Friday, April 10, 2015

Do I really hate to cook?

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

For years I've been telling people I hate to cook.  Bake?  Okay.  Cook?  No.

Well, that's not entirely true.  For the past year or so, I've done a LOT of cooking. Most of it deals with soups, and make-ahead meals. But cook AT suppertime?  No. Not. At. All.  I don't like being rushed. That's kind of why Mr. L took over the cooking. He's not impatient like I am, and he doesn't mind being out in the kitchen cooking.  (He makes the BEST meatloaf.  I put his recipe in one of my Booktown Books and many readers have told me that's now the only way they make it.)

But, as I discovered last week, it turns out if I'm not rushed (like when baking), I actually enjoy the process of cooking a meal.  I like assembling the ingredients. I like the measuring.  I like the stirring.  I like the tasting.  If I've got an audiobook going on the kitchen CD player, I don't even mind cleaning up, either. 

I made a batch of leek-and-potato soup for my Mom just this week. (It was featured in Booktown Mystery #3, Bookplate Special.)  My brother and I go to the Rochester Public Market a lot and that's where I get my leeks.  The recipe is easy.

2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves diced garlic
2 good sized potatoes (or about 1 pound)
2 good-sized leeks (or about 1 pound)
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup milk or light cream

Clean and chop white part of the leeks (I also toss in part of the green--for color). Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the chopped leeks and garlic. Saute them over a low to medium heat until the leeks are soft (about ten minutes). Stir frequently; do not brown.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan except the milk/cream. Bring the soup to the boil and then let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.

If you prefer a smooth soup, mash the potatoes in the pan, or puree in a blender (I use an immersion mixer). Just before serving, pour the milk/cream into the soup; stir well and heat through. Serve with crusty bread and it's a meal!

Serves 4

I love my big Pyrex measuring cup. It makes it easy to take soup down the road to my Mom.

What are some of the dishes YOU like to make?