Monday, July 14, 2008

Come On In My Kitchen

Today I made a dairy free, healthy version of potato-leek soup, but I can't quite pin-point what's missing. Actually, I know what's missing, and it's an entire 12 ounce package of bacon that is part of the original recipe, but I'm trying to make a healthy, low fat soup and using an entire package of bacon would defeat the purpose by totally jacking up the fat and sodium content.

After slicing the leeks, place in a large bowl of cool tap water and swish them around a little, and let them sit for a minute or so. The leeks float to the top and the sand sinks to the bottom. Lift out the leeks and blot dry in a couple of paper towels, if they need to be dry. Leeks are grown in very sandy soil, and there's always sand stuck inside.

Irene's attempt at Dairy Free Potato Leek Soup

6 cups peeled & diced potatoes (Yukon Gold, Sweet White, or Red New Potatoes work best)
6 cups vegetable broth
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 medium sized leeks, thinly sliced
olive oil, about 2 tablespoons
1 cup of soy milk
salt and pepper to taste

bring vegetable broth to a boil in a 4 quart pot (or larger)
add diced potatoes and garlic. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the leeks. Saute' the leeks in the olive oil until the dark slices yield slightly to a spoon or spatula. Cover and allow to steam for 2-3 minutes, or until the dark slices cut easily with the edge of your spoon or spatula.

Add the cooked leeks to the potatoes.

Using a hand blender, blend the potatoes and leeks, slowly adding the soy milk.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot or chill and serve cold.


On my first taste test, I was expecting a lot more flavor, but it was on the bland side. I added a little more salt and pepper, which helped a little, but still, something was missing. My solution to bland is always Tabasco Sauce, and a few drops of that, but directly into my cup of soup. The Tabasco Sauce helped, but I would like to make the recipe that's ready to eat without adding anything to it. I also added a a little squirt of lime. That helped, too. The tricky part is keeping the recipe healthy, so no cheese, bacon or gravy. I also thought about topping the soup off with salsa fresca and make that a part of the recipe, but I wasn't ready for that. I only had the makings for potato-leek soup by itself.

On a cooking note, don't think it would be necessary to saute' the leeks. As far as I'm concerned, they're all going in the pot with the potatoes, and will be mixed beyond recognition to a thick, creamy soup. If I make this again, I'm going to skip the saute' part and put the leeks and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil right in with the potatoes.

I'm open to suggestions to boost the flavor. What would you add? Keep in mind that it must be healthy and non dairy. Vegetarian would be a bonus but not necessary.

Someone was not thrilled that I was taking photos of food, and not him, so I obliged. He had to be sure to have a car in the photo.

Yesterday's song:
Oatmeal Cookies - Naomi & Christina (Wynonna) Judd, Pete Charles



wendy said...

yum, I actually love leeks, but I have the "bad" recipe, with bacon and cream...maybe when you figure out what's missing I'll try something new!

AKA Alice said...

Have you tried Pancetta (Italian Bacon)? might give some bacon flavor, but has less fat (but it wouldn't be vegetarian anymore).

Michelle said...

Oh, I wish I could help. What about liquid smoke? A teaspoon of that could fill that bacon flavor void. That's all I got. Oh, and the kid is as cute as ever!

On a sadder note, I'm sorry you miss running. Are you reading about running to keep you motivated and positive? Books like Soul Sisters might help.

leslie said...

Michelle and I have the same idea -- liquid smoke, which IS vegetarian.

I love the cooking emphasis, Irene! And g-son is beyond adorable!

Evelyne said...

Sounds good and healthy. I'm a spice nut and don't care for bland food, so I'd probably add lots of garlic, onion and paprika powder to it, even though it already has cloves, etc.

He's so cute I just wanna squeeze him!

Wow, you really think you'll be out till late Oct or early Nov? It's really not THAT long, the way time passes these days, but it must seem like forever to you. HUGS

Anonymous said...

I'm always looking for good recipes for leeks - hmm, vegetarian non-dairy bacon substitute - what about bush's vegetarian baked beans? They have a nice smokey flavor.


barbie2be said...

robert johnson?

i LOVE potato leek soup! what about a bay leaf or two? maybe some fresh thyme? a little bit of rosemary? and maybe some red chili flakes?

Irene said...

It seems like all the tasty stuff is "bad." LOL. I'll keep you posted,

AKA Alice,
No, but it sounds like something to look into. My husband would probably like that!

I never thought of liquid smoke. I'll have to try that.

This month's Blog365 theme is food, so that's why I have all the food posts. Since you've also given the nod for liquid smoke, then I must give that a try next time. The little guy IS my sunshine. :)

Today I could really taste the garlic. I squeeze him every chance I get because he won't be that little forever! Yes, I think I'll be out (from running) that long...

My husband would go for the beans!

I'll have to try the herbs. I was thinking about that after I made my soup. Winner!

Dori said...

My husband is the cook in the family. He makes a really good, home-made chicken stock--it makes anything taste good. You said vegetarian isn't necessary. The key is to roast the bones first. He says the Trader Joe's unsalted chicken stock is almost as good as his.

The soup in your pictures looks delicious. And your grandson is a cutie!

Irene said...

Thanks for the chicken stock tip! I never thought to roast the bones.

Thanks. :)