Tuesday, August 24, 2010

As Vichyssoise Season Winds Down

We nearly screamed for ice cream last Friday at the ice cream social held at Annabelle's school. Five hundred families trying to squeeze into the grade school cafeteria, all for a dollop of ice cream. Mind-numbing. I have a better idea for a fund-raiser: Parents pay $2.00 a head in exchange for not having to go to the ice cream social. Ha, ha. The parents could even buy insurance, to protect against ever having to attend another school ice cream social again.

Last Saturday, we took Cheri to Young's pool for something called the Pooch Plunge. The pool was opened to dogs from 9:00 to 11:00 am. We saw dogs paddling, splashing, swimming with tennis balls in their mouths. One dog jumped off the low diving board and went ker-splash right into the water! Not our Cheri. She huddled next to the fence, as far away from the water and the other dogs as she could get. She wasn't having any of it. The only time she goes into the water is if we go in first. But no humans are allowed in the Pooch Plunge. So doggie no budgee. We finally gave up and took her for a walk in the park nearby.

On Sunday, Lilah and I were looking for something to do, and we decided to go to the library to look for cookbooks, so we could try a new recipe together. While we were browsing I said, "Hey, why don't we make vichyssoise?" Lilah has been trying to get me to take her to Cafe Provence, saying that their vichyssoise, which she loves, is only served in the summertime. My low-budget idea was that we try to make our own. So we checked out a book called "Glorious French Food: A fresh approach to the classics." We drove straight from the library to the store to pick up the ingredients: leeks, potatoes, chicken broth, chives and heavy cream.

Preparing the leeks was the hard part. We couldn't figure out how to cut them from reading the instructions in the book, so we watched a demonstration on YouTube. The leeks made our eyes water and sting as bad or worse than onions. I chewed a piece of bread as I sliced them, which is supposed to help, and stuck tissues inside my glasses. Between the tissues and my teary eyes, I could barely see what I was doing.

We didn't have 6 hours to let the soup cool, so we had to use the speed-chill method, which meant putting the soup pot in a big bowl of ice water, and stirring it every few minutes , to keep it from forming a skin. You don't want skin on your vichyssoise!


  1. first off, i applaud you for being able to spell "vishy-shwosh." second, did you soak the leeks or whatever u are supposed to do to get dirt out of them? this is why i avoid leeks - too labor intensive. and third, i saw a thing on food network that it is a gas emitted by the onion that makes you cry and if you cut them next to a lighted candle it will help. i have tried it and it seems to work better than just not breathing through my nose, humming while hopping on one foot, or cutting them with my eyes closed, which can be tricky.

    what's next for you - - borscht?

  2. Yeah, Lilah washed the leeks first and got all the dirt out. Leeks ARE labor intensive. I read that in France leeks are very inexpensive and people cook with them all the time. It took us a good hour to deal with those leeks!

    I will try that candle trick, by god. I agree that cutting onions with eyes closed isn't such a hot idea. It always ends badly for me.

  3. maybe you could just use big fat green onions instead? but...anything with heavy cream sounds yummy! it's good to cultivate your daughter's interest in cooking. maybe she will be taking over the dinner prep chores soon!

  4. p.s....just read your line about horseradish. remember how dad loved it? he was ahead of his time...or a fish out of water in western kansas, not sure which.

  5. suzanne, former pta prez, for a new york minuteAugust 25, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    pps....once, when i was prez of pta at the middle school (boy, was that a mistake,,but i digress) we did a "stay at home" fundraiser. yep...we'll let you stay at home,not deal with any sales crap, just send a check. worked great!!

  6. Wow --Prez of the Middle School PTA! Even if it really was for a New York minute, I'm impressed. LOVE the idea of the stay-at-home fundraiser. Was that your idea?

    I do remember Dad's fondness for horseradish. I was bummed, because the same book where I got that quote said that people with hypothyroidism shouldn't eat horseradish. Well hell!

  7. well, my goodness, do you have hypothyroidism?? if so, this is something i did not know about you, sis!

  8. Yes. In 1996 we started talking about having kids, and so I had a bunch of blood work done, and that's when they discovered it. I have to take a thyroid pill every day and get my levels checked periodically.

  9. what?? oh my. i had no idea.