Potato, Leek and Vegetable Soup

September 26, 2011

Mama’s been so touched by all of your well-wishes these past few months, Readers. As have I. The outpouring of concern, prayers, care and love that you’ve sent our way is remarkable, and beautiful, and oh, so generous. I think it baffles Mama a little bit. “They don’t even know me,” she says, and I kind of have to laugh.  She’s not a computer person, my Mama, and so she doesn’t really understand how attached people can become on this Interweb thingy. How after a time, listening to the same voice for weeks and months and in and out of days, there’s a “knowing” that springs up, green and tentative at first, and then gallops like gangbusters, in ways you can’t explain.

I know it can be a dangerous business, letting people into the intricate details of a life, of a family, and it’s not that I haven’t considered the ramifications. It’s one of the greatest struggles I face as a parent/daughter/ blogger, and I know I’m not alone. How many of you have wrestled with the access you grant, how much transparency you can afford?

When I started this blog a few years ago, I agonized about it. I often felt I over-shared, and after I clicked the “publish” button, I wondered how much of what I just wrote would come back to bite me in the backside. But as time went on, I realized that a certain degree of recklessness is just part of who I am, part of my voice. As Mama often remarks (often with a bit of a cringe), I don’t have a “filter.”  People either find this completely obnoxious or sort of charming; there aren’t many in-betweeners out there. I’m an acquired taste. But I swear, I can’t help it. Any time I try to edit myself, it just doesn’t ring true.

I also share–freely–details of my family. Again, it’s a gamble and probably sometimes downright unwise, but I have such colorful characters in my life, it seems a shame to keep them under the covers. Whether Mama realizes it or not, plenty of you readers out there “know” her. And you’ve been so free with your emails, cards, prayers, treats and practical jokes (giggles are a gift, you know) that it’s made our heads spin. I’ve known for a long time that I have the most kick-ass readers on the planet, and Mama and Daddy are quickly learning that, too. Dang, we’re lucky ducks.

All this rambling is going to result in an awkward segue into soup. Sorry about that, but I’m fresh out of elegant transitions this morning. So sue me.

Umm, about soup. I’m not a huge fan. Unless it’s colder than a witch’s tit outside or I’m feeling some dreaded disease coming on. Then, soup is a capital idea.  I’m not experiencing either of those things now, but Mama’s tummy is a little touchy lately, so I’ve been experimenting with soup (and bug juice).

At the moment, Mama’s digestive tract isn’t a big fan of dairy, citrus, raw vegetables,  or assertive spice.  This presents a challenge for me, the Harlot of Hot Sauce. But hey, challenge is good for a girl.

Mama has the odious trait of hating being fussed over, so she tends not to tell me if she’s feeling poorly to avoid Daughterly Suffocation. So I have to sneak soup into her kitchen like some kind of criminal, but that’s kind of a fun challenge, too.

I’ll be donning my black spy suit and sliding a container of this soup into her refrigerator soon. Hopefully, Mama will forgive me. It’s how I show love; I’m a failure at verbal announcements of affection. If I love you, I’ll stammer around, flail my limbs, give up, and bring you soup.

I’ve been leafing though cookbooks, trying to find something nourishing that doesn’t contain any of the “fearsome four” :  dairy, citrus, raw veggies, heavy spice.

It took a little maneuvering, but I think this soup is a winner. It’s got a lovely golden color, due to all of the veg involved, and it’s quite delicious. I made this, ate a bowl, and put the rest in my freezer for my next stealth drop. Hopefully, she can eat this without a Zantac chaser. I’ll keep you posted. Poor Mama is stuck with me, but I know she’ll understand.

Love to you, readers, and happy Autumn.   You make our world go ’round.

