One Pot Potato Leek Soup {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free}

IMG_0204It’s officially soup weather. The sweaters, boots and umbrella have been pulled out and are here to stay. The rain is here and it’s cozy time. Browsing in the market on Saturday, I was drawn to the gorgeous  leeks piled high in one of the bins at our local Whole Foods market. They were brilliantly colored, as big around as a hearty farm grown carrot and on sale. Check, check, check. There are two things I like to do with leeks; make a potato soup with them or sauté and eat them with olive oil and lemon for a snack. You can make soup with the stock sand sauté the leaves if you wish to have the best of both worlds. Sautéing leeks to eat as a snack would have NEVER crossed my mind, but I read it in a book I quite enjoy and have tried it a few times since. The book is something I picked up at a half-price book store a few years ago and find myself reading each year. It’s called “French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano. Now, let me pause here and say that I am not encouraging dieting behavior. The I love her healthy, holistic approach.

IMG_0205The focus of the book is teaching us how to eat for pleasure and nutrition versus eating, or not eating, as a diet choice.  She discourages dieting and is a fabulous writer. I agree with her encouragement for people  to view the relationships between food, weight and health within an over focus on a healthy happy lifestyle.  Okay, back to sautéed leeks. I had the best intention of using two boxes of chicken stock that I received from an amazing food conference I just attended (IFBC!). We’re really aware of how much salt goes into our food and opt for low salt whatever we can (broth, soy-sauce, chips, mixed nuts, etc). I have to give the disclaimer that I’m a broth snob. I love broth and have been known to make up a pot of broth in the winters to supplement my massive tea intake. My mother makes amazing soups and has always set the bar high. I’ve never found a boxed or canned broth that I find remotely decent. I’ve always used the same stock my mum uses the brand Better Than Bouillon and I always make sure to get the reduced sodium base. You’ll always find the chicken and beef base in my fridge but they have ham, turkey, lobster, mushroom, the list goes on! One caveat, not all of their flavors come in reduced sodium but the chicken and beef ones do and Costco carries them so I’m a happy camper! So, I grabbed a few leeks, potatoes and onions and was off to make the first soup of the season.

IMG_0201As I mentioned before, we go low salt so at first when I tasted this soup it really felt like it was missing an ingredient. After calling my mother the soup master (Just missed her, she had already gone to bed!) and googling what flavor should hit the center of your tongue, which was right where the soup was missing some seasoning flavor, the mister and I decided that it was salt. Simple salt. I took out a few spoonfuls of the soup and cracked some fresh pink salt on top and low and behold…that soup was PERFECT!

The fun part about this soup is that you can completely change the flavor of the soup with a few very simple cooking variations! Throw in a few carrots, or add some turnips with the potatoes. Not big on thyme myself, but you could add a tablespoon or two of dried thyme or 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme and/or if you like dill, which I don’t, you can include ½ tsp dried dill, or 1 tsp chopped fresh dill. You can cook with truffle oil or use truffle salt, or any other amazingly flavored salt you have stumbled upon. You could cook bacon in the pan first and wipe half the oil out, and use the remaining half of bacon grease to cook up the veggies and potatoes.

How do you like your potato leek soup? Leave a comment!!

One Pot Potato Leek Soup {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free} 

1 Tbsp rice bran oil
1 medium yellow onion
3 large leeks, without the leaves, sliced into rounds
4 medium russet potatoes, washed and chopped and loosely diced
pinch grey or pink salt
fresh cracked black pepper, and more to taste
chopped fresh or dried parsley
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp Better than Bouillon Reduced Sodium Chicken base + 7 cups hot water

Pull out your stock pot. Heat the rice bran oil over medium heat. Chop your onions and add them to the pot, stirring occasionally. To prep your leeks, wash the stocks and cut off the leaves right where the light green turns dark green and the leaves start. Cut off the roots.

