Mashed potatoes and carrots
French Vegetable Soup and Bread
Last night we had a simple meal of hamburger steak and mashed potatoes. Sounds pretty plain, but I found an idea in a book to dress up the potatoes. I mixed mashed potatoes with mashed carrots. Instead of milk I used sour cream, and in the carrots the recipe called for dill. Then I put both mixtures in a bowl side by side, and gently mixed the two. The goal was a swirl pattern. This was supposed to be pretty, to me it looked weird, but it tasted great.
The next day I pulled out my bread machine. I don’t love to cook, but I enjoy taking leftovers and turning them into something else. I have a favorite recipe for potato bread and this time I used those leftover potato/carrots. The bread was really good. We ate it with soup from a cookbook called “French Women Don’t Get Fat.”
Before I explain the soup let me talk a little about the book. It isn’t really a cookbook but more of a commentary on the difference in attitude to food we have from what the French have. According to the author Americans have a love/hate relationship with food. We eat too much then feel guilty. We munch on snacks and then don’t enjoy our dinners. We eat on the run, simply to feel stuffed. The French never eat standing up. They take the time to enjoy, to savor and taste their meals. They love to eat, and yet never feel guilty for enjoying a well-created dinner. They eat food, not chemicals. After reading her book I decided to cook some of her recipes. The first one was a vegetable soup.
Soupe Aux Legumes de Maman
Like all vegetable soups the ingredients depend on what is in season and what you have in your home. This is the recipe from the book, and pretty much what I fixed tonight.
Cook 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped, with quartered onion and two garlic cloves.
Simmer until tender.
Wash the following veggies and slice or dice them.
4 leeks, white and tender green parts
½ small cabbage
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large stock pot and add the veggies. Stir often, for about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups canned tomatoes, and the potato mixture and water to cover. I used yellow cherry tomatoes because my husband is also allergic to red tomatoes. Also add 2 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme and 2 bay leaves. Cook until all the vegetables are tender. Toss the bay leaves and drain the vegetables, reserving the liquid.
Puree the vegetables then add liquid back to the consistency you want, not too watery or too thick.
Mix 4 tablespoons of crème fraiche, or sour cream, and a pinch of nutmeg, and salt to taste. We liked the soup but I could have pureed it more. The author says that her mother would cook this soup, and then a day or so later serve it as leftovers with a sausage that she would sauté in oil then stir into the soup. I might try that later in the week.
What are some of your favorite soup recipes?