After he eats a plateful of blueberry buckwheat pancakes, L (my 21 month-old son) struts around the living room part pig part chicken in an interpretive reading of the storybook, Barn Dance!.
He oinks like a pig. Flaps his wings like a chicken.
Says, “Bye pig” then hops and lands mid-flight in the oversized green chair.
“What should we do today,” I ask.
“The park, the picture book museum…”
“Park,” L replies.
He twirls around the room. I follow his lead.
“We can have a picnic,” I say, “I made celery soup and we can bring butter sandwiches, red grapes, and apples.”
Like the park, grapes (or peeks as L calls them) are always a “yes” –– although butter sandwiches dipped in celery soup are a close second.
For this Creamy Celery Soup, you can either use celery root (aka celeriac, which looks gnarly but tastes crisp and a little sweet), celery ribs, or a blend of both.
The soup begins with a red onion sautéed in olive oil and butter. When it’s soft and barely pink, the celery root or celery ribs are added along with a starchy potato (I like to use russets) and cooked for several minutes. Next add dry white wine and boil the vegetables in it for a minute to burn off the alcohol and add a lasting finish to the soup. Cook the mixture in your favorite vegetable broth until the celery root and potatoes are soft.
Then cool and blend the soup.
Mix in Greek-style yogurt, top with chopped parsley leaves, and serve.
Pour the warm soup into a thermos and pack some butter sandwiches.
We’ll race you to the swings.
What’s your favorite picnic fare?
Creamy Celery Soup
adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
Yield 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium red onion (sliced)
1 1/2 pounds celery root (peeled and chopped) and/or celery ribs (chopped) – I use 3/4 pound of each
1 large starchy potato (peeled and chopped)
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt (whole or lowfat okay)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves (chopped) for garnish
Put the oil and butter in a large size heavy saucepan over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the onion, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the celery root and potato and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add wine and boil 1 minute. Add broth and simmer, covered, until celery root is very tender, about 30 minutes.
Cool the mixture then purée soup in batches in a blender until very smooth. Transfer soup to cleaned saucepan, then stir in yogurt, salt, and pepper and heat over low heat until hot. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Garnish with chopped parsley leaves and serve.