Set the leaves aside (unless you want to wash them and include them which you totally can). Slice the stock in half, and cut 1/2 inch half moons until the stocks are all chopped. I do this so it’s easier to separate the leeks when I drop them into the pot.

Stir whatever you have in the pot a few times with each ingredient addition. Add the leeks to the pot and cover.

Cut your potatoes and add them to the pot to sauté for about 5-7 minutes. I cut my potatoes like I would for a breakfast hash: cut the potato in half, then half again and loosely dice.


Once you’ve sautéed the leeks, onions and potatoes for a bit, add a pinch of salt, pepper, chopped fresh or dried parsley and 2 bay leaves. I always add bay leaves to my soup and broths because my mother does and she makes the most amazing soups! Just remember to pull both of them out before blending or serving!

While this is sautéing heat up your tea pot to mix the bouillon base.  I always mix the broth in a glass pyrex because just when you think it’s all dissolved into the water and pour it into your soup pot,  you’ll see the huge chunk of bouillon that was hiding at the bottom plop into the pot! Not amazing. Mix the bouillon in your pyrex, assuring it’s dissolved, then add it to the pot and bring to a boil.

Let the soup boil for a few minutes then reduce to low heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Check the soup to assure that the potatoes are cooked through and turn off the heat. Go fishing for your two bay leaves and pull those guys out. If you have a stainless steel immersion blender, which I don’t, puree of the soup in the pot until you reach the desired level of smoothness. If, like me you don’t own a fantastic immersion blender, pardon me while I add that to my amazon which list which is 90% cooking tools and cook books! I use my trusty vita mix and blend it in batches.

Taste the soup as you blend it because this is your chance to add more herbs and spices since you’re blending the heck out of it and the flavors will be sure to mix well.

Garnish with whatever your heart desires:
cracked pepper
fresh chopped parsley
pumpkin seeds (roasted pumpkin seeds recipe) and sub paprika for the salt
shaved marinated carrots
chopped green onions
sour cream
chopped bacon
fried onions
a drizzle of some truffle oil
… your options are endless!

Potato, Carrot Leek Soup (Dairy Free, Soy Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan)

photo 1It has officially gotten cold in Seattle. Not “girl” cold where it’s 50 degrees and my tosies get a little chilly. I’m talking Midwest, you can see your breath, chill hits to your bones cold. We’ve had low 30’s for about a week now and even my poor parsley I forgot on the patio was frozen to the bone! With cold like this, a big bowl of warm homemade soup is just the ticket to help you thaw out! After being used to cooking an ENTIRE Thanksgiving feast, four pies seemed like a walk in the park! I opted for the my go-to holiday hits and baked four fresh crusts from scratch  for pumpkin pies and two pecan pies. Of course, I home-roasted the pumpkins using my recipe HERE.
we would up with all of the veggies that I had drug up my parents house with the best intentions of cooking up for my family. What do you do with bunches of leeks and a massive yellow onion?

Well, you buy potatoes and carrots and make soup of course! I wrote this recipe from looking at a few different ones, and deciding that I didn’t want dairy OR soy in my soup…and using this a little as a kitchen soup recipe to clean out the fridge. The recipe  is sweet because it’s relatively low maintenance and you can make it in your VitaMix or if you have a food processor. Super simple, SUPER delicious, and super healthy! No diary, no soy, gluten-free, and  can be made vegan if you substitute out the chicken bullion.

photo 3Potato, Carrot Leek Soup (Dairy Free, Soy Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan)
prep time: 10 min | cook time: 1 hr
5 leeks
2 ½ tsp minced garlic (or 5 fresh cloves)
5 stalks celery + the center lighter part with the leaves
dried Parsley (or fresh!)
5  medium russet potatoes
2-3 large carrots
½ large yellow onion
2 tbsp chicken bullion ( I swear by Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base, Reduced Sodium)
8 cups water
1 tsp ground rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
fresh sea salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400.

photo 2photo 1 copyWash, peel and chop all vegetables. To clean the leeks, cut just above the roots and just below where the dark green leaves start to branch off. Wash the body of the leek and peel the outside layer off. Cut into disks. For the dark leaves, cut the tips off and be sure you have washed them well. Then slice and set aside. For the potatoes, I usually cut the potato in half, then half again and cut into chunks.

