Spring Celery Soup

Cream of Celery SoupThis soup is everything that makes me think of spring. It’s light and delicate, just like the first flowers peeking out. It’s simple, with very few ingredients to distract from its beauty. And it’s easy – but maybe that’s just my requirement for spring! This is sort of like a cream of celery, only it’s so much lighter. It’s a starter, not a main course, but I found myself wanting to drink it like tea while I went about my day with the birds chirping in the background. I think it would also be delicious next to a few fried eggs in the morning except that I’ll have to make another batch to try that because this one is all gone!

Spring Celery Soup

2 tsp. ghee

1 lg. leek

1/2 lb. of celery

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. dried chives

1 Tbsp. dried tarragon

1 c. coconut milk

2 c. chicken or veggie broth

Directions

1) Cut off the root end of the leek, slice lengthwise down the middle, and then cut the white and tender green parts into 1/4 in. thick half-moons. Place these in a bowl of water and swish around until all the dirt is gone. Strain. Slice the celery into 1/4 in. pieces.

2) Heat ghee over medium heat in a medium pot. Sauté the celery and leek with the salt for 5 minutes. Add the chives, tarragon, coconut milk, and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.

3) With an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. A Vitamix or high-speed blender would work well here too.

4) Taste to adjust seasoning and then sip with pleasure.

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Tuna-Apple Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing

Tuna Salad with Tarragon DressingMy husband always gives me a hard time when I make anything with tarragon. You see, back in 2004, we celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary with a bunch of friends in a gorgeous villa in Tuscany. At the time, I loved tarragon and when I came across a tarragon pasta dish in this teeny-tiny, beautiful little restaurant, I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, what was served was completely inedible. There was so much tarragon, and I think it had been allowed to grow past the slender leaves into something more bitter, that the whole thing was totally overwhelming. Reluctant to send it back, my husband came to the rescue and gave me his lunch, while he battled his way through mine. True love! Now that a decade has passed, I think I’m ready to start loving tarragon again. This salad is a tribute to that lovely, herb with a hint of licorice.

After a good workout in particular, one of my favorite things for lunch is tuna salad. I love getting some solid protein with a dose of Omega-3s for their health benefits, and tuna salad comes together fast. This salad felt particularly special because I wanted to add a little crunch and decided to caramelize some walnuts in honey for a little something extra. I try not to use sweeteners very often, and this salad was already getting some sweet with the apple, but every once in a while, you just have to go for it. The walnuts were screaming honey and the salad satisfied me all day long. Can’t beat that!

Tuna-Apple Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing

Salad

2 small cans of tuna (I used albacore)

1 apple, cored and chopped

1/2 an English cucumber, finely chopped

2 scallions, minced

Honeyed Walnuts (optional)

Dressing

1/4 c. Paleo mayo

1 small garlic clove

1 Tbsp. Lemon juice

2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1) Put the drained tuna in a large bowl with the chopped apple, cucumber, and scallions.

2) In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, minced tarragon, minced garlic clove, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3) Pour the dressing over the salad and mix gently. Taste to adjust the seasonings, plate, and top with a few honeyed walnuts.

Serves 2

Pot Roast

Beef Pot Roast 2014My son loves pot roast, brisket, and basically, all slow cooked beef. I love things that can be put in the oven and left for a while so that I can get other stuff done, including hang out with him. You know what else I like? Affordable cuts of meat. This is one of those basics that is great to have in your cooking repertoire because it’s super simple and is mostly hands-off. Depending on how many you’re feeding, you also generally end up with some leftovers. That’s a big deal in my house because I love having cooked protein around to make lunches a snap.

A couple of things about pot roast. There are different cuts of meat with different names that you can use to make a pot roast; I used boneless chuck pot roast here but I use the same cooking method with beef brisket. The important thing to remember is that you need a tough cut of meat so that the long cooking time turns it into something tender and delicious. Here’s the other thing – A lot of pot roast recipes out there call for carrots and onions, wine or broth, maybe potatoes, etc. Sometimes I make mine like that too, but what I’ve found over time (and by dividing the meat and doing both ways to have a side-by-side comparison) is that my family prefers the meat separate and the veggies separate. That way they all have a chance to get this amazing caramelization and keep their individual flavors rather than stew together and get soft like beef stew veggies. The little bit of water I use is just to provide a cushion so that the juices can start accumulating into a flavorful broth without burning first. And one more thing…Do you see that black, lidded pot in the back of the photo? It’s not an expensive pot and I’m pretty sure you can find it at any supermarket, and it’s perfect for this. The lid fits tightly, things cook beautifully, and clean-up is a breeze.

There are only a few more weeks until the weather gets warm so hurry and make this simple pot roast. You won’t regret it!

Pot Roast

1 large boneless chuck pot roast, about 3 1/4 lbs.

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

3/4 c. water

Directions

1) Set oven to 275 degrees. Combine all the spices together in a small bowl.

2) Pour water into the bottom of a roasting pan with a tight fitting lid.

3) Sprinkle half of the spice mixture on one side of the meat and then pat and rub it in well. Place the meat spice-side down into the pot and cover the other side with the remainder of the spice mixture, patting and rubbing again. Make sure your meat is well coated.

4) Cover with the lid and place the meat into the oven. Let cook undisturbed for about 3 hours and then check to see if the desired tenderness has been reached. If not, replace the lid and allow to cook another 30 – 60 minutes. The roast in the photo cooked for 4 hours.

5) Remove the roast from the oven and allow to rest on a cutting board, lightly covered with foil, for 10 minutes. While the meat is resting, remove as much of the fat from the juices as possible using a fat separator or placing the juices in the fridge and allowing the fat to solidify slightly. Slice meat against the grain and serve with the meat juices and a bunch of roasted veggies.