Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Julie and Julia" Movie Inspired Potato Leek Soup

We had a busy Memorial Day weekend with a wedding and a few other occasions to attend, and yesterday my husband took a day off so we could catch a movie. One of the movie previews we saw was for a new movie expected to be released in August of 2009 called "Julie and Julia."

The movie is produced by Nora Ephron and stars Meryl Streep as the iconic French chef Julia Child, and Amy Andrews in the role of Julie Powell, a blogger who was inspired to cook every recipe in Julia Child's first cookbook "Mastering The Art of French Cooking." The movie is based on two true stories.

The first theme of the movie is about Julie Powell, an American author best known for the book "Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen" which was published in 2005.
Living in Queens, New York, and feeling trapped in a dead end job, Powell began her blog called The Julie/Julia Project in August of 2002, chronicling her attempt to cook all the 524 recipes in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in one year. The blog quickly gained a large following, and Powell eventually signed a deal with Little, Brown and Company to turn her blog into a book.

The other theme of the movie is based on Julia Child's autobiographical book My Life in France, where she was the wife to a US diplomat in France in the 1950's, and while there attended the prestigious French cooking school Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. It goes on to show her being a cowriter of the cookbook "Mastering The Art of French Cooking," which demystified French recipes for an American audience, which lead to her of immensely popular cooking TV shows, beginning in the 60's, called "The French Chef."

You can watch the official movie trailer at this YouTube link
(I'm sorry that it does not allow it to be embedded, so I can't display the video clip here.)

The movie appears to be absolutely charming, with Ms. Streep acting in her usual superb way as Julia Child, and Amy Adams portraying a cleaned up version of the sometimes expletive speaking Julie Powell. Adams, as an actress, reminds me a lot of a young version of Meg Ryan, the ingenue type that quickly wins your heart.

I especially laughed at the lines spoken by the Powell character in the trailer: "I can blog --I have thoughts!" and Julia's line when her husband asked what she was good at, and she replied exuberantly: "Eat!" I can identify with both of these sentiments 100%!

My version of "Mastering The Art Of French Cooking" is a book club edition I bought second hand, but it has always been a pleasurable cookbook for me to peruse and learn from. I was a fan of those 1960's "The French Chef" shows when I was a young girl and I followed Julia Child's more recent appearances in the 1990's with chef Jacques Pépin. Ms. Child died two days shy of her 92nd birthday, on August 13,2004.
I loved how Ms. Child always made everything she cooked look so easy to do, and how she bantered along in her unusual, high pitched warbly voice, with her unpatronising and unaffected manner. I think she influenced me to believe I could cook anything, as long as I could read and follow a recipe, and she also inspired me to not be afraid to try substituting, or adding to, ingredients in a recipe. To Julia, a cooking disaster was only a learning experience, and one which sometimes lead to a better composition of the recipe the next time she made it.

One of the staple recipes I use frequently from her cookbook is for -
Potage Parmentier -- Leek and Potato Soup.

For two quarts, serving 6 -8 people

1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups leeks, thinly sliced (white and tender green parts only)
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
4-6 tablespoons whipping cream or 2-3 tablespoons softened butter
2-3 tablespoons minced parsley or chives


1} Simmer vegetables, water and salt together, partially covered, 40-50 minutes until vegetables are tender.

2) Mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork, or puree in blender. Taste and correct the seasoning to your preference.

3) Off heat and just before serving, stir in cream or butter by spoonfuls. Pour into a tureen or soup cups and decorate with the herbs.

4) Good hot, cold or room temperature. Served cold it is often referred to as Vichyssoise.

I use an immersion blender -- a wonderful gadget to use if you like to make pureed or creamed soups.

Look how smooth and thick the final results are!

There are many variations that can be added to this soup, and you can use a chicken or vegetable stock in place of the water if you desire a richer base.
The following ingredients may be simmered along with the potatoes and leeks at the start:
Sliced or diced carrots or turnips or cauliflower
Peeled, seeded or chopped tomatoes or strained, canned tomatoes.
Half-cooked dried beans, peas, or lentils, including their cooking liquid.

