Friday, September 08, 2006


I bought a bunch of celery at the farmers' market on Sunday, to use when I boiled the chicken. And when I say a bunch, I mean a bunch.

It was organic, and for, I think, $3.50 (easily the most I've paid for celery) I got a lot of it. I tried using as much as I could at every opportunity, but the thing wouldn't dwindle. And it was unlike any other celery I've seen -- the stalks were really thin, very dark, and superdense. It was impossible to crunch on a raw piece without chewing for five minutes afterward. Not only that, but the base of the bunch was caked with dirt and mud... and pretty well crawling with insects. A beetle sauntered out onto my kitchen table as I pulled away a few stalks, and later I found a slug, alive and well and, presumably, well fed.

But oh, the flavor of this celery!

When I told Enzo about the giant green tree that was taking over our fridge, he suggested I use any leftovers to make soup. And so, after scrub, scrub, scrubbing the hell out of each and every little piece with a stiff brush -- Margy doesn't like slugs in her soup -- I boiled the celery in chicken stock along with carrot and onion, and later I added some celery root and a potato. Once the celery became tender (which took a long time), I poured everything into a blender and pureed it. Exciting things were starting to happen.

But... the stuff was way too fibrous, so Margy got out her Foley food mill, and we passed the soup through it to smooth out the texture. This took some time, but it needed to happen. And I had planned to add some cream to the final product, but the soup was so lush and rich that I didn't bother. It was like having all the savory flavor of celery concentrated into something far more satisfying and substantial than celery itself.

Next stop, cauliflower.

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