I felt a little fancy when I made this but we all deserve to eat food that looks beautiful and was made fresh. We had some friends coming for dinner and it’s great to be able to serve something that is fairly easy to make, but looks like it’s something you would order in a restaurant.
I am trying to be conscious of how many things I put in my mouth that come out of a bag, box or can and to really limit it. Eating real food can really change the way you feel. So I encourage everyone to just be a little more conscious of where their food comes from and try to eat foods that only have one ingredient (ie. broccoli, lettuce, eggs, walnuts, chicken, quinoa) and not foods with an ingredient list so long it takes up the whole side of the box and is filled with names no one can pronounce. As Michael Pollen suggests, “avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.”
Let’s get back to our roots and start eating real. And with that, I have a recipe for Celery Root Soup. It is from a cookbook called The Conscious Cook by chef Tal Ronnen and the recipes in his book make eating vegan taste decadent. Now, don’t shy away because I said vegan. Tasting it, you wouldn’t believe it’s vegan because of a little secret weapon a lot of vegans use in their food.
It’s called cashew cream. Cashew cream is what vegan cooks use to get that, well, creamy taste. It is simple to make. You soak* a cup of cashews overnight and the next morning, drain them and put them in a blender (vita-mix if you have one) and add cold water to cover them. Blend til they are pureed (about 30 seconds in a vita-mix). If you want it thicker, use less water. Viola, cashew cream. And I image some store sell this pre-made. When I was vegan, I used this all the time in everything from soups to desserts and no one was the wiser. However, if you have no interest in cashew cream then just use heavy cream.
(*The reason why you soak the cashews over night is because, like most nuts, seeds and legumes,they contain enzyme inhibitors. These are great for the nuts and seeds because it protects them from sprouting prematurely and stores their nutrients but it is not good for our bodies to digest and absorb. These toxic enzyme inhibitors are released when you soak them so your body can absorb all the nutrients and your digestive system will feel so much better. Read more on soaking nuts and seeds here or here.)
When I saw this recipe in the book, about a year ago, I first thought, what the heck is celery root? Then I thought there is no way City Market in Gunnison, Colorado has Celery Root. Surprise, Surprise. So if that City Market has Celery Root, I can almost guarantee you can find it in your local market. Here is what it looks like:
It is not pretty, that’s for sure. But don’t let that scare you away. It has a lot of health benefits including being high in fiber, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6 and it has a great taste. Did you know that your body needs magnesium in order to absorb calcium? Just a little tidbit I thought was interesting and important.
The taste is reminiscent of celery but slightly milder with a potato-like texture. And you might just feel a little more grounded after eating them. You could also try adding some celery root to your mashed potatoes next time for some added nutrients and flavor.
Celery Root Soup –by Tal Ronnen ( slightly adapted)
3 TBS Coconut Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Celery Root (or 2 small), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
1 large Onion, chopped
2 quarts ( 8 cups) homemade vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you prefer)
1 Bay Leaf
1 Cup thick Cashew Cream (or use heavy cream)
1 Granny Smith Apple, unpeeled and thinly sliced
1 small bunch of chives (or green onions)
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Pepper
Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Add a sprinkle of salt and the Oil and cook for 30 seconds. Add the Celery Root, Celery and Onion and saute for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until soft but not brown. Add the Vegetable Stock and Bay Leaf and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add Cashew Cream and simmer for another 10 minutes.
If you have an immersion blender, use it to blend soup. If you don’t have one, get one 🙂 OR in several batches, blend in a blender…just be careful the hot liquid doesn’t explode out the top! Add Salt and Pepper to Taste.
For the Chive or Green Onion Oil:
Blanch the chives for 30 seconds in boiling water and then drain and immerse in a bowl of ice water. Drain and wrap chives in a towel to squeeze the moisture out. Put in a blender with the oil and salt for a minute of two. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Put the oil in a small squeeze bottle or a spoon and make a pretty decoration.
Sprinkle some chopped apples in the middle of the bowl and enjoy!