Asparagus Cauliflower Vichyssoise and Sautéed Spinach with Eggs


Romance is so not dead. I was just rooting around for chocolate (a habit I inherited from my Dad, who used to do this after dinner any night that there wasn’t a little dessert to be had – now he keeps the makers of Lindt 70% cocoa chocolate busy) and mentioned how much I would love to have a Drumstick right now (the ice cream kind), and Mike walked to the corner store and just handed me one. I think he may be hoping for some kind of payback later.

It was some sorta crazy weekend. Friday night ended at 1am and Saturday morning began at 6:30 with W flicking/Lou licking me in the head. It was Gallery Calorie day, which was wildly successful and (almost) went off without a hitch, but had me out the door before 9 and home at close to midnight again. Sarah came and met me, and took a photo of our stunning pasta and bruschetta we ate on the patio at Il Giardino with her iPhone, but the computer keeps telling me it’s broken and won’t let me open it. So that, technically, was dinner, along with a few raspberry martinis (not a good idea in close vicinity to a silent auction), beef and beer pies, cupcakes, and bacon-wrapped scallops. (Dinner was grazed upon between 2 and 7 pm.)

This afternoon we spent at a barbecue and got home at dinnertime, all disoriented after having just eaten burgers and hot dogs a couple hours earlier. Why is there no afternoon equivalent to brunch that marries lunch and dinner?

But H had walked across the street this morning with a little basket of freshly picked spinach leaves – straight from her garden – and I was not about to leave them to languish in the fridge or for W to use as confetti in the living room. I haven’t even managed to plant my spinach yet, let alone harvest it.
(I don’t hate her because she’s beautiful, I hate her because she can plant stuff and not kill it. Which come to think of it is a handy sort of neighbour to have.) So I quickly sautéed the lot in a slick of olive oil and dab of butter, with a smashed clove of garlic, and as soon as it wilted tipped an egg into the hot pan. There is no better quick meal with a good slab of buttered toast.

I also reheated some asparagus-cauliflower vichyssoise for each of us to sip as we went about doing what needed doing. I didn’t make it to Edgar Farms’ Asparagus Festival a couple weekends ago on account of W’s fever; luckily I managed to stock up on plenty of the stuff, some of which I made into a large pot of soup. Vichyssoise is the hoity-toity name for far more humble sounding leek and potato soup, when it is puréed and served chilled. Very Garden Party. It was always my Dad’s favourite soup – he’d request it on birthdays and other occasions during which his input was requested. I hadn’t made it for ages but thought asparagus might make a nice addition, and then as I was making it discovered half a head of cauliflower that needed using, and both worked swimmingly.

This soup, by the way, is just as good served hot as cold or anywhere in between. And although I am not much of a garnisher, I dabbed a bit of jarred pesto on top for the photo because the pale green puree just wasn’t cutting it. It’s optional, but delicious.

Asparagus Vichyssoise


Yields1 Serving

1 Tbsp. each butter and canola or olive oil
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 leeks, chopped (white and pale green part only) and then washed in a bowl of cool water
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper
1/2 half & half or cream


In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add all the vegetables and cook for a few minutes, until they start to soften. Add the stock and cook for 20 minutes, until everything is very tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cream.


Purée the soup in the pot using a hand-held immersion blender, or do it in batches in the blender or food processor until very smooth. Serve warm, or chill and serve cold.



 1 Tbsp. each butter and canola or olive oil
 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
 2 leeks, chopped (white and pale green part only) and then washed in a bowl of cool water
 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
 salt and pepper
 1/2 half & half or cream



In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add all the vegetables and cook for a few minutes, until they start to soften. Add the stock and cook for 20 minutes, until everything is very tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cream.


Purée the soup in the pot using a hand-held immersion blender, or do it in batches in the blender or food processor until very smooth. Serve warm, or chill and serve cold.

