One kid's adventures in gastronomy


It’s an Acquired Taste

Not everyone enjoys curry, but I do. Mama cooks her version of Indian food, and she and Papa once took me out for Indian. But I’ve found I really like it in a soup. Mama made a soup that she packed up for the freezer, and it never even made it there. Just look at me devouring it:

I pulled my chair over to the counter and dived right in. The soup wasn’t even warm, but I couldn’t stop eating it.

Mama tells me that even though curry comes in a spice jar, it isn’t actually a spice that grows as curry. It’s a blend of different ingredients, and people all over India and other parts of Asia have their own way of making it, as it is passed down from generation to generation. Some blends are hot, some are sweet. Some are orange, some are yellow, and some are green. Sometimes the whole spices (such as coriander and cumin) are toasted in a dry pan to enhance their flavor before they are ground into a powder.

We don’t make our own curry, but we could. And maybe we will! What I like about the idea of making a curry powder, is that we can’t really go wrong. We’ll add a little of this and a lot of that until we like the taste we’ve developed. Here are some individual spices that could go into a curry:

  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Mustard
  • Garlic
  • Fenugreek
  • Fennel seed
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Red chili
  • Poppy seeds

Alas, I cannot give you the soup recipe, but Mama said that in addition to curry, it had turmeric and some cayenne, along with red lentils (because they cook quicker), onion, carrots, fresh lime juice, and cilantro. She cooked them in a pot, and once the lentils and vegetables were soft, she pureed it. The soup was creamy a flavorful, but not overly pungent. And I really liked the color.

I ate this soup for dinner and again for lunch the next day (out of a bowl, sitting at the table). And you know I’m not a big fan of leftovers. If anyone makes their own curry, please feel free to post your recipe here, as I’d sure like to try it.

Love, Jude


It all started with vichyssoise…

…the idea for this blog, that is

At the market today, Mama spied some “beautiful leeks” and thought about what she could make with them. “I’m feeling uninspired today,” she sighed as she pushed the cart among the produce bins. Then she mumbled something about organic potatoes, plopped a bag of them in our cart, and an idea was born.

I haven’t been partial to potatoes. Garlicky, buttery, salty, fried, or even cooked in a pot pie… I just haven’t taken to them. Mama started me on locally grown, organic, mashed fingerlings last summer. This was before she read that you shouldn’t give young babies potatoes because they belong to the nightshade family. Or something like that. Perhaps my finickiness was a self-preservation technique. Not the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last, I’m sure.

So what made Mama think I’d like vichyssoise, or potato-leek soup, is beyond me. But made it she did. She showed me how to trim the leeks, using just the white and light green parts, then run them under the tap to rinse out any sand.

These leeks sure are dirty.

These leeks sure are dirty.

Then she sliced them into little half-moons (moon is one of the words I know!)…

The leeks don't have to be sliced too-too thinly. Stop when you get to the very green part.

The leeks don’t have to be sliced too-too thinly. Stop when you get to the very green part.

…and sautéed them in butter until they were soft, but not browned. She was adamant that they not brown, but still, some of them did.

Try to keep any color out of the leeks by gently sweating them.

Try to keep any color out of the leeks by gently sweating them.

So she deglazed the pot with homemade vegetable stock and scraped up any brown bits from the bottom. Once the stock was brought to a boil, she added the peeled and chopped potatoes and simmered them until they were soft. Then she took out a silly tool—a handheld blender! She whirred it through the soup, pureeing the vegetables until they were silky smooth. Some salt, pepper, and heavy cream to finish, and the soup was done.

Don't be intimidated. Mama made a quadruple batch for a soup swap. Doesn't it look silky?

Don’t be intimidated. Mama made a quadruple batch for a soup swap. Doesn’t it look silky?

Though vichyssoise is traditionally eaten cold, it is the middle of winter after all. Mama served it to me warm, and she let me sit at the table, instead of in my high chair. Papa supervised, since I’m sort of all thumbs with a spoon. The soup was delicious. Creamy, and slightly oniony, and even a bit potato-y, it was velvety and soft, like new fleece pajamas. I had two bowls, and Mama showed me how to sop up the last bits with a piece of bread. Yes, please!

Mama posted this photo on Facebook, to show what a big boy I’ve become, and a friend suggested I start a blog. Mama’s never been very keen on blogs, but she agreed to help me out (see above re: “all thumbs”). I hope you enjoy what’s to come…as I most surely will not! I’m a baby, and it’s my prerogative to not eat whatever is placed before me.

Love, Jude

Not only am I enjoying my first bites of vichyssoise, but I’m feeding myself with a spoon while sitting at the table. Such a big boy!

Vichyssoise (and yes, do pronounce the last “s”)

1 leek, rinsed and thinly sliced (use just the white portion for a “purer” soup)
1 Tbsp butter
1 qt veg or chicken stock
1 lb potatoes, peeled and rough chopped
1 c heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste (use white for a “purer” look)
Garnish with chopped chives, if desired

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, sweat the leeks in the butter over medium heat until soft, stirring occasionally so as not to brown them. Deglaze the pot with the stock. Bring to a boil, add the potatoes, reduce heat, and simmer until the potatoes are soft. Puree in the pot with an imersion blender (or carefully in a blender) until smooth. Add the cream and seasonings. Serve cold or hot.

To make a more traditional vichyssoise (Mama’s vegetarian), omit the butter and cook a couple strips of bacon, cut into pieces, or lardons, with kitchen shears. Once fat has been rendered from the bacon, remove the bacon and cook the leeks in the fat. Crumble the bacon for garnish.

Yield: About 1½ quarts