Spicy Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash & Celery Root Soup

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Lots of my recent recipes have been born from the need to use the vegetables that Farm Fresh to You sends me every two week.   I had a butternut squash and, you guessed it, celery root.  Two.  HUGE.  Celery roots.  I love celery root but there are not really that many ways to use it (it ain’t no cauliflower – that’s all I’m saying) – but this soup is a perfect way.  Creamy & light & guiltless.  I ate it for lunch at work for ten days straight.  I am certain it will freeze well – so if variety is the pice of your life – get ready to freeze some of this stuff.

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Spicy Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash & Celery Root Soup

Serves 10+ depending on portions

INGREDIENTS

1 large butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

2 large celery roots – peeled & cubed

1 onion

3 celery stalks – sliced

5 carrots – sliced

1 jalapeno – seeded & chopped (I did not seed mine & the soup was delightfully spicy!)

1-2 TBS dry sage (add it in increments)

10 cups vegetable stock

1 cup almond (or other vegan) milk (option – skip the milk & add more stock)

olive oil

S&P

GARNISH OPTIONS – fresh chopped sage, fried sage, a dollop of vegan sour cream or lots of freshly cracked pepper

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DIRECTIONS

Heat a glug or two (2-3 TBS) of olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add the onions, carrots, celery & jalapeno until the onions just start to turn color – just a bit.  Add everything else except the almond milk.  Bring to a boil & cook until the squash & other veggies are VERY soft.

Puree in a blender in batches – putting the puree into a clean pan.   When it is all smoothly pureed, season with S&P & stir in the almond milk – or more stock – if you think it needs it.  Heat through.

Serve with whatever garnish you choose.

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Vegan Puree of Celery Root Soup with Jalapeno & Caramelized Balsamic Pears

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is a VERY easy soup to make.  The caramelized balsamic pears REALLY make it, too, so do not skip them.  They come together very fast & will impress your neighbors immensely.

I drizzled a little olive oil on this soup – which isn’t necessary but it looks pretty & gave me a chance to try my Rosemary & Crushed Red Pepper Infused Olive Oil.

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I must say, the oil has been brewing since June 6th & is still only VERY subtly infused.  Maybe I should muddle the herbs & spices a bit?  I don’t know.  I will experiment.

But this soup!  Healthy & delicious!  This makes quite a lot of soup so be prepared for leftovers. These sorts of soups age well in the fridge over a day or two – but they often need a bit of water added in the reheating, sometimes quite a lot.  So – don’t be afraid to add as much water as you need to get it to your desired consistency.

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Vegan Puree of Celery Root Soup with Jalapeno & Caramelized Balsamic Pears

INGREDIENTS

1 TBS + 1 tsp olive oil

1 small onion – chopped

4 celery stalks – chopped & then divided into two portions

1 leek – sliced (white part only)

2 garlic cloves – chopped

3 celery root (about baseball size) – peeled WELL (get all that rough brown & hair off!) & diced

2 medium potatoes – cubed

2 jalapenos – seeded & chopped

4 Bosc pears – peeled & seeded

7 cups vegetable stock

S&P to taste

4 TBS honey

2-4 large rosemary sprigs (more for garnish – if you like)

2 TBS quality balsamic vinegar

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the honey in a saute pan over med-high heat.  When bubbly, add TWO (reserving the other two) of the pears & the rosemary sprigs to the honey and, stirring constantly, cook until the honey is almost cooked off & the pears are soft & beginning to brown.

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Add the balsamic & cook for another minute or two – being very careful not to burn the glaze.   Carefully (that glaze will burn you!) transfer to a bowl & set aside.  Soak your pan immediately.  That honey-balsamic glaze is HOT & will become like cement fast.

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If you like a 100% pureed soup – skip this step.  I like a little bit of something in there to chew.  Heat 1 tsp olive oil & saute HALF the sliced celery stalks to the oil & saute until soft – without browning.  Maybe 2-3 minutes.  Drain on paper towels & set aside.