Potato, Leek and Vegetable Soup
serves about 6

2 leeks, washed and sliced (white and light green parts only)
3 cups onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups diced carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
7 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
salt to taste

In a large stockpot, melt butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and the onion; cook until slightly softened. Add carrots, celery, red pepper and garlic. Lower heat and partially cover the stockpot. Cook until leeks and vegetables are caramelized and tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Add the potato, chicken broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potato is tender and almost falling apart, about 15 minutes. Add the pepper and rosemary.

Puree soup with an immersion blender. Add salt and more pepper to taste. Top with a dollop of sour cream, if your tummy can take it.

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer September 26, 2011 at 7:53 am

The “harlot of hot sauce” is hilarious, and so you.

I’m sure your Mama will love this soup and will say a very gracious thank you all while wondering how she was blessed to have a daughter like you, but then we both know the answer to that.


Erica@PLRH September 26, 2011 at 8:05 am

This does sound yummy and rather tame for the Harlot of Hot Sauce. I’ll have to try it if the outside temp ever gets below 90.

I’d like to send your mama somthing I made. Please email me your address?


TKW September 26, 2011 at 9:55 am


Done. And thank you.


Jenna September 26, 2011 at 8:38 am

You described how we bloggers get to know each other perfectly–after reading someone’s posts for a few months, they just grow on you. You get a sense for who they are. And I love it! And I love you. I remember when I first started reading your blog, I wasn’t sure what to think. You were WAY more open than anyone else I’d read, and your language was much more . . . ‘colorful.’ =) I was like “Who is this person??” But I kept reading and reading, and now your little space here is one of my favorites. I wouldn’t have you any other way!


TKW September 26, 2011 at 9:59 am


What? You hadn’t read other blogs where people confess to accidentally flushing their sexual lube of choice down the toilet and having to confess it to the plumber? That one sent my Daddy running for the hills. I love you, too.


Stacia September 26, 2011 at 9:00 am

Leeks make everything better. Or maybe I just made that up. But here’s to hoping this soup soothes Mama’s soul (and stomach) and helps her rest and heal a little easier. You’re a good daughter, Kitch, even if you are a Hot Sauce Harlot. =>


TKW September 26, 2011 at 10:00 am


If I had a soup for shattered legs, I’d send it to you. Heal well, my friend.


Abby September 26, 2011 at 9:04 am

I’m not sure if it’s because I also have no filter or you included a few cuss words in the first post I read of yours, but I instantly knew I was hooked on your blog. Plus, you know, food is love.

While I’m not a soup person myself, I am a person, and I will continue to extend happy healing thoughts to you and your family for as long as you’ll continue to take them. Even then I’ll probably still continue to send them, as if you know me at all, you know I’ll do what I want anyway ;)

(And yes, that includes oversharing on my own blog. At least I can make you feel normal.)


TKW September 26, 2011 at 10:01 am


Oversharers, unite! I love people who make me feel normal. xo


Chiara @ The Wandering Cook September 26, 2011 at 9:31 am

Yum, this soup sounds amazing! Unlike you I’m a huge fan of soups… I’m sure your mom will love the effot you put into finding a recipe that won’t upset her stomach.


Naptimewriting September 26, 2011 at 9:36 am

You know how I love the soup. And you. And when you make soup I’m all giddy.
So here’s your free transition:
Lovely readers make us happy…they make Mama feel all warm and cozy….and as the seasons change I want to make her warm and cozy when the ‘puter is off…so here’s some soup.
Hug your mama. Let her hug you. And post photos of your Soup Ninja outfit.


TKW September 26, 2011 at 10:02 am

Dearest Nap,

You can write a transition for me any time, any day.


Sherri September 26, 2011 at 9:48 am

Glad to see that you’re keeping your Mama eating. She needs her strength, as you know (and why would I EVER think that you wouldn’t feed someone – with your food, your humor, your words :-). This looks yummy. I am a big fan of soup, actually. Best to the family, as always. I hope this soup and some cooler weather also proves to be some of what “the doctor ordered” for your Mom :-).


