What inspires you? Ever take a moment to ask yourself that question? It certainly has been popping up in my head more often these days so instead of pushing it aside to focus on something MUCH more interesting like watching a new episode of the “Real Housewives,” I let it kind of stew for a while. I found that if I thought about it too long and too hard I started to make myself crazy and that was really not the point of the whole exercise. “Paralysis by analysis” as my mother so often says. Thanks, Mom for that one.
About a month ago I took a class at Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco and was paired up with a very friendly gal who happens to be named Lisa, too. We were in charge of making a wonderful dessert that she recently recreated in her own kitchen and blogged about. Check out the recipe and gorgeous photos at http://AuthenticSuburbanGourmet.blogspot.com and please make a point of baking the cake. It will blow your socks off. Marsala wine does wonders for any dessert.
As we started talking and getting to know one another she handed me a business card and told me that she has a food blog. I sheepishly admitted that I have one, too but that it’s in limbo because I am hyper-paranoid about what people will think of it, if my food is really that good to want to share in the blogosphere, if the blog is good enough, if I’m good enough, sob sob sob. Don’t worry, I spared her these ridiculous excuses and simply told her that I’ve put it on hold for now because I am a full-time stay-at-home mom and have been too busy doing all the things a full-time mom does.
So I took the opportunity to pick Lisa’s brain a bit on this whole blogging thing and I ended up learning so much from her in the very short time that we had cooking together. Whether she knows it or not, she inspired me to get back to blogging about something that I am very passionate about. So for that, I truly thank her.
This may sound crazy for a lot of you folks out there but as of late leftovers have been a source of inspiration in my day-to-day cooking. I know what you are thinking and I would ask that you please shelve your negative feelings about leftover food for a moment while I proceed to defend myself on the topic:
Leftovers that end up in the trash = Money down the you-know-what.
Next day’s lunch or dinner. With a hungry toddler running around, this has simplified my life greatly by eliminating the need to always cook something special just for her.
And my personal favorite…a way to think creatively about how I can use what I already have on hand to make something new and delicious!
To honor the leftover roasted potatoes with olive oil, garlic, and sage that I made a couple of nights ago, I added them to a simple and yummy Potato Leek Soup recipe courtesy of my mom. The soup recipe is delicious as is but adding the roasted potatoes really heightened the flavor. Thick and creamy, this soup is so easy to make and is perfect with a side salad and crostini.
Roasted Potato Leek Soup
- 2 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces or leftover roasted potatoes to equal roughly the same amount
- 3 leeks, light green and white parts only, sliced thinly
- 2 garlic gloves, chopped
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 cups good chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk
Salt and white pepper to taste (I used regular black pepper but for a fancier presentation white pepper is the best option)
Heat a pot on medium-low heat and add butter just until melted. Add leeks, garlic, and a pinch of salt and saute until the leeks are tender. Stir frequently to keep them from browning. Stir in the potatoes and cook for a minute or two. Add the chicken broth, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender about 25-30 minutes. About 10 minutes before the potatoes are done, you can add the leftover potatoes at this point just to heat them up. Remove pot from the heat. With a hand blender (a regular blender works just fine, too) puree the mixture until smooth and creamy. Taste for salt and pepper. Add the milk and stir until combined. Reheat on low. Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy!