The paint chip was labeled “Goat’s Beard,” and I never really gave the name a second thought. It was the light shade of green I wanted to blend with the deeper sage green (called “Washed Khaki’) in the adjoining dining room and office/den, and coordinated perfectly with the golden orange (called “Himalayan Paw”) that accented the bulkhead all around. That Martha Stewart can get pretty creative even with paint names.
I merely thought these were unique names. Now I had to look up “goat’s beard.” It’s a perennial plant (aruncus dioicus) and the color of the flower does indeed look like my kitchen walls. (I learned this from my favorite perennial supplier, Bluestone Perennials, who happily shared this picture with me. Bluestone, based in Madison, Ohio, incidentally, ships anywhere at the right time for growing. Great greenhouse.)
I was inspired to make this soup thanks to The Splendid Table, the National Public Radio program hosted by Lynn Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. I subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that never fails to offer something unique, but doable, for a weeknight. Highly recommend it. They were inspired by Julia Child. Imagine! All these great cooks right alongside me as I whipped up this soup and awed at my own walls!
As you can see, the recipe is not really a recipe, more like a framework, arming one with the right proportions to embellish to one’s heart content. I didn’t get carried away. Chopped chives was it. Next time, who knows.
I’m loving my new immersion blender. Making pureed soups like this is a piece of cake now. No transferring from pot to processor, in portions, and back again to the pot. No chance for spillage. It’s the best little appliance I ever introduced to my little kitchen, which can’t stand one more thing on the counter, or to store in the cupboard. A little rearranging was all it took to keep the new blender handy but hidden.
Master Recipe for Leek and Potato Soup
Adapted by The Splendid Table from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking, By Julia Child
Makes about 2 quarts, serving 6
3 cups sliced leeks, white and tender green parts
3 cups peeled and roughly chopped “baking” potatoes
6 cups water
11/2 teaspoons salt
½ cup sour cream or crème fraiche, optional
Bring ingredients to the boil in a 3 quart saucepan. Cover partially and simmer, until vegetables are tender. Correct seasoning. Serve as is, or puree and/or top each portion with a dollop of the cream.
Cream of Leek and Potato Soup: After simmering the soup, puree it and whisk in ½ cup heavy cream. Reheat to the simmer again before serving.
- Substitute onions for leeks
- Add a bunch of watercress to the base soup for the last few minutes of cooking before pureeing.
- Add anything else you have on hand, such as cauliflower, broccoli, green peas, spinach, raw or cooked, making it your house soupe du jour. (Actually, I did this, adding broccoli stalks, asparagus stalks, spinach leaves not pretty enough for a salad, etc., and, frankly, the color just couldn’t match my goat’s beard, so I’m sticking with leeks and potatoes!)