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Archive for July, 2003

Vichyssoise

The Soup Lady is still dreaming of the spectacular Vichyssoise that she had last year at Berns Steak House. It was the very best I ever hope to have. I tried many times to recreate it and it was just never the same until I stumbled on this recipe from Julia Child’s 1989 classic cookbook The Way To Cook.

99% of the recipes for this lovely thing instruct you to use chicken broth as the base but Julia’s recipe does not and that makes all the difference. Anyone who fancies themselves any kind of a cook at all has been ingrained with the notion that one must NEVER use water when broth, wine or almost any other fluid adds flavor to your dish. In this case, it gets in the way.

Do what the Soup Lady tells you to do and try this recipe. You will have no regrets except for your tiny little waistline of days gone by.

VICHYSSOISE

Place 4 cups of leeks (white part only) , 4 cups of diced potatoes and 6 cups of water in a 3 quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Salt lightly, cover partially, and simmer 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Purée the soup. Taste, and correct seasoning. After chilling the soup, stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream or sour cream. Taste carefully again, and correct the seasoning. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped chives.

I prefer using a mixture of 2 parts heavy cream to one part sour cream, but that’s just me. Using all heavy cream makes the soup a little sweeter, but as you all know by now, we never do anything nice and easy. We do things nice and tangy.*

*Why is it that no one ever recognizes my homage to Tina Turner’s intro to “Proud Mary”?

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Buttermilk Soup

Is it hot in here or is it just me?

The Soup Lady has an undependable internal thermostat and is usually the hottest tomato on the vine, but I’m pretty sure that this time, it’s the weather. Summertime at last! How lovely that there are so many recipes for cold soups. Let’s start with the best one of all: buttermilk and cucumber soup.

When the Soup Lady first joined Weight Watchers, Jean Neidich was still in charge and the food plan was extremely strict. Does anyone remember the recipe for Spagheti? The only two ingredients were canned bean sprouts and tomato juice. And calves’ liver was a weekly requirement. As if. No wonder that this recipe was hailed as one of the few good things in your miserable dieting life.

Buttermilk Soup
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
2 cups buttermilk
fresh dill
salt and pepper
scallions

Cut up the cucumber. Whirl it in a food processor until it
is finely chopped. Add the buttermilk. Season with dill, salt and pepper.
Use scallions or extra dill to garnish.
Serves 2.

It was , if I remember correctly, a milk and a vegetable.

There are other Buttermilk Soup recipes around, adding spinach or tomatoes. Whatever. This is the classic. The Soup Lady does not remove the seeds from the cucumber as I belive they are the coolest and most refreshing part. Whenever I make it, I recall being thankful that at least I didn’t have to use the buttermilk to make the thin and insipid salad dressing they used to insist on.

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