Asparagus Vichyssoise

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17 comments on “Asparagus Cauliflower Vichyssoise and Sautéed Spinach with Eggs

  1. Christina
    June 14, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Okay, your first paragraph had me laughing so hard my husband was wondering what was wrong with me and I had to read it aloud to him, to which he smiled widely as he too could relate to Mikes motive (they are two peas in a pod) LOL. Thanks for sharing … hilarious!
    PS Of course all the food sounded delicious as always! 🙂

  2. Grace Wong
    June 14, 2009 at 7:50 pm


    I have spent the past ten days (!!) reading this blog non-stop. When I find a new blog I want to read, I start by heading into the archives. What I was *not* anticipating, however, was the fact that you were committing to writing an entry *every* *freakin’* *day*!! That’s not to say, however, that I am not enjoying it – I am enjoying it, very much. What am I enjoying?? Things like this … (with thanks to Jen C, who compiled the 2008 portion of this list that I *ahem* borrowed this from … :))

    “Serve with red wine (or beer, or prossecco, or scotch, or ginger ale) in front of Earth vs. the Martians. It’s becoming apparent I enjoy eating dinner on the couch.” (Day 11)

    “I have far too many kinds of animals stuck between my teeth right now.” (Day 53)

    “This morning I was pummelled awake at 7 am by a 3 year old and his 65 pound puppy. It was chilly and rainy and grey, so I pulled on my big brown socks with the orange stripes (damn sexy, they are) and went downstairs, made oatmeal for W, put on his beloved (and very dated) Green Eggs and Ham DVD, and made cream puffs.” (Day 244)

    “I am struggling with a way to write this post without the use of expletives. Unfortunately, there is no scotch in the house to help me out with this.” (Day 255)

    “Today has been an enormous, pregnant albatross attempting to take off from a well-greased runway. With a piano tied to its ass.” (Day 290)

    “Lou went for the Big Snip yesterday. Today he is slightly drugged, sporting a giant plastic cone around his head and a fresh Brazilian wax.” (Day 296)

    “I do consider myself lucky to have a job writing/talking/researching/teaching/obsessing about food, but some days I feel like a nun working in a porn shop.” (Jan.08/09)

    “A particularly harrowing day today, one that should have ended with a glass (or bottle) of wine. Or Scotch. Or both. At the same time. Out of a paper bag through a straw.” (Jan.30/09)

    “Lou loudly alerted me to the most wonderful surprise yesterday afternoon – a FedEx package full of maple syrup products from Manon’s sugar shack in Ontario. Two jugs of the pure stuff – which gave me ample opportunity to hold them up chest height and have Mike admire my jugs in a way he hasn’t in a very long time.” (Feb.01/09)

    “It’s late – I’m getting punchy. Brian not working so good. (Ha – good typo – from now on will have to refer to my brain as “Brian”. No Brian, no more cupcakes! Bad Brian!) My most common mistake is to type “busty” instead of “busy” when I’m in a rush – as in, “I’ve been really busty lately”, or “I know you’re busty, but…” (Apr.18/09)

    “A few days ago I made a pot of pasta fazool (must have been for lunch) and W walked in, looked at it, and said: “what! I don’t eat vegetables!” and stomped outside. Five minutes later I could hear him out on the patio, back arched, yelling at the sky: ‘I need some SUGAR!!’ Great.” (May08/09)

    “Can’t seem to quit the bread. Do you think if I strapped a bun to my arm it would work like a patch?” (May13/09)

    “DISCLAIMER: If you are at all weak of stomach, and/or are just sitting down with a nice scone and latte at 7 in the morning, you may want to bookmark this for later. I’ll be talking about squid guts.” (May25/09)

    I am a firm believer in humour being the glue that binds a marriage together, and while this blog ain’t exactly a marriage, it *is* a prime example of using humour to keep a person’s interest to keep reading over 500 blog posts over the course of ten days … 🙂

    Now the recipes … ah, the recipes … I have PDF’d over 130 of ‘em for eventual use … it has been your blog that finally gave me the courage to try my first biscuit recipe (for your Strawberry Shortcake recipe), and they turned out so well, so I gave the Whole Wheat and Olive Oil Biscuit recipe a try to go with your Creamy Chicken recipe for supper last night. I am completely *floored* by how well they turned out (so’s my husband … :)). I might even try some No-Knead Bread eventually … :).

    As the mother of a little boy with autism (who has a repertoire of eight items that he will eat – everything else is an “unpreferred” food … therein lies the problem with autism … these children *will* literally starve before eating an unpreferred food, unlike most other children, who will eventually eat when they get hungry enough), my creativity had gone out the window because my little guy won’t *eat* anything. After reading through a number of blogs, I came across yours and decided – screw it. My husband enjoys my cooking (and I’ve always considered myself a good cook – just not a very imaginative one), so I’ll cook for him and me, and if I have to be a short order cook in order to fix my little guy eggs over hard with a slice of gluten-free bread and (organic) Nutella, so be it. It was killing me to be fixing the same things over and over and over and over and over again. So, I must admit to feeling a little bit freed up too.

