A delicatessen near my office makes great sandwiches. However, the process they have in place to order a sandwich is at best a tedious process, and at worst baffling to customers. Is this a bad real-world user experience? Continue reading Can a deli have a user experience problem?
You can make this. Yes, you. The one who doesn’t have a lot of time, or a lot of ingredients. If you can set aside 15 minutes and get the produce, you will like this.
The best part about this recipe is you don’t need much more skill than being able to cut things in half, and know how to use a stovetop and oven.
I finally convinced my lovely fiancée to accompany me to Walt Disney World in sunny and nearly tropical-in-September Orlando, Florida. I blame JetBlue and their $99-each-way fare to Orlando.
Our Disney history
My family went a few times when I was growing up. Now that I’m an adult and actually had to pay for it (good thing the airfare was cheap), I am thankful we went even once. My parents also managed to take us to Disney World in the fall, during the school year. Nicely done, Mom and Dad.
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.
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.
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:)
Approx 16 oz. Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock (replace with vegetable stock for vegan)
Fresh chives for garnish
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the leeks and allow to sweat for a bit. Your goal here is not to brown, but to release moisture.
- After a few minutes, add the onion and allow to sweat.
- Once the onions look translucent, add the potatoes.
- Add the stock, rosemary, and caraway seeds.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer on low until potatoes are cooked through.
- Add cream and stir.
- Use a stick blender to smooth out the soup.
- Serve in warm bowls, garnish with bacon (optional), snipped chives, and a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil.
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.
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
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
- red pepper
- chick peas (ceci!)
- bay leaves
- Cook and serve right in the tagine. Just don’t forget it’s hot!
- Don’t forget to cover the tagine with the lid during cooking.
- Be sure to sear the lamb to get a nice crust.
- Put the ground cherries on last, and keep them raw. They provide a nice contrasting pop.