Calling all cooks: Try this leek, potato soup

Published 12:02 am Saturday, July 30, 2016


We made a trip to Tucson last week to prepare for our daughter’s wedding in March 2017 at the Arizona Inn. Yes, the 34 year old doctor is getting married and we are very happy about this. The Arizona Inn is just about my favorite place to stay but who knew we would be having a wedding there. We helped find a priest to marry her and selected the venue for the reception and yes we put our money down. I’ve only one daughter to marry so I guess I can just prepare myself for spending a lot of money.

On our way out to Tucson we stopped in Houston (where our daughter is now living and where she met her future husband) and took them to dinner at Oxheart. The chef at Oxheart had just won the best chef southwest in the James Beard awards, so we thought we would give it a try. I will say the chef had some interesting food but the price was just way too much. You have only two choices of menu (with 6 courses) a vegan and non-vegan and the cost is $75.00 per person either way. The courses were very small which was ok but the last course was the dessert and I am not exaggerating; it consisted of one half of a strawberry and a small dollop of cream! Now it was a tasty bite, but I wanted to go and have a What-a-Burger!! You can skip this restaurant even though it is one of the top restaurants in Houston.

Something different we did this year was to take a tour of the LBJ Texas White House in Johnson City, Texas. Johnson spent a lot of his time at this ranch and we got a grand tour for only $3.00 since it was given to the National Park Service and prices are low and the 7 mile tour around the ranch is free. A good value for your money and we learned things about LBJ and Lady Bird we did not know.

We always stop at La Gloria in San Antonio and we had a wonderful inexpensive Mexican meal. Their tacos with steak and bacon were some of the best I have had. We also made our yearly stop at Ándele in Las Cruces, New Mexico for their wonderful posole. It was as good as ever.

Arriving at the Arizona Inn is kinda like coming home after being there so many times. My husband enjoyed the pool this year for the first time. He thought it would be good to swim as much as possible to help him with his broken pelvis from January. Also it was 107 degrees every day so a pool helped in the middle of the day. I went to the pool but I enjoyed eating there instead of swimming. I ordered vichyssoise every chance I had because that is one of my favorite things the Inn offers. What can be better than a cold soup on a hot day so when I came back to the humidity of Mississippi I got out my cookbook and found Julia Child’s best vichyssoise recipe.

Besides vichyssoise you just have to try the tamales at Tucson Tamale Company. I have talked about these tamales before but they are just the best filled with squash, green corn, blue corn, cheese, and you can get breakfast and dessert tamales. Their side order of cold rice was just perfect with the tamales. You can order these to be shipped also.

So take a trip out west in the heat of the summer. Remember it is a dry heat—I didn’t sweat at all!!

Taken from The Way to Cook by Julia Child.


Chilled Leek and Potato Soup:


Serves 6-8

Leeks and potatoes simmered in lightly salted water make a perfect soup in themselves even without the addition of cream, but the flavor is enhanced with the addition of cream. Onions can be substituted instead of leeks but you will not get the special flavor that is the trademark of the leek.

4 cups sliced leeks—the white parts only

4 cups diced potatoes—old or baking potatoes recommended

6 – 7 cups water

1 ½ to 2 tsp. salt, or to taste

½ cup or more sour cream, heavy cream, or crème fraîche, optional (chilled)

1 Tbs. minced fresh chives or parsley

Simmering the soup:

Bring the leeks, potatoes, and water to the boil in the saucepan. Salt lightly, cover partially and simmer 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Taste and correct seasoning.

Purée the soup through a vegetable mill, or in a blender or food processor.

After chilling the soup, you may wish to stir in a little more cream. Taste carefully, and correct seasoning. Top each serving with ½ teaspoon of chives or parsley.