    This is a *very* long post, so I’ll leave things at that. Thanks, Julie – you’re an inspiration to me.

  3. Vivian
    June 14, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Grace, thank you for reminding us what a treasure we have in Julie! Through her words she shares her humourous take on life’s situations served up with delicious and adventuresome food. I knew nothing of “blogs” before I read of *dinnrwithjulie* in the Edmonton Journal and I’ve been a “cyber-friend” ever since. Thanks Julie!

  4. Kate
    June 15, 2009 at 4:55 am

    100% loved reading the excerpts that Grace strung together. It is like getting a “promise box” verse of the day for a standing member of the Epicureans!
    Great fun. As a side, we had neighbor kids that always referred to their late lunch/early supper meal as “lupper”. What a wise woman she was to make three squares into two. I guess you economize where you can when you have 6 kids 😉

  5. Barb
    June 15, 2009 at 6:02 am

    I sometimes gloss over while reading long posts and (shhhh) don’t finish them completely but Grace had my interest right to the end. Isn’t Julie something?! Good for you Grace to decide to cook two meals per meal time. You deserve to eat more variety and maybe your son will eventually try soemthing new if he sees you eating it often enough?

  6. Cheryl Arkison
    June 15, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Wow, that was some honesty about Mike. But really, aren’t all men like that? Next time mention how much you would like some new shoes or a bottle of Prosecco.

  7. Jan
    June 15, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I have to supply a recipe as a gift for a bridal shower and I’m having a hard time picking one. Any ideas of a good recipe for a new bride?!

  8. Carolyn
    June 15, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Thank you Grace. Thank you Julie. I agree with Vivian that Julie is a treasure.

  9. Tina
    June 15, 2009 at 7:50 am

    “Why is there no afternoon equivalent to brunch that marries lunch and dinner?” Doesn’t everyone call this Lupper?!
    Oh, and I could also see a lot of MY husband in Mike’s (admit it, alleged – oh, who are we kidding?) motivation, there…

  10. Sue (London, ON)
    June 15, 2009 at 8:27 am

    I too want to thank Grace for reminding all of us how special and hilarious Julie is!! That list is a Best of Julie and was fun to read!

  11. Grace Wong
    June 15, 2009 at 9:07 am


    I wish it were that simple … unfortunately, the exposure doesn’t help … most kids will at least try something once they’ve been exposed to it, on average, around 30 times … the average for children with autism is 100-200 exposures before they’ll try something … eating is a real challenge with my little guy … I mean, when it’s something he likes, wow, can he eat a lot. Otherwise, nada … it can be very depressing sometimes. However, having said that, he has *no* problems in the sleeping department, and if I had to choose between an eating problem and a sleeping problem, I’ll take the eating problem!

  12. Kathy
    June 15, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Linner is served at our house frequently. Sunday often shapes up like this. Sleep in ’til 8 (yay!), coffee, laundry, brunch (DH has taken to calling this lunfast), more laundry, nap, linner, walk around the neighborhood, bedtime snack. Oh Sunday, how I miss thee on a Monday morn.

  13. Avery
    June 15, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I was going to say Linner, as well. Then there are Elevensies…

  14. JulieVR
    June 15, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    I love elevenses!

    Wow Grace.. you’re getting me all choked up! Thanks to you and Jen C, that was a funny read! It’s even funnier to remember the days that prompted those posts!

  15. Cathryn
    June 15, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    I had my nephews for a wake-over on Saturday. They hadn’t eaten lunch when I picked them up, and we went straight to a matinee movie, so ate a mid-evening meal that they decided to call linner.

  16. Linda P
    June 16, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Just checking if anyone has made rhubarb chutney that they liked? I thought I read a recipe recently on this blog but it might have been somewhere else. Rhubarb seems to be the one thing that is doing well this year.

  17. Carol SB
    June 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I keep finding more and more reasons to come back home to Julie’s blog. Thank you, Grace, for reminding me of so many of them.

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