I’ve had a bizarre January. 

We tend to start the new year with so many plans and promises. We wipe the slate clean and feel for the possibilities available to us – I had yoga teaching and a hot sauce empire in my purview.

Alas, my new year hasn’t been so hot. January 1st was when the trouble began – at my bar I had to cut off three separate people – some thuggy guy threw his drink at the wall, a random drunk girl was bouncing off guys like a pinball and I had an argument with a douche that was itching to knock my head off.  The tone for 2016 was set and doomed on day one.

Almost everyday at work there has been some sort of shenanigans.

Yesterday, I cut off a group of guys in the early evening that had made increasingly gross comments and shared an IQ of sixty between the four of them. Drunk people don’t bother me, never have, it’s the guys (and gals – I’m an equal opportunist), that seek out confrontation that do.

I’m tired. I still dream of one day owning my little music cafe – great acts, delicious food and local wine – but everyday I have to deal with one of these charming guys and it erodes my faith that humanity is inherently compassionate.

Meanwhile, my parents are off to Florida to wait out the cold with my uncle and aunt and oh, how I want to be there too (I even checked flights and Air Miles).  Sitting by the water and shutting out the tom-foolery would be so nourishing right now.

Instead, I’m turning to every comfort food in my arsenal. I’ll gorge on rich, buttery, creamy dishes that double as a warm embrace. So, make a batch of this silky soup and freeze it for those days you need a little help.

The next time some douche demands dirtiness just ‘cuz he bought a beer off me, I’ll bill him, turf him and not gouge his eyes out because I know I have slurpable comfort waiting at home…

… while pretending I’m here:




serves 4


This soup can be rustically natural or posh dinner party fare. If you want it fancy, make an effort to produce a gorgeous snow white puree. Use white pepper, if you have it, and do not let your onions brown. Also, peel your potatoes. I like leaving the skins on and scrubbing them well, but I also like my soup a wee bit chunkers.

If you are avoiding starch, simply omit the potato and add more celeriac and cauliflower. If you avoid cauliflower you can double the potatoes.

If you really want to get dirty, use bacon fat instead of oil, or start by frying bacon and reserving it as a garnish. Johnny will devour any soup that is loaded with cream and bacon, while I like mine mostly veg and lighter. You can theoretically do both here by making it sans cream, then souping it up (sorry for the cheap pun), per serving with toppings and add ons.


1 tbsp each butter and olive oil

1 small onion, peeled and diced

kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

4 celery stalks, chopped with leaves reserved

1 medium potato (peeled or unpeeled), diced

1 small celeriac root, peeled and cubed

1 small cauliflower or 1/2 large cauliflower, chopped

4 cups cold water

optional: 1/3 cup heavy cream



Heat a large pot with fitted lid to medium/low heat. Add the butter and oil, then toss in the onions. Season with some salt and pepper and allow to sweat until translucent, 4 – 5 minutes. If they begin to brown, turn down the heat and saute gently.

Add the celery and garlic, continuing to saute slow and low for 2 – 3 more minutes.


Turn up the heat to high. Add the rest of your veg with the water.

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes.


Turn off the heat and puree with a hand blender or in a regular blender (in batches, if needed). Thin out with more water to your desired consistency – leave a little chunky or go super smooth – your choice!

Add more salt and pepper, as needed.



Optional: finish with cream and blend to incorporate.

Serve with crusty bread and a crisp salad. Maybe try some of these toppings too:

crumbled bacon

chopped herbs such as parsley or dill

toasted croutons

sour cream

shredded cheese

fresh or prepared horseradish

a swirl of spicy dijon mustard

diced chorizo

etc etc etc…




Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Buffer this pagePrint this page