Vichyssoise, en française) is an easy, even rustic soup that is somehow elegant at the same time.  Much like Julia, really.  This recipe is from her cookbook, “The Way to Cook,” and it’s beautiful in it’s simplicity and adaptability. She says, “Proportions are not important and you can use your imagination to the full. Many of the delicious soups you eat in French homes and little restaurants are made this way, with a leek-and potato base to which leftover vegetables or sauces and a few fresh items are added.”  She adds, “A bit of cream at the end is a nourishing touch, but by no means necessary.”

She did always think things were better with a bit of cream.  Gotta love her for that.

For about 2 ½ quarts, serving 6 or 8


4 cups sliced leeks – the white part and a bit of the tender green

4 cups diced potatoes – old or baking potatoes (russets) recommended

7 cups of water or stock [It was divine made with veal stock, but water works fine, too.]

1½ to 2 teaspoons of salt, to taste

Fresh ground white pepper, to taste

Optional: ½ cup of more sour cream, heavy cream or crème fraiche


Wash leeks thoroughly.  [I usually slice the leeks and run them through my salad spinner a couple of times, filling the bowl with water and giving them a good swish to get the grit out before draining and spinning.] In a heavy-bottomed, large saucepan, bring the leeks, potatoes and water to a boil, uncovered. Salt lightly, cover partially, and simmer 20 or 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Taste and correct seasoning. Puree, if desired. Whisk in cream, or crème fraiche, if using.

And, as Julia always said at the close of her show…

“That’s all for today… Bon appétit!”


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According to the calendar, Spring is nearly here. Nevermind that it was snowing here yesterday, or that we still have substantial mounds of white stuff in our front yard which first arrived in October to great fanfare.  This snow is like the guest who wouldn’t leave. [Does anyone remember that Saturday Night Live sketch?]  You were delighted to see them when they arrived, all fresh and new and exciting.  But now, you are tired and they have grown tedious and annoying. We wish it’d take the hint and melt already.

In a similar vein, I’m getting weary of winter foods. Enough with the squash and beans and hearty stews. Time for baby greens and bright clean flavors. This salad fits the bill, and can be made with ingredients easily found at the supermarket this time of year. It may seem silly to have a recipe for salad, but it’s possible you are like me and could use a bit of inspiration right about now.


Baby spinach, washed and trimmed

A lovely ripe but still firm Barlett pear, in bite-size chunks

An ounce of your favorite goat cheese (chevre or bucheron are both delicious)

A small handful of dried cranberries or dried cherries, if you prefer

Raspberry vinaigrette or honey mustard vinaigrette


Toss the spinach with the vinaigrette.  Layer the other ingredients on top, so that it is visually appealing.  (I believe it’s true that we eat with our eyes first.)  Perhaps you should set out some crusty bread, a glass of sauvignon blanc, and a pretty cloth napkin.

And while you eat, look out the window and dream about Spring.  It’s coming, they say.

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Apple Pear Crisp

These days, every cook needs to have a few versatile, adaptable recipes in their repertoire for guests who have food allergies or other dietary restrictions.  I want everyone who eats at my table to feel welcome and relaxed, and enjoy a terrific meal.  No one should have to worry about whether this or that will make them sick or later regret accepting my invitation.

This old-fashioned, comforting dessert will satisfy everyone.  It’s easily made vegan and/or gluten-free, and can be made even more virtuous with whole grains and organic fruit.  Best of all, it’s easy to assemble before dinner, and have it baking away while you and your guests eat.   Served warm, with a scoop of ice cream (or whatever non-dairy frozen confection of your choosing), no one will feel deprived.


5 apples, peeled and diced

5 pears, peeled and diced

¼ cup sugar

Juice of one lemon

1 cup oats

1 cup flour (can use gluten-free)

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

grated nutmeg to taste

12 Tbsp. butter (or Earth Balance vegan spread), cut into chunks


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 13×9 pan

Toss fruit with lemon juice to prevent browning.  Sprinkle with ¼ cup sugar and toss gently to mix.  Spread fruit evenly in pan.

Combine remaining ingredients in bowl, mixing gently until crumbly, but not uniform.

Spread topping over fruit.  Bake until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown, about one hour.

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