Misto spray a cookie sheet then place carrots, potatoes and onion on cookie sheet. Dust with fresh cracked pepper and dried parsley (unless you have the fresh stuff- in that case add when you puree the soup).  Cook 40 minutes or until potatoes are soft in the center. Turn veggies once or twice so that all surfaces get browned.

While those veggies are in the oven, get out a large pan and sauté the garlic. Add the leeks, separating the layers of the disks, and the celery. Then add a little fresh cracked pepper and some salt. Sauté until all the veggies are cooked. As I turn the leeks and celery in the pan, I’ll do a light olive oil Misto spray just so everything gets a little charred in the pan and I’ll also coat with pepper. Also, any of the leek that is still held together in the little disk, separate the different layers as you cook.  I never measure pepper and I like the flavor so I usually just cook by sight and will add until I feel like it’s seasoned.

To make the broth, bring the water in a 10-cup stockpot then stir in the chicken bullion. Add the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Once all veggies are cooked and the broth has simmered, remove the bay leaf and get your vita mix ready. Place 1/3 of each of the ingredients in the blender and blend on medium until thoroughly puréed.  Once puréed, place back in the stockpot and repeat until all of the ingredients are puréed. Simmer soup for 10-15 minutes and serve.

Can be frozen up to 4 months in a freezer Ziplocs bag or Tupperware. .

Potato Leek Soup (Vegan)

photo 2When the weather turns soggy, I start to practice my winter sport of “being in the kitchen”. From caramelizing and chopping to baking to broiling, when the weather turns to mush I turn to the kitchen. …and a glass of wine, but that’s a year round sport!

This year I’ve really tried to focus on cooking “in season” and challenging myself to prepare my “typical” foods in a different way. While leek’s are not something that we traditionally have on hand in our house, they made the headliner in today recipes. To be honest, the lack of consistent main stage placement in our cabinet is purely due to the fact that I only know two ways to cook them; sautéed or made into leek soup. While they are can be found year round, they are in season November to February and are more readily available.

The more I looked into the nutrition characteristics of leeks, the more I realized that I wasn’t the only one who usually passed up these shallot and garlic relatives in the grocery aisles; many people shy away from these cardio enriching veggies because they don’t know how to cook or prepare them. Leeks are high in folate, which is a key B complex vitamin for supporting and balancing our cardiovascular system (source) as well as being very high in potassium and very low in sodium, giving it naturally diuretic properties (source). Sharing the same family as garlic and onions, they boast immune, antioxidant, and heart-healthy benefits. 

Enjoyed in in salads with vinaigrette, in soups, sautés, risottos, sauces, pastas, frittatas, creamed, carmelized, Bruschettaed… there are SO many ways to prepare leeks it will blow your mind! Check out this Leek Pinterest Board for more inspiration!

When shopping for leeks, look for ones that are  firm and straight, with dark leaves and white bodies. Quality leeks should not be yellowing, wilting or cracking. To store, keep them unwashed and untrimmed,wrapped in a paper towel inside a plastic bag in the fridge up to a week. Cooked leaks should be kept for no more than two days, but you can freeze them up to three months once they’re blanched for three minutes and stored in an airtight bag.

