leeks and potatoesHere is a cold soup to add to your menu for the hot summer days ahead.  The subtle onion taste from the leeks and the creaminess of the potatoes makes it a favorite either as a first course on a hot summer night or as a main meal for lunch in the garden with a tossed salad and a nice cheese platter.

I like to garnish it with chive flowers when they are available in the early summer days and the rest of the year with fresh chives.vichyssoise ingredients

VICHYSSOISE (serves 8 to 10)

  • one tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups sliced leeks, white and light green part only , washed clean of sand and dirt (about 3 medium leeks)
  • 1 medium spanish onion chopped
  • 1.5 pound yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch chunks (about 5 medium potatoes)
  • 6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • chive flowers or chives for garnishchivescleaning leeks

In a heavy saucepan melt the butter with olive oil.  Add the leeks and onion and sauteed until wilted, about 3 minutes.  Do not let the mixture brown.  Add the potatoes and give a good stir to mix all the ingredients.

Add a pinch of salt and the stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce, cover and simmer until the potatoes are done; about 20 to 30 leeks and potatoes

When the potatoes are done turn the heat off and let the soup cool to room temperature (about one hour).potato leek soup

When cool process to a fine purée with an immersion blender or a food processor.  Cool completely in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.  Add the heavy cream.  Season to taste and serve.  Garnish with the flowers or chives.

NOTE: for a lighter fare you can substitute half and half or milk for the heavy cream.  In colder days this soup is also delicious served hot.vichyssoise

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucher

Mushroom Soup


Spring brings to mind the melting of the snow in the grass, daffodils, crocuses coming up and lots and lots of yard and garden cleaning.  Between raking, burning and repairing winter damage there is not much time spent in the kitchen on those weekends.  It’s still a bit too cold to sit in the yard with a sandwich so soup is in order.  We bring our team effort into the kitchen and while I make the soup Philippe prepares his famous grilled cheese sandwiches.chopped mushrooms

I like to use a mixture of mushrooms as they all have a subtle difference in their individual taste and an assortment brings a bit more depth to the dish.  It also allows me to mix in a bit of the more expensive mushrooms without going overboard on the expenses.  It is a great way to experiment with what is available and in season.  This time I used a mixture of shitake and baby bella mushrooms.


  • 1.5 pounds mushrooms sliced or chopped ( about 8 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup extra dry white vermouth
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 1 cup milk

Melt the olive oil and butter in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onions and sauteed until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and sauteed another 10 to 15 minutes. The mushrooms will release their juices and then start browning a bit after that.  That is the stage you want them at.cooked mushrooms

Pour the vermouth and deglaze the pan, mixing well (about 2 minutes).  Add the stock, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Strain the mushrooms and other solids, put the stock back in the stockpot but for one cup.  In a food processor or blender, puree the mushrooms with the one cup of stock until smooth.  Return to the stockpot and mix with the stock.  Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and milk and heat without boiling and serve.mushroom soup

NOTE:  This recipe can serve 4 to 6 as a main course.  You can also use it as a first course and it will serve 8 to 10.  As with many soups and stews, this soup can be made a day or two in advance and benefits from sitting and allowing the flavors to develop.  You can also substitute the chicken stock for vegetable stock for a vegetarian version.morrels

from my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucher

Tuscan (inspired) soup

tuscan soupI always feel soup is in order when the days get colder.  Here is a soup I like to serve on a Saturday for lunch.  Served with a big chunk of crusty bread and plenty of fresh grated parmesan it is a welcome meal in front of the fire while it is freezing outside. It is also a great way to enjoy all those winter greens available this time of year.  Experiment by substituting or combining kale, swiss chard or spinach.ingredients in bowls

TUSCAN SOUP (serves 4)

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 celery stalk diced
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced or pressed in a garlic press
  • 1 chopped tomato or 1 cup tomato coulis
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon each oregano and basil
  • 1 cup zucchini diced
  • 4 (loose) cups baby kale
  • 1 can (15 oz) white beans

