Tag Archives: potatoes

Creamy Herb Potato Leek Soup

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Sometimes I forget what it’s like to cook with additional little hands in the kitchen. That sounds really creepy, I know. I’m referring to cooking with kids, not miscellaneous spare body parts I’ve failed to confess to owning. I have mentioned before that I really prefer cooking solo. It isn’t that I’m unaware of how to be a good team player. Sometimes it’s just quicker and easier to know what the plans are in my head, for preparing a meal, without having to dictate them to anyone else. Plus cooking is as good as meditating in my day; it’s peaceful for me, even when things are chaos and there’s flour in my hair, butter up to my elbows, or chunks of raw vegetables on the floor.

That said, once upon a time I thought it would be a good idea to have Silas help prepare dinner at least once a week, in the short three nights we have him here. He was ecstatic. My insides fluttered, knowing I was willingly giving up control of the kitchen to a seven year old. Schedules and real life don’t always make it plausible, but we’ve done alright at making room for kid cooking nights.

When I was a kid, I remember being fascinated by my mom’s cookbooks. I’d go through recipes all the time. Silas hasn’t been one for cookbooks… I did check out a dinosaur cookbook from the library last week, but was quickly turned off by the recipe ideas. Food can be fun without having to sacrifice flavor! Even when you’re little! (I rushed that book back before a certain 7-year-old saw it, because I was NOT going to eat a dinosaur cut out of a piece of lunch meat, placed on a plate with a cheese stick tree, featuring shredded cabbage grass.)

Luckily, Silas has always had great taste for a little guy. He’s open to trying most anything. Although we don’t cook meat here, he tells me one of his absolute favorite foods is bacon. When I asked him what he wanted to make for dinner not so long ago, he decided on soup. We checked out what was on sale in the grocery store, discovering an abundance of fresh local leeks. “I LOVE potato leek soup!” he exclaimed and thus the following recipe was born.

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Creamy Herbed Potato Leek Soup

Yields enough soup for 8-10 people.

Ingredients:

4 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 leeks, washed and sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, sliced in 1” thick rounds
4-5 small sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
3 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. ground coriander
pinch of fresh nutmeg
1- 32 oz. box No-Chicken broth
3 cups whole milk
½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
2-4 tbsp. cream cheese, optional
salt and fresh ground pepper

 

Directions:

Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large stock pot. Add the leeks, stirring them around to evenly coat with the melted butter. Occasionally stir, cooking until the leeks are tender (8-10 minutes).

Add the garlic and diced onion, mixing everything together. Allow the leeks, garlic, and onion to cook until the onion is tender. Add the potatoes, 2 or 3 or the rosemary sprigs, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, coriander, nutmeg, broth, and milk. Stir to evenly incorporate all the ingredients. Reduce heat to medium, then cook until the potatoes are fork-tender (15-25 minutes).

Once the potatoes are cooked all the way through, remove the harder stems leftover from the rosemary (the tender parts will fall right off; simply “fish out” the stem with a slotted spoon). Work the soup in batches, pureeing in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Return the pureed soup to your stock pot, over medium-low heat. If the soup is thicker than you like, add a little more broth or milk. Stir in the cheeses, until they’re completely melted and incorporated. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve hot.

Vegetarian Soyrizo Hash with Baked Eggs and Ricotta

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In the last six years, the amount of meat that goes into my diet has drastically shifted. Truth is, I enjoy learning about plant based proteins and nutrients… in a very nerdy way, which has included reading about the ways vegetables break down when consumed and countless hours spent finding recipes to experiment with. I rarely find myself missing meat from meals. True, sometimes I get a ridiculous craving for chicken, wanting it in a burrito, fried, cooked to fine sticky buffalo wing perfection, or perhaps thrown into a sandwich. But seitan readily cures that craving nearly instantaneously.

The other craving I get when it comes to animal flesh (or parts – ergh) is spicy chorizo sausage. In the world of fake meats and vegetarianized versions of meat products, smoky spiciness is hard to come by. Field Roast‘s version of chorizo has long been my go-to vegetarian alternative for spiciness. However, we recently discovered Trader Joe’s version of soy chorizo. At $1.99, this is the sole ingredient that goes on my NEED! grocery list whenever we stop at TJ’s. It’s spicy, flavorful, the texture is meat-like. I’m not even going to tell you how amazing it is in an egg sandwich with monterey jack cheese. (Really.) If the Field Roast variety is what you have available, feel free to use it. It certainly won’t disappoint! Just crumble it up in the recipe. El Burrito Soyrizo is also pretty readily available (check the freezer section, too).

