Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Foto: Wild Uncle Johnny

If you haven't heard about my Wild Uncle Johnny, I'd encourage you to go here. Dude was something else, lemme tell ya. He was also a helluva cook.

Here's a photo from one of his weddings (an adventurous soul like Wild Uncle Johnny was, of course, too big for just one wife). This is his former wife Sheila, and they remained friends long after the marriage had run its course. Which was so very like him...a gentleman through and through. I love the little crinkles around his eyes in this shot--I'm thinking that someone just told a bawdy joke...anyways, he's having fun.

Here's his recipe for vichyssoise, which he sent to me, per my request, when I was in the third grade.

Wild Uncle Johnny's Vichyssoise
serves 4

6 medium (or 4 large) leeks, white parts only, cleaned and chopped**
28 ounces chicken stock (Johnny used to buy homemade stock from a posh food market near his house, you can use either homemade or canned)
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and diced
coarse salt
1 cup cream
1/2 cup fresh chives, snipped or sliced scallion tops

In a large pot, combine leeks, chicken stock, potato, 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer until potatoes break easily, about a half an hour.

Puree soup in a blender, in batches. Do NOT fill the blender all the way with hot soup, young lady! Better yet, let the soup cool for a while before even touching the blender. Better even still, let your mother do the blender part.

Stir in the cream and the chives. Taste for salt and pepper. French people prefer to use white pepper for this soup so there aren't any black flecks in it, but that seems fussy. Throw in whatever you like.

Cover soup and chill until cold, preferably 4 hours or more. If soup seems overly thick, thin with a little milk or water.

Serve soup in chilled bowls.

**How to clean a leek: Leeks are dirty little buggers. Cut the tops and ends off the leek. Slit the leek completely down the middle. Cut the leek crosswise into shreds. Soak the shreds in a bowl of cold water--the dirt will sink to the bottom. Repeat this step 3 times (with fresh water each time) or until there's no more dirt in the bottom of the bowl.


  1. I had to cut and paste the word "vichyssoise" so that I wouldn't misspell it, and here you requested the recipe in the third grade.

    I'm glad you posted how to clean a leek, because I have to admit...I've never purchased any. They scare me. They're so big and...stalk-like looking. Now I will.

  2. I do believe that in the original request, I spelled it vishyswa. :)

  3. I love leeks but have never tried to prepare one. And I've certainly never made the v soup (too lazy to copy paste like Gibby!)... I can just see the looks of horror on my children's faces as I tried to explain the soup/ingredients. I'll have to try this on the weekend when I have extra patience for that sort of monkey business.

  4. Am loving the pics you're including with the posts!

  5. "Do NOT fill the blender all the way with hot soup, young lady!"

    I wish I had an awesome Uncle Johnny to tell me that. Blender burns are no fun.

  6. ck, Ink, Kathy B and Gibs, you would have loved him. He made the world shine.