There is no such thing as perfection. We get close sometimes, or at least we think we do, because perfection really is subjective. And quite often the pendulum of perfection swings wide. We control it. We allow it to swing beyond our boundaries sometimes because we have high expectations. But the further we allow the pendulum to swing in one direction, the further it will swing in the other. It’s inevitable. Whether it be too high or too low, the outcome becomes the safety net woven out of our expectations. It’s where we land. And it’s the place where we contemplate what has just occurred, recognizing that we may have set our sights too high from the beginning.
While we reflect, we realize there is a place for everything and this thing we had such high hopes for was, quite possibly, never meant to be perfect. It is one of those things that is incapable of being anything more than an accompaniment or a prelude to something greater. It’s the natural order of things, a stepping stone. And once we acknowledge that, we can cast aside any lingering disappointments and appreciate it for what it truly is: a perfect accompaniment.
CELERY ROOT AND APPLE SOUP
By this time, I have had my fill of the usual winter vegetable options and sought out celery root for a change of pace. I’m so glad I did. Celery root (or celeriac) is under-utilized, and the flavor is delicate despite what you might think given its unsightly appearance. This is a clean and light soup balanced with a celery-like flavor and a kiss of sweetness from the apple. It would be a perfect lunchtime meal accompanied by a crusty roll, or a perfect start to dinner. While I have listed it as a garnish option, I found the bacon to overpower the soup’s flavor and thought a simple sprinkle of parsley was perfect.
2 medium large celery roots, peeled and cubed into 1-inch pieces
2 leeks, trimmed, washed, and sliced
2 medium Golden Delicious apple, peeled, seeded and cubed into 1-inch pieces
1 to 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional garnish: chives, bacon, parsley
In a stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil, butter and leeks and saute for 5 minutes without browning. Add celery root, apple, 6 cups of stock and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Once the celery root is very tender and beginning to fall apart (about 20-30 minutes), remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender (or carefully transfer in small batches to a stand blender or food processor) adding additional stock if necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Garnish and serve.