HARVEST GUIDE - WEEK 18 - SEPTEMBER 26, 2013
As you’ve already seen, this week’s harvest consists of tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, peppers, celeriac, and leeks. Celeriac is a new one for most people, so make sure to keep reading to learn more!
Celeriac, also known as celery root, is a root vegetable with a celery-like taste and a potato-like texture. I’ll admit, it’s not the prettiest of vegetables. NPR even called it “the unsung frog prince of winter vegetables.” But don’t be discouraged; all you have to do is peel back the exterior and you’ll be rewarded with the creamy, earthy, white center. While a basic vegetable peeler will work (eventually), it may be easier to peel the celeriac with a paring knife. Once peeled, celeriac is a very versatile vegetable. Unlike potatoes, it can be eaten raw, and doing so will highlight its sweet, nutty flavor. It can also be braised, boiled, steamed, or roasted. Celeriac is very high in vitamin C and vitamin B6, the latter of which contributes to nervous system health and proper metabolism. Check out the following recipes for ideas:
APPLE CELERY ROOT GRATIN
8 slices bacon
1 small onion (or 2 shallots) chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs
3 celery roots
3 Honey Crisp apples
1 2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
8 oz. Gouda cheese, shredded
1 Tb. butter for dish
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, cook 8 strips of bacon until crisp. Remove from skillet and drain on a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the grease. Once cooled, crumble.
Place the chopped onion in the hot bacon grease. Sauté for 3-5 minutes until softened and slightly browned. Remove the onions from the skillet. Turn the heat off and add the breadcrumbs to the bacon grease and toss. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9X13 baking dish (or LARGE quiche dish) and set aside.
Peel the apples and celery root. Using the KitchenAid Slicer/Shredder Attachment, slice the apples and celery root paper-thin. (You could use a veggie peeler to do this.) Place the apples and celery root in a large bowl. Add the onions, cream, salt, pepper, pumpkin pie spice, and shredded Gouda to the bowl. Stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and press to level. Mix the breadcrumbs and crumbled bacon and sprinkle over the top.
Bake for 45-55 minutes—until the top is golden and the edges are bubbling. If the top starts getting too dark, loosely cover with foil. Allow the gratin to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
CELERY ROOT AND PARSNIP PUREE
1 pound celery root
1/4 pound parsnip
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Remove root end of celery root, then peel remaining and cut into 1-inch pieces. Peel and core parsnip, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Place celery root and parsnip in a steamer basket set over a pot of boiling water and cover pot. Steam vegetables until they are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a food processor with cream, butter, salt and pepper and pulse until very smooth, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
OPEN-FACED GRILLED EGGPLANT, RED ONION, AND HEIRLOOM TOMATO SANDWICHES WITH CREAMY CELERIAC SAUCE
1/2 pound silken tofu
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
A few pinches of cayenne
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup minced green onions (green and white parts)
1/2 cup loosely packed peeled and coarsely grated celery root (celeriac)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium-size eggplant (about 1 pound), sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds
2 medium-size red onions, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds
4 heirloom tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
1 loaf of rustic bread cut diagonally into eight 1/2-inch slices
Freshly ground white pepper
For the sauce: In an upright blender, combine the tofu, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, garlic, agave nectar, mustard, olive oil, paprika, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and blend until smooth. If necessary, season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, stir in the green onions and celery root, and garnish with the remaining parsley.
For the sandwiches: Preheat a grill or broiler. Soak eight 12-inch wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. In a mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, cayenne, and black pepper and mix well with a fork. Add the vegetables to the bowl and toss to coat. If grilling, thread the onion slices onto two skewers each. Transfer the onions and the eggplant rounds to the grill and cook, turning once with tongs, until browned and slightly crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. After turning the vegetables, add the bread to the grill. Cook, turning once, until crisp and golden on the surface but still soft inside, about 4 minutes. Assemble the sandwich by layering a slice of eggplant, a slice of tomato, and several slices of onion. Slather on some celeriac sauce, then sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.
As an Allium, leeks are related to onions and garlic. Although the leaves are an attractive green, the edible part of the plant is the white to light green part of the shaft. You can save the dark green part to use for stock if you wish. Wash the leeks well to get rid of dirt that gets easily trapped between the leaves. You can eat leeks raw, thinly sliced into a salad, or they make a good addition to soups and quiches. Leeks are a great food for cardiovascular health, mostly due to their high folate content. The following soup recipe not only uses leeks, but also makes use of butternut squash and celeriac. It’s a good way to highlight all of your CSA vegetables at the same time. It will make 4-6 servings, depending on your appetite. Enjoy!
BUTTERNUT SQUASH, CELERIAC, PARSNIP, AND APPLE SOUP
1 ½ cups leeks, halved & thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ½ cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped
1 cup celeriac, peeled & chopped
½-1 cup parsnips, peeled & chopped
4 cups homemade chicken stock
2 sprigs thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 medium apples, peeled, seeded & chopped
Sauté leeks in butter on medium-low heat until tender and translucent. Add squash, celeriac, parsnip, stock, thyme and salt. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until nearly tender. Add apple and continue to cook until everything is tender enough to puree. Puree soup in a blender and season with additional salt to taste.