|Fresh celery leaves.|
Today we're making a pot of vegetable soup. Mom is cleaning fresh celery stalks before mincing them to add to the soup. I see that she's prepared the large, outer stalks of the bunch and is now eyeing the more tender, smaller interior stalks that are topped with a dense cluster of beautiful, pale green leaves. I see her mental wheels turning. She's thinking, "I'll chop the leaves and put them in the soup."
That's certainly one good use for the leaves, but I have a couple of other ideas. I manage to snatch the leaves from under her knife just in time. She gives me a puzzled look. But I think she'll be happy with one of the alternatives I have in mind.
I'll Make a Fat-free Vegetable StockThis is my first alternative idea. Celery leaves seem to be more intensely flavored than the stalks, and I like to use them to make a clear vegetable stock that has a strong celery overtone. Put these ingredients in a heavy-bottomed soup pot, cover them with water, and simmer for a couple of hours:
- Inner stalks and all the leaves from a bunch of fresh celery
- 1 Potato, washed, skin on, quartered
- A couple of carrots, washed and cut into large chunks
- 1 Onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 Green bell pepper, seeded and quartered
- A bunch of fresh parsley, washed, stems and all
- Salt and pepper to taste
When done, strain out the vegetable material (you may want to eat the veggies on the spot, especially the carrot and potato pieces!) and you are left with a beautiful, fat-free vegetable stock.
We'll Celebrate with a Couple of Bloody Marys
|Let's have a Bloody Mary.|
We have so many tender leafy stalks on that celery bunch that there are a few left over for enjoying a couple of Bloody Marys. For each Bloody Mary:
- 1 Ounce vodka
- 4 Ounces V-8 vegetable juice
- Black peppercorns, freshly ground
- Prepared horseradish
- A Lemon wedge
- Tender celery stalks with leaves
- Stuffed olives on picks
Stir the vodka and V-8 together in a glass, fill with ice cubes, add the pepper and horseradish to the surface of the drink, and plunk in a tender, leafy celery stalk. Garnish with a lemon wedge hung on the glass's rim. Stir and enjoy.
Mom wasn't too pleased with my interfering with her knife--until I made the Bloody Marys.
When I was younger and didn't know better, I used to throw the celery leaves away.
Photo sources: Sally's Trove