Friday, February 12, 2016

Favorite Soups

I spend so much time emailing people this recipe that I thought I should post it somewhere permanent. I love this soup, and I make it often.
Cream of Sweet Potato Soup
4 sweet potatoes (about 1 pound each)
2 quarts chicken stock (I use 2 quarts water and 1 ½ tablespoons of a high-quality chicken soup base - NOT bouillon cubes!)
1/3 cup butter
1 small can tomato sauce (the plain kind you find near the tomato paste, not spaghetti sauce)
1/8 teaspoon pepper (I just grind peppercorns in until it looks like enough)
dash thyme
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1 cup cashews (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast the sweet potatoes for 45 minutes or until they are soft. Cool the potatoes until they can be handled.

2. Peel the sweet potatoes, then put them into a large saucepan. Mash them with a potato masher. (They don’t need to be entirely smooth.)

3. Add the stock, butter, tomato sauce, pepper, and thyme, and stir to combine. Place the pan over medium/high heat, and bring to a simmer.

4. Simmer the soup for an hour, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom to be sure potato pulp doesn’t stick and burn. Add half-and-half, and cashews if using, and simmer another hour. Cashews should be soft. Serve hot.

Note: You can simmer this practically forever – up to four hours, no problem.

Vegan variation: Omit chicken stock; substitute vegetable stock or water. After some simmering, taste; add salt if needed, up to 2 tsp.
Plan-Ahead: Roast, peel and mash sweet potatoes, and place in a 2-quart freezer container. Put in all other ingredients except water/stock. Freeze until you need it, then just thaw, add water and simmer!

Makes 6-8 servings.

The other soup I've been making lately is Julia Child's Potage Parmentier, a lovely and easy potato-leek soup:

3 cups leeks, white and tender green parts, sliced and sautéed in 3 Tablespoons of butter
4 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped 
8 cups chicken stock
6 Tablespoons heavy cream 
Garnish: chopped parsley or chives 
In a large, heavy pot, sauté the leeks, then add potatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until all are very tender--about 50 minutes. Puree the mixture (I love my stick blender), then correct seasoning. 
When ready to serve, stir in the cream.
Vegan variation: The original recipe omits the butter and the chicken stock. Just simmer the vegetables in water, then puree.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cute Dog Videos

Today I ran across two irresistible dog-containing videos. I must share!

Britain's worst sheepdog, a border collie with a phobia of sheep:

and the cutest 46 seconds I've seen all day:

tired from Matt Wiebe on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Muleteer Socks

This is my first attempt to design a sock pattern - or really to write down one of my favorite sock construction recipes. I hope it is helpful!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Would You, Could You Playaway?

1. My library has a chance to win $10,000 from the Playaway people, who publish books on lovely little dedicated MP3 players.

2. My mad librarian friend has made a pretty funny video to express our delight with Playaways, and hopefully generate votes.

3. Please Vote For Us Here! (Each of your email addresses gets a vote!)