Five Ideas for Low Key Backyard Summer Fun
Here are a couple of my ideas for getting together with friends and keeping things chill, spontaneous and fun without leaving your own backyard.
For most of the country, it’s probably nearing the tail end of soup season. The Pacific Northwest is another story – it will be soup weather basically until July 4. But the point I’m trying to make is, we all still have some time left to make soup. Make soup while the sun don’t shine yet. It’s an ancient Portlandian proverb.
Last week when we went grocery shopping, we got a little vegetable-happy. Not only did we pick up the basics/mirepoix, but we also got the celery root, an artichoke, cauliflower, way too many salad greens….so this was born of that trip. We haven’t used the artichoke yet. That will be happening soon, hopefully with some Hollandaise.
In the meantime, try this soup! It’s just too easy, especially if you have an immersion blender (but totally manageable in a regular blender if you don’t). And if you don’t have either the cauliflower or the celery root on hand, you can sub 1 1/2 russet potatoes for either.
Here’s what you need:
2 Tbsp. oil
1 celery root
2 cups chopped cauliflower
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp. celery salt
Kosher salt to taste
Truffle oil or extra virgin olive oil for garnishing
So, what is celery root, anyway? Basically, it’s what’s right below the green stalks you buy all the time at the store. It’s a round, starchy thing a little larger than a grapefruit. It behaves like other roots (I think a potato is pretty comparable). But it tastes like celery mixed with potato, a.k.a. delicious.
How do I clean it? Prep the celery root with your sharpest knife by slicing off the top and bottom (maybe 1/2 inch) where there are roots and stems. Cut off the exterior – it’s not really a peel, but the brown outside part – with the knife also. What’s underneath will bear some resemblance to a giant potato. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
In a stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil on medium and add the celery root, cauliflower and onion, cooking for about five minutes. Do not brown, just soften. Next, add the garlic, broth and water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and turn the temperature down. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the celery root is tender. Stir in the cream.
Remove the soup from the heat. If you have an immersion blender, use it to puree the soup while it is still in the pot you are using. If you are using a regular blender, carefully ladle the soup in batches into your blender, puree and return to the pot until the soup is smooth. Season with celery salt first, taste, and then add salt if you think it still needs more. If you do not have celery salt, season just with the kosher salt.
Serve with a swirl of oil on top and some freshly grated black pepper.