Posted by Stephanie Meyer on May 29, 2007 at 9:11pm

A confused (clouds-sunshine-rain…decide already!) and muggy day turned into a lovely evening, which I spent on our screened porch under the twinkling white lights and paper lanterns I strung up today. I am on quite the house project bender these days, sort of late-spring cleaning, I guess. Happens to me every year, as soon as I start planting flowers and pots of herbs. The satisfaction in the beautifying of my external space apparently inspires me to polish off all sorts of projects.

We’re lucky to have a screened porch, but with bits and pieces of hand-me-down furniture it’s never been as comfortable and inviting as it should be. I finally invested in a comfy sofa, and some new cushions, and strung up the lights, and it’s all coming together nicely. It’s a lovely spot for a warm night’s cozy, romantic (bug-free!) dinner, perhaps a creamy-zesty cold soup, such as Potage Aurore, from my new-old (c. 1979) Perla Meyers’ cookbook, From Market to Kitchen (recipe posted in comments, below), with crusty bread, cold white wine to sip, and ripe peaches or berries for dessert.

No soup, but a nice salad tonight – I chopped up the leftover grilled shrimp, stirred in lemon juice, pickle relish, a bit of mayo, and salt and pepper and piled it on top of greens and chopped red bell pepper tossed with lots of fresh dill (yum, I’m having a dill thing right now, can’t get enough of it) and a drizzle of mustard vinaigrette. Light yet satisfying on a warm night.

And now, at 9:15 p.m., it is time for a shower. I am literally filthy from planting flowers today, sweaty from hanging those lights, and slightly sunburned from not taking the sun peaking through the cloud-rain-cloud-sun combo seriously enough. Time for a rinse with Agraria lavender bath gel, clean jammies, and a good night’s sleep. G’night!

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  1. By Stephanie on May 30, 2007 at 8:45AM

    Potage Aurore (Chilled Creamy Tomato-Leek Soup)
    Adapted from From Market to Kitchen by Perla Meyers
    Serves 6

    A delicious creamy-zesty soup; a sort-of vichyssoise with a kick.

    4 Tbsp. butter
    1 Tbsp. olive oil
    4 large leeks, well rinsed and thinly sliced
    3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
    salt and freshly ground pepper
    3 cans chicken broth
    2 Tbsp. minced shallots
    3 large ripe tomatoes, seeded, and chopped
    1 Tbsp. tomato paste (the paste you buy in a tube is handy for recipes like this, keeps well in the fridge)
    1 medium (or 2 small) clove garlic, peeled and crushed or very finely minced
    ¾ c. heavy cream
    cayenne pepper

    Garnish: 3 Tbsp. minced fresh chives

    In a Dutch oven heat 2 Tbsp. of butter and olive oil, then add the leeks and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and toss the mixture in the butter for 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter in a small, heavy skillet. Add the shallots, tomatoes, and tomato paste and cook the mixture over high heat until it is thick and the tomato water has evaporated. Remove from heat, stir in the garlic, season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.

    Uncover the leek-potato broth and cool to room temperature. Puree in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot. Add the tomato-shallot mixture and cream and whisk until well blended. Season with a dash of cayenne pepper, taste, and correct seasoning. Chill for 2-4 hours before serving. Just before serving sprinkle with chives and serve accompanied by crusty French bread and a bowl of sweet butter.