Leek and potato soup

Leek and Potato Soup

2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 medium onions
1 pound leeks
2 cloves of garlic
1 3/4 quarts chicken or vegetable broth, preferably organic
1 pound potatoes
olive oil sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Cut the ends off the leeks, quarter them lengthways, wash them under running water, and cut them into 1/4-inch slices. Peel and slice the garlic. Put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Place a large saucepan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon.

Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened, but are still holding their shape, and the onion and leeks are lightly golden. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4-inch dice. Add the boiling broth to the vegetables. Add your potatoes. Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on.

Remove the pan from the heat . Season with salt and pepper. Serve like this or pulse until smooth using an immersion blender or liquidizer. Divide between your serving.

Julia’s American-Style Potato Salad

Julia’s American-Style Potato Salad
Epicurious | October 2009

2 pounds red gold potatoes, or other waxy, boiling potatoes
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/3 cup chicken stock or potato-cooking water
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
3 or 4 slices crisply cooked bacon, chopped or crumbled
2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped pickle, sweet or dill
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced thin
3 tablespoons or so finely chopped fresh chives or scallions, including a bit of their tender green
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 cup or so mayonnaise
Sour cream (optional)

For garnishing
Crisp whole red-leaf or other lettuce leaves
Canned red pimiento, diced; sliced hard-boiled eggs; tomato quarters; parsley sprigs (optional)

Peel the potatoes and slice each one lengthwise in half, or in quarters if very large; then cut crosswise into half-round or quarter- round slices, about 1/2 inch thick .

Put the slices in a saucepan with water just to cover and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt per quart of water. Heat to a simmer, and cook the potatoes for 5 to 6 minutes, or until just cooked through. It is essential that they be just cooked through. Bite into a slice or two to be very sure. Immediately remove from the heat and drain the potatoes into a colander, but save a cup of the cooking liquid for dressing the potatoes. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Stir the cider vinegar with 1/3 cup of the potato water or chicken stock and drizzle this over the potato pieces, turning them gently to distribute it evenly. Let sit 10 minutes to absorb the liquid.

Add the prepared onion, celery, bacon, pickle, hard-boiled eggs, and chives, and season carefully to taste. Top with 2/3 cup of mayonnaise (or a mix of mayonnaise and a bit of sour cream) and, with a large rubber spatula, gently fold everything together until well blended. Taste the salad and add more salt, pepper, or mayonnaise as needed. Cover the salad and set aside in the refrigerator for at least an hour or so before serving. If it is refrigerated longer, let it come back to room temperature before serving. Taste and adjust the seasoning again. Serve with optional garnishes if desired.

Egg Salad with Radishes and Scallions

Egg Salad with Radishes and Scallions

6 large eggs 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 medium scallion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1/2 medium stalk celery, chopped fine (about 3 tablespoons)
3 medium radishes, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Ground black pepper

Place eggs in medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with 1 quart water and 1 tray of ice cubes (or equivalent). Transfer eggs to ice water bath with slotted spoon; let sit 5 minutes, peel and dice medium.
Mix all ingredients together in medium bowl, including pepper to taste. Serve. (Can be covered and refrigerated overnight.)

Bright Green Spinach and Pea Soup

Bright Green Spinach and Pea Soup

2 T. butter or olive oil
2 bunches scallions, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, thinly sliced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1 t. dried marjoram
2 T. chopped parsley
1 bag of spinach (or about 1 lb.)
1 cup sugar snaps, trimmed
lemon juice to taste

Warm the butter or oil in a soup pot and add the scallions, onion, carrots, celery, herbs, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ c. water. Cover and stew for 5 minutes, then add 5½ cups water or stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 2-3 minutes and then poke the spinach leaves into the soup and cook until they turn bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and blend the soup in two batches until perfectly smooth. Taste for salt, season with pepper, and stir in enough lemon juice starting with ½ teaspoon to bring up the flavors. Serve immediately with a swirl of good yogurt and croutons on top.

This recipe is from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone which I’d wholeheartedly recommend.


Costa Rican Black Bean Soup

Costa Rican Black Bean Soup

For the beans:
2 c. dried black beans, washed and drained
4 cloves garlic
6 T. chopped cilantro
2 t. salt

For the soup
1/4 c. olive oil
1 clove garlic or 2 finely chopped garlic scapes
1 large onion, chopped
1 hot pepper (jalapeno, chipotle), chopped, optional
2 celery stalks, diced
2 well-packed cups chopped cilantro
1 t. salt
Black pepper and cayenne to taste

Soak the beans overnight in water to cover by 4 inches. Drain them the following day and combine in a large pot with 8 c. of fresh water, the garlic and cilantro. Bring to a boil and cook, covered for 1 _ hours, or until tender, add the salt and cook another 15 minutes until very tender. Strain and reserve all the liquid in the large pot with the beans in a separate bowl.

To finish the soup, put the oil in a large frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the garlic, onions, jalapeno and celery and sauté for 5 minutes. Turen the heat down slightly and sauté another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cilantro and sauté another minute, then turn off the heat. Combine the contents of the frying pan plus 1 cup of the cooked beans and about 3 large ladles of the strained bean liquid in a blender. Blend until you have a smooth puree. Empty this puree into the pot with the remaining strained bean liquid. Add the salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Stir to mix and taste. You can add some heavy cream at the end or simply garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro. Add back in the rest of the cooked beans for a heavier soup, or save them to make tacos later. A little ham or a smoked pork hock also is a nice addition.