I have to warn you, you’ll need a spoon readily accessible once this soup is cooked, is so good you’ll be eating it out of the pot!

photo 1Vegan Potato Leek Soup
Adapted from recipe posted on Serves 4 – 6

1 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
3 large leeks, whites and greens, washed and sliced
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
½ tsp fresh cracked sea salt
3 cloves garlic, or 1 ½ tsp minced garlic
2 large white potatoes, washed and cubed
5 cups chicken stock (use vegetable stock if you’re making entirely vegan)
½ tsp crushed rosemary

  1. Wash all veggies
  2. Heat EVOO in stock pan with the chopped leeks, onion, garlic and sea salt, sauté  stirring often until the onions begins to turn translucent
  3. Add the potatoes and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, get your blender out and prepared to blend up the soup
  5. Once cooked, remove the soup from the heat and ladle  into your blender, 1 cup at a time (if you have an immersion/stick blender you can blend the soup right in the pot)
  6. Blend the soup  until smooth and free of chunks
  7. Pour smooth soup into a heat-proof bowl and continue until all of the soup has been blended
  8. Transfer the blended soup back to the original soup pot and warm over low heat until heated through
  9. Serve hot

Seafood Breakfast for Dinner: Potato Parsnip Pancakes with Shaved Crab, Poached Eggs and Breakfast Cocktail Sauce

Living so close to Pike Place Market truly does spoil us. Brunch, being one of my favorite meals to cook and eat, has recently become a fun tradition to try new recipes and variations on the good old favorites. We decided to do a seafood brunch Sunday morning so down to the market I went only to returned with fresh AMAZING crab from the Pike Place Fish Market. Not only do they stock a wonderful inventory of fresh, quality fish but they are notorious for throwing the fish great distances, much to the amazement of the crowd. It was a quite a feat to even make it the few blocks home before digging into “sample” the crab meat which I KNEW would be amazing. Even with my high expectations I was blown away. The freshness and quality of the crab was evident in how rich, buttery and just wonderful it tasted.

Potato Parsnip Pancakes with Shaved Crab, Poached Eggs and Breakfast Cocktail Sauce
Potato Parsnip Pancakes with Shaved Crab, Poached Eggs and Breakfast Cocktail Sauce

As I started preparing the brunch, grating the parsnip and potato and setting aside to drain, mentally setting the table and project managing the meal, starting the cocktail sauce… pause here. I opened a jar of our much loved Pike Place Fish Market cocktail sauce, mashed up a little avocado because I love them with both eggs and crab and started the grinder for some fresh coffee grounds to mix in. DON’T turn up your nose yet! It’s quite delicious and thanks to a trip to Seatown for Mother’s Day happy hour, Tom Douglas has me hooked on cocktail cause with coffee grounds.

I mixed and I blended, mashed and molded. Calling my trust taste tester over, I scooped up a bit for each of us and we had the same response when we tasted…it’s missing something. After much deliberation it was decided that a “kick” was missing. Imagine how dejected I was that I would need to make ANOTHER trip to the market and postpone making brunch until my taste tester made a most wonderful suggestion: let’s have the left over fajitas for lunch and have breakfast for dinner! What a brilliant idea! In our afternoon chores we picked up some fresh horseradish root and then it was game time! Breakfast for dinner, yes please!

Seafood Breakfast: Potato Parsnip Pancakes with Shaved Crab, Poached Eggs and Breakfast Cocktail Sauce
Serves 2

1/2 lb crab meat, already cooked
eggs (one for the pancakes and one to top each pancake)

For the Breakfast Cocktail Sauce
1 Jar Pike Place Fish Market Cocktail Sauce
2 tbsp Fresh bold roast coffee, ground at a medium grind
Fresh Lemon, squeezed into the sauce to taste
Fresh horseradish root, exterior layer removed, soft white flesh grated and chopped

For the Potato Parsnip Pancakes
3 medium mini gold potatoes, grated
1 medium sized parsnip, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
fresh cracked salt & pepper to taste

