Sunday, November 1, 2009


If you are like me and had the pleasure of seeing Julie and Julia recently your inner French Chef may have been stirred to open Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

In it you will find no glossy photos just straight forward cooking instructions. Instructions from a trusted friend guiding you over stews, vegetables and desserts. As I poured over the 600 plus pages I decided to start at the beginning – soups. First on the list was Potage Paramentier, potato and leek soup.

This soup is a wonderful stand alone soup or a superb base for a more hearty soup. And of course, the base of Vichyssoise. By adding cream, milk or half and half and chilling a bit, you have an American innovation based on a French dish.

Historians credit Louis Diat, a chef at the Ritz-Carlton in new York City in the early 1900's. In a magazine article Diat states that he remembers cooling Potage Paramentier off be adding cream to it and how delicious it was. He named the soup in honor of his home town in France, Vichy.

Vichyssoise became increasingly poplar throughout New York City that department store cafes would feature Vichyssoise all summer long paired with a slice of apple pie. So, why not explore your inner French chef American style with Vichyssoise. Most of all, share Vichyssoise with a friend, trust me, they will thank you.

3 leeks, washed and sliced
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups of chicken broth
a dash of salt and pepper
1 cup of half and half
chives to garnish
Place leeks, potatoes and broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetable are tender. Add salt and pepper. Cool slightly and puree in food processor. Slowly add half and half. Chill. Garnish with chopped chives and enjoy.

National Vichyssoise (vi-she-'swaz) Day is November 18
Photo – on the left is Potage Paramentier and on the right is Vichyssoise

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