Posted by: Karen (Betty Bear) | January 20, 2012

3 recipes plus some other minor stuff

This was what I saw yesterday morning on the way to the bus stop. Does anyone know why the moon looks so tiny and wee in photos like this when it looks much bigger when you’re standing there looking at it? This morning I could see the entire moon, one little crescent lit by the sun and the rest far more dimly lit by earthshine.

Everyone except the man of the house is leaving for an overnight trip today. The girl child and I are going to Nightwatch at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine with the sr. high group from church and the boy child is going skiing for the first time with his boy scout troop. I’ll post about Nightwatch afterwards as it is a really cool program.

The recipes are two potato soups, similar, but not exactly the same and a kale salad. Oh wait, never mind, I posted the kale salad recipe already here. Seriously, before you go all ooo, yuck! kale! try it. It is really yummy. Plus you get to feel all virtuous about eating kale.

Basic Potato Leek Soup (takes about a half an hour to make)

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 leeks, white and light green parts, chopped*

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 T. butter

about a pint of chicken broth

1 bay leaf

about a cup of milk

1/2 T. Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper to taste

chopped parsley and chives, about 1 T.

Saute the leeks and celery until softened in the butter. Add potato chunks, bay leaf and enough broth to just cover potato chunks. Simmer until potato is soft. Remove bay leaf and blend until smoothish. Return to pot and add milk, W. sauce, S&P and herbs if desired. Heat until hot. Don’t let it boil or it does weird things with the milk.

Fennel-Potato Soup with Smoked Salmonย  (from Bon Appetit) this also takes about half an hour to make.

3 tablespoons butter
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, chopped, fronds chopped and reserved
1 large leek (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 2 large), peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes
5 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth

1 ounce smoked salmon, chopped

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add fennel, leek, and fennel seeds and cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add potatoes and 5 1/2 cups broth. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to pot and rewarm over medium heat, stirring often and thinning with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls for desired consistency. Season soup with salt and pepper.
Divide soup among bowls. Garnish with smoked salmon and reserved chopped fennel fronds.

Per serving (eight servings): 145 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated), 12 mg cholesterol, 518 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein

The comments on this recipe included substituting proscuitto for the salmon, and adding a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream.

*to clean leeks, half them the long way and then fan them out under running water, like you are flipping through a deck of cards or a flip-book.



  1. Mmmm…I love potato leek soup. Now I want some. I gotta buy me some taters. (And leeks.) I’ll be interested to hear more about the Nightwatch program. And I don’t know why the moon does that, but it sure looks pretty. I love the oranges and blues in that picture.

    • It was just so pretty with the sky having those color gradations, the silhouetted trees and the crescent moon! And the soup, both of them, are really good and filling – just right for cold days!

  2. I’m with Delia. I love potato leek soup. That recipe sounds fabulous. Thanks, and I think I have all of the ingredients here already. Even better, ’cause i don’t want to leave the house today. : )

    BTW, that photo is gorgeous. I love how the sliver of moon is centered.

    • Thanks!! I LOVE days when I don’t have to leave the house. Doesn’t happen very often, though . . . Enjoy!

  3. I love the photo of the moon.

    I pass the recipes on to those with skills. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • They are pretty simple recipes, but maybe it’s like me trying to sew. Does not compute. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. (-: Thanks for posting this and leaving a note over at R-Fab. They both sound delicious, although since I don’t think I’ve got a fennel source, I’ll probably only try the first this year. I looked up a potato leek soup in Alice Waters, and that has cream instead of milk (much less cream, but still). So, I’ll give this a try — I’ve got the chicken stock all ready (-:. Thanks again!

    • I actually don’t measure at all with this. I make a big pot of chicken stock and freeze it in pint and quart jars and just use enough to cover the potatoes and then add enough milk to it looks right. Those are probably not helpful directions though!

  5. Blast, that damn printer…….

    Blergh, I’ll come back later and try again. Can’t do the leek one (WAY too close to onions) but hell yeah on the second, I love salmon. And fennel!!!

    Oh, and not to sound like my know-it-all son or anything, I have heard why this happens with the moon in pictures.
    Perspective. For some reason (the way our eyes focus, is what I recall) the camera does not capture the perspective that we see when we are looking at the moon and ALSO seeing the trees, hills, houses, etc peripherally.

    (Moon crap? I’m yer gal. Brain shit? Ask my first born, apparently.)

    • That second recipe is really yummy and I’m not even much of a fennel fan. Licorice taste in food just seems a little weird to me.

  6. Bless you, I have about three leftover baked potatoes and was wondering what to do with them. That picture is gorgeous, and thank you Julie for explaining the perspective thing because I’ve wondered exactly the same thing.

    • I don’t think I would cook it much, just enough to warm it if the potatoes are already cooked. Or you could scoop out the potato, mix it with some cheese or sour cream and chives and bacon bits and then bake it again in the skins to make twice baked potatoes. Mmmmm!

  7. I made the simple leek soup last Friday, and it was very nice. And even more marvelous the next day! Thanks for sharing!

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