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

Tomato Coulis

tomatoesTomatoes will not be in season for another six or seven months.  As I look at the sleeping garden outside I dream of the taste of a freshly picked tomato – the classic taste of summer.  In the meantime I make do with what is available in stores.  Once in a while my local farm stand will have a basket of tomatoes at a reduced price, which are not as great as their August counterpart but are perfect for tomato coulis. The beauty of the recipe is that you can use tomatoes that are a bit “beat up”, cutting around the “bad” parts.  This tomato coulis keeps in the fridge for about 2 weeks and freezes beautifully – It involves simple ingredients cooked together and can make a perfect base for sauce.  It can also be used as followcutting tomatoes

  • substitute a cup of coulis in a recipe that calls for one chopped tomato in a soup or stew
  • add one tablespoon of tomato paste for every cup of coulis and reduce at a simmer for 15 minutes for a quick tomato sauce
  • puréed in a blender and use as a light sauce for fish or chickentomatoes on cutting board

TOMATO COULIS (makes about 10 cups)

  • 5 to 6 pounds tomatoes washed, cored, blemishes removed and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium onions chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon basil

Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven.  Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, stir for a minute.  Add the tomatoes, salt and herbs.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.  Take the cover off and cook for another 15 minutes.  The coulis will be watery and thinner than a sauce.   Use immediately or cool down and pack in

NOTE:  when I see tomatoes on sale or have a lot of tomatoes about to go bad that is when I make coulis and often use different kinds in the mix: cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, etc.  Instead of regular onions you can substitute leeks, red onions or shallots.

From my kitchen to yours,

CK, la fille du boucherpreserving tomatoes