Potage Parmentier ala Julia Child (Potato and Onion or Leek Soup)

December 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

It has been numbing to walk outside in San Diego. Thus, it has been a soup week for me.  A while ago I discovered the most simple potato soup recipe in my friend The French Chef Cookbook  by Julia Child. I think this recipe is as simple as it gets for French Cooking.  Today was the perfect day to try it.

For 6 – 8 Servings you’ll need:

  • 3 to 4 cups (sliced or diced) peeled potatoes – it ‘s about 2 medium Russet Potatoes; on sale at Sprouts for $0.50 per lb.
  • 3 Cups of thinly sliced leeks or yellow onions – it is about 1 1/2 small onions; on sale at Sprouts $0.50 per lb., leeks are more expensive at $1.99 per lb.
  • 2 Quarts (8 Cups) of Water
  • 1 TBSP of Salt
  • 1/3 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 2-3 TBSP of Butter
  • Bacon (optional) – $2.51 for 6 slices at Sprouts or buy in single slices from Butcher Shop at Vons.

In a 3 to 4 quart sauce span – simmer the vegetables, water, and salt together partially covered for 40 to 50 Minutes until the vegetables are tender. Once the vegetables are soft, either blend in batches with a food blender or mash the potatoes and onions with a fork.  If you prefer a smooth texture, use the blender.  If you like potato chunks, go with the fork.  Season with Salt and Pepper to your taste.  Stir in the heavy cream and butter.

You’re done! Hard to believe, right?

I decided to add bacon to the soup because I wanted a rendition of the potato and bacon soup my friends and I used to have at Schlotsky’s Deli before soccer practice.  So good!

Next time, I’m going to add a touch of shredded Cheddar Cheese, Chives, and a small scoop of sour cream for a baked potato soup.  I’ll let you know how it is!

All together, this soup required 10 minutes of actual effort and cost about $3.00 for 6-8 servings. Image


Tom Kah Soup

November 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

My friend introduced me to Thai food when I was a little fish in High School. We went to this awesome restaurant Spice n Rice in La Jolla, CA which continues to live on the quaint block of Girard Avenue after 13 + years.  Hands down, they have one of the best Tom Kah Soups I have ever had.

When I lived at home during Summers between college school years, I wanted to make this soup, but thought it was too complicated with ingredients such as lemongrass, coconut milk, and fish sauce.  Being a newbie, I seriously had no idea where to even find those items.

Well, the cold weather that San Diegans are experiencing persuaded me to take another look at the recipe, knowing that I would most likely have a different opinion about the level of difficulty.  Since I have been cooking and grocery shopping after permanently moving out of the nest, the ingredients for Tom Kah soup failed to intimdate me into making this wonderful concoction.

I Googled “Tom Kah Soup” and found the most simple recipes.  It has so many variations – some call for brown sugar. Others call for chili paste over serrano chilis. I know this soup requires Fish Sauce, but that is the one ingredient I left out because I really did not want to drive 25 minutes to get a fish sauce that I would probably use once a year.

So here are the ingredients I used:


  • 1 1/2 Can of Coconut Milk – $1.50 at Sprouts
  • 32 Oz of Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth -$1.50 (on sale at Sprouts) or $2.00 at Trader Joe’s

Greens, Veggies, Fruit, and Herbs:

  • 3 Stalks of Lemongrass $5.99/lb
  • 1 Onion $0.69/lb
  • 1 Small Piece of Ginger (Subsitutes for Galangal, a type of ginger)
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro – $0.49
  • 1 Lime – $0.20
  • Serrano Chilis $0.99/lb (how many you use depends on how spicy you would like it. I used 2 and it was a medium+ spice).
  • 1 Medium Carrot
  • I Medium Broccoli Crown
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper


  • Watch this Video on how to Prepare Lemongrass: 
  • Slice the Onions and Serrano Chillies. Slice the carrot or use baby carrots. Chop the Bell Pepper into medium sized Chunks. Slice the ginger. To peel the ginger skin, use a spoon and scrape the outside layer.

After the Prep:

  1. Bring Stock to a boil. Once boiled, throw in Lemongrass, Ginger, and Lime Juice from 1/2 Lime (some use Lime zest and save the juice for later). Bring the heat to medium low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Make sure to keep a lid on the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, if you decide to use chicken, brown the chicken breast or thigh chunks in a separate pan on medium high heat.
  3. After 10 minutes, pour in 1 can of coconut milk. Mix in the onions and Serranos and simmer for another 5 minutes (If the soup is clear, use more coconut milk.  I had left over light coconut milk, and had to use about 1/4 can of regular coconut milk. You want to make sure that it looks more like coconut milk than stock).
  4. Finally, throw in the vegetables and chicken. Season with salt. The soup is ready once the veggies are soft.

Garnish with Cilantro. Finish it with Siracha or Chili Oil and a drizzle of Lime Juice.  Enjoy!

Tis is an adaptation from the recipe I found on http://www.fortheloveoffoodblog.com/2012/05/tom-kha-soup.html.

