Monday, September 8, 2008

potage parmentier…julia, julie, meryl and me…

Life itself is the proper binge. ~ Julia Child

The weather had been blissfully warm, sunny and mild this weekend, but the rain has returned and these is a damp chill in the air this afternoon. Julia Child’s classic book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking sits on my warn wooden work table in the kitchen, beckoning me, as always to find a delicious solution for a meal from the ingredients that I have on hand.

I have been rediscovering many of the recipes from Julia’s masterpiece lately after re-reading Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. The re-read was prompted early this summer when my best friend “Y” that lives in Paris, called and excitedly told me that she saw the Julie/Julia project being filmed on her way to work passing the film crew on rue Mouffetard.
I had no idea that this blog to book that I had so enjoyed, would soon be a major motion picture, so I decided to re-read Miss Powell’s book in anticipation of the movie.
“Y” sadly did not have her camera with her that day. But, after a little search, I did find several images of Meryl Streep as Julia on

Early in 2003 I discovered the Julie/Julie project’s blog after it was in progress for several months. In case you are not familiar with this blog/book, this is the project where Julie Powell undertakes cooking the 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the space of one year.
This blog alone inspired me to flex my culinary muscles again and using Julia as a guide, discover more about what I could do in the kitchen.
Believe me I will not be undertaking all of Julia’s recipes, as Julie did. I am much to “culinary challenged” for that monumental task. But both ladies inspired me to pursue my food and photography passions, no matter what else was going on in my life.
For more on the Julie/Julie project click on the link to the left, under MY BLOG LIST.

I didn’t have to many pages to peruse in my well-worn 1961 copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, as my fluorescent post-it tag stopped me on page 37, Chapter One - Potages and Soups. The first recipe, Potage Parmentier was double-flagged and I had a bag of potatoes from Rexburg farm that need to be used. This simple (says Julia) and hearty soup seems to be in order for this cool pre-autumnal night.

Here is Julia Child's Potage Parmentier ~ Potato and Leek Soup

1 lb potatoes, washed, peeled and diced

1 lb leeks thoroughly washed and thinly diced.
(you can substitue yellow onions)

2 quarts water

1 tbsp salt ( I used kosher salt)

3 - 4 tbsp unsalted butter

4 - 6 tbsp heavy cream

2 - 4 tbsp minced chives and parsely for garnish

(I added fresh ground white pepper for a bit of spice.)

Simmer the potatoes and leeks in the salted water for 40-50 minutes.

Puree the soup using a food mill or an immersion blender.

I started with my grans mere’s ancient potato masher and then used a few hits of my stick blender as I wanted my potage to have small bits of potato.

Add the butter in small bits and whisk in.
Taste and correct for salt and pepper.

Set aside uncovered until just before serving, then reheat to a simmer.

Off heat, stir in cream slowly in spoonfuls.

Pour in tureen or soup bowls and sprinkle on chives and parsley.

My friends enjoyed this soup for a late lunch and to prove their potage-love had seconds and thirds.
They said it was their favorite soup I made for them, ever. (lol)

I think that they were cold and ravenous, but even the cook enjoyed this warm creamy, buttery, faintly onion potage. Sometimes, getting to great simple food, takes a long and convoluted journey before you arrive back at the simplicity. And this simplicity was delicious.
Because my blog does not as yet have "cyber-aroma", at least I hope that you will enjoy the images that I took as I worked on this dish.
I also hope that you will try this recipe for yourself some cool, rainy afternoon.

(Insert Julia’s voice here)…Bon appetit…!


Camera Crazy said...

Mouthwatering! I can't imagine a life without potatoes, in fact my favorite food is mashed potatoes, but I will eat them most any way. Your image of the chopped leeks is awesome....well, they all are really--an understatement.

A Brush with Color said...

Oh, now that sounds easy but delicious. Leave it to Julia! and you! ;)) I am going to be homesick, wishing I could head to the kitchen to whip that up, now, you realize! I'll have to make that with Joe this fall when I am home at some point. Thanks for the recipe. That blue bowl and the green herbs on top of the potage is perfection in those photos!

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Merci mille fois cher Gail and cher both are such a wonderful support system to me.
I appreciate you both so very much...!
I hope that your eye and heart feasts on these pixels...then you go and cook for those you love and cherish.
A prochaine fois...bisous...

SLM said...

This posting reminds me of one of the best movies of 2007, Ratatouille. Quite obviously, Ms. Child's book was an inspiration for Anton Gusteau's Anyone Can Cook. Your photo of the book is an excellent still life. How nice that it is your mother's book. It must be one of your prized possessions. Bon appetit!

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Welcome "slim" and merci beacoup for your comments (finally...! ) and all your visits...Naturally I love the movie Ratatouille for many reasons. But primarily because it show the power of the concept of "live your passion and you will be a success.
Merci encore and keep on blogging.