A few days after Christmas, Photojojo hosted a photo safari with a food theme. Naturally, I was sooo there. Cathy of NEOINY emailed me the day before to see if I could bring a dish to shoot & share. I had just been to Fairway Market and purchased some amazingly large leeks and lovely russet potatoes, so I decided to make a double batch of soup. I used a modified version of a recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I also made croutons with black pepper and truffle oil and chopped chives for garnish.
The event was a big hit. There were a ton of really great people, amazing food and brilliant demos of everything from pie making to beverage mixology. Here's the crowd gathered around Mark of Whisk & Ladle Supper Club:
My soup was styled by a professional food stylist who works on television & film food shoots. It looked beautiful. Once the soup had been set up and shot, I headed back to the kitchen area and started serving. Each person got a scoop of soup, a sprinkle of chives and a small chunk of crouton. I have to admit, I love to serve and chat with people about food. Especially young, handsome men who seem extremely interested in the soup-making technique and who help me collect the used dishes and get them rewashed and back into service. I think this particular young man was part of a set, and by set, I mean twins. A two-fer. Cute.
After all the demos were over and the crowd was happily buzzing, photographers were invited to upload their favorite pic and a slideshow was set-up. Guests were invited to vote for their favorite shot. Turns out that yours truly won 3rd place. Here's the winning shot:
Here's the adapted recipe (I doubled it to feed a crowd, this is the smaller version, makes about a gallon.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and sliced, white & light green parts only
4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
salt & ground white pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream (more to taste)
Chives, diced fine
Heat olive oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add leeks and saute until beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Add potatoes, 8 cups of water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Puree with a hand blender in the pot or in batches in a blender. Be careful blending hot liquids. Add heavy cream and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve with diced chives.
I used small baguette slices, but any bread chunks should work. Toss with olive oil and ground black pepper. Toast on a baking sheet at about 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle frugally with truffle oil. You can add a dash of truffle oil to the top of the soup as well.