A beautiful warm spring night with bocce on the lawn, numerous bottles of rosé, bubbles, and white wine, and a fabulous dinner prepared by our friends N&R, with DOR and his fabulous wife along for the fun....this is yet another reason why my head spins at how fortunate I am (it couldn't have been all that wine, right?). When we were invited over, I of course felt the need to contribute. I mean coning over to food-loving friends empty handed is just not done, even though they are both incredible cooks. BTW- the chicken dish we had was unbelievable. The sauce almost brought me to tears. Oh, and N's morel mushroom toasts (pic at right) were also worth weeping over! I'll share with you as soon as I pry the recipes away from them. So when N said surprise us, I took my cue from the seeming Frenchiness of the night. The warm evening, bocce, French rosés and vin blancs, an awesome platter of grilled veggies a la R w/ romesco (pic at left)....it seemed made for the vichyssoise recipe I had just read in the must-have-in-every-cooking-library "Roast Chicken and Other Stories" by the Brit author Simon Hopkinson. His vichyssoise, which is a very high-falutin' sounding name for simple potato-leek soup with cream that is served chilled, was fast, easy, and when blended thoroughly a silken bowl of goodness that elicited much praise. It's one of those classics that I had always wanted to make, and for outdoor dinner parties this summer, it's the perfect cool, palate pleasing jolt of France!
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from Simon Hopkinson
6 leeks, white parts only, trimmed and sliced
3 cups light chicken stock
2 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
Salt and white pepper
1 cup heavy cream
Small bunch chives
Simmer the leeks in chicken stock, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the potatoes, salt, and pepper and cook, covered, for another 20 minutes. Blend in batches until smooth, then strain if needed through a fine mesh sieve, cool, and add the cream. Correct the seasoning and chill thoroughly. Serve in ice cold bowls and garnish with chives.