Tag Archives: eating and drinking

Celery Root and Apple Soup

Ahh, the celery root. You poor, misunderstood vegetable.

There is a delicious creaminess to celery root and because of it and the chill in the air, I went ahead and made a soup out of this monstrosity. I fear I am getting to be predictable with my soup making. I suppose there are worse things.

I made this soup a week ago. Then I went to Chicago for my dear friends’, Jenny and Sayan, wedding (congrats!). In lieu of a bachelorette party, Jenny wanted to go to a cooking class (I love my foodie friends!). And what else was on the menu but Apple and Celery Root Bisque with Thyme Croutons (among other delicious dishes to be discussed later). I couldn’t believe how ahead of the curve I was with my adventures the previous weekend.

There were some subtle differences – I used homemade garlic croutons instead of thyme; I made a chive oil to drizzle on top of the soup instead of just a garnish of chopped chives and mine lacked cream and maple syrup … In some ways, it was a fantastic opportunity to see how well I fare on my own compared to in the presence of a culinary instructor.

The verdict: I wasn’t too shabby, if I do say so myself. Of course that was after several glasses of wine and an evening spent with fabulous friends, so there is some chance that my self esteem was slightly higher than average.

That’s not to say that I didn’t learn anything at our cooking class, but more on that later. For now, I am going to go ahead and give you both of the soup recipes.

Celery Root and Apple Soup

from Bon Appetit

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups peeled celery root, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
2 green apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup chopped chives
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
Pinch of salt

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add celery root, apples, and onion. Cook until apples and some of celery root are translucent (do not brown), stirring often, about 15 minutes. Add 2 cups broth. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer covered until celery root and apples are soft, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to pot. Season to taste with apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper.

Puree chives, grapeseed oil, and pinch of salt in blender until smooth.

Rewarm soup over medium heat. Divide soup among bowls. Sprinkle croutons over each serving. Drizzle each bowl with chive oil.

Celery Root and Apple Bisque

from The Chopping Block (Chicago)

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium-size celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tart apples, peeled and cut into large dice
1 onion, medium dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 to 6 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons chives, minced
1/2 heavy cream
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Celery salt and pepper to taste
Thyme Croutons
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups multigrain, rye, sourdough or French bread, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, rough chopped
salt and pepper to taste

For bisque:

Heat a heavy soup pot over medium heat and add the butter and olive oil.

Saute the celery root, apples and onions, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Add the stock and apple cider vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered until the celery root is knife tender, about 25 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender, in batches if necessary, until smooth.

Return the soup to the pot and stir in the heavy cream and maple syrup. Season with celery salt and pepper to taste.

For thyme croutons:

Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add the butter.  Once the butter is frothy, toss in the bread cubes and cook, tossing frequently, until the bread is just starting to become golden brown.

Remove from the heat and toss in the garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and allow to cool a bit before using.

Serve the soup in warmed bowls with croutons.


Family Vacation: Beach Edition

I spent the past several days with Scott and his family. His parents drove from Louisiana, his sister and I flew into Orlando and we headed to Cocoa Beach for a few days of sun and sand. I may have gotten the splotchiest tan ever.

We rented a condo on the beach. There was a lot of lounging, drinking, eating and playing games.You know, vacation stuff.

We even managed to stumble upon a BBQ festival in the town of Cocoa as we were leaving. Literally, fall off the bone tender.

As you know, all good things must come to an end. And end they did. On the way back to Gainesville we ran into a bit of serious car trouble. Something about spark plugs, arcing and thingy-ma-jigs. There was a futile search for a repair shop in the tiny town of Minneola, many hours spent at a Shell station, a tow truck called and 5 full sized adults in a Honda Civic plus all of their beach gear.

Let’s just say it wasn’t an ideal situation. But I was impressed with how calm and collected everybody stayed throughout the entire ordeal. You can imagine how being stranded in the middle of rural Florida in 90+ degree heat with a broken car might make tempers flare. But flare they did not. How one deals in the face of adversity says a lot about one’s character. I say Scott and his family are a good bunch.

Despite the car troubles, it was great to take a few days off and spend time in the company of loved ones.

A life that might be

I feel like I am leading a dual life.

Perhaps that’s too dramatic (not that I am prone to dramatic statements).

What I mean to say is: I am in a long-distance relationship.