Heat the oil in a large stockpot, add the carrots, celery and onion.  Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the tomato or tomato coulis, stock and herbs and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the zucchini and simmer another 5 minutes.  Add beans, simmer another 5 minutes.  Off heat add the kale, cover and let sit 10 minutes.  Serve with grated parmesan.bowls and linen

NOTE:  This soup is great as a vegetarian meal but for you meat eaters, if you want a more robust meal you can add 8 oz of cooked sausages or grilled chicken when adding the beans.serving soup

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucher

Turkey Stock

thanksgiving dayThe wonderful Thanksgiving feast has come and gone.  In the fridge, the leftovers are practically down to none.  If you still have that turkey carcass, don’t throw it away! (if you have, don’t worry since you can also use this method with a roast chicken.)raw turkey

A while ago, talking cooking with a good friend, he described the making of stock as primordial.  There is something basic about cooking bones, bits of meat, vegetables and herbs in water; extracting all the flavors in order to create a delicious base for soups and sauces.  While making stock, the kitchen warms up and a wonderful aroma starts to permeate the house: comfort food at its best – primordial-.

All you need is a big stock pot and if not, you can cut the carcass in half and make the stock in two medium saucepans.roast chicken


  • turkey or chicken carcass
  • 4 carrots cut into chunks
  • 2 large onion quartered
  • 4 celery stalks cut into chunks (you can include the green leaves)
  • greens from one leek coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch parlsey
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 2 bay leavesvegetables for stock

Put all ingredients in a large stock pot. Cover with water. On high heat bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 2 hours.

Turn off the heat, let cool to room temperature and put in the fridge overnight or until very cold, covered.

Skim the fat off the top and return pot to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for one hour.  Cool down to room temperature.  At that point, the stock has a nice amber, yellowish color.  Strain in a fine mesh colander. Discard all the solids.

You can use the stock right away, store in the fridge for up to a week or divide into containers and freeze until ready to use.

Use as you would any store bought stock.poultry stock

NOTE: Once cold, the stock will look like loose gelatin. Don’t worry! that means you have succeeded in making a nice rich stock.  I don’t call for salt and pepper as I prefer to season the stock once I use it in a recipe.  No time to make the stock? just freeze the carcass until you have the time.

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucher

Clam Chowder and Clamming

We had the opportunity to spend last weekend “en famille”.  Those occasions are rare now with everybody’s busy schedules.  I treasure those days where time stands still. There are no outside distractions from phone calls, emails and such.  Our only concern  is where will be our next outing or hike.  We cook a lot, experiment with ingredients a lot, and, needless to say, eat a lot.  Leisurely meals, great conversations, and laughs are what those days are all about.

This weekend marked our last visit to the clam flats and we ended up coming home with more clams than we anticipated.  Clamming is so much fun until you get to the cleaning… which is not so much fun, but in the end very rewarding.  Clam chowder brings to mind summers in New England;  but there is something comforting about eating a big bowl of clam chowder with the fire roaring in the wood stove on a brisk October day. I serve it with a big dose of cracked pepper, a nice crusty bread, and … lots of butter.

Clam Chowder for a crowd    (this recipe serves about 10 to 12)

  • 3 thick slices of bacon diced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 large yukon gold potatoes diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (you can also use vegetable broth)
  • 3 cups chopped clams
  • 3 cups half and half cream
  • 1 cup bechamel sauce (optional)

In a large pot sautée the bacon in a teaspoon of oil until soft.  Add onion and sautée until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and stir to cover with oil and juices   rendered from the onion.  Add the broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are starting to get soft.  Add the clams and simmer for 2 minutes.  Add the half and half and let the chowder get hot without boiling.  The chowder can be made ahead of time, cooled down, refrigerated and slowly heated up later or the next day.

NOTE: our family likes a thick chowder.  That’s were the optional 1 cup bechamel comes in.  Melt 3 tablespoon butter in a sauce pan add 1/4 cup flour let it cook slowly for 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup warm milk and whisk until it starts to thicken.  Add to the chowder after the half and half.  

From my kitchen to yours

CK, la fille du boucher