We recently decided to have locally harvested organic chicken eggs delivered. In this part of Southern Oregon, that isn’t difficult to come by… if fresh eggs are available to you, they make all the difference. The yolks are richer tasting, beautifully dark golden in color. I was told that these particular hens were excellent foragers and the woman delivering the eggs was certainly proud of them, which was encouraging as well.

This hash is spicy, filling, delectable… I prefer still-runny yolks, which add great flavor to the potatoes and help to balance out the peppery chorizo. And the ricotta? It lends a delicate creaminess and also mellows out the spice. Breakfast or dinner, you can eat this for whatever meal sounds good. (I prefer breakfast-for-dinner.)

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Vegetarian Soyrizo Hash with Baked Eggs and Ricotta

Serves 2 people

Ingredients:

4 cups diced fingerling potatoes (I used Klamath Basin’s Medley)
salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
2 tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
6 oz. Soy Chorizo sausage (I enjoy Trader Joe’s variety)
¼ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
4 eggs
salt and pepper

 

Directions:

Fill a large pot with water. Generously add salt, two tablespoons olive oil, the two sprigs of fresh rosemary, and the diced potatoes. Bring to a boil, then cook until the potatoes are just fork-tender (12-15 minutes). Drain the potatoes in a colander, then remove the rosemary sprigs.

Preheat your oven to 375°F. In a 11-inch cast iron skillet, heat the remaining three tablespoons of oil. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary, oregano, and parsley. Cook over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent (5-7 minutes).

Add the soy chorizo, stirring to mix everything together. Cook, occasionally stirring, until the chorizo begins crisping up and turning golden brown. Add the potatoes to the mixture, stirring to evenly distribute everything. Continue cooking, periodically stirring everything around. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking.

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Use a spoon to make four shallow wells in the potato mixture, evenly spacing them apart. Crack an egg into each well. Crumbled the ricotta cheese all over the top of the skillet (on top of the eggs is okay, too).

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the egg whites are cooked (no longer watery-looking) and the yolks are done to your liking. Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper and salt, then serve while still hot.

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Creamy Potato Leek Soup

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‘Tis still the season for soup, I say. Sometimes when I can’t think of what to make for dinner, I will look around the kitchen and my brain immediately goes to soup. Especially if it’s a pureed type – anything can go in there that tastes good! (Okay, certain things pair better with others, but run with me for now…)

Leeks have been a new ingredient for me, for the last year or so. I remember seeing them in the grocery store and thinking, what the heck do I do with this?! There are still many items – specifically in the produce department or farmer’s markets – that leave me with the same train of thought, but I like experimenting, so hopefully some of those alien-like things will continue to make their way into my cooking and on this blog.

That said, I love the mild flavor of leeks. They’re earthy and sweet, and not nearly as distinct as onions in recipes. This soup is pretty dang easy. The ingredients aren’t extensive, but the flavors work nicely with one another. You can keep this totally vegan by skipping the dairy while serving it up. If you’re not worried about that, for a creamier soup, feel free to substitute a cup of the broth for heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk. In my opinion, the pureed potatoes offer enough creaminess on their own, but do whatever sounds good to you personally!

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Broccoli Leek Potato Soup

Relying on walking around Ashland most of the time has lots of perks. Grocery shopping while walking? It’s often budget friendly, too. Our co-op has three options for carrying your groceries around while shopping (four if you merely rely on your arms and hands): large shopping carts, smaller shopping carts, and the handy-dandy-basket. I’ve learned that if I use a basket, I can fit everything into two canvas grocery bags, manageable for the walk home. Once, I got the small shopping cart and thought I was really carefully picking things out I needed (and certainly didn’t need). After I checked out, I had my two grocery bags overflowing, my purse equally full, and a large cardboard box full. While I got a good workout on the journey home, I have not made the same mistake again.

Generally I’ll make a grocery list before walking into the store. Be it mental or on paper, I’ve got some idea of what I need. I have said it before, I am a crazy person about lists. Ca-razy. I’ll usually check out the sale ads online and plan accordingly. Lots of the things I make throughout the week depend on what’s on sale. I was happy to find that this week, leeks were on sale. Broccoli, too! Aaand potatoes. How does that not say, “Julie, make a big pot of soup?”

So the following recipe was born. It’s creamy, faintly cheesy, and very hearty. We ate this soup for three days straight – lunches and dinners – happily. It’ll freeze well, too, if you want to save some for easy reheating later on. I served this soup with slices of crusty, delicious, garlic bread and a side salad.

