Potato-Leek Soup, Brownie Sundaes, On the Line

Good morning. Yesterday was a long, rainy day here in New York. I worked on a freelance project, did a 40-minute Zoom gym glass in my living room, spent way too much time on social media, and didn’t get outside with the dogs until almost dinner time. Phoebe (18) watched a few John Mulaney specials on Netflix; Abby (16) started reading Prep. Here is today’s PPP…

Pantry: Potato-Leek Soup

Andy and I are always sending each other food posts on instagram, and lately I’d say 90% of our exchanges originate from Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert, who, like the rest of us, is at home cooking for his family. It’s so satisfying (dare I say “comforting”) to watch one of the greatest chefs in the world make simple crowd-pleasing crepes, omelets, grilled cheese, and — the other day — a creamy looking potato-leek soup (“also called Vichyssoise when served cold”) that called for zero cream. Andy made it last night and it was *chef’s kiss* killer. Here’s what he did — or you might want to just follow Ripert’s instructions.

2-3 large leeks, minced
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
8 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock or water)

Add leeks to 2 tablespoons butter and oil to a Dutch Oven or large stockpot set over medium heat. Add salt and pepper and cook until leeks are softened, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and stock and bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Puree with a hand-held blender, add remaining butter, and season with salt and pepper.

Chill leftovers for lunch.

Project: Brownie Sundaes

I wish I could say we spent an afternoon last week making Alice Medrich’s famous brownies, but alas we had a Ghirardelli “Chocolate Supreme” box mix in the pantry, and the dark truth is…I think I like box mix brownies better. Abby upped the ante with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and leftover whipped cream (from Andy’s birthday tart). Related: Brownie Box Mix Taste Test.

Purpose: Feeding At-Risk Communities

Westchester friends: Two of my all-time favorite local restaurants — Harper’s and Saint George — have been using their resources and considerable energy to feed at-risk communities (and employ restaurant staffers) since their doors closed last month. If you are able to donate, please visit On The Line to help provide crucial support to your neighbors.

Stay safe, stay home.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at jenny@dinneralovestory.com.

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Mom of Boys

I’ve been looking for boxed brownie mix! I’ve always thought it better than homemade. I’m buying Prep right now for senior son. Con Academy seems in a similar genre. He loved that.

I hope the sun comes out today. It is a beautiful morning in Berkeley.


I have a box of same Ghirardelli brownie mix…and I don’t know why I haven’t used it yet! It took us three weeks to find our routine with everyone home (5) and We try to get outside for a bit everyday it helps very much. Recipe question: So during the pandemic shopping panic I couldn’t find my favorite rice or couscous or quinoa… But there, all alone on the shelf..Millet. It’s in my pantry now and I really don’t know what to do with it : /

Clarissa Thompson

I am curious about millet, too – there is a “big salad with grains” recipe on the NYTimes cooking site – I made a version last night. It works well with lots of thing, so pandemic pantry success. Millet is NOT listed as one of the grains you can use, but maybe this is a good role for millet anyway? (farro, quinoa, barley, bulgur…)


thanks for the tip…knowing millet can be a substitute for farro, quinoa, barley, bulgur etc, is a good starting point. I like the “big salad with grains” idea.

Karen L Benson

Brownies are my favorite – beyond cake, ice cream pie ( love them all but brownies are good even when you mess them up. For years I’ve made them from scratch or Trader Joe’s Truffle mix – all greally ood, but husband got us the Ghiradelli mix during a recent pantry loading trip. I cannot lie – they were the best of all! Crackly top, dense, chewy and gooey. Perfection.


I have a bad habit of acquring cookbooks, reading them in one sitting while dog earring the pages of recipes I’d like to try, and then putting them on the shelf and never getting around to trying them (not because I don’t love to cook – I do – it’s just a mental block). So I’ve decided that my stay at home project is to go through cookbook by cookbook and try all the dog-earred recipes. First up: How to Celebrate Everything. We made your snickerdoodle cookies and they were total perfection. We actually only baked 6 of them the first day and froze the rest (went ahead and rolled the dough in the cinnamon sugar before freezing) and now each night we are just baking them straight from the freezer. Such a treat.


I’m inspired by you and decided to simply write down what we cooked/ate/did during this time. Think it might be therapeutic to document some of this. Thanks!


I am definitely not Eric Ripert, but I do make a lot of potato-leek soup! My usual is pretty similar to his, though without the chicken stock because I don’t eat chicken. I learned from Vegetarian Goddess Deborah Madison that potato-leek soup is actually fine with just water and no stock, so I don’t bother with stock. In the past, I’ve occasionally done a variation with a sweet potato in addition to the yellow potatoes. This winter, though, for the first time, I put in a white Japanese sweet potato along with a bunch of Yukon Golds, and the soup was fantastic. It added a very subtle sweetness but was otherwise a very low key presence, and now I don’t want to make the soup any other way. I still had a bit of David Lebovitz’s herb rub that I made in the fall (basically sage, rosemary, garlic and salt ground together and dried),and I sauteed some of that with the leeks, and it added another layer of flavor. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that I haven’t made it since the beginning of this whole thing, and it’s probably time to get it back into the rotation!


For years and years i’ve bought the 6-pack of Ghiradelli brownie mix from Costco. It’s the best, and always good to have on-hand in case you need an emergency dessert for company (remember company?? i miss that!).