Potato Leek on Fleek

I am a soup maniac. I will eat soup anytime, anywhere. Even though it’s late spring, we had some 50 degree weather recently, so I knew I had to make a steaming pot of comfort food. Luckily for my taste buds, Trader Joe’s had the leeks displayed at my eye level the other day so potato leek soup it was! The power of suggestion is strong!

This is not your average potato leek soup. Not that I’m hating on anyone else’s recipe, but *very Guy Fieri voice* I take it to Flavortown. I like it a little spicy and a little colorful. Sweet potato and red bell pepper jazz up what would otherwise (honestly) be beige sludge, and white beans add some protein for all my vegetarians out there! Lastly, folding in some spinach at the very end adds some extra vitamins and minerals!

Oh, and vodka. I’m not drinking right now, so I have a bar cart full of booze in my house going to waste! Since I didn’t have any wine on hand to simmer/deglaze the veggies in/with, I thought—vodka! Vodka & potatoes—a match made in heaven. Here goes!

You will need:

A sturdy spatula/spoon (my fave is this one), a blender or immersion blender, a 6qt soup pan or Dutch oven, and about 40-60 mins.

Ingredients:

optional ingredients are italicized

2 large russet potatoes, skins on & cubed

2 leeks, trimmed & sliced

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, rough chopped

2 bay leaves

olive oil or butter, enough to coat/sauté

salt

fresh ground black pepper

1 sweet potato, peeled & cubed

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 yellow onion, rough chopped

1 tsp. pimenta moida or red pepper flakes to taste

1/4 c. vodka 

*

8 c. broth of your choice (I use vegetable)

1 tbsp. nutritional yeast (nooch)

*

2 cans white kidney beans, drained & rinsed

2 large handfuls spinach, rough chopped

Instructions

Normally I “soup-build,” which is my term for prepping-as-I-cook. I’ll heat olive oil, throw onions & celery in, and add the vegetables in order of how much cook time they need. This time, however, I was in meal-prep mode, so while I was putting away groceries and cleaning the kitchen, I threw all of the vegetables, vodka, salt, and pepper into a pot and let them hang out for a while. Having made this soup both ways, do whichever suits you best! If you’re a prepper, prep! If you’re an on-the-fly kinda guy like me, soup-build. I should Google to see if that’s already a term.

ANYWAY, once you get all the initial ingredients into the pot, throw the heat on medium and start sizzlin’. When the mixture becomes fragrant and begins to soften, add the nooch (if using) and the broth. Bring to a boil. When it begins to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and let it do its thing until the veggies are fork tender.

Turn off the heat and remove the bay leaves before blending! You can do this in batches in a blender or food processor, but I am telling you, get an immersion blender. Best money you’ll ever spend. I promise. Once the soup is blended to your ideal consistency (chunky or smooth are both good, it’s up to you!), add your white beans and cook for a few more minutes. Turn the heat off and fold in the spinach. Let rest until the spinach is wilted. Stir, taste, and adjust salt & pepper to taste.

Serve with chopped scallions and shredded cheese on top! Or a dollop of sour cream. Or oyster crackers! Oh, or those crunchy onion things that go on green bean casseroles. That would be soooo good.

Enjoy!

-c

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“It’s the little things.”

…is something that my mother-in-law-to-be uses so frequently, that it’s a staple phrase in any impression of her. Normally, we roll our eyes at her clichés (i.e. “don’t sweat the small stuff” and “cherish the moments”) but today, I find myself really appreciative of one tiny, little thing.

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My kitchen pegboard, you guys. I finally did it. (Disclaimer: I was 22 when I picked out those curtains, and was going for colorful country décor instead of my current vision of a neutral, modern space.)

I don’t know who officially “invented” this method of storage, but Julia Child (a.k.a. the life inspiration of us all) famously used it, and it’s no surprise why. It turns an otherwise empty, boring wall, into a functional work of art!

The cabinet/drawer situation in my kitchen is less than ideal, considering my love for cookware. I had been dying to do this for ages, so one day I just drove over to Home Depot and got my supplies! My father-in-law-to-be (I must really like these people, huh?) built a frame on which to mount the pegboard, and hung it up today. Now I have an entire cupboard for dry/paper goods! So much less counter-clutter!

Room by room, this former bachelor-pad is turning into a home. An inspiring space is so important to me—it allows me to feel refreshed and productive, a major plus considering this is my last year of college (FINALLY)  and I have to knock it out of the park. I recently transitioned from using a wall-facing desk in my foyer/office/mudroom/misery pit, to making the kitchen table my home base. The kitchen is my happy place—cooking and eating are my favorite things to do—so working in a comfortable, familiar atmosphere has been so inspiring! My new view while I work is a piece of my art, brightly-painted tchotchke shelves, and our stereo—everything from writing papers to paying bills has been 100 times more interesting.

The kitchen is nowhere near finished. I’d still like an island and a new fridge, both of which are in progress projects, and to whitewash or paint our cabinets white, but in its current state, our kitchen is functional and aesthetically-pleasing. Like Pinterest Junior.

image via Google
image via Google

I don’t know if Ms. Child would be horrified that I made my version of (vegan) “Warm the Fuck Up” Minestrone from Thug Kitchen’s cookbook tonight, but I’m sure she’d be glad that women of my generation are still cooking, and relishing the process.

–DellaBites