When I was a kid, I wanted to be a cookbook writer. No lie. I know I’ve told this story before, of how I learned to read with a stack of cookbooks, and have had a few (or more) beside my bed ever since. And how my heroes were Elizabeth Baird and Lucy Waverman and Rose Murray and Jean Paré – all of whom were Canadian home cooks bringing good food to the masses, pre-Food Network and interwebs.
Times have changed… recipes are rarely clipped out of the newspaper anymore, but more of us (so many!) are writing and sharing them. They’re emailed/pinned/liked rather than written on cards to pass along, which is perfectly okay, but I admit I’m a little nostalgic about it. What’s the future of cookbooks? When Elizabeth Baird wrote her first back in 1974, 6 cookbooks were published that year. SIX. These days there are so many, and they’re all beautiful. I can’t keep up. And here I am working on another, which is completely amazing and yet seems a little ridiculous to be writing about something and knowing it won’t work its way through to the masses for a year. Anyway.
I have plans here, as soon as this book is submitted and we go to Vegas for a couple days to celebrate next week (which was also a last-minute Christmas gift for Mike) – and I really can hardly wait to get started, or at least focused, on it. Doing renos here are tougher than on your own house (not that I’ve managed either), I swear. But my plan is this: to make this site more of a recipe resource, with a focus on searchability and a few surprises, sort of a cookbook-in-the-works for forever.
What do you think? It’s all about you, you know.
Meanwhile, I’m hammering out an old-school manuscript in 12 point Times font, double-spaced, due in a little over a week. As a result, most of what we’re eating around here are tests made to chip away at the list, or crackers and cheese for dinner. And then there was this soup – a Lynn Crawford formula so simple it barely needs description. What it needs are comfy slippers and stretchy jeans and a couch.
This is a fairly basic soup recipe, similar to one I used to make quite often with sausage in it, but it comes via the awesome Lynn Crawford.
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 leek, chopped (white and pale green part only)
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 lb russet or thin-skinned yellow potatoes, diced
Salt and pepper
4 cups (1 L) chicken stock
1 cup heavy (whipping) or 18% coffee cream
1 cup grated old cheddar
In a medium pot, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, leek, carrots, celery and potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or so, until the veggies are beginning to brown. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. With a hand-held immersion blender, purée about half of the soup, right in the pot, until smooth. (Alternatively scoop some out and puree it in the blender, then return it to the pot.)
Stir in the cream and heat through, then stir in the cheddar and remove the pot from the heat. Stir until the cheese melts, then serve hot. Serves 4.