Creamy Leek & Potato Soup + America’s Test Kitchen’s Vegetables Illustrated Cookbook Review

Cook’s Illustrated new cookbook Vegetables Illustrated is a beautifully compiled cookbook of delicious, easy to make, and crowd-pleasing recipes featuring vegetables as the star.  The cookbook reads like a reference guide with vegetables separated into individual chapters accompanied by tips, tricks, and innovative recipes that any meat lover will enjoy.

I chose the creamy leek and potato soup because I was craving something warm and comforting with the taste and colors of spring.  April in New England is a bit like Jekyll and Hyde, sunny and warm one day then raw and raining the next!  This soup did not disappoint in flavor or comfort.  The flavor of the leeks shines through while the thyme compliments its earthy flavor.  The addition of the russet potato and bread make this soup hearty without the addition of cream.  Seasoning to taste with salt and pepper is important as both bring out the flavor of the leeks.  I added a bit of Maldon sea salt flakes which is a must buy for any salt lover.  Just a sprinkle is all you need.  Serve this soup with fresh, crusty bread and you have comfort in a bowl.

Next on my list of must makes from this cookbook is the southwestern radish and apple salad, quickly followed by a carrot cake recipe that makes my mouth water every time I look at the photograph.  With four hundred and eighty-five pages of recipes, I have a lot to explore and just in time with fresh produce from farmer’s markets arriving soon.  You can purchase this cookbook here.  I highly recommend it.  Happy Spring!

I reached out to America’s Test Kitchen who sent me this cookbook for free.  All opinions are my own.

Creamy Leek and Potato Soup

Serves 4 to 6

Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated Vegetables Illustrated


2 pounds leeks, white and light green parts halved lengthwise and sliced thin, dark green parts halved and cut into 2-inch pieces, (be sure to wash all of it thoroughly)

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used chicken)

2 cups of water

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, chopped

Kosher salt and pepper

1 small russet potato, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼ inch slices

1 bay leaf

1 sprig of fresh thyme or tarragon (I used thyme.)

1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, toasted a bit and torn into ¼ inch pieces


Add broth, water, and dark green leek pieces to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover.  Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.  Using a fine mesh sieve strain broth over an empty bowl while pushing on the solids to release as much liquid and flavor as possible.  Set aside.

Add butter to a now-empty saucepan and melt over medium-low heat.  Add sliced white bread, green leeks, onion, and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Reduce heat to low and cook stirring often until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Next, increase the heat to high and add broth, potato, bay leaf, and herb sprig.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until potato is soft and bread breaks down about 10 minutes.

Remove bay leaf and herb sprig.  Process soup in batches in a blender or use a handheld immersion blender to save you time.  Process until smooth.  Bring to a simmer and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt flakes and thyme leaves.  Serve with crusty bread if desired.  Enjoy!



Cauliflower Soup + 5 Must Make Soup Links for Fall

cs041Plain and simple.  How often is something, anything plain and simple?  In life? Almost never. In food? Not often enough.  I find most things, including food, muddied by unnecessary additions.  When I came across Paul Bertolli’s recipe for cauliflower soup, I immediately noticed the lack of ingredients.  Where are the spices? Cream? Where are the extras, the additions?  How can this cauliflower soup taste anything, but bland?  The raving reviews and a giant head of cauliflower from our csa persuaded me to try this soup recipe regardless of my questions.


I am so glad I gave this recipe a shot!  This soup is creamy without cream, a bit nutty and a tad sweet.  The cauliflower shines with through with the help of an onion, olive oil, salt and pepper.  It is fall comfort ford at its best: plain and simple.  What’s better than that?


Cauliflower Soup

recipe from Food 52 by Paul Bertolli

serves 6-8


3 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced thin

1 head cauliflower (about 1-1/2 pounds), cut into florets

kosher salt, to taste

5 1/2 cups water, divided

Good quality extra virgin olive oil, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over low heat. Sweat the onion in the olive oil for about 15 minutes.  Do not let it brown!

Add the cauliflower florets, a pinch or two of kosher salt, and 1/2 cup hot water. Turn up the heat a bit and cover the pot with a lid. Stew the cauliflower until tender, about 18 minutes.  Add another 4 1/2 cups hot water.  Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered for another 20 minutes.

Purée the soup in a blender until very smooth.   Allow the soup to sit for 20 minutes so it can thicken.

Thin the soup with water, if necessary, and reheat. Add salt and pepper, to taste.  Serve hot, with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, fresh ground black pepper and lots of crusty bread. Enjoy!

5 Must Make Soup Links For Fall

If you like roasted red peppers, try Joy The Baker’s Creamy Roasted Red Pepper soup. Looks like a bowl of comfort to me!

Set your opinions aside about Gwyneth Paltrow and make Goop’s Roasted and Clean Carrot Soup.  I made it last winter and it is delicious!

This butternut squash and apple soup recipe from Dinner A Love Story, is my favorite fall soup. Check it out!

My dad loves lasagna.  In fact, he asks for it every time he comes over for dinner.  Every. Time.  I think next time I’ll switch things up a bit and make Foodie Crush’s Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna Soup. Yum!

Want to learn how to turn any vegetable into a puréed soup? Head to Food 52 for the 5 step recipe.