Apples for Jam – Leek and Potato Soup

Jenna over at Eat, Live, Run created a list of her “go to” cookbooks and I knew I wanted one of them. Apples for Jam: A Colorful Cookbook by Tessa Kiros. I found the book at a local bookstore and spent a good 30 minutes flipping through it. Tessa’s photographs are enough to make you salivate – what I loved most was her use of vibrant colors that filled the pages, and the simplicity of her recipes. I immediately put it on my Amazon wish list. My sister in law Christiana surprised me with it… and several others for Christmas.

Author Tessa Kiros has worked in restaurants in Australia, Greece, London, and Mexico. Apples for Jam is full of recipes from her background and travels. I love cookbooks that have a story to them – mixed into the 200 recipes, are stories and memories of her childhood, family, and friends. I also like that the recipes are grouped by color. Whimsical children’s art and photos definitely bring the pages to life.

I sat on the couch and started reading page after page. I stopped on page 259 in the “White” section. Leek and Potato Soup. I have been obsessed with leeks lately and I had all of the ingredients on hand.

The Ingredients
Adapted from Apples for Jam – Serves 6

6 Leeks
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Cloves of Garlic – Peeled but left whole – I used my frozen Dorot crushed garlic from Trader Joe’s
2 Teaspoons Brandy
4 Medium Potatos – Peeled and cut into chunks – I used Yukon Gold
Salt to Taste
6 Cups Hot Water – I used a combination of vegetable stock (2 cups) and water (4 cups)
Freshly Grated Nutmeg – I used a good 5-6 twists
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Grated Parmesan – to serve
Truffle Oil – to serve
Garlic Gold Nuggets – to serve


I started off with prepping my leeks.

Trim the leeks and cut off the harder/dark green ends.

Slice the leeks finely and put them into a colander for washing.

I saved out a piece of the leek skin, so you could see how much dirt was hiding among the layers. It’s very fine and grit like. Swish them around under the water and make sure you get all of the sandy grit out.

Melt the butter and garlic – if using cloves, the recipe recommended leaving them whole. I personally loved the flavor of the Dorot crushed garlic.

Sauté over medium-low heat until all the water has evaporated from the leeks and they are soft and slightly golden brown.

Add the brandy and cook until it has also evaporated. This took about 10 minutes. I prepped my potatoes while I waited.

I added my potatoes and then seasoned with salt.

I then added the 4 cups of water and the 2 cups of veggie stock to the pot. I turned the heat down to low, covered with a lid for 45 minutes, and ran out to purchase an immersion blender at Target while it simmered.

Just in time… The potatoes and leeks were very soft and my new immersion blender did the trick. I grated in the nutmeg and then pureed the soup until it was totally smooth. If it gets too thick, you can add more water or stock – if it’s too thin, remove the lid and let it cook some more.

The last step is to stir in the heavy whipping cream.

I topped my soup with ground pepper, a tiny amount of truffle oil and a generous tablespoon of shredded Parmesan. I used my new Target placemat for the photo and then decided that I liked the rustic look of my wooden crate better.

I then tasted the soup and decided that some crunch would also be nice – I added some Garlic Gold Nuggets as a topper.

I also decided to use my Grandmother’s china for the second bowl’s photo session. The soup tasted amazing. I absolutely loved everything from the flavor to the texture – it was pure comfort in a bowl.

I am looking forward to reading and cooking my way through all 432 pages of Apples and Jam. Thank you Christiana for my wonderful present,  thank you Jenna for introducing me to such an amazing find, and thank you Tessa Kiros for creating your awesome keepsake cookbook.

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    • Aim on January 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    mmmmm, looks delicious!!

    • Yuba John on January 31, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Congrats on your immersion blender. When I started making soups I pretty much painted the klitchen with soup as I tried the blender, then the cuisinart, then the hand mixer. Mine even has a small cuisinart attachment that is perfect for garlic and such. Gotta love them kitchen toys. And the soup looks great too.

    • dubu on January 31, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    this soup looks wonderful!!!! I love your last pic….at first glance I acutally thought you had put a childs red shoe on top of the cookbook next to the bowl of soup….VERY 3D!!!!

    • Theresa on January 31, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    What brand immersion blender did you get? Do you recommend it?

      • foodiddy on February 2, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      I did a bunch of research before Christmas and then ended up buying the cheapest one at Target – The Cuisinart CSB-76BC SmartStick 200-Watt Immersion Hand Blender. So far so good and it was only $24.00 compared to the higher priced ones I had found. I’ve used it 3 times and have been happy.

  1. I love cookbooks with character like that. I hadn’t heard of that one!

      • foodiddy on February 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      I adore this cookbook – guessing an entire post dedicated to it gave that away, ha!

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