Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Potato Leek Soup

Potato leek soup is one of the most basic, simple, and delicious soups out there. It doesn't need anything more than leeks, potatoes, water/stock, and cream. There are variations, of course, but that's the gist of it.

The recipe I use most often, I got from some blog, but now I can't locate it on the internet anymore. I printed it out a long time ago. I want to give credit, but I guess I can't. So, thanks whoever originally posted it--it's my favorite variation on this soup.

Potato Leek Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 leeks, rinsed and trimmed of the dark green part (always a big duh, but whatever)
  • 3-5 potatoes, peeled and cubed (you MUST peel them for this soup!)
  • 6 cups chicken or veggie stock
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • juice of 1 lemon (which is 5 tbsp)
  • dill, however much you want
  • salt and pepper
  1. Halve lengthways, then slice the cleaned leeks into thin, little half moons. Cube the potatoes.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add leeks and potatoes. (I also sliced up one carrot and tossed it in, for color.)
  3. Season the leeks and potatoes with salt and pepper, and toss them to coat with the butter. Saute for about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Then turn heat down to medium, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until potatoes are soft. (I added some frozen corn here, just 'cuz.)
  5. Mix the cream and lemon juice together in a small bowl.
  6. Blend the soup using a stick blender or food processor. (I tend to blend but leave some small chunks of veggies for texture.)
  7. Stir in the cream/lemon mixture and dill. Keep adding salt, pepper, and dill to taste.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chicken Chili and Sick Kitty

Hola. It's a worrisome day here in the household, as Colin is sick. We fed him his usual can of wet food at 9am, whereupon he ate half of it and pretty immediately regurgitated it. He's been lethargic and punky ever since, and was even hiding under the bed for awhile. He's now been asleep on top of the towel shelf in the bathroom for a few hours. We squirted some water into his mouth in case he's getting dehydrated--I'll continue to do that for the rest of the evening. I'm concerned about him and hope the little shaver feels better by morning.

Because of his lethargic state, Trixie has actually dared to lay next to him on the towels! This is nothing short of a miracle and proves how out of it he is, because normally he'd be nipping at her feet while holding her in a headlock. She's curious about his lack of interest in her. I got it on camera! You'll never see the likes of this again:

Here's a tranquil photo that Barrett took earlier this week of Trixie sitting in the kitchen window with some houseplants, soaking in the September sunshine:

Okay, since this is supposed to be mainly a food blog, I will throw you all a bone. Or rather, a pot of Chicken & White Bean Chili. I saw this on Crazy Aunt Purl's blog today and knew that that is what I wanted for dinner. The weather turned chilly and rainy overnight; nothing else would do. Here's a crappy overlit photo of it, as proof:

'T'was yum. I added an extra cup of veggie broth to mellow out the scalding three tablespoons of chili powder it calls for. This is a four-alarm chili, my friends!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Purslane Salad with Garlic-Yogurt Sauce

Every summer, one of my garden beds is taken over by this weed. I pull it up but it keeps coming back. It grows at an alarming rate.

It looks like this up close.

Here, it is fighting for acreage with our strawberry plants, which also grow at an alarming rate. The lavender just tries to mind its own business.

So imagine my shock when I saw a recipe using this, this, WEED on the Almost Turkish Recipes blog. This WEED has a name: purslane. Or pigweed. Or verdolaga, if you please. And, not only is it an edible cousin to spinach, it's very nutritious--high in Omega 3 fatty acids. It's the salmon of the vegetable world! Except that salmon is expensive and this stuff is free and in my backyard. The author of Almost Turkish recipes, as well as other food blogs I've read, seem to have a difficult time finding this and when they do, it's priced rather dearly. My fellow food bloggers, you are more than welcome to come and raid my backyard! Please, I beg you. I'm drowning in purslane.

Thanks to the dismally cold and wet Seattle summer, none of my vegetables save the snap peas flourished. I am determined to harvest something, dammit! Tonight, it was the WEED. I made a Purslane Salad with Garlic-Yogurt Sauce. Here's the bunches of WEED that I yanked out, washed off, and cut up.

I sauteed a minced onion with garlic, added lemon juice & water, somesalt, some rice, and let that simmer. At the last minute, I chopped up some tomatoes and tossed them in for color. I mixed minced garlic into some plain yogurt and black pepper as a sauce to dollop on the salad. We had the WEED rice salad with tofu dogs and homemade raspberry iced tea, because that's how we roll in this house--random combinations of food that we dare to call dinner!

The verdict? Barrett was a bit hesitant on it. He liked it alright, but acknowledged its "different" flavor and said he simply wasn't used to it. I can see where he's coming from. It's bright and almost lemony, very hearty, but with a decided earth-y overtone. You can taste that this grew in soil, more than most other greens I've eaten. I understand people not taking to it. I like it. I want to try other recipes with it, like the purslane salsa recipe I spotted somewhere.

And thus ends the story of the WEED.

Postscript: we recently acquired a very very very fuzzy couch pillow that Colin absolutely adores. He adores it so much, he drools on it while kneading it. His new nickname when he is kneading on this pillow? McLovin'.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sort of Thai-Influenced Meatloaf

Howdy! Aren't three day weekends the best? I especially love Labor Day weekend because it's relatively mellow. Barrett and I spent both Saturday and Sunday cleaning out the garage, which involved dragging almost everything in it onto the lawn into piles of: to the city dump, into the garbage can, to Goodwill, to keep in the garage, and to take into the house. It was very tiring and totally worth it. It's that much closer into being made into the band's practice space, which is the eventual goal.

Yesterday was my day to cook. I first made a pot of French Spring Soup as a filling and low fat meal to take to work for the rest of the week. As usual, I blended about half of it to make it creamier.

I also made a Vietnamese Bun Ga salad as part of a bbq potluck at my friend Gregg's later that afternoon. People seemed to like it. It is really tasty!

For tonight's dinner, I made a meatloaf. And I created the recipe myself! This is a huge deal for me--I tend to follow recipes to the letter and then tweak them after time. I don't usually make up recipes on the fly like I did tonight. Necessity was the mother of invention--I had a huge bunch of Thai basil that was starting to turn brown and decided to use as much of it as I could, along with powdered ginger and the rest of a bottle of Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce. It's delish! Thank goodness for Trader Joe's condiments.

Sort of Thai-Influenced Meatloaf

1.5 lbs very lean lean ground beef
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large egg
2 tbsp ground ginger, or as much as you want, OR I'm sure ground jarred ginger would work
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped Thai basil (I didn't measure it, so I'm guessing here)
1/2 bottle Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Fish out your meatloaf pan and coat it with oil a bit.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Be sure and take off any rings you have, or else the mixture gets all caught in them and it's grody.

3. Smoosh mixture into loaf pan, making sure it's even on top so it cooks evenly.

4. Bake for 60 minutes. Take out, let sit for a few minutes, then dig in! Have seconds! Eat a salad with it!