Celery Root-Apple Wild Rice Chowder


Celery Root Apple Wild Rice Soup

Last week was cold. It had us running around all crazy looking for warm clothes: socks, hats and gloves (which always seem to find a home away from each other). It also made me think about how we change our shopping and eating habits with the seasons too. My last garden tomatoes are on the counter, coaxing the sun to make them ripe, while I’ll pine for sweet corn until summer brings those snappy yellow kernels again.

Now it is the time for squash, onions, garlic, potatoes…and celery root. That crazy looking knobby thing. A bit of a beast to work with, but well worth it. This recipe is great because it is delicious and it utilizes other items in my fall pantry. I have apples, check! Wild Rice, check! Cream or milk…um, need to go to the store, but we are more than halfway there! Try this one out for the holidays, and proclaim that you knew celery root was awesome under the knobs all along!

Celery Root-Apple Wild Rice Chowder

Ingredients: Serves 4

1⁄2 cup local hand harvested wild rice, uncooked
1 celery root, peeled and small diced (about 1 lb.)
1 leek, washed and diced
1⁄2 yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced (use 2 apples if they are small)
1 cup potato, washed and diced, with skin (I like to use white sweet potato, but Yukon gold works well too)
Few parsley sprigs, thyme. Or whatever large herb bits you have around to add to the mix
3 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock, or use the wild rice water)
1 cups half and half or milk (if keeping vegan, use almond milk)


Rinse the wild rice in a fine meshed colander, and place in a sauce pan. Cover with 3 cups water, bring to a boil and lower the heat. Cook 15 minutes, or until tender. Save the water! Set cooked rice aside. This can be done 2 days ahead.

Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add the leeks, onions, and celery root. Add 1 teaspoon salt, and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the apple, potato, herbs, and stock. Bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until veggies are soft.

Add the half and half and puree half the soup, or all of it for a creamier consistency. If you have an immersion blender, this is where you can use it!

If soup is too thick, add the wild rice water to thin it. Check for salt, add fresh cracked black pepper.

When serving, add the wild rice to the bowls, and top with the hot soup. Garnish with fresh chopped herbs, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toasted sunflower seeds are great as well!

Will last 4 days in the refrigerator, freezes well.

Chef Junji Umezu Joins Farm to Fork!

Farm to Fork

I’m happy to announce that Chef Junji Umezu has joined Farm to Fork!

Every Farm to Fork chef is highly-skilled, personable, and unique. For Junji, good cooking starts with good ingredients.  He believes that by using food grown by a local grower,  you not only help your community but you get a peace of mind knowing that you are eating nourishing and quality food.

Having been born in Tokyo, trained in New York, and made a home in Minnesota for the last 12 years, Junji draws from a rich background when he cooks. Before he joined Farm to Fork, Junji was the chef of Origami, Zen Box Izakaya, and Lake and Irving restaurants.


Many More Years of Good Eating

Farm to Fork

I’m delighted to post my first blog as Farm to Fork’s new owner. Kristin started the business with a simple philosophy—to connect families and individuals to real food through very personal in-home cooking services and instructions. From growing up in southwest Minnesota with my hands in the soil to spending years under Brenda Langton, of Café Brenda and Spoonriver fame, as head chef and instructor at the Mill City Farmers Market in Minneapolis, and as a chef with Farm to Fork for the past 2 + years, I have always shared that vision. It’s why I jumped at the chance to own Farm to Fork when Kristin approached me about it. Read more me and Farm to Fork in the Pioneer Press!

As I step into this role, I want to take a moment to say thank you. Here’s to you – our past, present and future eaters. Here’s to delicious and sustainable food and the local farmers and vendors that supply it to us. And, here’s to many more years of good eating!

The blog will be a venue where I can alert you to local CSA farms, share recipes, and write and reflect. I hope you will also follow Farm to Fork on Facebook – you’ll find weekly updates and special promotions and discounts! Importantly, I hope that you’ll have a chance to participate and post comments. We love to hear from you!

Chef Heather Hartman
Owner, Farm to Fork

Lost and Found



Spring cleaning is more than rummaging through closets and raking last year’s layer from the yard.  Apply this notion to the mind, to the body. Without realization, in our kitchen, we reach into the cupboard and find a can of beans, a near-empty bag of barley, some rice and discover that this little hodgepodge of bits is exactly what we want to eat.  Add broth, some carrot and miscellaneous vegetables from the fridge.  Suddenly soup.  And a clean and nourishing one at that.  Today, we have a lonely can of chickpeas in the rear of the cabinet.  I know I have an onion somewhere, and carrots toward the end of their joy to use up, and well, I did buy a perfect fist-sized fennel bulb.  This is all so completely springtime.  What’s lost is found, and with its discovery, we find it is just what we need.



Serves 6-8

1 pound dried chickpeas (soaked overnight and rinsed); Pinch of dried chili; Extra-virgin olive oil; 2 shallots, minced; 2 leeks, finely chopped and rinsed well in a colander; 2 small fennel bulbs, finely chopped; Salt and pepper; Cream, optional; Dijon or red wine vinegar, optional

Cover the chickpeas well with cold water in a tall saucepan and bring them to a boil.  Simmer the chickpeas until they are cooked, 20-30 minutes.  Set them aside in their broth.

In the meantime, in a heavy-based pan or pot heat a little olive oil and sweat the shallot, leek and fennel until soft.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the chickpeas and add enough chickpea stock to cover them and the vegetables and simmer for a few minutes.

Remove 1 cup of the soup and blend either in a blender or food processor and add it back into the soup.  If you like you can add a bit of cream, or a bit more stock if you like it thin, to give the soup a new twist or leave as is.  As well, add a touch of dijon mustard or a splash of red wine vinegar to punctuate flavor if you like. Taste for salt and pepper and drizzle a bit of olive oil on the top.






I’m not really a blogger or overt food-chaser, but simply a writer and eater, but if I was the former then I would feel like I struck gold with The Barbary Fig’s bastilla.   The bastilla, or b’stilla or pastila or bisteeya,  however you wish to spell it, is a traditional North African dish complicated by a lot of regional influence.  I remember making it in a hurry in culinary school, swearing all the while at its foreign and elaborate preparation, I didn’t finish it in time.  However, it’s one of those dishes I remember for its unusual flavors, sweet and savory, and absolute deliciousness.  Curse those laborious dishes that do, in the end, deserve patience and devotion.

I forget about this dish, it is only up the hill and to the right from where we live in St Paul, a simple walk for Nate and me on a chilly day.  When you get nearer to The Barbary Fig you are flushed with guilt since you know it’s been too long since you’ve tucked in there.  But you can remember how good the food is, it’s just one of those quiet places you forget and then remember again.  Look at the menu and notice the basitilla isn’t there.  You have to remember its name and order it from the cheerful server who corrects your pronunciation.

Soon, after a perfect bowl of bulgur and chickpea soup in broth, the bastilla arrives.  Wrapped loosely in a thin and crispy phyllo-type pastry is shredded chicken in the traditional custard with gentle spices like cinnamon.  The best bit however is the play between the delicate flavors of the pie and its spooned-over sautéed vegetables and homemade chutney.  It’s a complex and dynamic dish, filling and warming, a perfect dish after an autumn walk.  Eat slowly since the atmosphere demands it and finish with a cup of sweet red tea with mint.

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