Hot Summer Soup

comments: 100


Thank you very much for all of your gentle and truly kind comments on Tuesday's post. I got choked up reading so many of them, as I always do when people talk about love, and animals. I have been in love with one animal or another my whole life, it seems; even when I had no real-life pets, I rode an imaginary horse through my neighborhood, or I named an imaginary puppy, or I dreamed about getting my very own cat. It's funny how some people are like that, and some people aren't. I wonder where it comes from. When I was really young, I decided that if I was ever lucky enough to have my own dog, I wanted a corgi, and I must have only known about corgis from the lovely, gentle Tasha Tudor, whose books I had as a child and whose life and work has influenced me in too many ways to count. If I couldn't have a 13.2-hand dapple-gray Connemara pony with a black mane and tail named Musette (specifically), I wanted a corgi. When Andy and I have a disagreement, no matter what the topic, I just eventually say, "Well, fine, but I was the one who wanted a corgi!!!" and then, y'know, that's it: I win, hands down. It just works that way.

Shall we talk soup? Let's. This is my creamy corn bisque, modified over the years from a recipe that originally appeared in The Oregonian a long time ago. We made it last night and ate it with fresh garlic bread.

Creamy Corn Bisque

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large leek, white portion only, rinsed and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
3/4 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup corn kernels (you can use frozen corn here, if that's what you have)
1/2 teaspoon salt or more, depending on how well-salted your chicken stock is

Sour cream
Hot sauce

Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add leeks and carrots and cook over medium heat for five minutes. Add herbs, chicken stock, and potatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low; cook, covered, for ten minutes until potatoes are just tender. Stir in half-and-half, corn, and salt. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for three minutes, stirring. Serve with a dollop of sour cream with a few shakes of hot sauce stirred in.

I am going to a potluck party on Saturday. What is your favorite summer potluck dish that doesn't have vinegar, olives, or salmon (I don't like those things) in it? And I know this is sacrilege, but I don't really like tomatoes, either, so forget those. I almost always bring Ina's Pasta, Pesto, and Peas to summer potlucks, and I love love love it, but I really need something new.

In other news, I am completely obsessed with watching Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservations lately. The Montana episode is coming up on Monday night and I am so excited.

*In answer to the questions about half-and-half, it is half cream and half milk, sold already blended in the U.S. Be careful adding milk to hot soup because it will separate and curdle if it boils. Heavy cream won't, so if you don't have half-and-half, I'd probably add half cream/half chicken stock or water.


A potluck party? That sounds interesting x

Nice soup to usher out summer and start fall soon, I shall give this one a try!

Ginger & Pickle says: August 20, 2009 at 09:06 AM

The last potluck my family went to, we brought a laundry basket full of Patak's Pappadums! (yes, a laundry basket... there were a lot of guests)! Although I did make an Indian salsa to go with it (which has tomatoes (*sorry*), cucumber, jalepeno peppers, onion, cilantro and lime...) I also brought along a jar of mango chutney. Everyone loved it... it was different... and how can you go wrong with fried carbs!?
Home made Samosas would be super yummy too... Finger food always rocks!
Saying that... you just can't go wrong with anything Ina!

great post and thanks for sharing the recipe. but oh no: my husband was the one who rescued our beloved hound-dog! well, i did name her :)

My favorite is a broccoli grape salad, but it has just a tiny bit of vinegar in it, so I guess that wouldn't work for you, but it truly is delish!

If you don't like vinegar, does that mean you like your salads on the sweet side? How 'bout a simple spaghetti salad. My family always insists that I make it when we go to a potluck. They consider it their safe dish if they don't like anything that everyone else brings!

Recipe here:

That corn bisque looks amaaazzzing. I will tell you that my new favorite for potlucks is the five cheese tortellini from costco with their kirkland cibo pesto on it. I add pine nuts and parm cheese but it is so good it makes me want to eat it everyday. And it takes about 10 min. to put together. I usually put a little more effort into it but I had to make food for 80 so I wanted something quick for that and now it is my favorite.

You play the corgi card to win every disagreement?? Brilliant, I'm taking notes.

Soup is beautiful. I sometimes forget that homemade soup is a meal option. Thanks for the reminder.

Oooohhh! I'm going to start using that line... "I was the one who wanted a Lappy!"

I really like this recipe for a cool salad:

Takes a little adjusting on the flavors, but it comes out nice and you can make it ahead.

