Potato Leek Soup


The last thing to pick from the 2012 garden would be the leeks.  Leeks take close to 180 days to harvest, and are the vegetable that takes the longest to harvest that I grow.  Leeks are a very mild member of the onion family, and are absolutely delicious.  The recipe below has been modified from three different sources, and involves using a bouquet garni.  A bouquet garni involves fresh herbs cooked in a muslin bag in the stock. The herbs in this case are 2 bay leaves, 5  parsley stems, 4 springs of fresh thyme, and 20 peppercorns.  Do this first, and put it aside.

Either cook 3 pieces of bacon and cut in tiny pieces, or cut some salt port in tiny minced pieces. If you want to do a vegetarian version, omit this step.  Saute this up in two tablespoons of butter. 

Cut leeks in small (1/2″) pieces.  Use 3-4 large leeks.  Discard the rough external pieces.  Saute in the butter and bacon. Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.  Put the bouquet garni in the pot and saute it.  Add 5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock.

Simmer for about 15 minutes with the bouquet garni releasing a wonderful fragrance.  Then take 2 pounds of potatoes, peel and slice into home fry size pieces.  Cut in fours after that, and then toss them into the mix.  Let simmer again for about 1/2 hour.

Add 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons of fresh chives and 1 teaspoon each of salt and white pepper.  Add 1/2 cup of cream.  Simmer for a few more minutes.  The smell is amazing:).  Enjoy.

Ingredient list:

3-4 large leeks , 2 pounds potatoes, 5 cups stock, 1/2 cup white wine.

Bouquet garni–20 black peppercorns, 5 parsley stems, 4 fresh thyme sprigs, and 2 bay leaves.

1 teaspoon of white pepper and salt, 2 tablespoons of butter.



Red Ale

This is Eric’s new blog. We are going to enjoy the food, gardening and brew all at once:)


IMAG0210We enjoyed Red Ale, which was our first batch of beer, so much that we are making another batch of this. It is now in a primary fermenter (this beer stuff has it’s own language!) for a few more days. We are storing it in the bathtub. We can’t wait to see how this turns out. It has been very bubbly. The little airlock on top of the bucket bubbles, and this one has been like a popcorn popper. We think this will be a good batch. Here is a picture of the airlock and primary fermenter.

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Hibernian Guinness Chicken Stew

IMAG0209This recipe was created for the Hibernian Irish Pub & Restaurant in Cary, NC by Corey Millett.  I have adapted it by using a roast chicken, so I eat some one night, and make the remainder into the stew.  The roast chicken taste is yummy, and I think adds quite a bit.  Then, of course, all the herbs I use are fresh, time of year permitting.  This recipe is very nourishing and smells amazing while it is cooking, due to the richness of the stout, the Worcheshire sauce and the fresh herbs.   Sliente!

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

5 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

3 carrots, coarsely chopped

1 huge onion, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

4 garlic cloves

1 1/2teaspoons (fresh, if possible) rosemary

1 1/2 teaspoon thyme (fresh, if possible)

2 bottles stout

6 cups chicken stock

3 large potatoes (chopped into 1/2″ cubes)

2 pounds cooked chicken (roast chicken tastes great)

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 pound button mushrooms, quartered

Heat oil in stockpot.  Add celery, carrots, onions, 2 tablespoons salt, and 1 tablespoons black  pepper.  Sweat vegetables for 10 minutes.  Add garlic, rosemary and thyme. Saute 1-2 minutes.

Add stout.  Cook 10 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add potato, reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Stir in chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove pot from stove and stir in mushrooms. Add in parsley.

Sorry for the long absence

Since I’ve posted, I’ve switched jobs, changed my last name, got engaged to a wonderful man.  I also don’t tend to post as much when the garden is not giving me inspiration. Tonight I am going to make a wonderful recipe, and will take pictures of it.  I hope to be back in the spirit of this blog and to enhance it.

The garden is in.  However, it has not been sunny, and the weeds are going crazy.  I hope that the rain will dry out.  I am also SO ready for some asparagus–and it is late.