Barbara September 26, 2011 at 10:09 am

Now that must have been difficult, Kitch. Finding a soup without heat in it….I know you are a heat fanatic.
My tummy won’t tolerate lentils or peas….how did your mom’s tummy handle things?
I used to make a barley soup for my parents when they became ill and housebound. I’ve never posted it ’cause I got so sick of making it. Let me know if you want the recipe.
Very comforting and no butter, dairy, raw veggies, heavy spice! Practically no spice at all. And filling.


TKW September 26, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Yes, please!


BigLittleWolf September 26, 2011 at 10:33 am

I am a huge fan of potato-leek soup (and have now tried my hand at making it from scratch… ) and now I’m tempted to follow your recipe and add carrots, etc.

I adore soups year-round, but as the air is tinged with a touch of autumn crisp, homemade soups become even more appealing.

As for the how-much-to-share-or-not conundrum of this form of communication, we all do what feels comfortable, don’t we? Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. A different sort of soup.


C @ Kid Things September 26, 2011 at 10:39 am

Much love to you and your mama. xoxo


Miranda September 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

Yukon gold. You were the first to introduce me to one of the pleasures at the grocery store. :)


Tiffany September 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Oh, Mama, we do know you and love you and pray for you!!! This is my favorite: there’s a “knowing” that springs up, green and tentative at first, and then gallops like gangbusters, in ways you can’t explain.

It’s so true.


Camille Brightsmith September 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Your sweet Mum. She never expected to have the kids that she got, did she? But I know she is happy and thankful to have YOU! I saw it in her eyes …. the relief … the day I got a tattoo and proudly dropped my pants for her so she could marvel at all the high school wonder of a cheesy ass tattoo. And she was kind, and sweet, curious and congratulatory, and so relived you had enough sense not to join us!!!!

Anyway, as many people have said before. Food really is love, and you are all about the love no matter how much you cuss. Your Mam and all of us are so lucky to have you.



TKW September 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm


That afternoon is one of my favorite memories of you and Mama EVER. Pure gold.


Carolee September 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I found you through Katybeth – she probably knew you and I have a lot in common! I too have no filter – I share more than I probably should – I don’t really like soup – and you’re the only other person I know besides my Dad and me who says “colder than a witch’s tit”!!! I love reading your posts – keep taking good care of your Mama, we’ll keep sending good wishes your way. And by the way, my Mom tells people who wonder about me “I just gave birth to her, I don’t write her script”. Your Mama may be able to relate to that. :0)


TKW September 26, 2011 at 2:17 pm


Katybeth’s good people. I could use more people in my life who don’t have filters…maybe because we’re so dang entertaining. Thanks for coming by and commenting!


Stephane September 26, 2011 at 11:24 pm

The way I heard tell, there’s a tinch more to that saying: ” . . . in a brass bra, on the shady side of an iceberg!” : )


Justine September 26, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I love potato-leek soup, but I’m soup freak. I also add tofu to my recipe and blend for the creamy consistency to reduce the overabundance of cream.

As for your choice of voice, I, for one, love this corner of the blogoverse because of your candor and your lack of censorship. It’s refreshing in its authenticity.

Love to you and your mama – she’s lucky to have you. And that bowl of soup. Yum!


Phoo-d September 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I fall into the “finds over sharing charming” category. Sadly my genetic disposition to paranoia prevents me from doing it myself. I’m sure your mama will love finding soup in her fridge, nothing is better than soup when you are feeling off. I made a vegan mushroom soup from Joy the Baker before having the bambino that was awesome. It freezes well and would be a great choice for cold fall days if your mama likes mushrooms. Thinking about you all lots and sending big hugs your way.


TKW September 26, 2011 at 4:50 pm


I’d love the recipe–Daddy-O won’t touch anything without a whole pig shank in it, but this isn’t about him, is it? No matter–he loves you forever because of the Fed-Ex’ed, hog fat-crusted apple pie from the Gods that you put into the works for us. In Daddy’s eyes, nothing beats a girl who sends homemade hog fat for pie crust. You *do* know that you are going down in legend for that, don’t you? As you should, wonderful friend.