The following may be simmered for 10-15 minutes with the soup after it has been pureed:
Fresh or frozen diced cauliflower, cucumbers, broccoli, Lima beans, peas, string beans, okra or zucchini.
Shredded lettuce, spinach, water-cress, sorrel, or cabbage.
Diced, cooked leftovers of any of the preceding vegetables.
Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, juiced and diced.

As Ms. Child says in the cookbook: "Proportions are not important and you can use your imagination to the full. Many of the delicious soups you eat in French homes and little restaurants are made this way, with a leek-and potato base to which leftover vegetables or sauces and a few fresh items are added."

As Julia would also say with gusto: "Bon appetit!"
Edited on 8/13/09 --I am adding this blog post to the Julia Child birthday event going on at Lisa's blog Champagne Taste that will take place on August 15, 2009. Thank you Lisa for remembering Julia in such a nice way! Be sure to check Lisa's blog for links of all the blogs participating in the event on August 15.


Anonymous said...

Oh man I have had an icky tummy after this week end. Leek and potato soup is just what I need. Your pics are beautiful and I feel better since I was looking for something that would sooth the tummy. I am getting weak from tea and toast.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oh, Pat! This looks divine! I love Julia Child, and I used to watch her show because I enjoyed her personality so much. This looks like a movie that could easily win hearts. Thanks for the heads up about it.

Your photographs are amazing. You are not only a talented chef in your own right, but a talented photographer as well.


Sheila :-)

Judy said...

This looks like a perfect soup recipe...and one which I plan to try out (as soon as I've purchased a decent immersion blender).

And the movie looks most interestig as well...I'm a Meryl Streep fan!

aliceinparis said...

I saw that movie trailer at the theater and was thrilled. I CAN HARDLY WAIT to see it. Food, France, recipes, Blogging, Meryl can it not be fun to see:))
I will try this soup, can't believe I have never made Leek and Potato. I've eaten it,yum, but not made it.
I'm hosting a wee "letter revival" over at my blog. Might be something you would be interested in:)
Cheers, Shelagh

Willow said...

It all looks so yummy! You can come out here and cook for me anytime!

Carol Murdock said...

Pat...Have you read Nora's book
" I Feel Bad About My Neck"? I loved it! Meryl is one of my favorites!This movie sounds great and that Julia Child soup looks pretty tasty too!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

That soup looks soooo good! Remember when I started walking on the treadmill and reading? Julies Powell's book was one of the first to be read. I am really looking forward to seeing this movie. We will have to "talk" about it after we all see it.
♥, Susan

Anonymous said...

Oh pat, that soup looks so decadent and creamy. I really need to get into this dinner and a movie deal, once I recover from this horrid breakup :( It feels like the pain will never cease, especially because of how it happened, out of the blue - as he now shacks up happily with someone else - after over 6 yrs with me. If only life were like the movies!

Joanne Kennedy said...

I can't wait to see this movie. It does look like it's going to be fun.

I love leek and potato soup but never made it. So thanks for showing me how. I've printed it off and am going to give this a try. YUMMY!


Joyce said...

That soup looks so good that I just want to put my spoon through the computer screen for a taste. I also viewed the coming attractions of the movie and I can't wait to see it. I like your new photo header. I miss NY so much and my Yankees too:)

Cynthia Pittmann said...

I've been meaning to try this soup but leeks are hard to come by here in Puerto Rico. I actually started blogging because of this book! I posted a link to her current blog, the first one and her new one- I will check out your links. I found the book quite funny in an irreverent sort of way...her descripions of looking for the correct ingredients are funny as are her modifications!

I can relate to the fact that she decided to take on a project to get herself back on track in life. (I have a history of life transforming projects.)This cooking project, one recipe a day for 365 days is difficult!

I think the movie is coming out in August...but I will have to wait a little longer in Puerto Rico. (i.e., later release dates)

Thanks for sharing the soup-it looks wonderfully healthy and cosy, too! <3

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see this movie!

Unknown said...

I saw the previews for the movie awhile back, and am looking forward to seeing it!

The soup looks delicious!

Arlene Delloro said...

I can't wait to see the movie; I adore Streep and Child is just an icon. Your soup looks incredible--like velvet! I love leeks despite the odious job of cleaning them. How do they get so dirty, lol?