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Be sure you have removed all the brown & coarse, hairy bits from the celery root.  Otherwise, you will be spitting what feels like hairballs into your napkin later.  Not fun.  Or pretty.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the jalapenos, onion, the remaining half of the sliced celery (or ALL of it – if you are skipping the step above) & the leek.  Saute until soft but not browned.  Add the garlic for a few seconds then add the potato, celery root, the remaining two pears & all the stock.  Bring to a rapid boil then reduce heat & simmer about twenty-thirty minutes or until everything is very tender.

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When the vegetables are tender either use a blender (immersion or otherwise) or a food processor to puree the soup until it is very smooth.  Add more water if it is too thick for your taste.  If you sauteed the 2 celery stalks, add those to the puree now.  Add S&P to taste.

When ready to serve, discard the rosemary from the pears, heat the puree & then pour some into bowls & top with about 1 TBS of the caramelized balsamic pears & maybe a sprig of fresh rosemary.   Drizzle with olive oil (infused, if you have it) & add some fresh cracked pepper & go to town!

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Carrot & Celery Root Soup with Lavender & Herbs de Provence

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This soup isn’t enormously different from my Carrot & Pumpkin Lavender Soup except that it uses celery root rather than pumpkin.   The celery root adds a creaminess to the soup that makes the cup of heavy cream I included very optional – without which (the cream) this soup is vegan & very light!   The culinary lavender I included is also probably optional but I do recommend buying some & experimenting with it.  It adds an olfactory sensation that is as soothing as the warm soup itself is.

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Carrot & Celery Root Soup with Lavender & Herbs de Provence

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs carrots – sliced

2 celery roots – peeled & cubed

1 large onion – diced

1 leek – sliced (white part only)

4 garlic cloves – chopped

5 TBS lavender

3 TBS olive oil

2 TBS herbs de Provence

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup heavy cream (optional)

2 TBS butter (or vegan option)

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp dry ginger

4 TBS sugar

Creme fraiche (as garnish) – optional

S&P to taste

Cheesecloth or other fine straining device

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DIRECTIONS

Boil 4 cups of water & add the lavender.  Remove from heat & allow to steep for at least 10 minutes.  Using cheesecloth – strain the lavender out & reserve the water.

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Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot.  Saute the garlic, onion, leek & herbs de Provence a few minutes or until the onion is translucent.  Try not to brown them.  Add the white wine & bring to a boil.  Add the carrots & celery root & the lavender water.  Bring to a boil & reduce heat to medium & simmer until the carrots & celery root are soft (20 minutes or so – depending on the size of the cubes) – adding water if needed to keep the vegetables covered.  Add butter (if using) and the nutmeg, ginger & sugar.  Stir to dissolve the sugar & distribute the spices.

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The soup is ready to be pureed.  You might want to let it cool a bit to avoid scalding yourself.   You can use an immersion blender or a traditional blender & puree the soup in batches.  Once it is creamy, return it to heat & add heavy cream (if using) and salt & pepper to taste.  Garnish with fresh cracked pepper or a dollop of creme fraiche.  Serve!

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Vegan Celery Root Puree Soup with Black Truffle Oil

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Food doesn’t get much easier than this.  The truffle oil is a delightful touch but not required to make this soup addictive.  Despite tasting rich & creamy – this is vegan & virtually calorie-free.   TRY IT!

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Vegan Celery Root Puree Soup with Black Truffle Oil

4 softball-sized celery roots – peeled & cubed (save a few green top leaves for garnish)

1 onion – diced

1 TBS olive oil

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp white pepper

Water to cover (or stock)

Black (or white) truffle oil for drizzling

Salt to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Put the celery root cubes in a soup pot.  Add water or stock (or water with a few bouillon cubes) to cover.  Boil the celery root until soft.

Saute the onion & garlic in the olive oil until the onion is translucent.  Add the onions to the celery root & stock.  Add white pepper & puree with either an immersion blender or in batches with a regular blender.

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Add salt to taste.  Serve in bowls, drizzle with truffle oil (or not), lots of cracked pepper & a few celery leaves.

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Truffled Celery Root Mixed Grain Risotto Tower with Roasted Beets, Pan-fried Cauliflower & Basil Jus

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This might look intimidating but it is not.  It just requires a few easy steps.  Most of it could be substituted with other ingredients, too.  For example – hate beets?  Use carrots or corn or sweet potato instead.  Trader Joe’s mixed grain thing not available to you?

