Braised Potato Leek Soup

I’ve always wanted to have my own recipe for potato soup, since it’s one of my favorite things to eat. And it’s one of those foods you absolutely can’t get from a can–the texture is too slimy, the flavor tinny. I’ve attempted this soup before, but always with tons of cream and butter–so it left me feeling heavy.

Hello, veganism.

What gives this soup a rich flavor is braising the leeks, celery, carrots, onion and garlic before putting in the other ingredients. It has a creamy texture and sweet flavor, but no cream. Or butter. Just veggies and happiness.

Braised Potato Leek Soup (makes about 10 servings):

  • 4 small leeks (or 4 cups of leeks), chopped (the smaller the leek you get, the better the texture and flavor)
  • 1 small red onion (peeled and cut in half)
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup baby carrots (or a cup of diced carrot)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 large yukon gold potatoes, or 3 average-sized ones (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 3 cups unmilk (I used rice milk)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt, depending on your preference
  • chives or scallions to garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Get out a large soup pot. The largest one you have! Heat 1 tsp of oil (or spray with cooking spray) over medium heat. Add the leek, onion halves, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook over medium heat until the leeks begin to brown (about 5 minutes). Add the cauliflower, potatoes and 1 cup of broth. Cover and cook until all the veggies are very tender.

Now, this is the tricky part, because the soup is HOT! But you’ll want to put portions of soup in your blender and puree until smooth. If it needs a little help getting smooth, add the rest of the broth as you puree. The finished mixture should be the texture of very loose mashed potatoes. Lower the heat to a simmer and put the soup back in the pot. Add all the unmilk and the salt. Return to a uniform warmness, but not to boiling.

Garnish with chives or scallions, add salt and pepper to taste. If you happened to have some fake bacon bits on hand, this would be a great time to use them!

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Roasted Tomato Tortilla Soup

I didn’t come up with this soup in a vacuum. It’s really a crazy mash-up of two different tortilla soups that I really like, one from the Happy Herbivore, and the other from Appetite for Reduction. I just took the two easiest parts of each recipe and put them together into one terrific soup!

Roasted Tomato Tortilla Soup (makes 4 large servings, or 6 small servings):

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1&1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 plus 1 cup veggie broth (keep a little more on hand if you need to thin your soup)
  • 1 28oz. can fire roasted whole tomatoes
  • 1 4oz. can green chilies
  • 2 tsp liquid aminos
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 2 tsp hot sauce (I like Tapatio here)
  • 1 cup pinto beans
  • 1 cup crumbled baked corn chips
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • cilantro to garnish

Place a medium-sized sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup veggie broth and onions. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and spices, stirring to coat. Now, douse with the rest of the veggie broth, the juice from the tomatoes, the green chilies, liquid aminos, agave nectar and tomato paste. Squeeze each of the tomatoes in your hand, then add to the soup. Lower to a simmer, and you can cook the soup for almost any length of time–I’d recommend at least 20 minutes.

Pour the soup into your food processor or blender when you are ready and pulse until combined. The soup will be HOT so take pains (ha) not to burn yourself. Return it to the pot, and add the corn chips, pinto beans, corn and hot sauce. Once they are nice and warm, the soup is ready to serve. Garnish with cilantro.

Aztec Corn Soup

Is it the amaranth that makes this soup Aztec? I’m just excited to find a recipe that uses amaranth, which I adore. Even though I can’t make it without burning it, and myself, I love the taste and texture of amaranth. If you’ve never had it, it’s like tiny baby quinoa. Maybe with a little bit nuttier flavor, and if you manage to brown it a little, it tastes sort of like fried chicken. So, if you miss that taste–amaranth is your friend.

This soup is going into my dinner rotation STAT. It only has a few ingredients, and all of them are something I love. Not to mention that it’s a protein powerhouse as well–corn, amaranth and black beans. And the green chilies! So many chilies! We were in heaven over here.

Thanks Happy Herbivore!

 

It Isn’t Easy Being Green…Actually, It’s Not Green At All.

The soup you see before you is Smoky Split Pea Soup from Appetite for Reduction. Are you asking the same question I am? Why isn’t it green?

I don’t know. I think it must be the ratio of split-pea-to-broth and the addition of lots of carrots. But it looks just like tomato soup, though there isn’t any tomato in it at all. I really was hoping for more green, but it does taste remarkably delicious, so that’s going to have to be good enough. I wouldn’t say that it’s exactly smoky, but it does have a hint of that bacon-y flavor you’d get in a meat split pea soup.

The garlic bread was really the best part, which is funny because it’s super easy. Just bread, earth balance, garlic salt and cheddar teese. Oh, and my secret ingredient–a little bit of onion powder. Then you toast it until the cheese melts. But my husband and I were both chomping at the bit to eat more of it. More bread! More garlic bread!

 

Italian Feasting

After getting back from vacation, I think I was really eager to start making my own food again. Because I picked out only the most time-consuming, kitchen-destroying meals for dinner. Good grief! What was I thinking?

This pear and roasted red pepper salad from Appetite for Reduction is like the peacock of salads. Look at it! Also, please note that I totally forgot to buy the couscous–so I just used bulgur that I already had. Hey, it’s wheat, right? Yeah, I’m going to have to try to make this again. I have to take an aside here for the pears–I didn’t even know I liked fresh pears, I usually only have the tinny ones from cans. I was in heaven! I kept sneaking pear slices while everything else cooked.

And I wanted to make the Cauliflower Pesto soup to go with it (also from AfR), since neither recipe had as much protein as I needed to get that day. So, I fired up both food processors and got cooking. When my husband saw the mess I’d made, he went down on both knees in the kitchen, crying out in horror. Not really.

I thought this soup would be green! I have to stop using that dark, dark veggie stock. But it is sooooo tasty.

Both turned out really well, and tasted great together, which is no small feat for me and meal-matching. But the creaminess of the toasted pine nuts went really well with the sharper flavor of the roasted peppers. Hooray!

A Ticking Thyme Bomb

…or how I stopped reading directions and learned to love two tablespoons of dried thyme. Yep.

And what are those strange meteorite-like purple and green orbs perched on the side of the bowl? Sweet Potato Biscuits! I usually make them with the regular orange variety yam, but our market is currently offering delicious organic purple hawaiian sweet potatoes. How can I walk by those and not pick them up? I wasn’t expecting the green splotches, but I feel like I could bust these out again at Halloween. Stick an olive and a pretzel stick in there, and you’ve got yourself a one-eyed one-horned flying purple sweet potato biscuit.

My favorite part? My daughter looking at them when they popped out of the oven and yelling, “Eww mama! No eat!”

Back to the stew. The stew! Literally the last step of the recipe is to add two tablespoons of fresh thyme. Anyone who knows anything about cooking can tell you that dried herbs=stronger than fresh herbs. Unless your dried herbs are 1,000 years old. In which case they will taste like mummy’s balls.

So, yeah, look at me in a rush–two-year-old running around screaming, husband at a meeting, and I just see thyme on the recipe and toss it in. ARGH! We still ate it, he said it tasted good. But I guess I’ll have to start trusting that gut instinct when a measurement sounds crazy.

Recipes courtesy of Appetite for Reduction.