Last week, Republican presidential hopeful, Michelle Bachmann, stood against a backdrop of beef carcasses, making her case for a loosening of regulations that were a burden to meat processors. This came after the Agriculture Department’s plans were announced to increase wider inspections and testing for potentially devastating E.coli bacteria. Today, the USDA recalled 40,000 pounds of meat processed by a Texas plant because it tested positive for E-coli. It’s destination? Georgia, for preparation to provide lunch to the state’s school children. In a July interview, Bachmann waxed poetic about celery, “Her favorite food of all time”, so regulations, as they pertain to meat processing, don’t apply here.
Our family heartily agrees with her about celery. This frequently overlooked vegetable has many more uses than being part of a Mirepoix or the recepticle for peanut butter and cheese. A marvelous recipe for Celery & Apple Soup will be at the end of this writing. Celery is both healthful and delicious. One medium stalk of celery has six calories, 1.4 grams of carbohydrate, .3 grams of protein, no fat and 0.6 grams of fiber. Celery is an excellent source of both vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, manganese, potassium, iron and Vitamin B6. One caveat, though. Celery is on the top twelve list of vegetables with the highest pesticide concentrations, so organic should be Ms. Bachmann’s and your celery choice. In North Carolina, the best places to find certified organic produce are our many local Farmer’s Markets. If Ms. Bachmann campaigns in NC, she should visit one and discover the abundance of our local growers and the freshest produce available. The link will give you a list of all of the Farmer’s markets in our area and state, as well as their days and hours of operation. Ooops… did I mention corn dogs? Both Ms. Bachmann and Governor Rick Perry enthusiastically sampled this traditional American fare while campaigning at the Iowa State Fair this summer. Our State Fair begins next month and corn dogs will reign supreme, well regulated and E-coli free. OKAY! Okay. The irreverence is over. On to the soup…..
Fall Harvest Celery and Apple Soup
- 2 medium sized brown onions
- 1 medium sized head of organic celery
- 2 large Granny Smith apples
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup (plus/minus) of half & half
- 1 teaspoon of brown sugar – we prefer light brown, but dark is fine as well
- 1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup of toasted almond slivers
- salt and pepper to taste
Dice the celery and onions and place in a large Dutch oven, one that has a lid, with the butter. Gently saute under low heat. While they are softening, peel and core the apples and grate both right into the celery/onion mixture. Continue to cook for ten minutes. Add the stock and sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat, cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes. Remove cooked mixture from the heat and press through a sieve to capture any overlooked celery strings. SLOWLY add half & half for a creamy consistency, ladle into bowls and top with fresh parsley and slivered almonds. This soup is sure to become a family favorite. Serves four to six.