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Use a regular risotto.  Celery root unavailable or yucky to you?  Make your risotto with whatever ingredients you prefer.  Don’t have fancy food mold ring to create the tower?   Use a bowl or just free form it on the plate for a more rustic presentation.

I loved this dish.  The celery root absolutely held its own despite competing with a lot of other flavors here from white truffle oil to roasted beets & garlic to the fried cauliflower to the basil oil.   This dish was served closer to warm-room temperature than what I would call hot – primarily because there are so many ingredients to time properly – but I liked it just warm.  It might also be served hotter if you don’t spend 15 minutes trying to get the perfect photo of it.

Speaking of which – I am often asked what I use to photograph the food.  The answer?  My iphone 5 and a construction lamp.  See?

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That is all I have going on.  I have limited dishware & napkins etc with which to present my recipes and I am beginning to feel my images are starting to look a lot alike but that is just the reality of doing it all DIY on a shoestring budget.  But THIS dish – this will definitely wow folks on any plate.  I hope you try it.

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Truffled Celery Root Mixed Grain Risotto Tower with Roasted Beets, Pan-fried Cauliflower & Basil Jus

INGREDIENTS

For the risotto

1 lb Mixed grains (or risotto or other rice)

1 large celery root – peeled & diced

2 cups milk

1 cup Parmesan – grated

White truffle oil to drizzle – (VERY optional)

For the roasted beet & garlic puree

6 small beets

4 TBS heavy cream

4 cloves garlic

For the pan-fried cauliflower

1 head cauliflower

1-2 TBS olive oil

For the basil jus (basil oil)

1 cup fresh basil

3/4 cup high quality olive oil

DIRECTIONS

For the beet & garlic puree

Halve your beets (or quarter them if the are large) & drizzle them with olive oil.  Toss them with the garlic cloves & roast them & the garlic (add lots of extra garlic so you can have some extra around for future recipes) in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes or until tender.  Check frequently & remove the garlic if it browns quickly & is done before the beets.  When roasted – cool a bit then puree the beets, 4 roasted garlic cloves & the heavy cream in a food processor.  Set aside.

For the basil jus

Plunge the basil in boiling water for 30 seconds.  Plunge it in cold water, drain & squeeze out the water.  Puree the basil with olive oil in a food processor.  Set aside.

For the pan-fried cauliflower

Slice the cauliflower into 3/4 inch steaks.  Heat the olive oil & fry the cauliflower until browned on both sides.

Alternatively – you could roast the cauliflower (tossed in olive oil) in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until it is soft & beginning to brown.  My photo here is of florets roasted in the oven.  The assembled tower images show cauliflower pan-fried as steaks.

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For the risotto

I cooked the bag of mixed grains as per the directions.

Bring the milk to a boil, add the diced celery root to the milk, reduce heat & simmer for about 20 minutes or until the celery root is soft.

Blend the celery root, the milk it cooked in & the cheese in a food processor until smooth.  Add to the cooked grains & blend completely.  Drizzle with truffle oil (if using) – sparingly, as it can really overpower the other flavors.

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TO ASSEMBLE

I used a food ring like this

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and simply put a layer of risotto then beet puree then cauliflower.  I drizzled it with the basil jus & topped it with watercress.  You could build yours backwards in a greased ramekin & flip it or in a bowl & flip it – or just present it in a more casual, rustic, unformed way.

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Celery Root & Fennel Flat Bread

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I LOVE CELERY ROOT.  It has a creamy, delicate but fresh flavor I cannot get enough of.  I am not such a huge fan of fennel but, when used correctly, it, too, has a refreshing quality.  I combined the two here on a pizza so thin that it doesn’t really qualify as a pizza – but rather – a flat bread.  It is light & has a nuanced flavor that makes it a perfect little appetizer.

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There is no real recipe for this concoction of mine beyond:

Pizza dough

celery root

fennel

olive oil

Parmesan cheese

celery root & fennel tops – chopped for garnish

You simply roll your dough out very thin, top it with a little Parmesan, very thinly shaved celery root & fennel & a tiny bit more Parmesan.  Drizzle with olive oil and S&P to taste & bake at 450 degrees until your crust is browned & the cheese is turning golden.  Garnish with chopped celery leaves & the dilly little sprigs from the fennel.

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