Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ugly Scary Vegetable

About that ugly scary vegetable 
that lurked in our vegetable bin for many days;
seriously, would you eat something
that looked like this?

It's as hard as a rock
(that's a good thing),
and it feels knobby and rippled.

Given my traumatic history with vegetables,
you might wonder
What possessed her to buy it?
What indeed?

Every so often I get a wild idea
stuck in my head, 
and I can't get rid myself of it
until I deal with it.

So I found myself at King Soopers
staring at a celery root.
Yup!  It's a celery root,
Or Apium graveolens var. rapaceum:
AKA turnip-rooted celery,
knob celery, and
its Cinderella name, celeriac.

Celeriac ~ Dressed for the Ball
in Tiara and Skirt

It's all Ivan's fault!
He inspired me to buy that ugly scary vegetable,
drove me right out the door  to get it, 
a bunch of celery,
and a bottle of celery seeds!

Now, I have been known to tolerate celery
in the past.
My favorite celery recipe is
Ants on a Log.

Ants on a Log
Source and Recipe:

This is the perfect teacher recipe
for a healthy classroom party.

Note: third graders do not like healthy parties.
The one time a room mother and I 
planned a healthy Halloween party
featuring Ants on a Log,
it was a disaster.
I've given unhealthy parties ever since!

I quite like Ants on a Log ~ though,
actually it's the only way I like celery.

Ivan has an amazing blog
called A Normandy Kitchen,
and he posted a celery recipe
that made me salivate ~
His post was called A soup of three celeries.

Caveat!  Ivan's beautifully presented recipes
always make me salivate!

I stuffed the celery and the USV in the vegetable bin
and closed the fridge door.
Every time I opened that door
that USV told me it was waiting
for a fairy godmother transformation.

Finally I couldn't stand it any more!
In a rash fit,
I channeled Graham Kerr*,
poured a glass of pinot noir,
and assembled the ingredients.

Just a Few Simple Ingredients 
and a Good Recipe

Not quite sure how to dive into the unknown,
I gave the USV a good scrub.

Surprise a fresh, clean, celery aroma wafted up ~
much pleasanter than fresh scrubbed potatoes or carrots.

I took a swig of wine to fortify myself,
strange vegetables, especially USVs,
intimidate the heck out of me!

Ready for the Attack!

Said Ivan in an encouraging comment to me:
"Please be careful with the celery - 
cut in half and place cut side down so it doesn't slip.  
'Peel' with a knife as you need to remove 
about three times that of a potato skin (more at the base).  
Fingers on top and cut just below them and down (keep turning).  
Rinse and ready to go."

Cross - Section of Celeriac

The loveliest and bright fragrance
hit my olfactory senses,
not just celery, but
the soul of celery!

Does this thing have cancer?!

 Carefully Peeling Celery
See Safety Note Above

I took another swig of pinot,
and chopped that cancerous looking sucker up!

Celery Root Put in Its Place!

and Ready to Go!


"Ivan ~ did you really mean to peel the celery sticks?"

"Yes, you can peel the outside of the celery sticks to remove the strings or snap the top and remove them by pulling down (sometimes you don't need to, depends on the season)," writes the helpful Ivan.


Chop, small!
Strings in Soup 
Are a Bad Thing!

Note from the Trenches!                                                                  
Don't use dark brown vegetable stock.            
Make your own ~ or buy 
a light-colored one

(light on the salt!).   

Chopped Celery, Celeriac, and Stock in a Pot

I brought it to a boil
and simmered it until soft.

Celery seeds are tiny!                               
I followed the roadmap
and ground them up smaller!


I tossed in the       
celery seeds and  
pulverized the
cooked celeries
in small 



Just for good                    
I ran the
my blender.

I returned everything                 
to the pot and 
stirred in
ground up cashews.
Then I left it to
simmer until the
Guinea Pig came home. 

"What's that?" said the G-P when he walked in.
Sniff?  Sniff.
Did you finally cook that celery root in the bin?
Smells good!"

"Why don't you try some?" 
said I who had not taken a sip,
thinking of Zhang Mei, 
the Dragon of Terror and Peril,
and his soup 
in The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril.

