Potato & Leek Soup

Potato & Leek Soup
Potato & Leek Soup

This one is a work in progress. I used to make all my “cream” soups with Labne, a Middle Eastern yogurt spread, a delicious, pure product (just compare the ingredients label with the one on cottage cheese, and you’ll see why I say that!). I love Labne, and I also really like making it at home — basically a 48-hour yogurt with whole milk and half-and-half. It’s one of the things that has been difficult to give up as I work my way into veganism. It’s especially difficult now that I have the possibility of a beautiful, raw milk available through my CSA. I would love to see how that yogurt comes out. But I digress.

OK, so I made the Leek and Potato Soup the same way I always did — but used coconut milk/cream instead of that beautiful, thick, creamy Labne. It was good but a little thinner and less rich than I like it. Next time I do this as a vegan soup, I’ll use less water and either no cream, vegan or otherwise, or I’ll try a different type of vegan cream to see how that works.

This is a very good base for lots of veggie soups. Shredded or sliced zucchini would be good in here. Shredded or sliced carrots would be nice too.


  • Potatoes, 12 Idaho, sliced (I quarter the potatoes lengthwise, then run them through the slicing blade of the Cuisinart)
  • Leeks, 4 large, quartered lengthwise, washed, then sliced thinly across
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 6 TB
  • Salt, 1 TB +
  • Hot paprika, 1 tsp.
  • Water, to barely cover the veggies
  • Labne or vegan substitute, 1 pint
  • Garnish – This time I used a little sage because I happened to have some in my CSA box this week


  1. Add extra virgin olive oil to large soup pot.
  2. Slice leeks lengthwise, wash out the dirt, then slice thinly across the leeks. Add to soup pot and saute.
  3. When leeks are slightly reduced, add the sliced potatoes.
  4. Add water to barely cover the potatoes and leeks.
  5. Add salt and paprika, and cook until the potatoes are barely soft.
  6. Remove some of the liquid and stir into the Labne (or vegan cream).
  7. Pour the Labne (or vegan cream) back into the soup while stirring.
  8. Garnish.

Folks, this is exciting, being part of the food movement. Come on out and see what we’re doing at Bob’s Fresh and Local — or better yet, join with us!

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Mexican-Style Veggie Soup

Mexican-style Veggie Soup
Mexican-style Veggie Soup

I had a lot of CSA veggies to process this week, including quite a few tomatoes that were overly soft, green beans, carrots, onions, Savoy cabbage and red cabbage. This was a wonderful and delicious way to use them all and more.

This soup is very forgiving. I didn’t have enough beans to prepare the original recipe, so I added in more Pozzole and cabbage instead. Use whatever you have that seems to fit with the profile.


  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
  • Red onion, 2-3 medium-large, finely diced
  • Garlic, 8 cloves, minced
  • Oregano, 1 TB
  • Salt, 1 TB
  • Carrots, 6-8 small-medium, sliced on the bias
  • Green beans, 16 oz., tipped and cut into 1″ pieces
  • Tomatoes, 8-10 medium, petite diced
  • Pozzole (whole hominy), 1 lb. dried
  • Water, 3-4 quarts, including hominy cooking water
  • Chipotle chiles, 2.5-3 TB, minced or blended
  • Avocado, Red Cabbage, Cilantro, Lime Slices (garnish)


  1. Cook the Pozzole, and set aside in cooking water.
  2. Add the extra virgin olive oil to a large soup pot.
  3. Dice and add the onions and garlic, followed by the green beans and petite diced tomatoes.
  4. Drain the pozzole, reserving the cooking water. Add pozzole to the pot, and measure the water, adding enough more to make 3-4 quarts depending on how veggie-filled you like it.
  5. Cook until all is blended and the beans are soft.
  6. Serve garnished with avocado, red cabbage, cilantro and lime slices.

You might like a little more salt — or a little less chipotle. This makes a slightly spicy soup.

