Joni’s Creamy, Chunky, Rustic, and Flavorful Potato Leek Soup (or is it Celine’s?)

Posted by on April 22, 2010 | 14 Comments

As my friend Ricki pointed out, half the fun in using recipes from 500 Vegan Recipes is trying to guess which author wrote which recipe. Both ladies have been blogging their recipes for quite some time, offering hints of their style. But still, I was stumped on some. This recipe though, definitely Joni. I think.

Well, whoever created it, it is delicious! And talk about filling. I tend to be one of those people who eats half my body weight at each meal. But a modest bowl of this soup at dinner was plenty. For that reason, it makes a perfect vegetarian night meal (Meatless Mondays anyone?), and who doesn’t love leftover soup for lunch?

There are many potato leek soup recipes out there, but this one has its own special touches that I just loved. Unpeeled potatoes for a “rustic” look and taste (mmm, love those potato skins!); lemongrass for a unique essence that melded perfectly, and the use of vegetable broth instead of chicken broth gave the soup a beautiful and unexpected orange hue. I liked this, as it left my husband guessing on what type of soup it really was, and of course looks better in pictures …

Rustic Vegan Potato Leek Soup

I adapted the recipe just slightly, adding a wee bit of white pepper, specifying the salt amount I used, and substituting dried lemongrass (luckily I had some on hand since the fresh lemongrass in store looked far less than stellar). I discovered dried lemongrass at Cost Plus World Market. A generously filled jar for just $2.99, so I had to give it a whirl. I also adjusted the directions quite a bit to fit how I made the soup. But, the basis of this soup is all Joni, err … or Celine.

 

Recipe: Rustic Vegan Potato Leek Soup

Summary: Recipe adapted from 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Dairy-Free Margarine (I used Earth Balance Soy-Free; I think you could substitute olive oil here if need be)
  • 2 Medium Leeks, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds and halved (about 3 cups)
  • 2 Teaspoons Dried Lemongrass or 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemongrass
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth (I used Pacific Foods Organic Vegetable Broth)
  • 1-1/2 lbs Russet Potatoes, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (skin on)
  • 3/4 to 1 Teaspoon Salt, or to taste (I used 1 teaspoon total)
  • 1/8 Teaspoon White Pepper (optional)
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the margarine in a stockpot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the leeks and lemongrass and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the leeks soften quite a bit and just begin to brown.
  3. Add the broth, deglazing the pan if needed, and bring the soup to a boil.
  4. Add the potatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  5. The original recipe called for using an immersion blender, leaving some chunky, but I don’t have one. So I placed half of the soup in my blender, and carefully (make sure that lid is covered, you don’t want hot soup flying out!) whizzed it until creamy and relatively smooth. I then added this back to the pan along with the white pepper and gave it all a stir to combine.
  6. Taste test and season to taste with more salt (I used another 1/2 t). If using black pepper, this is the time to add it, or you could let each person grind in their own.

Diet type: Vegan

Number of servings (yield): 4

Copyright © Alisa Fleming.

Rustic Vegan Potato Leek Soup

Sweet Roasted Five-Spice Carrots

Posted by on September 10, 2009 | 15 Comments

Don’t forget about the Vegan Brunch and Vegan Soul Kitchen Giveaway!

My husband and I got in a discussion the other day about carrots. Yes, carrots. For years he has picked through stir fries leaving a pile of carrots neatly on the side of his plate, which I eventually end up nabbing with my chopsticks to avoid any waste (okay, I love carrots, so I really don’t mind). But, when I made the outright statement that he doesn’t like carrots, he eminently denied it. I gave him my annoyed yet perplexed face, and he proceeded with an explanation. He claimed that most carrots just weren’t good quality. The ones that we have had in some finer restaurants are much sweeter … those, he likes.

I typically buy organic carrots (the extra $.20 for a 1 lb bag is well worth it for this high-pesticide veggie), but I proceeded to trial the baby carrots, the regular bagged carrots, and even locally grown carrots with their green leafiness still in tact. No luck. I knew the sweetness he was speaking of, but I just couldn’t seem to find it. Perhaps I am just a bit early in the year, since peak season for carrots doesn’t hit until next month. But still …

So I went online and discovered a little secret. Don’t ask me where I found it, as I merely committed the idea to memory, but it seems many chefs will sweeten the pot a bit with just a wee bit of sugar to bring out the natural sweetness in carrots without going overboard and creating a glaze.

So with this new-to-me concept and a 5-spice craving, I cranked on the oven, and threw together this lightly sweetened side dish. Though my husband wasn’t elated at first to see a big pile of carrots on his plate, he gladly devoured every last morsel …

5spicecarrots

Sweet Roasted Five-Spice Carrots

This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Vegetarian, and optionally Vegan.