The G-P would be my taster!
I placed a bowl artfully festooned with cashews 
in front of him.

Cinderella Vegetable

"How come it's brown? 
I thought Ivan's was green,"
said the G-P.
"It looks like ..."

"Next time I'll use a different vegetable stock,"
I quickly interrupted.

"Okay," said the G-P,
and he dove in.
"Ummm. Yum.  This is good.
He finished his bowl.
"Aren't you going to have some?"

"I'm just finishing my wine,"
said I, as I carefully watched the taster.
He didn't keel over on top of his soup bowl
or slump on the floor.
Nothing happened.

I ladled a small bowl for myself,
spooned up a tiny amount,
and touched it with the tip of my tongue.

I didn't keel over on top of my soup bowl
or slump on the floor.
Nothing happened.

"Wow!  This is pretty good!  
It's delicious!" said I,
and I finished my bowl.

"That's a keeper," said the G-P.
"You should make it again."

"I will," said I.

"Celeriac is good raw with mayonnaise (or Greek yoghurt and lemon) ... and it freezes well,"  wrote Ivan.

I'll attempt anything Ivan posts on his blog,
well ~ maybe not kale.

To get the recipe for A soup of three celeries,
you just go to his excellent blog!

*For those of you who may not know,
Graham Kerr is the Galloping Gourmet,
and he ~ despite the funny clip ~
was a great inspiration to me as an excellent TV Chef.
Check out this short and hilarious video.
Graham Kerr always cooked 
with a glass of wine at hand!

For the background posts on Ugly Scary Vegetable

you may go to:

Vegetable Trauma

Forbidden Fruit


  1. Louise!

    Love this post!

    The Galloping Gourmet was my all-time favourite. I laughed all the time and I do believe he inspired my interest in food prep. Just like Kareen from Kareen`s Yoga - Remember her?

    I was wondering if you were going to try your creation at the end or let poor G-P deal with it....LOL! Flavour is important but so is the visual, next time a sweet green!

    Kale is a wonderful leafy veg. We choose it every time we go to a vegan rest. here. I just love her to bits!

    The video still has me giggling. Jim is looking at it now.



    1. Hi, Ron! Thanks for your kind comment! I didn't see Kareen's Yoga. I could use a little yoga inspiration! I did venture out in our blizzard to snap some pictures for tomorrow's post ~ but I didn't make it to the club to work out like Noreen and Terry. By the way, your turnip recipe was really good! Kale ~ that may be stepping out there too far! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    2. So glad you tried the turnip finally. I thought I hadn`t given you enough details so was waiting for your attempt. Kale, I find done by someone at a restaurant much better than my attempts.
      SO you have snow finally....hunker down time!


    3. We are hunkered down, Ron! I was going to walk back partway from Parkway, but it was too wild! I'll have to do a little house walking later, because I only got in about 4/10s of a mile! Or maybe I'll just have a glass of merlot while watching the Oscars. A few elbow lifts! Have fun this evening!

  2. LOL! What a funny post Louise! Whether you meant it or not! So you tried Ivan's soup. And you both liked it.
    I made that same mistake sort of.....I was making a pureed bean soup and all I had was black beans. Well, you can imagine how that looked!! But, as with your soup, it tasted a lot better than it looked! Lesson learned.
    I really enjoyed the G.Gourmet's video. We never missed this show and always watched it with Ron's Mom who really enjoyed. To this day we still have a set of his wooden utensils that we use.
    Fun post. You could SO have your own show on the food network! You have this knack to make things funny.

    1. Thank you so much, Jim! It's hard for me to evaluate my own writing objectively. I try to inject some humor, but again, what I think is funny, others often don't, especially Terry! I always loved the Galloping Gourmet. Terry, Noreen, and I just got back from Parkway Bar and Grill ~ out in a blizzard no less! I hope that you are having a good weekend!

  3. Hello Louise,
    This post is so funny (I am laughing and I shouldn't, as I have been stuck in bed with flu since Friday and I still ache!!) - Happy you liked the soup after all the effort and I think you were incredibly brave to do all this!! I will attack turnips next for you (LOL)!!!
    Yes, to peeling the celery - who wants to eat string!!(good knife btw)
    Thank you for cheering me up!

