Friday, March 26, 2010

Celery Soup

Swiss Chard (left)

Here's what Farmer John had for us at the Silver Lake pick-up this week:

Red and golden beets (roast covered in tin foil. sautee the tops)


Green garlic (roots, stem, leaves are edible)

Mustard greens (one bunch sautee, cooks down for 2 people)

Dandelion greens (sautee in olive oil & garlic)

Swiss chard (ditto above)

Butter lettuce
Chrysanthemum greens (left)
Adolescent romaine
Italian parsley

It's been a busy week with yesterday's City Planning Commission vote on the Food & Flowers Freedom Act. It was heartening to see so many urban farming activitists from all over the city show their support. The commissioners' approval is a big step toward promoting the cultivation and off-site sale of healthy, local fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other urban gardening products in Los Angeles.

With the Planning Commission meeting behind us, it's time for something warm and soothing, and celery soup fits the bill. It's super easy and delicious. Chicken stock gives the soup a rich flavor, but it's just as good with vegetable stock or even water. And since you puree the cooking liquid with the vegetables, you don't pour off any vitamins or minerals that might be cooked out of the vegetables.

Personally, I prefer using an immersion blender to puree the soup, but you can use a food processor or a counter-top blender if you prefer.

Celery Soup

1 bunch celery
2 medium russet potatoes
1 medium brown onion
3 C chicken stock (or vegetable stock or water) + 1-2 C additional stock or water
1 bay leaf
1/4 C cream (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
2 T chopped fresh parsley

1. Chop off the bottom of the celery and throw in the compost. Wash the stalks and remove any tough fibers from the ribs. Compost those, too. Chop the celery and leaves into large chunks and put them in a medium stock pot.

2. Peel the potatoes. Compost the peels. Chop the potatoes into large chunks. Add them to the stock pot.

3. Peel and trim the onion. Compost the skin and ends. Cut the onion into 8 pieces and put in the stock pot.

4. Add 3 C of stock (or whatever liquid you're using) and the bay leaf. Cover tightly and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until all vegetables are very soft.

5. Remove from heat and cool a little. Remove bay leaf. Puree the vegetables in the pot using an immersion blender until very smooth. If necessary, add more liquid - stock, water, even milk will do.

6. Return the pot to the stove over medium heat. Add the cream, if desired and/or more stock or water to bring the soup to your desired consistency. Heat the soup, but do not allow it to boil.

7. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot garnished with chopped fresh parsley.



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