 

Broccoli Leek Potato Soup

Ingredients:
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large leek, tough green parts removed *
1 medium white onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
7 cups No-Chicken broth
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup heavy cream
salt and fresh ground pepper
pinch of fresh ground nutmeg

* You remove the tougher, green parts of the leek for this recipe, but they’re great to keep around for adding to vegetable stock or homemade beans. They impart a very mild onion flavor to whatever you cook them with. I place mine in a Tupperware container that I keep in the freezer, along with other vegetable scraps, perfect for homemade broths, until I’m ready to use them.

 

Directions:

Cut the stalk of your leek in half, lengthwise. Place the cut-side down, then chop the leek into thin half-moons.

In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped leeks and diced onion. Cook until the onion is translucent and the leeks have softened (7-10 minutes).

Add in the garlic, diced potatoes, and broccoli. Stir to combine everything well. Add in the broth then cover the pot and cook until the broccoli is very tender (20-25 minutes should do it, but I most certainly got distracted and mine cooked for a good 40 minutes before I came back to it! No harm done).

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the leeks, onions, potato, and broccoli to your food processor or high-power blender, leaving the liquid in your stock pot. Process/blend until smooth (2-4 minutes) – if you need to, add a little of the cooking liquid to get things moving. Add the pureed vegetables back into your broth, stirring everything together well.

Turn the heat back on to medium-high. Stir in the cheese, heavy cream, some salt and pepper, and the fresh nutmeg. Continue stirring until the cheese has melted entirely. Heat the soup back up to serving temperature. Taste, then add more salt and pepper accordingly.

Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup with Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

It’s officially fall. My favorite time of year. Temperatures are noticeably cooler in the early morning and evening. While the colors around here haven’t begun to change yet, I know it’s coming. Vibrant reds and oranges, yellows somewhere in there. I do this thing every year, come fall. I tell myself that I’ll make more soups. Because one-pot meals are so easy. Plus you can cook them all day, filling your home with warm, filling smells that draw everyone in. Plus in the fall and winter, how can you go wrong with a bowl of warmth, vegetables, spices, flavors that are both compelling and filling? You really can’t.

But I fail at following through with my soup endeavor. Every single year. Until this year. I even started early: the very first day of fall, which allowed me to use some of the goodness we grew this summer. We’ve got a number of fresh tomatoes of all colors, ripening faster than I want to eat them raw. So, there’s a good amount of roasted tomatoes in this soup that offer a brightness that’s reminiscent of summer, layered with earthy warm flavors of fall. If that sounds way too “hippie” for you, it’s all good. Make this soup anyway. You’ll be pleased.

I made this to feed our family plus my husband’s band mates who had been practicing for some upcoming shows (which are “current” and not “upcoming,” as I write this). I’ll be honest. I’ve never made such a huge pot of soup, only to be left with zero leftovers. I like to think that means this would be a recipe worth repeating. Hopefully you’ll find it that way as well.

 

 

Roasted Tomato Lentil Soup with Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

4-5 cups tomatoes, cut into large chunks (about 5 medium tomatoes)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp. fresh marjoram, chopped
salt and pepper

1 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
3 cups sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and diced
3 cups red potatoes, diced (skins on or off)
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1- one inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1½ cups red and/or orange lentils
½ cup wild rice
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. smoked paprika
8-10 cups water or No-Chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Roast the tomatoes: Preheat your oven to 325°F. Place the chopped tomatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer, then drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle on the chopped oregano and marjoram, along with a generous amount of black pepper and salt. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the skins begin to blister and char. Set aside to cool.

Prepare the soup: Heat the one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and diced onion. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Add in the diced potatoes, carrots, and ginger. Stir to evenly disperse everything. Add the lentils, rice, oregano, thyme, cumin, and paprika. Stir to evenly coat everything in the spices and herbs. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Stir in 8-10 cups of broth (or water). Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about one hour.

Puree the roasted tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Add the pureed tomatoes and can of coconut milk to the pot. Stir well, to evenly combine everything. Cover again and cook for another 2-3 hours at least. Taste and add more salt or pepper to your liking.

You can cook the soup longer if you’d like. After adding the tomatoes and coconut milk, I actually cooked the soup for an additional 6 hours before serving.

Serve hot along with some sour cream or plain yogurt to top the soup off. This soup is also quite delicious with some homemade bread, or at least a tasty baguette of your liking!