Wednesday, October 23, 2013


An ancient red leather journal is among my prized possessions.  It is a wealth of information regarding my cooking history, full of successful menus and handwritten recipes complete with soup-dappled pages and lists of dinner guests.  I call it my Kitchen Diary.  Some years I am very diligent about entries and at other times, as lazy as lazy can be.  I am faithful to include the date and usually a quip about the reason for the recipe.  I am not the type of cook who dreams up new and different but I do like a record of those items where writing it down keeps the product somewhat consistent.  One of the best things is the writing down of what book a new recipe comes from because the passage of time and an expanding cookbook shelf wreck havoc with even the best of culinary memories.

Among the notes are records of who I cooked soup for and the descriptive titles with enough historical tidbits to jog my memory of cooking on that certain day.   
         "First Soup of Fall 09-07-04"                                    "Suit Shopping Soup 12-05-04"  
         "Home Alone Vegetable Soup 10-23-05"                 "Chili for 86 Degree 09-09-06"
                   "Steak and Veggie Soup Ya Ya Stitcherhood Christmas Party 09-09-08"
                                          "Winter Storm Warning Chili 01-29-10" 

This entry in the diary was my attempt to finally get a little something put back for Burt, while I lived it up in Lobster Land with my cousins.  As I like to say, someone had to eat seafood for nine days.  But the least I could do was leave a nice pot of potato soup in the fridge.  After all, it was only lacking a nice piece of haddock or a couple of handfuls of clams or a dozen scallops or several nice chunks of lobster and it would almost be like being in Maine.

I would have posted this earlier but I left my exact recipe at home.  Whenever I make this soup, I think of my Grandmama and the big pot of potato soup she fixed me when I was a little girl, recuperating from double pneumonia.  I think it is a comforting and curative food.  Enjoy!

6-8 potatoes, peeled, cubed in small cubes
3 ribs celery, sliced lengthwise and chopped well
1 onion, diced well                            
4 tablespoons butter
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups skim milk
1 cup Fat Free Half&Half
1/2 sour cream
1 1/2  cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup potato water
salt and pepper
splash of sherry
a few drops of Tabasco

Cook cubed potatoes in 4 quart pan, salt and pepper, on a slow boil. 

In another pan, add chopped celery and chopped onion along with 4 tablespoons of butter, a little salt and pepper and cook on medium low, until soft.  Turn off and let them rest.

Microwave the bacon and reserve cooked, crumbled pieces.

When the potatoes are just done, drain potatoes, RESERVING ONE CUP POTATO LIQUID.

Return the cooked, cubed potatoes to the 4 quart pan.  Add 1 cup potato liquid.  Add 2 cups skim milk and 1 cup Fat Free Half and Half.  Turn the stove on low-medium to reheat slowly.  Easy to burn the bottom at this point.  Add a good splash of sherry and four or five shakes of Tabasco.  Basically, you just want the essence of elegant and kicky.  Add cooked vegetables, scraping any leftover melted butter into the potato soup.  Stir.

When the potatoes are soft but not mushy, use a potato masher or Immersion Blender to mash the potatoes, slightly.

At this point, add 1 cup of shredded Cheddar Cheese to the pot and stir. Taste and salt and pepper as needed.

In three little bowls, place crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese and sour cream.  To serve, dish out soup at the stove and add a dollop of sour cream, sprinkle of cheese and top with crumbled bacon.  Bring those condiments to the table where people can add more if they wish. 

I usually cook with skim milk.  However, this particular recipe I always
use whole milk but I forgot because I was busy getting ready to leave town.  I used what I had and I was very pleased with the creamy consistency.  I did purchase lite sour cream and the Fat Free Half and Half.  The Fat Free H&H tasted delicious but the lite sour cream was too clumpy when added to the soup.  Someone suggested yogurt which I may try next time.



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