All posts by Ed

Ed Marsh is an experienced technical communicator, a podcaster, a lover of beer. This site is the home of his thoughts, as well as the Content Content podcast.

Easily Vegan Potato Leek Soup Recipe

This is one of those recipes that, with one simple substitution (vegetable instead of chicken stock) and one omission (bacon), is easily a vegan meal.

The upside to living with a gluten-free, dairy-free person is that we eat fresh and eat well. We also eat quite a few meatless meals, but still enjoy a full omnivore diet. And really, aren’t most things better with bacon?

A couple weeks ago, our CSA farm share supplied us with some really nice leeks and potatoes, so we made soup.

Nearly-vegan Potato-leek soup served with gluten-free/dairy-free bread.
Nearly-vegan Potato-leek soup served with gluten-free/dairy-free bread.



In searching for vegan soups, several folks added onion, which I found intriguing, but only one I came across included grated onion. Though there was no real explanation or reasoning behind it, I added the grated onion. I didn’t notice much of a difference, so you can probably just dice it to save yourself some time and cleanup.

Ingredients

One bunch leeks (three)

One medium yellow onion, grated or finely diced

Dried dill from Penzey’s

Penzey’s caraway seeds. In my opinion, no potato soup should exclude caraway.

One sprig of fresh rosemary, or to taste

Trader Joe’s uncured bacon

Approx. 8oz of Mimicreme Vegan Cream (this one:)

MimicCreme cream substitute
This stuff is pretty good.



Approx 16 oz. Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock (replace with vegetable stock for vegan)

Fresh chives for garnish

Directions

  1. If you’re using bacon, heat a dutch oven or similar vessel over medium-high heat, add a small amount of canola oil, and then cook the bacon. Reserve the bacon, and then remove most of the fat. Lower the heat to medium-low, and skip to step 3.
  2. If not using bacon, in a dutch oven or similar vessel, heat about two tbsp. (again, i never measure) of canola oil over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the leeks and allow to sweat for a bit. Your goal here is not to brown, but to release moisture.
  4. After a few minutes, add the onion and allow to sweat.
  5. Once the onions look translucent, add the potatoes.
  6. Add the stock, rosemary, and caraway seeds.
  7. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low until potatoes are cooked through.
  8. Add cream and stir.
  9. Use a stick blender to smooth out the soup.
  10. Serve in warm bowls, garnish with bacon (optional), snipped chives, and a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil.

Photo Shoot – My New Tagine

Does everyone have a professional photographer friend? Sure seems that way. I’m lucky, because I’ve known mine most of my life, and he’s pretty damn good. Over the summer, I went to my first-ever estate sale. Stephanie and I had to stand in line to get in, for chrissakes. After about an hour searching through the life of someone we didn’t know, we decided that we weren’t really serial estate sale people, and that’s a Good Thing. However, we didn’t walk out empty-handed. We bought a middle eastern-style tagine, which is a cone-shaped cooking vessel. Incidentally, the boys were coming over that night to hang out, and Michael, the photographer, strongly hinted in an email that he wanted some food shots for his online portfolio.


Photo by Michael Einreinhof, Arclight Images

The tagine, and the food, clearly were the focus of the evening.

Interestingly enough, both the cooking vessel and the stew are called tagines. This one was laden with relatively cheap cuts of lamb neck, herbs grown right on our deck. and vegetables from our CSA farm share. I mean, what else can you do with ground cherries? Dried fruit work especially well in this type of dish, and by simply deleting the lamb and adding some more beans like chick peas, you can easily transform this to a vegan dish. It is also gluten- and dairy-free. You can cook with the tagine right on the stovetop, and then serve from it at the table for a great presentation.

Middle Eastern Tagine Recipe


Photo by Michael Einreinhof, Arclight Images

I don’t work with recipes, so there’s no actual "recipe" to share. I often take my influence from several different web sites and TV shows. Instead, I’ll list the ingredients; keep it simple and be creative!

  • Approximately 1.25 lb of Lamb necks
  • carrots, cut into disks
  • dried apricots
  • dried cherries
  • ground cherries
  • celery
  • honey
  • red pepper
  • quinoa
  • chick peas (ceci!)
  • garlic
  • shallot
  • bay leaves
  • rosemary
  • mint

Tips:

  1. Cook and serve right in the tagine. Just don’t forget it’s hot!
  2. Don’t forget to cover the tagine with the lid during cooking.
  3. Be sure to sear the lamb to get a nice crust.
  4. Put the ground cherries on last, and keep them raw. They provide a nice contrasting pop.

R.I.P. Jonnie


Jonnie Scheiner killed himself on Tuesday, August 17, at age 19. I taught him for over six years, first as percussion instructor, then as band director. He grew from a tiny, amazingly talented 6th grader to a pain in the ass who quit the marching band I directed, in almost the exact same way I quit during my high school days. He literally held together the drumline during his time. If it wasn’t for him, we never would have made it through a long, humid, hot parade in Washington, DC on July 4, 2008.

Jonnie Scheiner at Band Camp 2006
Jonnie Scheiner at Band Camp 2006

The morning before I heard the news, I thought once again that I should contact Jonnie and we could go out for lunch and just talk. We had some catching up to do and things to put behind us. I regret I will never get that chance, and although his problems can’t be directly attributable to me, as I grieve I feel that somehow I am partially to blame. Jonnie left the band on bad terms, but he tried to be my friend afterwards. As he got older,we fought and disagreed; that’s how your teenage years seem to work. It was hard for me to process what I felt as betrayal for supporting him all those years. Until that point, I was one of the few that was on his side. And now, I just can’t seem to process that he’s gone, that no one will ever be able to appreciate the talent that he had on the drums, in music.

It’s completely regrettable to me that his last words to me, on Facebook, were how much he missed me.

Jonnie Scheiner backstage at Cacophony
Jonnie Scheiner backstage at Cacophony

He was always tormented, there was always some sort of drama in his
life, and apparently just had a bad breakup with a serious girlfriend. I read the words on his Facebook, thinking it was just another piece of drama in his life. And then, as I read the eulogies coming in from friends and family on his Facebook page, and those on his brother and mother’s Facebook wall, I can only believe he didn’t know how many lives he touched.

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I should update this.

Am I the only technical writer that doesn’t feel like writing or blogging when they get home? Lately, I feel like that’s the case.

I comfort myself in the fact that I’m making good food.

Summer’s over. I’m not happy about it.

Overall, I think it’s been a mediocre year, musically.

I updated from WordPress 2.9 to 3.01. I backed up my database. It was a click. It was good. The dashboard looks the same; am I missing something?

Android 2.2 Froyo is a nice upgrade. It actually looks like they put sometime into the user experience. Today I noticed a little “You declined this call” message at the top of the screen. Nice.

I have an IPA in secondary, based on the same recipe I’ve used for the past three years, but with Cascade instead of Amarillo hops. I think it’s gonna be good. There’s a porter in primary waiting to be transferred to secondary, as well as the two vanilla beans that have been soaking in scotch the past two weeks.

It’s time for Wii Fit Yoga.

My new Droid

So I got the new Droid incredible. It has a WordPress app, on which i’m typing now. I’ve had a pocket pc for years and loved it, so I had no reason to buy a smartphone. However, my dell axim was showing its age, and the headphones jack is on its way out. This is pretty cool; integration is amazing. More to come as I get used to it all.