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Posts Tagged ‘great potato soup recipes’

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There were two things I liked better about my old phone when comparing it to my recently acquired smart phone. Number one, I understood how it worked, and number two I never lost it. Neither of these can be said of my new phone. Agh.

Whether it was lifted from my purse or I simply set it down some place and it was picked up is left to the universe to unravel. In either case, it has disappeared from sight and I have looked everywhere but the septic tank with no sign of it thus far.

This was not news I was looking forward to sharing with Rick. I tend to be a bit absent-minded about where I put things to begin with so telling him I’ve misplaced a $300 phone isn’t going to make his day. Perhaps I’ll just move and not leave a forwarding address. After alerting our phone carrier of the loss they were happy to report our warranty had run out last week but if I would like a new phone they would be delighted to comply at the price we paid for the original one. Good news! There goes my birthday. Sigh.

Being a scorpio my birthday is coming up. If you could see me now I’m not dancing in place. On one hand I’m glad to be having another birthday, and on the other it adds yet another number, and not a lower one, to my count of years on the planet. Dirt is still older, but I am catching up.

My birthdays are either great or abysmal. They always make me a bit jumpy as they approach because I’m never sure which way the wind will blow. As it falls the day after Halloween pictures of my past parties usually show me in costume as one character or another doing something equally as stupid as I look. Perhaps my love of dressing up stems from having most of my birthday parties growing up costume parties, or simply I find it fun to parade about as Minnie Mouse or the egg half of bacon and eggs once a year. Time permitting I would dig out my old photos and share but if I dug through the cache of photos I have stored in boxes in the garage to locate my Halloween pictures it would be Christmas and no longer relevant.

In the back of my closet downstairs hangs my Halloween stash of costumes. On one hanger an angel, replete with wings and halo, on the next my cowardly lion with one paw missing, and so on. Over the years I’ve shown up as everything from the Goodyear Blimp to Dracula. Armed with an imagination and some basics you can make a costume out of almost anything.

At the various parties thrown in my honor along the way people have shown up in the most original dress. One of the engineers I worked with the 80’s used a head of cabbage to create his walking dead outfit. He peeled and par broiled the outer larger leaves. Then he placed them about his head and covered them with makeup and fake blood. It was very realistic and what a clever idea. You can dress up and eat your costume following the party. Genius.

One friend showed up with his face half white and half black. He wore a black cowled coat and had a hunchback. Contacts of a greenish-yellow covered his normally blue eyes and he carried a cane that blinked. Very effective. One problem with this costume was that whatever he used to create the black half of his face didn’t wash off well. For easily a month following he continued to look ghoulish until he finally returned to normal. Don’t try this at home.

Cossack was my choice of attire on another Halloween. I made the tall furred hat out of the lining of an old coat and lined a cape I found in a thrift store with gold fabric. Add a pair of tall boots and some leggings and there you go. It was great.

If you can avoid uncomfortable costumes, particularly ones where you can’t sit or have long attachments that are likely to sweep the cat down the back stairs when you turn around or impale somebody standing behind you. Boo Peep was an example of this for me. I realize the original was Bo Peep, but I used creative license. I created a wire hoop skirt out of coat hangers and covered it with fabric. It looked great but when I sat down it went up and covered my face. Also it necessitated keeping my bloomers in line as they were visible every time I took a seat. Being that the skirt was made of metal it also stuck me regularly during the night to the point where I removed it and went about in my knickers.

The year I was the angel was the first year we owned our restaurant. In the spirit of the holiday (if you will) we all dressed up for work. Our restaurant, as I mentioned a few blogs ago, had a history. Most of our staff felt there was a ghost or two roaming about, particularly the bar. If so, they had IMG_0837company that night. A live band had the bar moving and shaking. Pumpkins flickered and Halloween drinks were lined up on the server’s trays. I had my picture taken often that night thinking nothing of it. Several weeks later several friends who’d included me in their shots commented on the fact in the photos I appeared to be almost transparent. One photo turning out that way might have been acceptable, but all of them? Don’t know if the universe couldn’t accept me wearing an angel’s costume or the spirits resented having such a being in their midst, but there you have it. Looking at the photos I’d shot for the first time mine showed the same odd occurrence. To add to the mystery of that evening a picture I shot in the bar shown above just before we opened our doors which depicted what looked to be a ghostly spirit shooting out from the computer screen.

To give Hamlet his due, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

This soup is delicious but hearty. If you need to thin it out for a second use use a little milk.

Hearty Potato, Carrot, and Corn Chowder

1/4 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 cup fat-free milk
5 cups chicken broth
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 can niblet corn, drained
Crumbled crisp bacon and chopped green onions for garnish

Melt butter in stockpot over med. heat. Add onion, green pepper, celery, and carrots. Cook for 6 mins. or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic. Cook for 1 min

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Add flour, curry powder, salt and pepper. Stir for 2 mins. until well blended. Slowly add milk. Add broth, potatoes, and corn. Bring to boil. Simmer uncovered for 25 mins. Use an emulsion blender to blend well. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

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Serves 6

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Photos by Susie Nelson

Photos by Susie Nelson

I raked leaves this morning. Mother Nature was definitely not cooperating, continually dropping new ones while I scooped the old ones up with my rake. Chilly in the mornings and warm after lunch, it is hard to decide what to wear. Cold, I slipped on jeans and a hoodie to work in the yard, and by two in the afternoon I was back in shorts and a tee-shirt. A good part of this weekend was eaten up with moving our summer clothes downstairs, and bringing the winter clothes up. By the time I was done relocating everything I believe I lost a dress size.

