Potato Leek Soup


3 large leeks

2 Tbs. olive oil or butter

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth or mild-tasting vegetable broth

2 lbs. Yukon gold or Russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 bay leaf

1-2 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ tsp. dried thyme)

¼ c. chopped fresh parsley (or another chopped fresh herb)

dash of hot sauce (optional)

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste



Clean the leeks by making a lengthwise cut in them and rinsing them thoroughly under running water.  Trim the root ends and the dark green tops; discard.  (Alternatively, you can save the tops to make vegetable stock.*)  Slice the leeks crosswise into slices about ¼ inch thick.

Heat olive oil or butter in a large (3 or 4 quarts) stockpot over medium heat.  When heated, add the leeks and stir to coat.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until leeks are softened, about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally if needed to prevent the leeks from browning.  

When leeks are softened, add broth, diced potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme.  Increase heat to high, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to a level that maintains a low simmer.  Cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs and discard.  For a chunky soup, use an immersion blender to blend half the soup, or blend half of it in a regular blender, being extremely careful to avoid splashing.  For a smoother soup, blend the entire soup with the immersion blender, or blend in a regular blender in two batches (again, be careful to avoid splashes!).  Add a few dashes of hot sauce, if using, to taste.  Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  

Recipe adapted from http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/potato_leek_soup/

* See this link for a method to make your own vegetable stock: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-vegetable-stock-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-136725


Lavender-Rosemary Potatoes


2 lbs. red potatoes, quartered

5 sprigs fresh lavender, or 1 tsp. dried lavender buds

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh lavender buds, or 1 tsp. dried lavender buds

2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp. dried rosemary

½ tsp. salt

freshly ground pink peppercorns*, to taste (or freshly ground black pepper)



Place the quartered potatoes in a large saucepan along with the lavender sprigs and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, about 12-15 minutes.  Drain and pat dry.  

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the cooked and drained potatoes, chopped lavender, and chopped rosemary.  Cook, tossing occasionally, until starting to brown, about 5-8 minutes.  Stir in the salt and freshly ground peppercorns.

*Note: Grind pink peppercorns in your regular pepper grinder.  If you don’t have a pepper grinder, you can grind them in a coffee grinder or use a mortar and pestle.

Irish Potato-Kale Soup


1 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. butter (or 2 additional Tbs. olive oil)

1 c. diced onion

4 c. chopped kale (remove large ribs before chopping), or 4 c. sliced cabbage, or a mixture of each

4 c. peeled, diced Russet potatoes (about 3 pounds)

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth (or mildly flavored low-sodium vegetable broth)

2 c. water

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. salt

⅓ c. heavy cream

freshly ground pepper, to taste

4 green onions, thinly sliced



Heat olive oil and butter in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until translucent and starting to brown, about 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the kale (and/or cabbage) and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the diced potatoes, chicken broth (or vegetable broth), water, bay leaves, and salt.  Increase heat to bring to a simmer.  Cook until potatoes are softened and starting to fall apart, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the heavy cream, along with freshly ground pepper to taste.  Stir in the sliced green onions.  Add more salt to taste, if needed.  Remove bay leaves before serving.