I’ve just returned from a weekend visiting Scott in Florida.  It was a wonderful, simple, quiet weekend.  The only downside was that I had to leave on Monday.


Scott surprised me with purple tulips which continue to make me smile as I think about them.

I sat in on one of Scott’s lectures.


and I marveled (once again) at the view from Scott’s office – I mean, really, this is January in Florida?

We worked at coffeeshops.

And ate dinner.

Followed by drinks and a crossword puzzle at the bar.

which I took especially seriously…

and Scott got tired of me taking photos (but still is cute even when grumpy).


There may have been several games of Agricola. I think we may be getting close to figuring out the proper strategies …


We even managed to catch a movie. We saw Black Swan, which on its own is no laughing matter. However, we went to a giant movie theater and did the whole she-bang: popcorn and sodas. Besides gauging our pocketbooks, we were astounded by the sizing of everything. What sort of logic makes 44 ounces a “medium” drink? I think we only made it through about an eighth of that popcorn. Talk about hilarious!

(The movie, by the way, was good.  Intense, but good.)

And of course time spent around the house and in the kitchen -more on that later. As I said before, it was a simple, quiet weekend. Nothing spectacular, but spent with the one I love, so it was perfect.

And yet bittersweet because these are only glimpses in a life that might be.

A life that I so desperately want to have be more than just the occasional weekend.

Luckily we have the next weekend planned in less than a month.

Call me old-fashioned …

Actually, don’t call me old-fashioned.  I mean, I have purple hair and went to hippie college.  Not what you would call old-fashioned.  What I meant is that you can call a me the type of person who likes to drink an old-fashioned.  It may have gotten started when I started watching Mad Men a few years back, which incidentally corresponded to the opening of a whiskey bar in back in Durham, Whiskey (a less than original name, I know, but they have lots of personality).  Either way, it is slowly becoming one of my drinks of choice (don’t worry gin and tonic – you will always have a place in my heart).

I find it also helps immensely in dealing with the Midwestern winter (in addition to all of that comfort food I just talked about).


Start with a sugar cube (~1 tsp), ideally in the proper glassware.  Alas, all I had was this stemless wine glass.

Add a few dashes of Angostura bitters.

Add 1 tsp water and muddle together.

Add some ice to the glass.

And fill with 3 oz of bourbon (2 shot glasses worth).

Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.


Don’t be surprised if I emerge from this winter a 250-pound alcoholic…

Back to reality? (Holiday Travels Part II)

The holidays have past.

The vacation is over.


Back to reality.

But before 2011 is in full swing, I want to remember the wonderful times that I had over the past two weeks.

It can be summarized succinctly: Family, Food and Fun.

Cocoa with Kailey.

Game night(s).

Some simple (Sh*t on your neighbor – a family favorite).

And some more complicated (Agricola).

Scott arrived on Christmas day and apart from a quick trip to the grocery store (in order to make grilled turkey with cranberry and goat cheese sandwiches) I don’t think anybody left the house until we had to go back to the airport on December 28.  It was wonderful.

After a quick stop in Minneapolis (to check in on Puck and Kudzu and to discover my car had been towed during a snow emergency) I headed south to Louisiana.

Scott and I spent the day in New Orleans before heading into another family-filled week.

We stayed in a fancy hotel in the French Quarter.

We had dinner at Cochon.  If given the opportunity – go there.  The food was fantastic.

We ventured over to Frenchman Street and saw Walter Wolfman Washington and the Roadmasters at d.b.a. A great show and packed  to boot (I was told it was a special day in New Orleans – a Wednesday).

We ended the evening in the Roosevelt Hotel at the Sazerac Bar – home to the Sazerac cocktail.  (We may have had a drink or two).

Before heading to Baton Rouge the next day we nursed our hangovers with breakfast (lunch) at Slim Goodies and a stroll down Magazine Street.

There was non-stop eating in Baton Rouge.  I don’t think I will need to eat for the entire month of January.

And I got to spend significant time with Scott’s fabulous family.  They welcomed me with open arms and I thoroughly enjoyed myself – I only hope that I represented myself well.

There was cooking.

And eating (did I mention that already?).

And a really, really big bonfire to ring in the New Year.

Another day in New Orleans resulted in …

Eating (beignets at Cafe Du Monde).

And drinking (hurricanes at Pat O’Briens).


I need a vacation from my vacation.