It was a dark and stormy night in January, and I, with six quarts of soup in hand, was on my way to a “soup swap”-it happened to be National Soup Swap Day. I brought my homemade Cheesy Tomato Spanish Rice soup to exchange for other people’s offerings.

Never heard of a soup swap? It was only the second annual event, and already it appears to be a big hit, with people swapping soup across the nation. (Visit soupswap

.com to see how it’s done and to read other swapper’s comments.) Soup lovers Bente and Stephen Millard hosted Santa Barbara’s event, which included something called the “telling of the soup,” whereby each cook shared a story about their creation. The cook with the best story received a prize-a cookbook.

The pouring rain reduced our numbers, but I enjoyed nibbles and a bowl of chili and took home two quarts each of Minestrone Verde, Irish/German Split Pea, and the following:

Len Jarrott’s Cream of Leek

and Potato Soup

(Makes 2½ qts.)

4 c. chicken stock

3 c. water

4 c. of sliced leeks-the white part and a bit of the tender green, well cleaned

4 c. of peeled and diced Yukon Gold potatoes

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

– c. crme fra®che

Place stock, water, leeks, and potatoes in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove it from the heat. Puree the ingredients until they’re completely smooth, using a handheld blender stick or a blender (careful, mixture will be hot). Taste it and correct your seasonings.

Pour the soup back into the saucepan and whisk in the crme fraiche just until blended. Serve, or chill and serve as vichyssoise. (Recipe adapted from Julia Child’s The Way to Cook).


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