Irish Amy’s Potato Leek Soup

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling Irish Amy’s Potato Leek Soup Soup and Salad My mom’s nickname was “Irish.” Her father was Emerson Carey, how much more Irish is that? She told us she was 95% Irish and 5% Scottish, and I know her favorite holiday was St. Patrick’s Day. When I learned Ireland has a deal where you can obtain dual citizenship and move there if your grandparents were from Ireland, I looked into it. Imagine how disappointed I was to learn that my grandparents were born in Kansas. No Irish retirement for us. Anyway, my mom made the best potato leek soup … warm, velvety, creamy. This may even have been the recipe that cinched the deal with my … Read more…

Mushroom Leek Gruyère Soup with Puff Pastry Top

Chase The Winter Chill Away Soup Mushroom Leek Gruyère Soup with Puff Pastry Top Soup and Salad As soon as the calendar said it was winter, Tom started begging me to make soup. Mushroom Leek Gruyère Soup is a recipe I haven’t made in some time, but it is a yummy, hardy, delicious, chase the winter chill away soup. Plus, it is just as good with or without the puff pastry top. I found this recipe in a 2001 Holiday Cooking magazine, and I pretty much make the recipe as indicated. The recipe does not specify which type of mushroom to use, but we like Cremini mushrooms which are brown and have a slightly nutty flavor. Buy your mushrooms whole, … Read more…

Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque with Star Anise

“Deliciously Decadent” Soup Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque with Star Anise Soup In Tom’s prior life (the one where he earned money … I miss those days), he wrote for a number of magazines. Every January, one of the associations he worked with held what could only be called an extravaganza. In the beginning they were formal affairs, but more recently they had a theme, and were held at various venues around Southern California. We have been attending these events since 1990, and I have a closet full of evening gowns to prove it! (This photo is from 2009.) And, here is a photo from the year Tom won the costume contest!  It seems like only … Yesterday. At the Dinner … Read more…

Corn and Clam Chowder

corn and clam chowder

Yell A Little Loudah For My New Favorite Chowdah! Corn and Clam Chowder Soup As the long hot summer faded away to autumn, I was looking around for inspiration when I came across this chowder recipe from Boston chef Matthew Jennings. Once I read it included bacon, corn, and jalapeño, I was in! Chef Jennings uses fresh littleneck clams in his recipe and includes instructions on steaming them (in recipe link at bottom). I took the less expensive and easier route and went with canned minced clams. After making this the first time, I felt it needed more clams and used three cans rather than the two shown in the ingredient photo. Here’s a tip for cutting the corn off … Read more…

Ania’s Polish Potato Salad

Polish Potato Salad Perfection Ania’s Polish Potato Salad Side  Our recipe is courtesy of a former co-worker, Ania, who brought this to a potluck 25 years ago.  It was one of the best potato salads I had ever tasted, but it was different from most potato salads I grew up with. This is really light on the mayo and mustard, so the vegetables and apples really shine. The first thing I noticed about Ania’s salad was how each ingredient was neatly diced.  It looked like it took hours to prepare the ingredients. Ania told me the secret is to use an egg slicer to slice the potatoes and apples evenly.  My salad does not even come close to the appearance … Read more…

Mr. C’s Creamy Coleslaw

Soup and Salad Recipes

It’s All In The Dressing Mr. C’s Creamy Coleslaw Side Here is another fabulous recipe from my late stepfather Mr. C. This dish pairs perfectly with his Grilled Flank Steak with Chile, Cinnamon, and Cumin Marinade. I wish I had more of his recipes, but this is the last one I have been able to locate. The secret ingredient in this creamy dressing is Bernstein’s Italian Salad Dressing!  Since it only calls for five tablespoons, Mr. C would frequently use the remaining Bernstein’s to marinate fish and then grill for yet another delicious dinner. Quick tip on shredding the cabbage: Remove any wilted outer leaves. Cut the cabbage head in quarters and remove the tough white core. Separate the remaining … Read more…

Cream of Celery Root and Fennel Soup

Soup’s On! Cream of Celery Root and Fennel Soup Soup & Salad After a whirlwind 2019 trip to Montreal and Quebec City (Tom is finally back at the computer after knee replacement surgery and will resume the trip report this week), where a chilly autumn had arrived early (33°F in the mornings in Quebec, brrrr!), we were in the mood for soup. Besides enjoying the brilliant red leaves of the Sugar Maple trees and the crisp (who am I kidding, it was COLD) weather, we ate lots of delicious soups.  From a sublime cream of celery and fennel soup to a deconstructed French onion soup (called Cappuccino onion soup as it is topped with an emulsified foam instead of cheese), … Read more…

Watermelon, Feta, Mint, Arugula Summer Salad

Scrumptious Summer Salad  Watermelon, Feta, Mint, Arugula Scrumptious Summer Salad  Soup & Salad Watermelon, Feta, Mint, Arugula Salad is one of my favorite go-to salads for summer.  Recently, we fired up the BBQ and invited some friends over for grilled corn on the cob and Mr. C’s Flank Steak.  To round out the meal, I made this refreshing salad with my absolute favorite salad dressing. I discovered this dressing when I first started dating Tom, so easy and versatile (the dressing, not Tom). It’s made with a package of Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing (yes, in a box) dressed up with good quality olive oil and balsamic.  Occasionally, depending on what I am serving, I use flavored balsamic and olive … Read more…

Ham, Cheese & Potato Soup

Amy’s Soup Ham, Cheese & Potato Soup Soup & Salad As some of you may know, I lost my mom earlier this year.  A few days after Christmas, she had a heart attack.  I flew up to take care of her and made a pot of soup with her left-over Christmas Honey Baked Ham.  Using Yukon Gold potatoes with lots of Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese it made for a comforting, make you feel better pot of soup.  We had a big, steaming bowl for my belated birthday.  (Editor’s Note: Amy had no dietary restrictions).  I made this again recently at home, hoping that it really was as delicious as I remembered.  I would have hated for my mom’s last meal … Read more…

Summer Tomato, Strawberry & Mozzarella Salad

Stupendous Summertime Salad Summer Tomato, Strawberry & Mozzarella Salad Soup & Salad In 2014, in anticipation of our 20th Anniversary trip to Paris, Tom and I took a beginning French language class at Le Petite Ecole Française. Our instructor, Caroline, who was French, was excellent and very patient with us (especially Tom).  Caroline also organizes many get-togethers and events for her students and French-speaking people in our area.  One such event which we attended was an unofficial Dîner en Blanc … a secret Dinner in White where the guests must dress entirely in white for a pop-up picnic dinner.                    From Forbes:  “Originated in Paris as a way to celebrate the French ‘art of living’ and the return of sunny … Read more…