Company is arriving tomorrow from several fronts, so I have a full afternoon of cooking ahead of me. This in mind, I coerced Rick into taking me to breakfast before his beloved forty niners absorb the rest of his day. Still new to the area, he suggested a familiar chain restaurant we’d seen on the end of town. Having errands to run in that general vicinity, it seemed the perfect choice. There were quite a few cars in the parking lot, usually a good sign. Once inside the door, we realized the cars must have belonged to staff because there were only eight or so tables occupied, this on a Sunday morning. Starving, we sat where instructed and opened the Bible sized menu. I always look at everything, change my mind fifteen times, and order Eggs Benedict. It’s a ritual I cherish.

Our waitress ignored us for at least five minutes, seeming not to notice our existence in her station. I am an only child and not good at being ignored. Doing cartwheels in the center aisle and pulling my cheeks aside with my fingers while sticking out my tongue, she finally nodded disinterestedly in our direction. Recognition at all cost. No coffee pot in hand she asked for our drink order. I notice these things. It’s the ex-restaurant owner in me. If you bring the pot with you, the customer will have the coffee in their cup immediately. We indicated coffee for two, and placed our breakfast order. Rick, like myself, looks at everything and orders either French toast or pancakes. Life on the edge. Today French toast was on the ticket.

It became quickly obvious this was the girl’s first day. The line manager was shooting instructions her way in machine gun fashion, and she had that deer in the headlights look often found on new employees faces the first week on the job. In truth, I don’t believe she had majored in motivation prior to accepting this position as I’ve seen snails working their way towards the safety of the ivy moving at a more aggressive pace. People suffering through the first days of a new job need support, however, and I try my best to exercise patience and be understanding. This girl really pushed the envelope.

There were three line cooks, for eight tables. If all of them were in motion, plates should have been flying out of the kitchen. One chef was leaning against the counter studying his fingernails while a second was giving him a full account of last night’s best pick up lines at the local country western bar. I kept running the lyrics to David Allen Coes, “I was drunk the night my mom got out of prison…”, through my mind. In rhythm, my stomach was doing the two-step and my coffee cup was feeling mighty low, mighty low. Oh-oh, I sense a bit of irritation sneaking in.

A half an hour came and went. Rick, also known as the restaurant Nazi, was beginning to act a little squirrely. I suggested he back away from the coffee cup before things got ugly. I could see his French toast pop up under the warming lights so with food on the way, he relaxed a bit. A large plate of French toast was delivered in front of Rick, no maple syrup or butter on board. Oh-oh. My plate came next. It looked delicious. Starving at this point, I would have dived right in, but unfortunately it was an order of corned beef hash, biscuits and gravy and two eggs over easy. Hmmmm. Pointing out (politely) the missing butter and syrup, I said I appreciated the food but it wasn’t mine. Slightly pinking in the cheeks, she grabbed Rick’s plate and mine and headed back to the kitchen. After some discussion with the line manager she returned with the butter and the syrup but no French toast. Apologizing, it seemed she’d forgotten to order my Eggs Benedict, but had put in a new ticket, and would I like some more coffee? Making mention Rick no longer had anything to put the syrup and butter on she returned to the work station to find the French toast had been tossed by the line manager thinking it returned by the customer. Okay, I am an easy-going person, but REALLY?

In desperation and trying to keep the mood light, I asked for a refill on my coffee. Leaving to retrieve the pot, I never saw her again until our breakfasts were delivered fifteen minutes later. Rick had begun to eat the seat cushion and was eying the catsup. Two undercooked poached eggs sat astride several slices of thin deli ham on an English muffin. Covering all was a huge glob of yellow paste I believe was Hollandaise sauce. This could be a secret formula possibly replacing any future need for mixing cement on construction sites. In their defense, the hash browns weren’t bad. When asked if we wanted to-go boxes, I said yes but please don’t put my food in it. I might need to use it later for a receptacle if things don’t go well in my digestive system. Not really, but I was thinking it.

So, we now have eliminated two restaurants from our list and are forging positively onward. For the first time in years I left a small tip. I’m a big proponent of tipping well for good service. Servers work hard for their money, good ones, and deserve a little recognition. Sometimes, you just have to make a statement.

This soup was perfect with a tuna sandwich after a disappointing breakfast.

Potato, Leek and Brussels Sprout Soup

3 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup celery, chopped
3 leeks, white and green, chopped (leaves removed)
6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 Brussels sprouts, halved
3 russet potatoes, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup cream
Sour cream and chives

Cut off ends of top of leeks. Remove leaves.

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Cut leeks in half lengthwise and run under water, rinsing between layers to remove dirt.

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Chop and set aside.

Melt butter in large pot on low heat.

Add chopped onion, celery and mushrooms. Simmer 5-6 mins. until tender.

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Add leeks and garlic. Stir and cover; simmer 8 mins. until leeks are softened.

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Add Brussels sprouts and simmer covered an additional 8 mins.

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Add potatoes, broth, parsley, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, pepper, salt and white pepper to pot. Bring to a boil.

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Reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 45 mins.

Remove from heat. Remove bay leaves. Using an emulsion blender, beat until smooth. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

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Whisk in buttermilk and cream.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chives.

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