Easter Sunday was pretty mellow this year. My wife and I went to see and sniff the lilies at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, then came home to a lovely dinner of homemade pita bread and baba ganoush for an appetizer, followed by quinoa topped with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers. On the side were pan braised Brussel sprouts in garlic infused olive oil and a special Californian red wine to round it out.
Lovely Longwood lilies.
After our fine dinner it seemed only natural to watch Julie and Julia- since I had recorded it on the dvr. I saw the movie only once when it came out, and it was the inspiration for my own food blog. What impressed me most about the movie is how Julia Child overcame such odds to get Mastering The Art of French Cooking, one of the most important cookbooks in America for the last hundred years, published! I was so impressed that she stuck with the project after all the problems with one of her two co-authors, and the disappointment that editors and publishers didn’t see the importance of this bold new book for American cooks. Lucky for Julia and for all of us that editor Judith Jones at Knopf saw the book for what it was worth!
Once this amazing cookbook was in their hands, American cooks confidently graduated from beef stew to Beef Bourguignon, and Raspberry Bavarian Cream took the place of raspberry pudding. Mastering the Art of French Cooking stepped up the game for home cooks and fostered an age of creativity in home and commercial kitchens.
I’m always learning new techniques and exploring new cuisines. Recently, I have been experimenting with potato-thickened soups. This can make a soup gluten-free, and it simplifies the time and effort it takes to make a homemade soup.
This week’s recipe shows off broccoli, one of my favorite vegetables. With asparagus season near, this could easily be cream of potato asparagus soup, too. Don’t be afraid to be creative and tweak it your way. I found the leftover soup to be excellent and topped with sautéed maitake mushrooms for a nice variation. White mushrooms would work well too since Maitake are not widely available. Either way I hope you try this cream of broccoli and potato soup and let me know how yours turned out.
Use fresh potatoes and broccoli of good quality.
As Julia would say,”Bon Appetite” and don’t forget to enter the giveaway from the good folks at Melissa’s. They will bestow upon one lucky reader a box of mixed produce from their 280,000 square foot warehouse in California.
Follow this link to enter by leaving your comment on my last post about Oven Roasted Dutch Yellow Potatoes, and good luck!
Cream of Broccoli and Potato Soup
1 3/4 pounds fresh broccoli
1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock*
1 3/4 cups 2% milk
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon salt, optional
Cut broccoli into florets then small like these.
Wash potatoes, peel and cut into 1 inch cubes. Hold potatoes in a bowl of cool water until ready to cook.
Wash and trim leaves off the broccoli.
Cut stems off below the crown.
Peel the stems and cut into 1/2 inch slices and set aside.
Cut the crown into golf ball sized florets then cut the floret stems into 1/2 inch slices.
Cut the florets into the size of a grape and set aside.
In a 3 quart pot add vegetable stock and potatoes. Cook on high, covered, until it comes to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cooking for 7 minutes.
Add broccoli, cover and bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer cooking for another 7-10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
Remove from heat and add milk.
If using a tabletop blender put soup in blender in two batches mixing until it is smooth, about 1 minute.
If using an immersion blender you can keep the pot on the stove, turn heat to low, add milk and blend until smooth.
Add more milk to thin, if necessary.
Makes about 10 one cup servings.
* Rapunzel vegetable bouillon cubes can be used, instead of vegetable stock. Chicken stock would also work well.
Leftover soup with maitake mushrooms.