  4. Hi Ivan! I'm so sorry that you are down with the flu! I'm so glad and relieved that you found this funny ~ because I would never want to do something that wasn't affirming for someone else! You made my day! We are in the middle of a real blizzard! Feel better soon!

  5. I think you are not only a gifted writer (or perhaps it was more wine?) but, I think you are very brave to attack the dragon vegetable and then actually eat it! I have only recently begun to eat anything beyond peas and hotdogs - well, maybe that was a few years ago, like when I was 7 or so!
    Enjoy the blizzard. I am so wishing I was home, all snug as a bug in my house - hmmm, our windows are terribly drafty, maybe I wouldn't be so snug!
    Take care!

    1. Hi Dreaming! Probably the wine ~ but thank you for the heart-warming comment. I think you are better off where you are! It's been wild here! Have a warm and cozy evening! We're going to take in the Oscars in front of a fire!

  6. Clever and funny post indeed :)

    Kind of looks like a hornet's nest doesn't it??

    1. Hi OE! Thank you so much for the kind words! You know, it DOES look like a hornet's nest! Have a good one!

  7. Hilarious! And YOU are the Fairy Godmother who turned the Ugly Stepsister into Cinderella!

    I remember The Galloping Gourmet very well. My Mom, sister and I always watched his show when I was a teenager. We adored him and all the fun he had with food and wine.

    1. Hi Debra! Wasn't the Galloping Gourmet fun?! I cook with wine to this day because of him! It's makes it easier to confront scary vegetables and other strange things! Have a great week!

  8. You sure worked some magic there, I would have cringed and gave it to the annoying neighbors as a gift haha or just hit them with it.

    1. Hi Pat! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a funny message! Have a good evening!

  9. Louise! That's the scary vegetable I told you about that I took a photo of in revenge for your cow tongue! I made Ivan's soup too, and it was delicious. I served it with his goat cheese tart. David said that it was the best quiche he ever ate, but for me it was all about the soup. The only thing I did wrong was I halved the recipe. I could have devoured it all, it was that good.

  10. Hi Terry! I've been holding my breath waiting for your revenge vegetable! How funny that it was the same one! I hope you told Ivan how good his soup was! I've just bought the goat cheese, so now I'm going to try the tart! Have a good evening!

  11. this post, Louise! You are so funny. Oh yes, I remember The Galloping Gourmet very well! He was so entertaining. I wonder, though, what would have happened if G-P HAD keeled over...LOL...

    1. Hi Martha! Thank you for your encouraging comment! The Galloping Gourmet made cooking fun! Have a happy week!

    2. If the G-P had keeled over, I would have destroyed all evidence of the soup and then called 911!

  12. Ha ha, Just made a cauliflower lentil soup tonight and guss what I didn't know you could dsstring celery!! Must try it. Anyway this soup looks yummy, and I have to agree celery heart/soul does look like a scary, ugly vegetable. Maybe I'll get brave and try it. Some day...

    1. Hi Francie! Until I read Ivan's recipe, I didn't know you could de-string celery either! Your soup sounds like it might not be as intimidating. I don't know if you have seen "A normandy Kitchen" yet or not ~ Ivan's blog is definitely worth visiting! Sometimes I feel like I should lick my computer screen when I'm reading and seeing his delicious posts! Have a great week!

  13. That recipe looks very yummy and tasty!
    An excellent veggie for one's health!
    A nice and fun post again!
    Thanks, Fundy!

    1. Hi Noushka! I look forward to seeing your birds every day, and I always enjoy your comments. I did feel particularly perky the next morning, so maybe it is really good for your health! Have a good day!

  14. You are the bravest cook I know. That was quite an accomplishment. I'm so glad it turned out delicious after all that work. It's way too intimidating for me. I am visiting from Nantucket Daffodil. Thank you for visiting my blog. I guess there is a place that is colder than Bradford, PA. Stay warm. Peg

    1. Hi Peggy! Thanks for visiting my blog and for the kind words! It's plenty cold here right now! But the coldest spot I ever stood was at the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg. I was there about two weeks short of 50 years ago, and I still remember. I have my space heater on and my coffee nuked! You stay cozy too!


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate the time and energy you put into making them very much.