It turned into an evening with Julia. Great, old standbys.
Start every recipe with a glass of wine. Into the cook. (Also coined by a Julia.)
JC's simple white bread. You do need a nice KitchenAid for this one, unless you want to knead the dough for ten minutes (which I have sillily elected to do. Once maybe.) The key to rising well is NO DRAFT. And by that I mean NO WINDOWS OPEN. Doesn't matter that we live in California. Yeast is a fickle thing. A nice non-drafty spot is actually the oven. Or your microwave. I like to kick the process in the rear a bit, so I fill up the sink with fairly warm water and set the bowl in there. It's that patience thing. Read somewhere recently that slow rising results in nicer bread, but who has time these days anyway?
There are a gazillion Potato & Leek soup recipes out there. Some use fancy chicken stock, some use cream AND butter, but I still like the simplicity of the first recipe in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". How much art is it to combine only three ingredients, where one of them is water, and make a super yummy soup that never gets old?! Brilliance.
It must be the only Cookbook I own that doesn't have pretty glossy pictures. It is kind of nice to know what a dish is supposed to look like after it's made, but maybe most of all, being able to salivate over all the incredible dishes in the photos. I also have a terrible addiction to cooking magazines.
We don't have a recipe per se, but here's a visual.
Chop equal amounts of leeks & potatoes.
Yes, equal, any less and you don't get the leek flavor. Also when leeks are in season, which is now, they taste more mellow than they do out of season, or at least that is my theory. It doesn't hurt to add extra. And if you don't have enough leeks in your fridge, then you can always add some onion. This is really not about perfection, it's about being sufficient.
Dump leeks & potatoes into pot, fill with water until potatoes are covered.
Be generous. But don't overfill it, you want a soup with a creamy consistency.
Putter soup on the stove until potatoes are tender.
Depending on how large your potatoes were chopped, it can take up to 45 minutes. Just check every so often, and let it keep puttering. The beauty of this is, the bread is ready to be worked into rolls.
(This so was not by design, but it makes for a nicely put together dinner!) JC's original recipe is loaves, but I like rolls better, so we just cranked the oven a little hotter (by 30 degrees F), and kept them in there for only 14 minutes or so.
24 rolls were enough to freeze for later. That's sort of the point of baking, not just for the moment, but so you have nice baked goods every day. It's not like I grew up in ancient times, but I remember always having home made bread. If you bought bread from the store you were just plain lazy. Or a bad baker. Or so my Grandma says.
It is also nice to have "cheap" bread towels to put over your rolls as they're rising (for the second time.) Those of you who have been to Smith & Wollensky's know what I'm talking about. Love their napkins. A lot.
Stick the immersion blender into the soup for a nice whirrr when it's done to your liking, but don't make it completely smooth, we like our soup chunky, just like Julia. A dollop of cream and some butter, S&P to taste, & viola. If you are trying to cut corners, you really can skip the extras, they're not needed for consistency. But we really like cream & butter around here.
It was a nice Friday dinner.
P.S. I'll Rise, Ben Harper.