Everything but Joy 1

cream and potato free fish chowder with celery root

I was home at the end of August and taking with my Dad. At the end of a hectic summer he told me that he had gotten through with a little too much drinking, eating and not enough activity.

He had a plan to change his diet and activity level, but was tired and not sure he would stick with it. After some thought I said, “Why don’t we do it together?”

As I decided how my diet would change I decided that I was willing to give up everything but joy. What did I end up changing? I wanted changes that would be simple and easy to remember with not thinking required. So I gave up alcohol and simple carbs: no wheat, potatoes, rice or sugar – with the exception of a pinch here and there in a recipe.

The one thing that was off the table was joy. I love food and firmly believe it gives each and everyone of us access to a live well lived on a daily basis. So with no alcohol or simple carbs I went right ahead with cooking, eating and posting drool-worthy, delicious meals to social media. Sure I miss pasta and tacos, but what I’m cooking brings me daily pleasure. That I will never give up.

Cream-and-potato-free fish chowder

Serves 6-8

Fish chowder always brings me warm comfort on a cold, wet winter day. This one keeps the flavor and calorie count lighter by omitting cream. For those seeking few carbs the celery root and turnip have the texture of potatoes with much more flavor.


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 leek, white and green parts, or 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium celery root, about the size of a baseball, cut in a ½” dice
  • 1 medium turnip, cut in 1” dice
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 lb whitefish filets cut in 1” pieces*
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Sherry or cider vinegar
  • Nutmeg

*I prefer meatier fish like Monk or Sablefish but Cod works well too and is always easy to find.


  • Warm oil in a 4 quart soup pot over medium heat. Add leek or onion and sauté for 5 minutes until tender. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute longer. Add celery root and turnip. Stir through and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add vegetable stock, celery, bay leaf and thyme and simmer, partially covered until turnips are tender, about 15 minutes. Add fish and poach until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Season chowder to taste with salt, pepper, parsley, a splash of vinegar for brightness, a pinch of nutmeg for warmth and an additional drizzle of olive oil for richness as needed.

Leave a Reply

One thought on “Everything but Joy