The soup sounds delicious and of course I LOVE the table cloth. I'm going to have to try that soup soon! One of my fav dishes is Greek cous cous salad (you can find a good version on but I always alter it to suit my tastes). I also like a good spinach salad - you can never go wrong with that.

Your soup looks delicious! I must say that, thanks to you, I am completely obsessed with clafoutis and would bring them to any potluck and then probably eat most of it myself. But if you are looking for something less dessert-ish, maybe couscous? this is a couscous and cucumber salad that looks yummy, I haven't tried it yet but I think I would add feta cheese...

Sunflower Fairy says: August 20, 2009 at 09:49 AM guys argue.......

Favorite summer dish for taking along to potlucks is is blueberry lemon poundcake (made lowfat with lemon yogurt). Also, broccoli salad with toasted slivered almonds, sliced red and green grapes, crumbled bacon, and a slightly sweetened mayonnaise dressing. There's never a bite leftover!

I have been a huge Tasha Tudor fan all of my life - from the time our Mother read to us , a chapter each night from "A Little Princess" - a copy from the library, the one with Tasha Tudor illustrations. I am so grateful that I began collecting her books years ago, as they have far exceeded my budget for quite some time now. Because of her, I have always loved Corgis. For a variety of reasons, I am not sure we will ever get a dog - but my sister has a Corgi now - so at least I am related to her sweet Robin Hood of Kelsey. "Robby" does have some behavioral problems.....but he sure is cute!!

yum bisque! One of my favorites to doctor up and share:
Thai coconut noodles:

Kim in NC says: August 20, 2009 at 10:16 AM

My standard potluck dish is Ina's Guacamole Salad (Barefoot Contessa Cooks at Home) - black beans, red onion, yellow bell pepper, lime juice, avocadoes. Everyone always asks me for the recipe. It calls for cherry tomatoes, but I've substituted mango chunks for the tomatoes before and it was delicioso!!

First off, I just love your blog. Simply stated- It's wonderful.
I will absolutely try that soup. Sounds amazing. I recently made stuffed zucchini with ricotta and herbs that turned out great. I got the recipe from a book called "The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook" by Jack Bishop. It was originally made for a potluck dinner that was cancelled. Great reviews from my husband though. :)

For our neighborhood block party, I love to make Boston Baked Beans, pulled pork sandwiches, and lemon rosemary crumb cake. My husband is always first in line!

Jennifer O. says: August 20, 2009 at 10:32 AM

I like a corn-avocado-red onion-tomato (sorry) salad recipe that originally was in Real Simple and then republished in one of the Paula Deen cookbooks. It's super yummy, and different depending on whether the avocado stays firm or gets all creamy meltedy.

Finally, someone who shares my Anthony Bourdain obsession! So glad to meet you, lol. Can't wait for the Montana episode...

The soup looks fantastic! I wish I could reach through the screen and just take that bowl right there.

Corgis are so cute! I've never had one but they are so cute. (shh don't let my pup hear this!)

Since I read my first Tasha Tudor book years ago, I have always wanted a corgi, but one of the Pembrokes - the brown, foxy little ones. The are such wonderful dogs. Maybe someday...

The soup looks delicious. Thanks for sharing that recipe.

Favorite summertime dish for feeding a ton of people:

Completely vegan fruit salad

Go get yourself a bunch of ripe fruit -- any combination of any kinds (except watermelon, which disintegrates) -- whatever's in season and sweet and good.

Chop into a range of bite-sized bits in a giant bowl, removing inedible bits.

Add chopped walnuts if you like them.

Add a can (or two depending on how big your bowl is) of coconut milk, including the fat. Mix gently.

Eat immediately or refrigerate overnight. It gets better over the course of two days or so.

No cooking. Completely vegan. Totally delicious.

i normally bring along a tortellini salad, but eek, it has vinegar and olives in it! my latest pot luck obsession is broccoli salad with diced onions, crispy chopped bacon, mayo and shredded cheddar cheese. a little old fashioned, maybe, but quite popular and i am never stuck with leftovers!

If you can heat it up Nigella Lawson's spanish stew from How to Eat is brilliant - easy to cook, and can be done in a huge batch. If you have to bring something that can be eaten cold I always go to the the Avoca Cafe Cookbook for hearty salad recipes for big groups...oriental bean sprout and egg noodle salad, triple rice salad with sesame dressing, kilmacanogue curried rice... mmm. I'm getting hungry now.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.