  1. Grate the potato and parsnip in a colander and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Let stand for about 20 minutes. I also take one more step and lay out the grated vegges on a paper towel and pat dry.
  2. In the mean time, make the breakfast cocktail by combining all ingredients to taste. Cover and let stand in the fridge.
  3. Place grated vegges in a bowl.
  4. Heat some oil in a skillet over medium/high heat
  5. At this time, heat a sauce pan with water to poach the eggs
  6. Lightly beat one egg and add it to the veggies, seasoning with fresh cracked pepper to taste.
  7. Add a scoop of the mixture to the hot skillet, forming into a patty once in the pan and cook until brown on one side (about 8 minutes) then  flip and cook the until brown on the other side.
  8. Place pancakes on paper towel to drain excess oil and serve.
  9. Poach eggs in boiling water for 90 seconds to 2 minutes depending on how you runny you like your yolk. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and place in a small ramekin to drain for a few seconds.
  10.  Plate  up the potato parsnip pancakes and top with the breakfast cocktail sauce. Top with shaved crab, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon and place your poached egg on the top. Garnish with a bit more cracked pepper and dried parsley.
  11. Enjoy!!!

Cilantro Lime Chicken & Baked Potato Skins

Date night in our house is very important! We happened upon “Thursday nights” one week when we’d gotten home from work, gone to the gym, headed back home and realized that we were NOT in the mood to stay in and do our usual cook at home in pj’s. This, my fine friends, was the birth of date night! From that point forward EVERY THURSDAY we do something special but that doesn’t always mean going out. Since we’re trying to keep a closer budget (thank you new couch which will arrive in 8 weeks!!) and we both love to cook so much the past month or so we’ve been doing date night at home. I also have SO many recipes to cook through that this is a way to assure that I cook through at least one a week!

Cilantro Lime Chicken, Baked Potato Skins & Moscow Mules ...gone Sherpa
Cilantro Lime Chicken, Baked Potato Skins & Moscow Mules ...gone Sherpa

This date night was really one that made the memory books! I wanted to do something special and as you may have read in my previous post, our “honey do” lists for the house are pretty different…
his= house updates & open jars I can’t man handle open
hers= various dishes and meals he’d like me to cook

Well, I decided to really out do myself this week and built an entire meal around his favorite drink, the Moscow Mule . It’s a vodka based drink traditionally served in Copper serving Mugs and it has the most refreshing blend of ginger beer, mint and lime! We added a little twist to ours, the Sherpa Twist, and you’ll just have to read about it in the Moscow Mule with a Sherpa Twist post!

It took a few iterations of  the menu but I finally gathered a few favorites and decided on cilantro chicken lime skewers and a game day favorite, baked potato skins. These usually have cheese so I tired out a new dairy-free cheese (review here) and was quite pleased with it! You can find Galaxy Rice cheese and their other various produces at Whole Foods. We grilled the chicken skewers  as opposed to baking them because I have a wonderful grill master that’s willing to brave the cold for me. But if you don’t have access to a grill or it’s too cold, you can bake  the chicken in the oven (as a full breast) or grill up in a pan (slice chicken as directed in recipe).

Enjoy this meal with some delicious Moscow Mule with a Sherpa Twist and you’re ready to party!!

Cilantro Lime Chicken Skewers & Baked Red Potato Skins
(For the chicken)
2 1/2 limes,fresh juice
drizzle olive oil
4tbsp minced garlic
Fresh cracked salt and pepper to taste
2 chicken breasts
Fresh Cilantro

(for the potato skins)
Small red potatoes
Milk (Soy Milk for me, half and half if you don’t have allergies)
Fresh cracked salt and pepper to taste
1.5 slices of Apple wood smoked bacon per person
Cheese (I used rice for mine, and regular Tillamook cheddar for my master griller skins)
Garnish Options: Cilantro, chives, salsa, sour cream, salt & pepper to taste

Marinate/Night before

  • Combine lime juice, oil and garlic and fresh chopped cilantro in a large ziplock
  • Rinse chicken and slice into 1in thick strips, season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Add to bag and mix around all the juices and spices mix
  • Marinate chicken overnight, turning once or twice to mix up the juices and spices
  • Wash the potatoes and pat them dry for tomorrow skins and cook up the bacon for the skins