Kisses to Mr. B, “our” baby, and Oscar. xo


elizabeth September 26, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Honestly? I think you can teach a master class on disclosing personal details with discretion–since you share so much with your words rather than with endless pictures, I feel like you navigate that delicate balance really well.

I have a red pepper/tomato soup that you might like–what’s great about it is that it’s adjustable in many ways to work perfectly for any taste and it’s tasty to boot.


TKW September 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm


You have impeccable taste in food, movies, and brown-eyed men, so yes, please pass on the recipe. Give Michael a butt pat for me. Or maybe even a squeeze.


theUngourmet September 26, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Autumn always puts me in the mood for soup. I’ve never make soup with leeks…looks fabulous!

Have a terrific week!


Caitlin September 26, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I can completely relate to your feelings of transparency. I just started my blog and I have found myself cringing every time I hit the Publish button. I am not to the point where I am as open as you yet ;) but you have given me courage and I love following your blog. I found your site through someone else’s blog (that I can’t even remember now) but your posts are always a breath of fresh air when I see them come through :)

thoughts and prayers to you and your family. <3


SuziCate September 26, 2011 at 5:48 pm

The internet friendships we develop are amazing. And I truly think we wear filter more in public, speaking rather than in our writing. Hope your mom is doing well This soup sounds wonderful. I’m a big soup person and am delighted to have the crisp soup weather here.


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri September 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm

No filter? That is courage. Just like you. And just like Mama. xoxo to you both.


Kate September 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Hugs and thoughts to you all. Enjoy getting all mission impossible with the soup!


Katybeth September 26, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I was just saying to myself: Self, soup sounds so good but then I thought what kind of soup and myself sunk into a stock pot of lethargy . .. and then your soup post pop up and saved me.

Thank you. Oh great harlot of hot sauce you are my hero.

P.S. Filters are over-rated.


TKW September 27, 2011 at 4:56 am


I am so stealing “stock pot of lethargy.” Awesome.


MKCountryman September 26, 2011 at 7:27 pm

You know, I don’t think you can tell by my blog, but people tell me quite often that I need a filter, or I don’t have a filter.

And I just don’t agree with that. If they only knew what I was thinking, they would realize that, indeed, I am using a filter.


TKW September 27, 2011 at 4:58 am


Now THAT made me laugh. So true. I’m usually thinking much worse, too. I guess we just have “thin” filters, eh?


Heather September 26, 2011 at 8:06 pm

You had me at food, or was it snark, or was it food?? Either way, I’ve loved you from the moment I opened that aged home you once thrived in. And your mama?? Well, who couldn’t love her! My prayers are with you all continuously. And now I’ll think of her with each soup recipe I consider as the temperatures around here slowly work their way down the thermometer. We do find a way to be there for each other though we’ve often times never met and may never meet face to face. A relationship built out of trust and honesty. Love ya.


Privilege of Parenting September 26, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Sometimes I think this web-world is a way of realizing what was true before, but not as apparent—that we’re all intricately interconnected. In this way it is liberating to be authentic, to risk our cringe-fears, and to find that we get closer through our honesty than through our posturing; and we learn that everything is about Love.

One thought on the soup front is the Chinese notion of congees, a sort of porridge of five or six to one ratio of water (or stock) to barley or rice or other grain—and the inclusion of bones (beef, or if chicken or turkey have the butcher hack through the big bones) to add easy to assimilate strength into the broth. Burdock root is supposed to be anti-cancer. Perhaps a hint of tumeric is worth considering, as it is highly anti-oxidizing. Or maybe none of that would work for your mom, but I put Love in the virtual soup of our collective and healing wishes.


