a very San Francisco summer dinner


Hot, nourishing celery soup to ward off the chilly blue fog, next to a BLT with amazingly sweet-tart, in-season tomato (not to mention free range bacon).

The celery soup recipe comes from PJ, who requested my calabacitas* recipe. For a celery soup that “tastes small and beautiful,” you will need:

  • cooking fat
  • a head of celery
  • a large yellow onion
  • salt
  • herbs that you enjoy (to borrow Gwen’s phrase; tonight they were thyme and garlic chives)
  • two medium starchy potatoes
  • pepper
  • zest of 1-2 lemons
  • six cups water

Heat the fat and get the onion and celery softening in it with some salt. Let that cook, stirring occasionally, while you prep the other ingredients. Add the potatoes, herbs, pepper, lemon zest, and water, along with some more salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and keep it there, covered, until the potatoes are done (another 20 minutes or so). Puree, adjust salt and pepper, and serve.

To puree, we use the immersion blender that Kelli, whom we will love forever, gave us. It replaced our 2-cup food processor for the purpose, and even a couple of years on, it still surprises us how easy the immersion blender is.

* PJ reports that her father’s family, who called summer squash cymlings, made something similar to calabacitas. The American Heritage Dictionary says that cymling is an alteration of simnel, which is a type of marzipan-covered cake served in Britain at Easter. I assume the association is through the shape of the patty pan squash, which kind of looks like a little cake.

simnel cake


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