  • 12 Ounces (3/4 lb) Carrots, thickly sliced or baby carrots
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (melted) or Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Honey (can substitute brown sugar, agave, or maple syrup)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Preheat your oven to 450ºF.

Place the carrots in a large baking dish (preferably in a single layer). Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine and evenly distribute the seasonings.

Place the carrots in the oven, and allow them to bake for 15 minutes.

Remove, give them a stir, and return them to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until they are nice and roasty-toasty.

Yields 3 to 4 sides of sweet carrots

Easy Mexican Meals: Part 2 – Sloppy Joses over Polenta

Posted by on July 10, 2009 | 26 Comments

(Part 1: Easy Mexican Meals: Homemade Taco Seasoning)

By most people’s standards, my grandpa was a very difficult man. He was often labeled as stubborn, tough,  and bull-headed, but to me he was a loving grandfather with so much wisdom from life. He dropped out of school in the 8th grade. He built his first fortune from scratch in his twenties. He lost it all. He built his second fortune. And once again, he lost it all. He built his third fortune (no, this man was not a quitter!), but this time he held onto it, invested wisely, and lived a comfortable and long retirement.

Of course, my fondest childhood memories of my grandpa revolved around food. He loved my grandma’s loganberry jam and pies; OH how he clamored for those pies! But he always took a minute away from his dessert cravings to make sure my grandma put out an antipasto platter filled with black olives when we were coming for dinner. Within minutes of our arrival I would find my way to the olives, popping one on each finger and nibbling them away one by one until dinnertime. It always made my grandpa smile and laugh.

My grandpa passed away last month, but he fought his way to the wonderful age of 91. Though I miss him greatly, I think he would be happy to know that I am still playing with my olives …

Turkey Sloppy Joses Over Polenta

Turkey Sloppy Joses over Polenta
This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Low-Fat, and Sugar-Free (depending on your tomato sauce)

This version is served over polenta, but you can use rice or a hamburger bun (with some lettuce of course!) as your base if you prefer. My husband convinced me long ago that Worcestershire sauce adds a “meaty” flavor to ground turkey that it seems to be lacking, so I frequently use it in dishes such as this one.

  • 2 Teaspoons Grapeseed or Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1 20-ounce Package Lean Ground Turkey
  • 2 to 3 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
  • 1 8-ounce Can Tomato Sauce (like Hunt’s or a generic)
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes (around 3/4 to 1 lb), diced
  • 1 Batch Alisa’s Homemade Taco Seasoning, black pepper omitted (can sub 1 packet of premade taco seasoning, but if you ask me, mine’s better)
  • 1 Cup Frozen Corn*
  • 1 Chub Prepared Polenta*
  • About 1 Dozen Black Olives, sliced

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and sauté for two minutes. Add the turkey, and sprinkle with the Worcestershire if using. Sauté, breaking up the turkey as you go, until it is cooked through (no pink!). Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, and corn. Stir until everything is well combined. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and allow it to simmer for a few minutes or longer if you prefer.

While that  is simmering, slice the polenta into 1/2-inch thick slices, and heat it in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat, flipping once.  Divide the polenta between four plates, and top with the turkey mixture. Sprinkle with olives and serve.

*Since corn is a top GMO product in the U.S., I always purchase organic corn products. Organic frozen corn shouldn’t set you back more than an extra quarter or two depending on where you shop. Most chub polenta that I see is organic, so it shouldn’t be hard to find by default. Do not purchase the polenta at a local grocer unless on sale, they tend to charge way too much. You should be able to find it for around $2.00 to $2.50.

Yields 4 sloppy servings

Turkey Sloppy Joses over Polenta

Blog Events:

 

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5 Good Things Since My Last Post (oops, I almost forgot!)

  1. I emailed with a good foodie friend whom I hadn’t heard from in a very long while.
  2. When picking up some weights we happened across a clearance sale at a sporting goods store. While looking through the shoes my husband handed me a pair that were in the wrong section and said “these belong in the 6’s.” Me, not listening, thought he handed them to me to try on. So I put them on and they fit great! Up until that point only Asics fit my narrow heel and wider forefoot, but the Renegade Brooks fit like a glove and were on sale for a steal! I should not listen to him more often!
  3. I made fresh-squeezed lemonade, yum!
  4. Today I finished 3 big to-do items from my list. Yes, I am a list freak.
  5. I was honored with some personal tips from the blogger guru, Zesty, so you may see a facelift on this blog soon!

Look What I Bought at Whole Foods for Just $5.00 …

Posted by on May 18, 2009 | 18 Comments

… and it is ALL ORGANIC

wholefoodsorganics

That reusable bag, sent as a freebie from Earthbound Farms, is HUGE to give you some perspecitve. Yesterday, my haul included:

  • 2 Boisterous Heads of Organic Green Lettuce (2 fo $1)
  • 5 Medium-sized and Perfectly Green Organic Bell Peppers (3lbs for $1 – yes, that was lbs!)
  • 5 Beautiful and Big Organic Red Delicious Apples ($.50 / lb)
  • 2 Medium to Large Organic Cucumbers ($.89 each)
  • 1 Large Organic Lemon ($.50 – a splurge for my water)

Total: $5.17

Result: Two packed veggie and fruit keepers in my fridge!