Friends, participating in a CSA is a great way to be part of changing the nature of our food supply mechanism in this country, to impact the environment positively, and to enjoy some amazing, organic veggies. I want to write more about my experience later, but right now I’m busy enjoying myself!

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Naming the animals


I never post disturbing pictures of animals, on principle. That’s why I passed up sharing a post from Mercy for Animals on Facebook this morning even though it moved me deeply. I changed my mind later and went back to find the post but couldn’t. Here was the thought I had and the reason I decided to share after all:

In the post, a name was given to each animal. Of course animals on factory farms don’t really have names. They are commodities, and I believe this commoditization of our fellow creatures is the root of evil in our world. Giving them names for a moment, though, caused a significant shift in perspective.

Genesis 2:19 is among the passages religious people often cite to signify human dominance over the animals: “And out of the ground the LORD G-d formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them; and whatsoever the man would call every living creature, that was to be the name thereof.”

What if that wasn’t the purpose of Adam naming the creatures, to show dominance over the animal kingdom? What if it was, instead, intended to generate compassion in Adam for his/her fellow creatures? That is the effect of giving a name. It personalizes and connects us empathically to the one with a name.

The antidote to seeing our world in terms of commodities is naming. G-d knew it and taught Adam. We, “in the image,” need to teach others.

We must know all creatures, regardless of species, color, nationality or religious belief by their name, making their lives conscious and real in our imagination. We must name them, not label and commoditize them. We will see the world differently.

The information I’ve been waiting for: Trump vs. Hillary on food

This video is an excellent presentation from John Robbins, best-selling author and co-founder of The Food Revolution Network. Lengthy but in-depth and well-worth viewing or reading. If you are moved to do something, please sign on to The Plate of the Union Campaign, info at the end of the piece:

Election 2016: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Food Policy

And the rain rolled in…


Last week, on my day to work on the farm, it rained. I was planting a couple of rows of bok choy and hurried to finish so the new plants would benefit from the rain after planting. That got me pretty wet, and I went from the fields into the walk-in refrigerator to help pack boxes…but honestly, wet or dry, hot or cold, there’s nothing more satisfying than working in this way, participating in the food chain from seed to table.

When the rain slowed, I went out to one of the other fields where we have a compost pile so I could drop some veggie waste into it. I took a few pictures of the rain-filled clouds over the fields that back into a forest preserve. So beautiful. It fills my soul.



Field of Healing

Healing Field/Field of Honor
Healing Field/Field of Honor

This weekend was my 50th high school reunion from ETHS (for those of you not in the area, Evanston Township High School). What an amazing time it was, and I want to write more about it later…but for now, I do want to share an experience we had on the way home.

As Andy and I drove to the city Sunday morning, 9/11, for an after-party event, we passed a field of flags at Randall Oaks Park, and we decided to stop by on our way home to explore what he knew to be a 9/11 commemoration.

Healing Field/Field of Honor
Healing Field/Field of Honor

We did stop in around 6 in the evening on our return trip, and I was so moved by what we found — probably the most meaningful 9/11 memorial I have witnessed in the fifteen years since that terrible day.

It occurs to me that the shooting of President Kennedy and a 50th reunion weekend that happened to conclude on 9/11 form a bracket of some sort around the adult lives of many of us who entered high school in 1962. At our reunion, there was a beautiful memorial for classmates we lost over the years, too many — but many others from our very large class achieved and continue to achieve so much.

Healing Field/Field of Honor
Healing Field/Field of Honor
Healing Field/Field of Honor
Healing Field/Field of Honor

These two events changed our world forever. As I ended my day, I thought about those 2976 Americans killed then, each of whom had a brief description of who they were attached to the flag representing them on Randall Rd. in West Dundee. What might they have achieved and contributed to the world?

Field of Healing
Healing Field/Field of Honor
Field of Honor
Field of Honor

Thank you, West Dundee and True Patriots Care.

For more pictures, please visit my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/vegetatingwithleslie.