Bread, SoupMalia Howe

Celeriac Vichyssoise and Funny French Bread

Bread, SoupMalia Howe
Celeriac Vichyssoise and Funny French Bread

So I am going to do it again. And by "it" I mean talk about another yellowish/whitish pureed vegetable soup. If you are keeping track this makes the third one in a month (and the 4th on this blog). I can't help myself, OK? I really dig these types of soup--their simplicity, ease of prep, and heartiness just sing to me. Plus now that it is officially chilly around these parts, I am coping by cooking and baking comfort foods. If it matters at all, I didn't set out to make another pureed soup this weekend. It just sort of happened. Friday night I was flipping through my Martha Stewart Living and read an article about roots and tubers (this an exciting Friday night, right?!?) and remembered how much I liked celeriac (or celery root). It had been years since I had it, but I recalled a delicious celeriac-potato soup we made once at a cafe I cooked at in OT school (associated with my Level II fieldwork. Awesome experience that I won't take time to ramble on about here). I took it was a sign Saturday morning when my favorite stand at the farmer's market had a huge basket full of gorgeous celeriac.

 OK, I said gorgeous. Celeriac is actually pretty ugly. Never judge a book by its cover!

OK, I said gorgeous. Celeriac is actually pretty ugly. Never judge a book by its cover!

You can bet I snatched some up and brought it straight home and made some soup. In my mind, I had everything already in the house to make this soup. When I looked it up, I discovered I was wrong. So I improvised, and I think my creation might actually be better. This is liquid velvet. Wonderful, fantastic soup. It's long gone and I want some more.

Celeriac Vichyssoise
-adapted significantly from The New Basics Cookbook

-4 T. unsalted butter
-3 cups diced onions
-2 shallots, diced (or use 1 leek. I would have, but guess what? No leeks in my fridge. Darn!)
-2 lbs peeled potatoes, diced (I had Yukon gold. You can increase or decrease the potato amount to your liking)
-2 pounds celeriac, peeled and diced (I know I had less than this. Probably closer to a pound. Again, this is not exact science).
-6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
-6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken)
-3 T. fresh lemon juice (do NOT leave this out. And do NOT get this juice from anywhere else besides a real lemon that you cut in half and squeezed).
-3/4 t. celery salt
-salt/pepper to taste
-2 cups milk (I used 2%)
-1 cup heavy cream

Melt butter in large pot. Add onions and shallots (or leek) and cook over medium for about 10 minutes, or until softened. Add potatoes, celeriac, and garlic, stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Add stock, lemon juice, celery salt, and salt/pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer until the celeriac is tender--about 30 minutes or so. Cool slightly and puree (either in batches in a blender or food processor, or grab your immersion blender). Do this until it's fairly smooth. Return to pot (if you need to), add milk and cream and reheat gently. Add more milk or cream if you want to achieve the desired consistency. I sprinkled mine additional celery salt, but a garnish of celery seed or snipped chives would be awesome.

OK. Now for the funny French bread admission. On this day I felt the urge to bake bread. This is not my strong suit yet (to be fair, I almost never do it). I googled for recipes until I was happy with what one required, and then I promptly messed it up--probably because I didn't knead it long enough with the dough hook on my mixer (I should have gone with a hand kneading recipe). I put the ugly loaf in the oven and pulled out one that was even uglier. Does this look like any French bread loaf you've ever eaten?
 

 You will not be reading any French bread tutorials on this blog anytime soon....could this pass for a loaf of ciabatta???

You will not be reading any French bread tutorials on this blog anytime soon....could this pass for a loaf of ciabatta???

I think not. Oh well, just another example of deceiving looks--it tasted great, albeit a bit chewier than I prefer. I think the picture is good for a laugh anyway.

    Ah, my soup. The end of the bowl. Golden yellow thanks to the Yukon golds. 

 

Ah, my soup. The end of the bowl. Golden yellow thanks to the Yukon golds. 

 Am I the only person who thinks pureed vegetable soups are divine? Anyone?

Am I the only person who thinks pureed vegetable soups are divine? Anyone?