I have Blog Better Boston to thank for this Vegan Potato Leek Soup recipe – not only for providing the ingredients, but the inspiration as well.
Blog Better Boston recently hosted a one day event called Blog Beautiful that offered bloggers an opportunity to hone their design and photography skills in interactive workshops.
I was especially excited as this was my first blogging related event. Since I began blogging as a full-time venture in the fall of 2014, I’ve been interacting with fellow bloggers exclusively online. The opportunity to engage with bloggers in person on topics of shared interest and passion had me clamoring for a ticket to the small, intimate event before selling out.
While Blog Beautiful wasn’t specific to food bloggers, a Food Photography workshop was offered. It was my favorite part of the day – and Blog Better Boston even tweeted a photo of me at work. Led by the talented Kristyn Ulanday, we broke into small groups and worked on styling both produce and props as subjects. My mind immediately began churning on potential recipes as I scanned the Boston Organics ingredients on the table. A hearty, lightened up Vegan Potato Leek Soup with gigantic leeks and petite red potatoes became clear in my mind.
We moved close to the windows, utilizing the natural afternoon light as side light for our composition.
Kristyn spoke about symmetry, drawing a line down the middle or center of a composition for a balanced photo. Leeks are beautifully symmetrical, and I didn’t think about them from that perspective until our discussion of symmetry.
She also talked about the Rule of Thirds and how to look at a subject through a grid of nine equally sized boxes formed by vertical and horizontal lines. The most important parts of the composition should fall along the lines or their intersecting points. In the camera settings of my iPhone, I turned on the Grid feature so I can begin practicing this technique in my day to day. (You can do this, too, by going to Settings -> Photos & Camera -> Grid. The Grid feature is located at the bottom of the Photos & Camera section).
Kristyn also referenced the use of complementary colors when styling food – colors on the color wheel that are directly across from one another – to make elements of a photo stand out. Or, using colors in the same color family to help create appealing photos.
In our small groups, we also explored different angles, experimenting with shooting directly overhead versus at table height. I realized with Kristyn’s instruction that I never get down low enough when shooting a subject from the side. The photos below are two of my favorites taken during the workshop.
After Blog Beautiful drew to a close, we were able to take home the produce used during the photography workshop.
I filled a tote with two gigantic leeks and a small bag of red potatoes and immediately prepared the soup I imagined when I got home.
I also explored some of the techniques discussed in the workshop, playing around with symmetry, overhead shots, and use of colors as I styled the finished soup.
Potato Leek Soup is traditionally made with heavy cream, but this recipe is creamy without cream.
I simmered sautéed leeks and unpeeled baby red potatoes in vegetable broth until the potatoes became fork tender.
Before puréeing silky smooth with an immersion blender, I added a 15oz can of cooked cannellini beans. (I think my Irish Great-Grandmother rolled over in her grave with that one). Beans add protein to the soup as well as a hearty, creamy texture.
The first time I made Potato Leek Soup as a vegetarian without bacon, chicken stock, and cream, I found the overall flavor a bit flat.
To add depth of flavor and more dimension, I used ground mustard and a hint of nutmeg.
It may not be the Potato Leek Soup of my Irish ancestors, but it’s certainly warm and filling and oh so comforting on a drizzly, rainy day.
I would love to hear from you. Do you have a photography tip or trick that’s helped you create appealing, beautiful photos? Have you enjoyed a Potato Leek Soup variation that’s knocked your socks off? Please share in the comments or let me know over social media!
- 2 leeks, dark green parts removed, sliced into half-moons, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups diced red potatoes, skins on
- 4 cups gluten-free vegetable broth
- ½ tsp ground mustard
- ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 15oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced leeks and cook for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- In a large stockpot, add the leek and garlic mixture, vegetable broth, and diced red potatoes. Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium-low.
- Stir in the ground mustard, red pepper flakes, and nutmeg. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork.
- Remove pot from heat and add the cooked cannellini beans, stirring to combine.
- With an immersion blender - or working in batches with a regular blender - purée the soup until silky smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.