Lynn said...

I am going to get my husband to make this soup for me!

Jojo said...

I can't wait till the movie comes out. As I read your synopsis, I was thinking what a perfect movie for a group of bloggers to go see!!!

Back in the late 70s I was waiting on someone at the Atlanta airport when a limousine pulled up curbside and lots of beautiful luggage with the letters J C was being taken from the vehicle and taken to check-in. I spotted a man getting out of the car and then I heard a throaty "P-a-w-w-l" and then I saw Julia Child. I just happened to have a recipe card in my purse (at that time I was a home ec teacher so maybe that makes sense). She gave me her autograph and that recipe card has graced my recipe collection since. I loved watching Julia and chef Jacques Pépin. Wouldn't it be nice to see the reruns?

The soup looks scrumptious!

Vee said...

You know, you are the reason I have an immersion blender and that my husband now thinks that I make the best soups ever. (I may finally be getting my vegetables eaten, too.) This soup looks delicious...thank you for the recipe. Never felt as if I could cook from just watching Julia, but oh how I loved watching right to the end of her television career when she would have guest chefs on and sort of kind of meddle in what they were doing. I read about this movie at Alison's Brocante Home and I can't wait to see it.

Nola said...

Oh, I loved watching Julia and Jacque in the kitchen! I miss her so much, she was a true original. I've made that soup for years, with minor variations. I can't wait to see the movie~

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - First of all I really like your new banner photo. Second, I am a big Julia Child fan and have dog-eared copies of her books from the 70s. She has THE BEST step-by-step directions and her recipes never fail. I also loved the book Julie and Julia and can't wait for the movie. Last of all, your version of the soup and the photos look wonderful. Makes me want to make soup for dinner tomorrow.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Pat, Loved this post! Love Julia too. I can still catch Baking with Julia on cable at midnight here during the week. She's the best. Can't wait for the movie, you've wet my appetite. Your soup looks as smooth as silk!

GailO said...

I've seen that trailer and I can't wait to see the movie...Love Julia Child and wish I had thought of that project of blogging my way through the book...some people are so creative and imaginative!...Your soup looks's been years since I've made Vichyssoise but I probably used that recipe...

Why don't they rerun Julia's shows? Maybe they do and I just don't know about it:)

Susie Q said...

This looks positively amazing! I will have to try this soon. Nothing is better than good soup and this looks SO good. I adored Julia and have been so excited about this film! Both MS and AA are the sorts of actresses that can do it all...and together I know they will be incredible!

You are a lady of so many are a master at the art of cooking AND photography! What a woman! : )


jeanne said...

Hello Pat, I haven't visited nearly as much as I want to and I have missed too many of your splendid posts. I am glad to have some time today to see what you are up to. I love Meryl Streep and I must see that Movie. Your review is wonderfully written. I think Julia child was a master at cooking. Your Potato leek soup looks so good and easy enough for me to follow. I love the immersion mixer so much and I use it frenquently.

We are having a wonderful vacation and we won't be home for a month. Our longest vacation ever. Tomorrow I am posting pics from the rocky Mountain Nat'l Park. We will be here a few days and then on to Yellowstone.

I hope I can visit again soon.


Kathy said...

Now I am seriously hungry, your soup looks so smooth and creamy
Pat. I think I will go see that movie, it sounds like something I would really enjoy, how sweet your hubby took a day off to take you that sounds so romantic, hugs, Kathy.

Beth Leintz said...

I listened to Julie/Julia as a book on CD in the car. I loved the book, but it scared me from trying to cook French- I think it was the part about the marrow bones. But it did inspire me to listen to the biography of Julia written by her niece- which was fascinating.

The leek and potato soup looks delicious and the recipe doesn't seem too complicated...there might be soup in my house this weekend...

Paz said...

Your dish looks scrumptious. I'm hungry now. I suppose I should get the cookbook and watch the movie. ;-)

I always enjoy seeing what you cook.


Anonymous said...

I'll have to look out for that film- it sounds very interesting. What a great premise to start a blog with.

Delish looking soup. :-) I was cooking yesterday.

Michele said...

