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I first heard of celeriac because Harriet Smith mentions it in Gwyneth Paltrow’s film version of Emma.  To be honest I only looked up the vegetable because the scene was running in my head like a parallel to my feelings.  You can’t really find it in grocery stores, and even the farmer’s market, sell grains in bulk, entire sections devoted to vitamins and organic produce stores didn’t have it.  But when I happened to be at Whole Foods with a friend this week, I checked and sure enough, there was the knobby root with the cropped remnant of celery stalks on the top.  “Knobby” is actually an understatement.  Celery root (celeriac) looks like dirty brains.  Anyway, I chose one – a smaller one that was still heavy; denser is better.

 

After showing off my find to everyone in the house – my 81 year old grandmother has never even seen one – I sat down to find a recipe for what I’m impudently renaming “Irony Soup.”  Every recipe I could find had onions and leeks.  I don’t have either on hand.  Onions I usually leave out anyway.  Leeks I have never used and for that reason I was hesitant, besides knowing they’re in the onion family.  Ginger I had – for the first time I was going to try grating my own straight from the root, into some recipe or other.  So at the last minute, before heading to the grocery store to pick up leeks, I did a Google search for a soup with celeriac and ginger.  What I found, here: http://straightfromthefarm.net/2009/03/07/celeriac-and-ginger-soup/ is Irony Soup.

 

No onions even to be crossed off of the recipe.  An entire head of garlic.  Carrots and cream and potato and herbs, some of my favorite soup ingredients (you know – for the two or three soups I’ve ever made or eaten).

 

Chopping the vegetables and peeling the garlic took way longer than I expected, but this is just what one would expect from Irony Soup.  I chopped away.  I forgot the salt when I first started simmering the mixture, so maybe that’s why the vegetables took so long to soften.  I also improvised on measurements a bit and added celery just to enhance that edge of the flavor.  Making it up as you go following general guidelines is also apropos for Irony Soup.

 

The celeriac and ginger smells wafted through the house while the soup simmered.  Because I started late and the softening process took longer than expected, I had to interrupt the soup and go to a party.  I resumed this afternoon.

 

I paired my serving with buttered wheat toast, because you want to make sure you have something you like at your side when you’re trying something new.  The soup came out ideally creamy and thicker than most soups I’ve had.

 

And just like irony whose poignancy lingers, the ginger is strong, with a bite still felt after you swallow.  It’s full of healthy things, low in calories, so it won’t boost your energy all that much, and low in fat so you won’t end up regretting the experience.

 

In this house, where we like to share things, the batch will probably serve more than four.

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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A year and a half ago I tasted the first soup I’ve ever liked.  It was Olive Garden’s Chicken & Gnocchi.  I decided to try making it someday.  I looked up recipes.  Discovered I would need to buy all sorts of things I don’t usually have around my house (spinach, celery, garlic, chicken stock).  But I didn’t.  Not until this week.

On Tuesday there was a snowstorm in Denver.  Actually, when I got off work at 5, there was only rain and the sun was still up.  So I went to the Sprouts “Farmer’s Market” grocery store across the street, spent a half hour, and found my car covered in snow.  But I couldn’t bring myself to purchase the high-priced chicken at Sprouts, so I would have to wait to make the soup, however good soup sounded during a blizzard.

After a breakfast-for-dinner during the snowfall, my dad who loves to drive decided to joyride through the snow.  We had fun.  And at the end of it he let me run in to King Soopers where I procured the needed chicken.  So I would make the soup Wednesday while snowed-in.

To my dismay, when I came upstairs at about 11:30 on Wednesday morning, the sun was shining and the roads were melted.  I was just about to cook chicken when my family asked if I wanted to go to Chick-fil-a with them for lunch.  Scrap the idea of a 2 PM lunch, and head for Chick-fil-a!

I prepared the chicken, celery, spinach, garlic, and carrots Wednesday afternoon, but didn’t put the soup together.  I waited for that until Thursday afternoon.  With almost all of the ingredients pre-sliced, the pouring and boiling and simmering only took about a half hour.  It looked like this:

And then I served myself a bowl of soup beside some fresh blueberry muffins (Betty Crocker with modifications: in the old days, she had us put water in the mix instead of milk, and though the instructions say milk now, I still just put in water; it tastes better!).  Pour out some grape juice and some water, light a candle, and Voila!


It was good.  I had some more several hours later.  My brother tried it.  He thinks it needs more chicken.  He is a chicken fiend.

The changes I made to the Chicken & Gnocchi recipe I found were:  I left out the onion and the cornstarch.  I used heavy cream instead of half and half.  And because I don’t know what I’m doing, I used several cloves of garlic instead of just one, but I like garlic, so I don’t mind.  The recipe doesn’t specify how much salt should be added, and I didn’t put enough in at first.  Next time I will pre-cook the chicken less; I grilled chicken breasts, which can still work if I watch more closely.  Also the celery needed to be cooked longer before I added the chicken and chicken stock.  Someday I may also try making my own gnocchi.

I made soup!

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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