TKW September 27, 2011 at 5:02 am


I love that you mentioned congee! I tried it for the first time last year during Sucktober (aka: the month of the continuous virus) and it was, indeed, really comforting. I think I may want to hack through the bones myself, though. Cathartic stuff, hacking through a chicken carcass with a gi-normous cleaver…


Stephane September 26, 2011 at 11:39 pm

My vote is for charming! Of course, my husband calls me his “little habanero” and tells me I’m in desperate need of a rheostat. (He hasn’t specified whether the rheostat is necessary for my mouth or my temper. ; ) And if your mama spits in the eye of listeria, my money is on her for beating this other sh!t. I do root for her–every day.


TKW September 27, 2011 at 5:04 am


“Little Habanero?” Now that is a charming nickname. I much prefer it over mine, which is usually “bitch.” :)


camilla September 27, 2011 at 1:49 am

I so wish I had more time to read you! Alas I am a shit blogger at the moment but I am so happy to hear your mum is felling well enough to eat soup even though you despise it. I am heading to Chicago in January so I will think of you and your family and look forward to the day when you make me a fabulous cocktail in the sun…..I hope your mum enjoys the soup. Big hugs to you both and I need to have my reading time dammit!!


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes September 27, 2011 at 5:35 am

I’m saving the recipe for when my father gets out of the hospital and is well enough to eat again..
Hugs to your mama


Mary Lee September 27, 2011 at 7:47 am

I love hearing about your family… the hunky husband, the precious minxes, your Chicago hot dog-lovin’ dad, and your sweet mama and her battle with The Big C. It’s obvious there’s a lot of love going on there.

Let me assure you and your mom that I’m sending some from here, too.

PS. Potato and corn soup is one of my comfort foods. Can’t get much blander.


Tom B. Taker September 27, 2011 at 7:52 am

I think your introspection is wise. And there is no right or wrong answer. For me, the answer was to go anonymous and speak cryptically. No real names and no identifying marks. I find it remarkably freeing.

I’m going to make this soup! Always looking for new vegetarian dishes. So thanks! :)


Cathy September 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm

My mom’s comment to me was always, “Catherine it’s not what you say it’s how you say it.” Yeah, um, okay. I get it. I just can’t make it stop. Hugs to you and your mom.

I’d try this recipe but I don’t have an immersion blender. All those vegetables scare me too.


TKW September 27, 2011 at 3:42 pm


That is the beauty of the immersion blender–you never know those veggies are even in there! Also, had to laugh about your mom’s comment re: how you say it. My mom was forever telling my sister, “Change your tone of voice!”


Maria September 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Soup is good for the soul…That soup is something my soul could definitely use rught now…Things are hairy over here, sending hugs to you and Mama…

Oversharing isn’t bad, it’s truth. And truth can never be a bad thing. It is liberation. And Kitch, you are good for my soul. XO


Maria September 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm



Meister @ The Nervous Cook September 28, 2011 at 6:20 am

Bless you and your mama. And I know how you feel, that odd connection with strangers ont he other end of a screen — you have become an important part of my life, just from reading your words and listening to your stories, and I’m so grateful to get to know you a little through your delightful candor and sense of fun.

My thoughts are with you. This shit sure ain’t ever easy, is it?


Amber September 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Dear Kitch: I have no filter, either. It endears and frightens people. I, also, love your Momma.


Biz September 29, 2011 at 5:12 am

Ha – love Harlot of Hot Sauce – I am one too! And I adore soup all year round. :D Hope Mama is feeling better!


Ysabelle September 29, 2011 at 7:49 am

I love soup, anything but soup. I’m sure your soup will be appreciated because you’ve given so much effort for the preparations.


Dawn September 29, 2011 at 7:12 pm

This looks like the perfect soup for my husband and his 96 year old Aunt who are of the ‘anti-hot-sauce’ persuasion. Hope your mama feels better soon. It’s a tough road she’s on. In my mind soup=love…so hope you can sneak in several kinds soon.


Dawn September 29, 2011 at 7:14 pm

and PS: I too wonder how much to share..but have had no real consequences and only positive reinforcement…though I wonder if some of my family wishes I’d just shut up.


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