Monthly Archives: September 2012

African Violets

At first I thought there might be something wrong with it, but I realized it was just having a hard time deciding whether to be white or blue-purple.

If you are the kind of person who believes they don’t have a green thumb, I encourage you to try African violets. All they need is some sunshine (windowsills are good places) and water a couple times a week. Sit the pots in a dish or other shallow container, fill that with water, and the plant will “drink” from there.

Happy plants. They grow indoors year-round, and the dog hasn’t even tried to eat one. Yet.



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Peach cobbler, again

Again¬†(and again)¬†because it is peach season, and it is one of the best things I can make. Though actually, I didn’t even make it this time; I just bought the peaches at the farmers’ market, et voila, they were transformed into cobbler! (Best roommate/future husband ever? Check.)

Pretty bowls courtesy of the grandparents (cleaning out their kitchen in preparation for moving house).

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Potato Leek Soup

I was sure I’d posted this recipe before, but I searched and couldn’t find it. This one took a while to get right, but I made batch after batch after returning from a trip to Ireland a few years ago, and now I have a pretty good version.

4 large potatoes
3-4 leeks (or 2 enormous leeks, such as the ones I purchased yesterday, each roughly the size of my lower arm), white parts only (though you can add the green tops to the broth to increase the flavor)
3 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
chopped fresh chives (anywhere from 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp dried dill
salt and pepper to taste
butter or olive oil
1 cup half-and-half (or, for a dairy-free soup, an extra cup of broth)


1. Scrub the potatoes, and skin or cut out any eyes or bruises. You can peel the potatoes if you like, but I usually leave most of the peel on. Chop the potatoes into half-inch (ish) pieces. Rinse the leeks carefully (there’s usually dirt in there) and chop the white parts; save the tops for the broth.

2. In a large soup pot, heat 3 cups broth and 3 cups water. Add the bay leaf and the chopped potatoes and let them cook while you…

3. Melt butter (or warm olive oil) in a medium pot, then add leeks and cook until they have softened. Add dried dill, chives, salt, and pepper.

4. Add contents of the leek pot to the potato-and-broth pot. Put 1/4 cup water in the empty leek pot, swish it around, then pour it into the large soup pot (this will capture any remaining butter/herbs/leeks for your soup). Once the potatoes are cooked through, remove from heat. Also remove bay leaf.

5. Once the soup has cooled slightly, add the half-and-half. At this point you can stir and serve, but I always prefer to blend this soup. If you have an immersion blender, just plug it in and blend the soup right in the pot; you can also blend the soup in batches in a regular blender or food processor.

6. Serve hot (or cold, it’s actually not bad cold) with some brown bread. It will keep for days in the fridge, and it freezes well too.



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