This soup looks fantastic! I started reading the book but never finished it. I heard the book and the movie are very different but I'll go see it anyway! I love this post!

lisa said...

i didn't tell you that my cats LOVED this soup...after i finished eating the soup i left the bowl on the table and ran outside to throw away garbage. i came back and maynard and bartleby had licked the bowl clean! who knew cats like soup? ;-)

Just A Girl said...

Hi Pat,
I saw that preview to and thought it looked like a darling movie and who can resist Meryl Streep...not I!
I have to admit I've never picked up one of Julia's cook books, but your recipe for the soup looks delicious.
If only I lived closer I could become your personal taste tester :).

I hope you're having a great week. Any fun plans for the weekend?

xoxo Cori

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I am eagerly awaiting this movie!! It looks right up my street. The book was wonderful!

Unknown said...

wow..I am hungry already, am always feeling like that whenever I see all your yummy recipe :P Happy weekend Pat, love..M

Gutsy Living said...

I love Meryl Streep and the funny thing is I just checked out the CD of Julia Child's book yesterday without realizing that a movie was coming out. I'm so excited. Thanks for sharing your recipes. You look like a Pro cook.

steviewren said...

I can't wait to see this movie! It looks absolutely charming. I remember watch Ms Child's cooking show. She was a hoot, a real character. Ms Streep is the perfect person to cast for this role. She'll do Child justice.

I make a potato soup that my family loves too. I add cheese to mine. Yummy!

Amy said...

I'm going to have to try this, sounds so yummy!

bARE-eYED sUN said...

geeze! Pat, we HATE recipes and cooking blogs and yadda-yadda . . .

but . . . we read with interest this post 'cause it was, well, . . .uh . . entertaining. there we said. we found a post about cooking interesting.

well, it wasn't JUST about cooking, ?was it? ;-)

yo DO have a friendly, easy style which encourages us to far beyond our 160-character BAS {Blog-Attention-Span}

want to let you know that we've co-opted a couple of your posts by way of a shout-out.

*couldn't out-do you,
so didn't even try* :-)

thank you,
and keep on bloggin'


CatHerder said...

Oh YUM. I think i would like mine a little chunkier though...i bet it tastes divine!

Trotter said...

Hi Pat! Wonderful post; one day I'll have time and I'll try some of those, including the Vichyssoise... ;)

Thanks for your comments at Blogtrotter, now showing Kaunas. Never heard about it? ;) Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Missy B. said...

Hi Pat! I came across a comment that you left on A Sea Of Books Blog. I am a native New Yorker now living in the south.
Your blog is great! Just coming here and looking at your great pictures soothes my homesickness for the greatest city in the world!

Beverly said...

Bon appetit. Pat, you just can't know how much I love this post.

My father adored Julia, and he always watched her shows. When she died, I said my father must have been so excited to have her in heaven with him.

I can hardly wait to see this movie.

Oh, and my father made vichyssoise that left you speechless.

Elizabeth said...

Such delicious looking soups!
I think I will have to make the thicker one really soon!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Slippin' back over, Pat, to wish your hubby a happy one!


Sheila :-)

Claudia said...

I love this post. I love the books. I love the soup. I make it once a year in the summer, serve it very cold and the family's in heaven. You have me all excited about the movie! And wondering - is this time to make it? The photos are so enticing.

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

So crazy, I just heard of this book today and was eager to read it. And now I can look forward to the movie too! The soup looks so yummy!

Kat Mortensen said...

That meryl Streep - she is such a chameleon, isn't she? You've sold me on seeing this one, for sure (even though Meryl in "Doubt" doesn't draw me in). This does look fun and I do like Stanley Tucci too (he was in another food-movie - remember "Big Night"?)

You're right! I do see a bit of the Meg Ryan attitude in Amy Adams.

My mom used to make Leek and Potato soup and it is divine!


Unknown said...

I just saw the movie last night and really liked it, especially so because it seemed to bring Julia Child back to us via the incomparable Meryl Streep.

Your soup looks "perfectly delicious," as Julia would say, and thank you so much for taking part in the event!

Nupur said...

What a beautiful soup this is!

I am thrilled to discover your blog, with all these beautiful pictures and descriptions of New York City. I lived in NYC for 5.5 years and I miss it so :)