There are so many versions, as I mentioned, and different ways of cooking Tom Kah. Use this one, or Google it to find a version that sounds yummy to you. Overall, the ingredients cost about $7.00 for 4-6 Servings.

Beouf Bourguignon (Not Quite Julia Child – But Still Delicious)

October 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

I have always had an impression that Stew was a pain to make.  However, the rain and cold weather finally motivated me to dive into cooking one of my all time favorites. I just love the warm flavor – texture of softened baby carrots, potatoes, and tender chunks of beef. Pair it with a glass of red wine, and my stomach is a happy camper.

Stew just takes a long time.  If you cook it exactly as Julia Child would, it will be even longer, since her directions are very detailed. If you’ve watched Julia & Julia, you know what I mean. However, after excluding some of Julia Child’s steps in her recipe (i.e. Lardons aka Bacon)  – turns out Stew is one of the easiest dishes to make.

Ingredients for 4 Servings:

– 1 1/3 lb of Beef (Rump or Chuck): All Natural Available between $5.00-$6.00 at Sprouts Farmers market.

– Beef Stock: All Natural Also Available at Sprouts for $2.00/32 Oz – On Sale

– Potatoes: $0.69/lb +/- at Sprouts (I like Yukon Gold) – You’ll need about 3-4.

-A Bag of Organic Baby Carrots: $1.50/bag at Sprouts Farmers Market

– Red Wine: You can use old wine that has been stored in Fridge, or I used Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon @ $2.00/bottle.

-1 Whole Onion

– Butter, Salt, Pepper


1. Cube Beef Rump or Chuck. Cube the Potatoes. Quart the Onion.

2. Heat Butter (about 2 Tbsp) on Medium High Heat in a pan. Once the pan is heated, brown the Beef chunks until all the pink disappears.

3. Put the Browned Beef in a deep pot with carrots, onions, and potatoes and turn heat onto medium.  Cook for about 5 Minutes.

4. While the Beef & Veggies are cooking – pour 1 +/- cup of red wine into the pan that cooked the beef. Make sure the pan is still left on Medium High Heat.  Turn off the heat once the wine is poured, and this will create a glaze or as I understand it, a red wine reduction. Pour the reduction into the pot with Beef & Veggies.

5. Pour the Beef Stock until it barely covers the Beef & Veggies. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Put a lid on it, and let it cook for 2 Hours. I checked on it ever 30 min. Add beef stock if needed. But for a thicker stew, it’s fine if left alone.

After 2 Hours (I couldn’t help myself after 1.5hrs) the beef should be tender and the veggies should be soft, which means it’s ready to eat!

Stay Warm This Fall & Winter Season 🙂


Chile Verde Soup

November 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

My boyfriend was a Chef at a restaurant that had this amazing chile verde soup.  It tasted calming, yet spicy enough to warm your body and make your nose drip. They would have variations of it.  Sometimes it would be with chile rojo with hominy and pulled chicken. Other times it would have more cilantro. Regardless, it is one of my favorite soups. Here is the recipe with my own take on it (actually, it is his take).


  1. Chicken Broth: 3-4 Cans
  2. 1/2 Cup Cilantro or 1/2 bunch of Cilantro
  3. Garlic – 3 Cloves
  4. Serrano or Jalepeno Chile depending on your spice tolerance
  5. 1/2 Large Yellow Onion or 1 Small Yellow Onion
  6. 1/2-1 Green or Red Bell Pepper
  7. +/- 1 Cup of Carrots – I usually use more because I love the soft carrot texture and taste.
  8. +/- 1 Cup of Broccoli florets; I’ll chop the stem into pieces and us it in the soup as well.
  9. Meat of Choice: Ground turkey or beef are what we usually use.


  1. Chop up onions, garlic, and bell pepper. Slice or Finely Chop 1/4-1/2 of the Serrano Chile. Saute in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 Minutes. There are two options from here:

– Option 1: Blend with chicken broth and cilantro to make it a finer  base. Make sure to blend in multiple parts, so the soup will not over flow. Furthermore, make sure to leave the lid off so the steam can come out or else it could get very messy.  If you go with this option, the turkey or beef has to be cooked separately. Remember to season with salt and pepper.

– Option 2: Add the ground turkey and make it a chunkier soup.

Either way will be delicious.

After the broth and turkey have been combined, add the carrots and broccoli florets. Bring the soup to a boil then to a simmer. Let it cook for another 25 Minutes before serving.

Pair this soup with quesadilla, fresh corn tortilla or chips.

Estimated Time: 30 Minutes

Estimated Cost Breakdown:

  1. Chicken Broth at $1.00/can – $4.00
  2. Broccoli Crown $0.80
  3. 1-2 large carrot sticks $0.50
  4. Cilantro $0.50 a Bunch – $0.25 for half
  5. Bell Pepper $1.00 Each
  6. Serrano or Jalepeno Chile $0.10
  7. 1 lb Ground Turkey* or Beef $3.00         *Ground Turkey is more expensive, but grocery stores will have it for less than $2.00 if it is a quick sale.

Total Estimated Cost: $10.00 – 4 Servings (Bowl) is $2.50/Serving

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