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Over at Bottle and Ball, Bottle as part of . As much as I try to love all the little flowers, I too hate celery -- the strings! the strings! just thinking about them makes me choke! -- and don't get me started on rhubarb, Swiss chard (one more reason to mistrust Switzerland), and other stalk-y horrors. But what to do if, like Bottle and me, you like the taste of celery even though you cannot abide those throat-constricting strings? The solution lies no further than your garden gate (or, in my case, no further than that little bit of chicken wire that doesn't keep the chickens out anyway). So, let me introduce you to two problem-solving plants: cutting celery and celeriac. Cutting celery (AKA soup celery, wild celery, or mountain celery) is like those little light green leaves on your celery (I do like those), only darker and much more intensely flavored. The seeds are slow to germinate but, once it gets going, this little biennial herb of the parsley family delivers pop to your taste buds all season long and through the next year. You can toss it into salads, slap it into sandwiches, nibble it in the garden, use it as a culinary herb, or (as we shall see) build a soup around it. Celeriac is a knobby root crop that, if you harvest it before it gets woody, has maxalt 5mg pills $117.00 a crisp texture similar to that of a turnip. You can grate it into salads or slice and use as you would radishes. Used sparingly, it adds zing to mixtures of roasted root vegetables. Similarly, you can add a few chunks of celeraic in with your potatoes when making mashed potatoes or potato-leek soup. You can also make celeriac soup. I've never done that but I imagine that boiling and mashing it into a puree (no fancy food processors for me!) along with some olive oil and maybe a little cooking wine would do the trick. Did I mention that they both taste like celery? Okay maxalt 5mg pills $117.00, now here's a recipe. But be forewarned: I'm a good but improvisational soup maker. I use what comes to hand and never ever heed the directive to "write this down so we can have it again sometime. " Sometimes (as is the case with the soup below) I'll consult a cookbook to see how other people make some established kind of soup but most often I just make it up as I go along, often forgetting what I did by the time we sit down to eat it. That said, here's how I think I make the Geek soup called fassolatha, which must have been created to make use of wild mountain celery in the spring. Please note that this is a stalk-free recipe. Fassolatha 1 1/2 cups cannellini (or great northern) beans 2 small or 1 large carrot, in chunks 2 small or 1 large white potato, in chunks 1 medium yellow onion, chopped leaves from 12 stems of cutting celery, very finely chopped 6 cloves garlic, whole 2/3 cup olive oil (extra virgin, of course) 2 bay leaves juice of 1 lemon leaves from 4 stems italian (flat-leaved) parsley, torn salt & pepper to taste Pre-prep Soak the beans overnight. Or, if you must, use the quick-boil and soak method. Don't even think about using canned beans. Prep 1. put the beans, garlic, and bay leaves in a soup pot with 2 quarts of water and a generous dollop of the olive oil 2. Maxalt 5mg pills $117.00 bring to a boil then reduce heat cover and simmer for 1/2 hour 3. take out the bay leaves 4. add the cutting celery, carrots, onion, potato, olive oil, and s&p 5. simmer for another 1/2 hour (or until the beans are all-the-way cooked but not falling apart), adding (boiling) water sparingly as needed 6. remove from heat 7. stir in the lemon juice when it stops simmering 8. serve in wide flat bowls with parsley and still more olive oil drizzled on top But, really, if you want to make it the way I make soup, you have to add a step: 5. 5 Taste it. Let your mind wander. Stare at the spice cabinet. Open and close the refrigerator door a few times. Stare at the cabinet of oils, vinegars, [maxalt 5mg pills $117.00] and wines. Add whatever comes to mind as the thing that would make it taste right. Walk away muttering "who knows how this is going to turn out?" Which, come to think of it, is my motto. Okay, I wrote about food in November. I don't need to be included in Vegan MoFo but can I please, please be a vegan mofo?