Extra Benefit: Most were “local” to my area. The cucumbers were foreign, however, I have yet to find any domestic organic cukes.

Thank you Whole Foods!

organicapples

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Filed Under: Tips, Ideas, and Deals

Did Someone Say Organic Cookie GIVEAWAY?!

Posted by on May 3, 2009 | 198 Comments

Way back in the day, when I first created the website Go Dairy Free, there were just a few fledgling special diet companies out there. One of the first ones I made contact with was Gak’s Snacks. Jill, the mother of a child with multiple food allergies, created a peanut-free, tree nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free bakery (also vegan and organic) that churned out the most delicious coffee cakes and cookies under the Gak’s Snacks label.

But Jill’s once little company has grown since I first met her … and with that growth, she decided they needed a new identity. So Gak’s Snacks became HomeFree Treats. While I admit to missing the old name, I am elated that Jill hasn’t changed a thing about her products, aside from adding some new ones! Trust me, everyone will want these (just ask Sarah), they aren’t simply for the food allergic (yes, even if you can eat everything under the sun, you can, AND SHOULD enter to win this giveaway).

Home Free Giveaway

homefreegiveaway2

Oh yes, the giveway…

Enter to win Organic Cookies from HomeFree Treats!

Jill at HomeFree Treats will send a sampler pack of her delicious organic cookies (also available to purchase from their website) to one of you! The package will include one full box of each of the following yummy cookies:

  • Organic Chocolate Chip [Big] Cookies
  • Organic Chocolate Chocolate Chip  [Big] Cookies
  • Organic Oatmeal [Big] Cookies
  • Organic Chocolate Chip Minis
  • Organic Chocolate Chocolate Chip Minis
  • Organic Oatmeal Minis

Here’s how to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post, and let me know what flavor of cookie you think Jill at HomeFree should come up with next. No ideas? That’s okay, just tell me why you want these cookies!
  • For a second entry, twitter and/or blog about this giveaway, making sure to link back to this post.

The winner will be selected on Friday, May 9th, so get your comment in before then. Good luck!

homefreegiveaway

 

More Giveaways (let me know if you have one going on!):

  • Win coupons for the new Soy-free and Dairy-free “Butter” from Earth Balance on The Allergic Kid.
  • Ricki at Diet Dessert and Dogs is giving away copies of her new cookbook, Sweet Freedom!

And the Organic HappyBaby Winners are …

Posted by on January 30, 2009 | 3 Comments

Dan and Stephanie!  Congratulations, I will email you both so that you can receive your HappyBaby Free Product Coupons.  For everyone else who wants to get their hands on some organic baby food, HappyBaby products (frozen meals, dry cereals, finger foods, etc.) are available at natural food stores (Whole Foods of course) and select varieties are also available on Amazon.

Now, I realize this giveaway was quite specific, but have no fear … there are some new giveaways on the horizon, which are adult-friendly too! Plus, Ricki over at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs has a chocolate and baked goodies giveaway going on now … but hurry, today is the last day for entry!

Ah yes, and I think there may just be a recipe looming on the horizon for … well, you will just have to check back to see!

Non-GMO Corn Starch … for a Fair Price!

Posted by on January 14, 2009 | 20 Comments

Bob's Red Mill Corn StarchThere are certain dietary things that my husband easily goes along with and there are other things … well, not so much.

No fast food?  Well he is getting better …

The vegan diet? It was a valiant 4-month adventure for him, but in the end, he is more carnivore than herbivore.

No GMO’s?  Well now we have a winner.  This is one area where he not only supports me, but he leads the way in enforcement during our grocery shopping trips (okay, so the once a week fast food may sabotage this just a bit, but I try to cut the guy some slack, we are making progress here!).

Anyway, I was stuck on cornstarch.  Arrowroot powder is expensive in my area (at least $5 a bag on a good day), and for some reason, it just doesn’t always perform as nicely as cornstarch.  But, I only found one brand of cornstarch, labeled as organic, that I could be sure was non-GMO … for over $5 a box!  Oh no.  This would just not do for a kitchen staple.  Desperate, I checked Whole Foods and spotted a big bag of the stuff from Bob’s Red Mill for just under $2.50.  Yet, the label said nothing about non-GMO or organic, so I contacted them.  To my positive discovery, they sent the following response … “All of our products, including our Corn Starch, are non-GMO.” Yes!

Since their product line includes a boatload of baking aids and grains (both wheat-based and gluten-free)  this was awesome to know as a back-up. Just wanted to share in case any of you have faced a similar dilemma.

 

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