It’s been so cool and rainy out that a nice hot bowl of soup and chunk of homemade bread sounded perfect.



I’d say that both of these recipes were pretty big successes, though there are definitely tweaks Gastronomike and I want to make for next time.

The bread (with a few modifications) is from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (where they also have a really good photo tutorial).  I’m sort of embarrassed to say that despite the supposed ease with which you can whip up bread from this site, we (shhh) used dough we bought from our local supermarket.  Alas.  Next time we make this bread we want to cut down on the parmesan and substitute mozzarella for the main cheese.  We’ll also wilt the chard in a dry skillet and use just the tiniest amount of oil possible to saute the garlic.  The reason is that our bread was a little soggy in the middle, the result of spreading oil from the saute pan across the dough when we rolled it.  But it was really good and I’m looking forward to making it again.  It was really nice to have warm bread at the table with dinner.

Chard-Parmesan Bread

  • 1 1/2 pound dough
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 large leaves,  washed, stems removed, chopped (we could have used a lot more)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, loosely packed

Saute the garlic over medium low heat in the olive oil until it is soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the chard and cook until wilted, about another 2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Take the dough and roll it to a 1/4-inch thick rectangle, using plenty of flour so the dough won’t stick to your hands, the Rolling Pin or the work surface.

Spread the garlic chard mixture over the surface.

Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of the Parmesan cheese over the chard and roll the dough up, starting at the short end of the the dough.

Allow it to rest in a well greased non-stick 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch Loaf Pan, loosely covered with plastic wrap for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 45 minutes or until well set and a deep caramel brown color.

Potato Leek Soup

Now you may or may not know how much I love a good potato soup… but I really love a good potato soup.  And this one is now one of my very favorites.  It’s quite brothy without feeling too thin, and the white pepper burns the throat ever-so-slightly on the way down.  I’ll modify some things for next time: I’ll chop the bacon MUCH smaller (though I probably won’t use less), and I’ll be very careful about salting.  This batch was on the verge of being too salty, which I think was a combination of the fact I used much more bacon than the recipe called for and also used cooking wine (which is salted), rather than regular wine.

On the whole, though, absolutely wonderful, from Emeril Lagasse.

  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, about 1 pound (ahem, we used 3 super-small leeks, harvested from our garden)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped (oh dear, I forgot to defrost the bacon, which turned into an excuse to use 6 strips)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives (harvested from our garden!)

Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.)

Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.

Remove the bouquet garni and, roughly mash the potatoes in the pot to the consistency you like.   Stir in the cream and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.