Feelin' Chalky

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

If You Fail to Plan...

I am a horrible planner.  I mean, I have all of these great ideas rolling around in my head, but to actually put my thoughts into practice is a whole other animal.  That being said, I have become quite the Iron Chef.  You know what I mean, right? Iron Chef, the show?  The show where they hand a box full of seemingly unrelated, unappetizing foods to a chef and in under an hour or so they create beautiful, gourmet platters of food?

Ok, well, it may feel like that in my mind, but in all reality I am not cooking octopus or puréeing dragon fruit...OR using dry ice...but I might as well be on the show.  How impressive is it to have four children screaming, "what's for dinner?" in a continuous, whiney chorus while you attempt to mold a pantry full of random grains, legumes, flours, and spices and a refrigerator full of moldy left-overs, condiments, and produce into a beautiful, symphony of flavors that everyone will love?  I say it is pretty impressive - nay a miracle!  I have had a handful of really great dishes come out of desperation (and a few that LEFT me desperate for a PB&J).

One of my favorite things to make in a pinch that is always a big hit (and is very budget and user friendly) is my Creamy Vegan Potato Soup.  I researched a lot of recipes online to get inspiration and then customized it to fit our dietary needs as well as what I actually had on hand...which at times tends to be not a whole heck of a lot.  ;-)  (Grocery shopping with four kiddos in tow tends to be less than pleasant.)  The beauty of this recipe is that I can pretty much use this basic "skeleton" - which is perfectly awesome as-is - and fancy it up to add more depth of flavor when I have fun extras around the house.

Creamy Vegan Potato Soup

1 large onion, chopped
4 ribs of celery (including leafy tops), chopped
3 tsp. minced garlic (about 4-6 cloves)
Salt & pepper
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
3 bay leaves (optional but yummy)
1/2 tsp. herbes de provence
1 c. dry sherry
4-6 cups of diced yukon gold potatoes
water to cover
2 T Earth Balance
3 cups Silk organic, unsweetened soy milk

Easy peasy. Sauté onion and celery in EVOO over medium-high heat. Add salt and pepper. Allow veggies to sweat out and soften and get slightly brown.  Rub dried herbs in the palm of your hand before adding to the veg mixture to "wake up" their natural flavors and oils. Cook for another minute and then add dry sherry to pan to deglaze. Cook for about 3 minutes while scraping of any browned bits off of the bottom of your pan with a wooden spoon.  Hooray for flavor!

Add diced potatoes and just enough water to cover. Add more salt and pepper.  (Here is where you can swap in a more flavorful product - vegetable broth - when you have it in your pantry). Put a lid on the pan and turn the heat down to medium.  Cook the potatoes until tender. Add Earth Balance and soy milk, stir to combine, and taste for seasoning.  Add more salt and pepper as needed.  Using an immersion/stick blender, purée soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  We like it mostly smooth with a few potato "chunks" here and there.  Serve with your favorite toppings!  We like Veggie Sour Cream and green onions or chives.  We have also added Veggie cheese in the past as well as Bacony Bits made by WayFare foods (a GREAT Vegan alternative - but they are not gluten-free).