Month: February 2014

Celery Root Puree

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Looks like mashed potatoes… but it’s not. Meet its seductive cousin, celery root puree.

This vegetable dish makes a great base layer for a one-dish main course, like short ribs or creamed chicken, or as a side passed around the table. How about a twist on the classic steakhouse dinner? Perfectly aged beef, celery root puree, and sauteed spinach (or steamed asparagus or broccoli, depending on season). Don’t mind me, I’m just drooling over here in the blogosphere.

Celery root offers a complex flavor – parts butter, sweet and green – and the creamy texture makes it a great foundation for a host of dishes.

Plus, when you buy it, you totally get to impress people at the grocery store. Unlike the hoity-toity shoppers filling their carts with kale, almond flour, and myriad products made from coconut at Whole Paycheck (let’s all roll our eyes in unison), you and your celery root will illicit genuine reactions of fascination and interest. What is that stuff? How do you use it? What does it taste like? Before you know it, you’re the go-to for obscure produce. And that’s pretty fun.

Celery Root Puree

From Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan
Serves 6

3 cups milk
3 cups water
1 TBS salt, plus more to taste
2 large celery roots (about 3 pounds total), peeled and cut into 2″ pieces
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 2″ pieces
1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
Pepper to taste

Optional toppings: snipped fresh chives, pistachio oil, or browned butter

In a large pot, combine milk, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, watching pot carefully. Add vegetables. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, discard the liquid, and shake the colander well to remove as much liquid as possible.

In a food processor, working in batches if necessary, puree the vegetables until perfectly smooth. Add the butter and whir until completely incorporated. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Transfer the puree to a warm serving bowl. Top with chives, oil or browned butter, if desired. Serve immediately.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 3 days or packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months. To reheat, warm in the top of a double boiler or in a microwave.

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Classic Apple Pie

My boss’ birthday was a couple weeks ago, and unlike most of my coworkers, he doesn’t really care for cake or cookies. (Say whaaaaat?) He does, however, like pie — in particular, fruit pie.

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Fruit pies are best when the fruit is in season… which is hard to do in the middle of winter. Fortunately, good apples are available year-round, and apple pie is pretty easy. I used pre-made pie crusts this time, but we’ll save a pie crust lesson for a future post.

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Classic Apple Pie

2 pie crusts
5 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (about 2 pounds)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
Cooking spray
1 TBS unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 TBS milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fit one crust into a standard 9″ pie crust coated with cooking spray.

Place apples in a large bowl. Combine sugar, flour and spices and sprinkle over apples, tossing to coat. Spoon over prepared pie plate. Dot with butter and drizzle with vanilla. Top with remaining pie crust. Press edges together, fold excess crust under, and flute the edges. Brush surface with milk. Cut three one-inch slits into the crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour until apples are tender.