For the Meal

  • Remove chicken from bag and thread onto metal skewers .
  • Make a small batch of the marinade and brush onto skewers while they grill. Start grilling/heat up the grill judging by how long the potatoes take. Chicken should take about 10-15 minutes to grill so once the potatoes go in the oven, send the chicken to the grill.
  • Meanwhile, place potatoes in a zip lock and microwave until soft (depends on potato but I’d judge about 45 seconds per potato just to be sure that they don’t get mushy).
  • Lay potatoes out to cool down, then half and scoop out into a bowl. Splash with soy/milk and season to taste with salt and pepper mix together and crumble in the bacon. (optional add ins: Broccoli, cheese, grilled onions). Scoop the mixture back into the skins, careful to not
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 & send the chicken to the grill
  • Bake the potato skins for 8-11 minutes. Top with cheese to melt and bake 3-5 min more

Weekend Breakfast: Potato Pancakes, Poached Eggs & Avocado Sauce

Potato Pancakes, Poached Egg, Avocado Sauce
Potato Pancakes, Poached Egg, Avocado Sauce

Recipes for me serve as general guidelines for inspiration, so this meal is the result of a recipe for avocado sauce and a fridge of leftover ingredients from cilantro lime marinated chicken skewers and homemade potato skins.

It was super easy to make and, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, I LOVE cooking weekend breakfast and brunch! Today’s religious experience was so simple and flavorful! It even got the complement comment  “this is SO good! I feel like I’m on vacation! “… Now that makes a chef happy!

The crispy texture of the pancake mixed with the creamy avocado sauce and the runny egg is just to die for! The lime in the avocado sauce and the spices made for a very refreshing meal. I couldn’t believe how the flavors  and textures mixed. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it would be good but I was actually surprised at how incredibly delicious it was! I regret that I have only one stomach! You can play around with different spices and ingredients, and you might get extra points if you find a way to mix in some tequila! 🙂 Breakfast drink anyone!?

Potato Pancakes, Poached Eggs & Avocado Sauce
a rough step by step guide

Potato Pancake & Poached Eggs Ingredients
Milk (you can use regular or an alternative)
Cheddar Cheese, grated (regular and/or alternative)
Fresh Salt & Cracked Pepper
Cilantro (to garnish, if desired)
Green Onions (to garnish, if desired)
Sour Cream (to garnish, if desired)

Avocado Sauce Ingredients
1 lime
Fresh Salt & Cracked Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Garlic, minced

  1. Heat pan for potato pancakes. I swear by my Calphalon Crepe Pan! It heats evenly and the non-stick makes for quick and easy clean up!
  2. Mash together the potato, milk, salt & pepper to taste. Make sure to get it as smooth as you can without any potato lumps. While the potato pan is still heating, chop the green onion, cilantro and grate the cheese.
  3. To make the avocado sauce, mix together all listed ingredients to taste until smooth. Be mindful on the cumin, it’s a strong flavor and can easily overpower the flavors if you’re not careful!
  4. The potato pan should be hot by now, scoop in the potato and carefully flatten and shape into a circle. Cook until crispy on one side and flip. Add the cheese and allow it to melt. Once the cheese is fully melted, move to plate and smear avocado sauce on the top.
  5. Once you flip the pancakes, start the water for the eggs boiling and poach the eggs for 3 minutes. Have a small ramekin handy to drain the water from the eggs. I LOVE the CorningWare Ramekins, they’re so stylish and the perfect size for poached eggs. After 3 minutes, don’t let the eggs overcook, remove the egg with a slotted spoon and rest the spoon over the ramekin to allow the last drops of water to fall. If you don’t do this, the water will soak into the pancake and make it soggy.
  6. Place the poached egg on top of the avocado adorned pancake, and garnish with cilantro, green onion, sour cream, and spices as desired. You can add a little salsa if you wish, I wanted to bring out the flavor of the avocado sauce so we didn’t use it for this breakfast.