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?


Karen in Ohio said...

Mmm, potato leek soup is my go-to winter comfort food, and this looks like a great recipe to try. I make a microwave version, no garlic, from Barbara Kafka's Microwave Gourmet cookbook, but this looks yummy.

I just made another one of our favorites, what I call Chicken Grand-Mere. It was shared to a local Cincinnati magazine by the then-chef of our now-mourned Maisonette, the French restaurant that was the only 5-star east of the Mississippi for 35 years. The recipe had holes in it that I had to fill in, but the gist of it is 3 pounds of chicken parts (thighs and legs), browned in olive oil. Take the chicken out and then slowly brown shallots, garlic, and tiny onions, along with three sprigs of fresh thyme. Then add 1 1/2" chunks of potato, carrot, celery root (this is not an option; it's what gives the dish it's distinctive flavor), and any other root vegetable you have on hand. I like to use parsnips. Cook for 10 minutes, then add 2 ounces of slivers of bacon and a 1/2 pound of sliced mushrooms. Replace the chicken, and add two cups of chicken stock/broth; boil. Then put the whole dish, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is done. Serve with crusty bread and a salad, and lean back and appreciate all the compliments.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I'd love to make this! Thanks for the recipe, Lorraine. I bet your mom loved it. XO MJ

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

Lorraine Bartlett said...

Yes, she did. We shared it for lunch.

Annette N said...

The recipe sounds terrific - thank you Ma'am. I love my big Pyrex measuring cup is so handy for so many things.