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Mashed Mania {CtBF} #MyParisKitchen

I’m always surprised that an ugly, gnarly vegetable as celery root can be transformed into a puree that’s an interesting side dish sort of like mashed potatoes, but not quite.  I still had a few bulbs of celery root from my fall CSA languishing in my fridge, so no sourcing challenges on this one.

This was easy enough to make, but I’m not completely sold on the idea of cooking the vegetables in milk.  I have an aversion to milk on many levels.  I’m the person who, when eating a bowl of cereal, will drain all the milk off the spoon before each bite.  When the milk disappears into the dish, like in a cake or even a soup, I can deal with it.  However, using milk as the liquid vehicle for cooking the celery root and potatoes, it got so curdy and rather repulsive to look at.  I won’t be doing that again.

I took the lazy path and mashed the cooked veggies with a potato masher.  If I had a do-over, I’d pull out the ricer for a smoother result.

I served the celery root puree alongside duck confit (made by Howard) and lentils.  It felt quite French and was delicious.

I like the flavor of celery root, but I would cook it in water, not milk. adding a little warm milk if needed.

The recipe is found on page 217 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris KitchenCook the Book Fridays made this recipe a couple weeks ago, but you can still see their reviews here.

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December: Rabbit, Rabbit {CtBF}

Wow!  It’s December already?  My mother always told us that the first words out of your mouth on the first of every month should be “Rabbit, rabbit” to bring you luck, so there it is.

This week’s choice for Cook the Book Fridays is Celeriac (aka Celery Root) again!  I enjoyed the Celery Root Soup we made in November, and this celery root gratin did not disappoint.  Fortunately, I still have a few bulbs left from last month’s supply, straight from the farm, so I was prepared for the task of making Celery Root Rémoulade.

The base is a tangy dressing made from mayonnaise, a combination of crème fraîche and sour cream, Dijon and whole-grain mustard and lemon juice.  Ooh-la-la!

The most challenging part is to peel and julienne the celery root.  Carefully peeling with a knife is not that hard.  Unfortunately, my celery roots had some woody parts inside, so the next step of slicing into tiny sticks was a bit tedious because I had to take time to cut out those woody sections.  I was in a bit of a hurry and just mixed all the celery root I’d cut into the full amount of dressing.  I used less celery root than called for which resulted in an overly creamy salad.  This could easily be remedied by adding more celery root or only mixing in the amount of dressing needed to coat.  I also forgot to add the parsley which would add an extra freshness and some color.

Despite my shortcomings in following the directions, the celery root rémoulade is a delicious salad, one that I would enjoy again and again.

It was the perfect foil to a grilled Cheddar, caramelized onion, and kale sandwich!  My new trick with grilled cheese is to lightly coat the OUTSIDE of the bread with mayonnaise instead of butter.  It’s much easier to spread and browns up beautifully.

Why was I in a hurry?  I was trying to mix up the salad before I headed out to meet Tricia (daughter of Chez Nana’s Ro) to attend a demo and tasting with David Tanis.  The event was part of the book tour for his newest cookbook David Tanis Market Cooking: Recipes and Revelations, Ingredient by Ingredient which was released in October.  The book is filled with straightforward recipes and ideas to prepare fresh seasonal produce from your local farmers’ market.  Most (maybe all) of the recipes are accompanied by photographs, so it is a beautiful book in addition to being inspiring.  For about two hours, he talked about cooking, his cooking life, as he demonstrated a selection of recipes from the book.

Students of Boston University’s culinary program had worked all day with Chef David to prepare the recipes, and as we watched and listened to the presentation, we were served tastings.  The menu included Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta, Onion and Bacon Tart, Cumin Lamb Pitas, and a Rustic French Apple Tart.  These recipes resonated with my own sensibilities about cooking, so I left inspired to try my hand at these and many other recipes in the book.  Check out this new book which has its own variation on celery root rémoulade!

If you want to try celery root salad yourself, the recipe is on page 105 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  My Cook the Book Fridays friends’ reviews of the same recipe can be found here.

Bon Appetit!