~ by Sylvia Fountaine
Hello, my name is Sylvia Fountaine, and by trade I'm a chef, caterer, recipe developer and author of Feasting at Home.
At the beginning of the new year, many of us take time to pause and reflect. Giving thought to the past year, reviewing our lives, and taking inventory of what we have accomplished or not accomplished. Often, from this place of self-judgement, we create "resolutions", or goals for the year to come, which involve even more accomplishing, doing and producing.
This year, I decided to try something new. Instead of asking myself, "What do I want to do this year?", I began gently asking myself "How do I want to feel?". As I contemplated this question for several days, a few words bubbled to the surface. I want to feel energized. I want to feel grounded to the earth and its cycles. For me, when I feel this way, I feel good. We are all different, and we each resonate with feelings so individually. How do you want to feel this year? Think of the times you felt the most content. After you come up with a few core feelings, think about ways to cultivate these feelings on a daily basis.
For me, this means cooking and eating foods that are alive and full of nutrients- rather than ones that leave me feeling heavy and tired. Instead of saying, I'm not eating dairy or sugar, I gently nudge myself away from the mindset of rules, into the realm of feelings, and remind myself how wonderful it feels to feel energized. Because cooking is a big part of my work and everyday life, I feel more grounded to the earth and its cycles when I cook food that actually comes from the ground, and when its grown in its true season. In winter, this can be difficult - especially in colder regions where produce is sparse or even non-existant.
But hidden beneath the earth’s surface, lies a vast underworld of buried treasure. Edible gems, ranging in color from the palest of white, to sunny yellow, to vibrant orange to burgundy to the deepest of purple - root vegetables are a storehouse of nutrients, flavor and unexpected beauty even during the darkest coldest winter. Judging only by appearances, one might be suspicious of their often stodgy, dull-colored and sometimes gnarly exteriors- but like most things, there is more than what meets the eye.
Root vegetables come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. They are grown in summer, harvested in late fall and can be wintered over all the way into spring. The most familiar- potatoes, yams, carrots, onions, and garlic-invoke comfort and warmth. Other’s invoke fear.
Holding the celeriac (aka celery root) in my hands, I am amazed, quite frankly, at how anyone would have been brave enough to eat it. It looks terrifying with its twisted roots and hairy tendrils. But beneath its villainous exterior resides the tenderest of hearts. And given proper consideration, one discovers a huge and amazing secret -its incredible flavor. You may feel as if you’ve known it all your life. And you have. For celeriac is a very close relative of celery. Light familiar flavors of celery and parsley flirt with the palate, while underlying notes of earthiness, nuttiness and spice, add mystery and depth. But to unlock theses flavors you must brave the beast. Arm yourself with a good knife. Slice away the top of the root and then the bottom, creating a steady base, and cut the remaining peel off in vertical strips from top to bottom, following the shape of the root, until all of the rough mottled skin is removed. The interior - crispy when raw, is delicious and crunchy in salads.
Cooked, it’s luscious and decadent, making it the ideal candidate for healthy low-fat soups or mashes. It would be hard to guess, that this soup recipe for Celeriac-Fennel Bisque is actually vegan. I love this recipe for its warm, earthy flavors and its energizing qualities. Enjoy!
Creamy Celeriac-Fennel Soup Recipe
by Sylvia Fountaine- Feasting at Home Blog
A healthy, vegan Celery Root Fennel Soup, thats deceivingly creamy and luscious!
1 white onion diced
1 large fennel bulb, cored and diced (about 1 ½ cups)
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 grapefruit-sized celeriac- peeled and diced (about 4-5 cups)
8 cups Veggie stock (or chicken stock for non-vegan option)
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste
3 Tablespoons vegan sour cream for garnish (optional)
Parsley oil, for garnish - see recipe below
In a large heavy bottom pot, saute diced onion in 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil, over medium high heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add fennel. Turn heat to medium-low and saute until fennel begins to caramelize, stirring occasionally about 12 minutes. Add celeriac, pepper and 8 cups chicken stock. Turn heat to high, bring to a simmer, lower heat, cover, and continue simmering until celeriac is very tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Using a blender, blend until smooth -in batches, only filling blender 1/2 full. (Remember when blending any hot liquid, cover the blender lid firmly with a kitchen town, and only fill blender 1/2 full, and start on the lowest speed, to prevent a blender explosion.)
Return to the pot. Taste for salt. When serving, garnish with a swirl of creme fraise, (or sour cream) and a little parsley oil.
1 cup packed Italian parsley ( stems ok)
½ cup olive oil
½ clove garlic
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Pulse all ingredients in a blender or food processor until combined.
Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 20 mins Total time: 35 mins Yield: 8 Cups Soup
Feast Catering Co.
Feasting at Home Recipe Blog
*Photography and recipe copyright of Sylvia Fountaine, Feasting at Home. Feel free to share and reuse, but please link back to original post on Feasting at Home site found at feastingathome.com.