2. The blueberries' and oranges' are pretty together, deep, dark blue and bright orange.
3. My favorite Potato Soup recipe turned out exceptionally good this go around. Was it the cold, blustery weather, the right kind of potatoes, our appetites? Who knows, but I highly recommend it. (I didn't have bacon this time, but it's easily omitted.)
Baked Potato Soup
5 lbs. russet baking potatoes (6 large bakers)
½ lb. bacon
3 cups 2% milk, at room temp.
1 stick butter or margarine
3 c. onion, minced
7 ½ c. chicken or vegetable stock
½ - ¾ c. flour
½ tea. thyme
1 Tbl. parsley
¼ tea. Cayenne red pepper *I never use this
1 tea. or less of salt
Preheat oven to 350 F. Wash and dry potatoes; poke with a fork and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until soft. Cool to room temperature. *Refrigerate for 1 hour to speed up the cooling. Remove the skins and coarsely chop the potatoes. Set aside.
Finely chop the bacon and fry until crisp. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
Place 1 ½ c. of chopped potatoes in a blender. Blend or mash with a little water to make the potatoes thin, yet smooth and creamy.
In a large heavy pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. In a separate pan, heat the chicken broth to boiling. Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix the flour into the onion mixture. Continue stirring mixture for 3 minutes. Do not brown. While stirring the mixture, slowly add the chicken broth into the onion mixture. Next, add the potato puree. Mix well, using a whisk if necessary. Lower the heat to simmer and cook 30 minutes. Stir often to avoid scorching on the bottom of the pan.
Add milk, parsley, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper and the remaining potatoes. Cover and simmer another 30 minutes, stirring often. If soup is too thick, thin with more milk.
Add ¾ of the bacon and mix well. Serve garnished with remaining bacon, cheddar cheese and chives, if desired.