The Chatfield CSA at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
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cream of celery

Posted 9/10/2012 4:33pm by Josie Hart Genter.

Hello Cooking Genie
My kitchen didn’t know what hit it this weekend when the cooking genie paid me a visit, leading to a whirlwind spree of cookery fun with our CSA veggies and herbs. First up was pico de gallo with homemade tortilla chips, always an addictive treat but not at all unhealthy. The Chatfield tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro and onion were paired with lime, avocado and teriyaki sauce. This dish kept Ray and me in snacking heaven on a weekend day, when we don’t typically have a proper lunch.
On Saturday night I roasted eggplant and squash seasoned with thyme and olive oil, while Ray grilled some chicken legs and thighs generously sprinkled with kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful a simple, humble meal can be with the use of fresh herbs, quality ingredients and high-flavor cooking techniques like roasting and grilling.

Mess Hall
On Sunday I made cream of celery soup, which makes almost a bigger mess than baking a cake. Soup drips when transferred in batches from pot to food processor. Then the soupy goo spits while pureeing. And then comes more spillage when removing the blade to transfer the soup to another pot.
Still, I persevered. I’d made this soup previously, but with difficulty. Unable to achieve a pronounced celery taste, I kept adding celery salt. Our CSA celery, on the other hand, I found too strong to eat plain and raw, so I figured it would make a great celery soup. I was right. No celery salt needed, as the celery essence prevailed, even with the addition of a potato (for thickening) and cream (for yumminess).
In the end the mess was worth it. Nothing like homemade soup to feed the soul. I froze 8 cups of this heartwarming soup – easy-peasy for week-night suppers later this fall.

Mediterranean Dinner
Sunday dinner was herb-encrusted lamb chops with salad. I love to eat this way – just two dishes, a meat and salad. Again, when highly seasoned and packing a whopping flavor punch, that’s all you need.
In this case, I chopped up our basil, parsley and garlic, added a little olive oil to make a paste, and then applied liberally to the lamb chops. I covered the chops in plastic, refrigerated for an hour to set, then removed from the fridge for another hour to bring to room temperature. Normally Ray would’ve grilled these little guys, but on this night I pan-fried them because of the thick herb paste coating them. All that goodness would’ve just fallen off into the grill.
The romaine salad featured our CSA carrots, radish and cute little potatoes – the latter boiled in mint and then chilled. The dressing was olive oil and lemon, a perfect accompaniment for the lamb chops.
It was nice to have the cooking genie visit. Now, where’s the cleaning genie when you need her?