Valley Bounty: Celery
Celery is good raw, stuffed, or added to hearty soups, stews and stuffings. It can be hard to grow in the Northeast due to its long growing season and desire for relatively consistent cooler temperatures, but some local farmers have it available now. Local plants are often smaller than their California cousins, but they make up in freshness what they lack in size. In addition, local celery is more likely to come from small, diverse vegetable farms. Find recipes for braised celery, sautéed celery with cumin, and more on the Valley Bounty page at www.buylocalfood.org.
By Abby Getman of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture
Find out which Valley farmers sell celery here.
To be honest, I started out with a few hazy memories and ideas for recipes floating in my head when I shot off this week’s Valley Bounty piece on celery. When searching for braised celery recipes and trying to recall my own instructions for sautéed celery with cumin, I fell into a lovely recipe search that resulted in the following trail of culinary delight. Check them out! And get lost in your own recipe search sometime.
I generally respect and trust Food52’s directions, (they have seldom led me astray!), so try this braised celery recipe they have while local tomatoes are still in season!
Liver with Sauteed Celery with Carrots, Onions and Cumin
This is a recipe I created out of desperation. I was looking for more ways to get natural iron into my diet and had a package of beef liver in the freezer as one of the last remaining parts of a beef share. You can certainly cook it with or without the liver for a tasty side, but for those of you who do eat liver, cooking organ meat with ample celery, carrots & onions was a breakthrough for me! I’d had a hard time eating liver before discovering this combination, but now look forward to the dish, and ration my liver accordingly. Because I get a beef share, I portion the liver pieces when it is fresh from the slaughterhouse before freezing.
¼- ½ of a beef liver, sliced into long square strips around ¾ in wide (they shrink down)
1 celery plant, cut in ½ inch chunks
1 large onion, diced
¾ lb carrots, cut on the round for ¼ in slices (I like to slice diagonally for style)
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
A dash of sage
¼ tsp salt
4-6 tbsp butter
Once you have everything chopped, melt the butter on medium heat and toss in the onions. After they start sweating, you can add the celery, carrots and liver, tossing the spices on top. Sautee like a stir fry, adding more butter if desired (and if the liver looks like it is drying out). You want the vegetables to be tender but not mushy, and the liver cooks fairly quickly. This doesn’t mask the liver taste, but it does meld in a way that is savory, nourishing, and ultimately leaves me feeling well fed. The celery, carrots and onions may also be made as a side for lamb shanks. I hope you enjoy!
Thai Celery Salad with Peanuts
Inspired by this Bon Appetit article, I’ve made the following basic recipe which is salty, sweet and spicy. Great for a small salad with a warming curry on these cool autumnal evenings!
1 celery plant, sliced in fat chunks
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
½ of one jalapeno (if desired, substitute a milder or hotter pepper depending on your heat preference), sliced thinly
¼ – ½ cup dried & shelled peanuts, whole or chopped
1 tsp lime juice
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Salt to taste
Chop ingredients and toss accordingly!
Slow Cooked Chicken Stew
Looking for a meal you can make ahead of time? Try the Happy Valley Locavore’s chicken stew recipe designed for the slow cooker!
Bacon, Apple, Sage & Caramelized Onion Stuffing
Last Thanksgiving, I made a variation of this stuffing recipe but am planning on using it again for a stuffed pork loin. My edits to their ingredients are below:
1 pound bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1 large onion
1 teaspoon salt
2 Cortland apples (find your nearest orchard or apple stand here) peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 or more cups)
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves (dried sage can be used, but you’ll need 1/3 less)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 cups sourdough bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (ask your local baker for day old and slice it & bake on low)
1 to 1 3/4 cups turkey or homemade chicken stock, or low-sodium canned chicken broth
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Don’t want to cook your celery, you just want to snack on it? Try this preserved lemon hummus recipe from Eating From The Ground Up. There are a few steps involved (like preserving lemons!) but it is an inspiring recipe I can’t wait to try.