Potato Leek Soup (That Flour stuff most definitely optional)

I made potato leek soup today for the first time in my life. I found some very fresh enormous leeks at my neighborhood produce store. I just had to take them home.I reviewed many different leek soup recipes on the web, and then created my own version. Many of the recipes contained “flour”. Of course being gluten intolerant, I did

Leeks

not use flour. Quite frankly, I questioned the use of this ingredient, as potatoes, as we all know, are natural thickening agents. Just as I surmised, one does not need flour! This soup is gluten free without manipulation. It is pretty simple to put together and the best part is eating it. Delish! And your house is going to smell really wonderful with this one!

Sunday’s Potato Leek Soup

Serves: 6-8 hearty bowls
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

3-4 large leeks
6 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine
5 cups chicken broth
Salt to taste
1/2 cup Half and Half cream
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Trim off the dark green ends of leeks. Save a small portion of the dark end. Wash and set aside. Discard the rest of the dark green ends. Cut white part of leeks in half lengthwise. Wash under cold running water thoroughly, as there is a lot of sand inside the leek layers. Dry them with a paper towel. Rough chop the leeks.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the chopped leeks. Season with fresh ground pepper and salt. Pour over the wine. Bring to boil and then simmer leek-butter-wine combo for 5-7 minutes. Add the chopped potatoes, saved green portion of leeks, thyme, bay leaf, chicken broth. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer about 40 minutes until potatoes are soft and soup is very flavorful. Remove the green ends and thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor.

Stir in the half and half and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve with chopped chives sprinkled on top and a few more twists of fresh black pepper from the grinder.

 

 

 

Blessed

woodpecker2.JPGMy husband and I took a walk this morning and had the most wonderful opportunity to view up close two beautiful “red-bellied woodpeckers”. They were obviously a couple, and he was courting her. Her plumage was almost as colorful as his. They flitted around just above us in a tree. We were mesmerized. He called out to her with a lovely song. Definitely a fabulous way to start the day! OK, so you ask, what does this have to do with pasta? Well, obviously, we had pasta for dinner. Then we ventured outside to the back of our house which is situated on a small lake. The shadows of dusk were breathtaking on the houses across the way. The breeze had kicked up and it was creating ripples and waves on the surface. Wonderful eye dessert. Suddenly up in the sky, there was an elegant bird soaring over the lake. He kept soaring and circling and then diving into the water for fish. I ran to get my bird book. It turned out to be an “osprey”! He had a white belly, white head and a broad wing span. We just sat there on our swing and gazed up at his majestic beauty. Red bellied woodpeckers in the morning. Then a delicious pasta dinner. Then the osprey at day’s end. As I ran out the back door with the bird guide, I smelled a comforting childhood smell, that is, the smell of boiling pasta on a Sunday afternoon. I miss my mother, butospreyohio.jpg I actually got a little smile on my face, just remembering her at the stove stirring the two pots, one with homemade sauce and the other with the boiling pasta water. She put so much love into her cooking. I am convinced that is why it tasted so good! We are blessed. I wish you the same type of day soon. In fact, I wish you many days like these, filled with the marvels of nature, being in the moment, delicious pasta, and your mind happy with childhood nostalgia.

Cannellini Bean Soup

Cannellini bean = white kidney bean = fazolia bean. You’ve probably already encountered this Italian bean in minestrone soup or a bean salad. It’s prized for its smooth and creamy texture and nutty flavor. If you were brought up Italian, the cannellini bean was an every day staple. This soup is simple, fast, and very delicious. My husband, Wayne, and I prepare it at least once a week after work because of its simplicity. I was given the recipe by a friend several years ago who told me that the original version is from the famous Italian cookbook writer Marcella Hazan. It truly tastes like you spent a lot more time on it than you will. I am much more generous with the garlic and fresh parsley than the original recipe. My friend, Debra, uses fresh marjoram in lieu of parsley and proclaims it to be yummy. I, myself, have only made it with parsley. Of course, you have to love garlic to love the soup!

Preparation Time: 15 min.
Serves 4 (hearty bowls)

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 cup beef broth, canned
  • 1 cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Put the oil and the garlic in a saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the garlic is a pale gold. Add the beans and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour in the broth. You can add more or less broth depending on how thick you like your soup. Add in half of the chopped parsley. Bring to a simmer. Transfer about 1/2 of the bean broth mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Add it back to the pan with the rext of the mixture. Simmer the soup for 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Swirl in the remainder parsley. Serve the soup with your favorite toasted gluten free bread, or if you are not gluten free, your favorite crusty French bread. (Try Kinnikinnick Tapioca Rice English Muffins toasted with this soup. Very good! Check it out: www.kinnikinnick.com)