A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Food Experimentation Abounds

Table of Contents
1. Tonight's Dinner
2. This weekend's meals?
3. Tomorrow's surprises


1

So this weekend at the market I came across a beautiful looking celery root. I've used the ingredient before, as a replacement for potatoes in a stew, but never in any other way. I bought the knotty looking thing thinking "what the hell, I'll find use for it." And find use for it I did.

Celery root is an extremely tough little tuber. After cutting off the hard and knotty brown rind, I chopped the root in half and julienned one portion, reserving half for another time. Halving the root took some strength, especially with my injured left thumb, but I got it done. Julienning was another challenge--I had to use my sharpest knife. I kind of wish I'd parboiled the piece first, but no matter.

After julienning the root, I boiled it lightly for about five minutes, just to soften it up a bit. This filled the kitchen with a sweetish, meaty odor vaguely reminiscent of celery, but not exactly the same. It was great cooking perfume. In the meantime, I heated some of the old EVOO and sauteed three stalks of broadly chopped celery (can you tell I love this stuff?), one chopped shallot, one chopped medium onion, and five cloves of garlic. I added in a healthy bit of oyster sauce, teriyaki sauce, and a touch of beef broth, and later the celery root. After the mix reduced, I added three broadly sliced portobello mushrooms and some chili powder to (ahem) kick it up a notch.

After five or so minutes, the kitchen was redolent with the odors of pseudo-asian cooking. Dinner done! Chose to eat without rice, because the celery root provided enough of a starch source.

Were I to repeat this "what do I have to use?" recipe, I would probably reduce the amount of celery and add some diced asparagus, and not bother parboiling the julienned root beforehand. Still, the dish came out fantastic. I'll have the leftovers over rice, maybe.

2

I have ground buffalo and ground free range pork ready to cook on Thursday. I'll be mixing and spicing the two together to make some crazy fancy burgers. They will be served with this with the ridiculous nine dollar block of amazingly sharp cheddar cheese I bought from the cheese guy this weekend, my favorite type of whole grain mustard, and maybe some ketchup if I feel like committing sacrilege. Nice.

Of course, the quandary is that I have a ridiculous amount of saved food. I got a good bit of chicken (most likely dinner tomorrow), the mushroom dish (dinner friday?) and two pounds of ground meat. So from the previous status of empty, my larder doth overflow. I should share the wealth. Maybe I will... or at least start planning to do so more often. My thoughts stray to bringing the burgers to Sheila's Saturday, but she doesn't like red meat and, frankly, that stuff is expensive to share with some people I don't know. Damn skippy y'all.

3

Tomorrow will be a darn good day for food coverage on DCist. I've been slacking a bit, covering (as Mssr Goodspeed puts it) "hot media on media action" and some local politics. But tomorrow has some good offerings. First, there will be a longer and more thought out review of The Islander. The goal is to do this kind of thing once or twice a month. That means more eating out, but I think I can swing that.

Better than the Islander review will be something I'll be putting up tomorrow afternoon that isn't really my deal. I'm only editing it, but trust me it is pretty fab. (Did I just say fab?) In any case, I think its something to look out for. At the very least, I know a few people will enjoy it... but I hope that it'll be a real hit.

FIN