Newsletters: 14 July, 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 14 July, 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
After all that heat last week I started looking for some recipes that didn’t require any cooking (there’s only so much you can do with pre-cooked, frozen hamburger patties and a microwave, and it gets monotonous). Here’s a couple of no-heat salads from a pretty little book the Market Manager lent me. We’ll probably be seeing more from this book as the season progresses.

Traditional Greek salad
salad:
7 oz Greek feta cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lettuce such as romaine or escarole, shredded or sliced
4 tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cucumber, sliced
12 black Greek olives, pitted
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs such as oregano, parsley, mint, or basil
dressing:
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside. Put lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber into a large salad bowl; add the cheese cubes and toss together. Whisk the dressing again, pour it over the salad and toss. Serve garnished with the olives and chopped herbs.

Spring clean salad
2 dessert apples, cored and diced
juice of 1 lemon
large chunk of watermelon, seeded and cubed
1 head Belgian endive, sliced into rounds
4 ribs celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. walnut oil
Mix apple cubes and lemon juice so apples will not go brown. Add remaining ingredients except oil and mix gently. Stir in the walnut oil.

Both of these recipes are from…

Book!
Salads : creative salads to delight and inspire. Love Food, 2009. — Recommended by your Market Manager, Connie.

Index to all blog posts.

Celery

native to: the most common variety comes from Europe and the Mediterranean, but there is no clear single source of all celeries
in season here: August (ish)
DSCF1971_700
Celery is another member of the Umbelliferae family, related to carrots, fennel, and parsley. It’s been around for ages; the pharaoh Tutankhamun was buried with some, and it’s mentioned in the Iliad. Celery is a long-season crop, needing cool weather and lots of water, and is often a winter or early spring crop, although around here it mostly appears in farmers’ markets in late summer or early fall. In the U.S., we mostly get the Pascal variety of celery, which is light green, but there are white, gold, and red varieties as well. Other varieties are grown for their roots (celeriac) or leaves.

Celery is one of the “Dirty Dozen”; they get a lot of chemicals dumped on them when grown conventionally and contain a lot of pesticide residues. This is a good time to seek out organic options. Wash celery as you use it to keep it fresher. Freezing celery will make it mushy, but if you keep a bag of vegetable trimmings in the freezer for making broth, the leaves and tiny core stalks are a great addition to it.

Celery is another of those low-calorie, high-fiber foods, useful to dieters and helpful in detox and purification regimens. It’s a great hydrator, with a lot of water and electrolytes, and is gaining popularity as an alkalizing food.

Celery is a traditional remedy for high blood pressure, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that improve both blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Its flavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants fight age-related health issues and its dozen-plus varieties of antioxidant help mitigate inflammation, making it useful against things like arthritis, IBS, skin problems, and urinary tract infections. Celery can even help treat ulcers. It’s a good source of vitamins B6, C, and K, potassium, folate, beta-carotene, molybdenum, and manganese, but its greatest value is as a source of antioxidant phytonutrients. The seeds are also edible, with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Celery has a fair amount of sodium, about 35 mg. per stalk; if you’re watching your salt intake you don’t have to avoid celery but should be aware of how much you’re eating. Allergies to celery are rare, but can be especially severe.

Read more:
label-style nutrition information for raw celery
label-style nutrition information for cooked celery
Dr. Axe
World’s Healthiest Foods/a>

Index to all blog posts.

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Celery & plum sauce

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 stalk celery, finely sliced
3 Tbsp. butter
3 cups fresh plums, pitted and quartered (or apricots or gooseberries)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. fresh parsley, snipped
sugar or honey to taste

Cook onion and celery in butter over low heat until soft but not browned, about 5 min. Add plums and adjust seasonings. Cook until fruit is softened and liquid is reduced. Stir in parsley and sweeten to taste. Serve with pork, lamb, duck, or fish.

Adapted from Fruit fandango / Moya Clarke. Chartwell Books, c1994.

Index to all blog posts.

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Roots in cream

any combination of celeriac, potatoes, and/or kohlrabi*
whole milk, half-and-half, or cream
sprinkle of nutmeg, optional

Peel the roots and slice into 1/4-inch thick disks. Arrange in an oven-proof dish and add enough milk to just cover, then sprinkle with nutmeg if desired. Cover dish and place on a baking sheet (optional but highly recommended, because chances are it’ll boil over and make a mess and possibly a smell; for easy clean-up dig out that old baking sheet you’ve been meaning to throw out anyway or spring for one of those disposable foil oven liners). Bake 45 min. at 375F, then uncover and bake another 10 min or until slices are tender.

*possibly beets would be good too.

From Dana Huffman.

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Celeriac

native to: Europe
in season here: winter

Celeriac, celery root, knob celery, soup celery, or turnip-rooted celery is a member of the Apiaceae or carrot family and is closely related to the more familiar leaf celery. While the stalks and leaves can be eaten — they’re rather tough and strong-flavored — it’s the root we’re after here. It can keep for months in the fridge as long as you don’t let it dry out, but freezing is not recommended. To use, pare it down to the smooth white flesh and pretend it’s a celery-flavored potato. It’s most commonly mashed with potatoes, but I like it scalloped (recipe will post 4 Nov.).

Celeriac is very low in calories and carbohydrates, and high in anti-oxidants and cancer-fighting compounds. It’s good against osteoporosis because of the vitamin K it provides, and studies suggest it limits neuronal damage in Alzheimer’s. It has some valuable B-complex vitamins and provides lots of minerals: phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, and manganese.

It’s high in water-soluble fiber, making it a good choice if you have cholesterol concerns. It’s also good for the heart and nerves, and can be helpful against urinary problems. Like celery, however, it should only be eaten in moderation by pregnant women and sparingly by people on diuretics or anti-coagulants. If you’re allergic to birch or mugwort pollens, (or celery, of course) you may also react to celeriac.

Read more:
label-style nutrition information for raw celeriac
label-style nutrition information for cooked celeriac
Natural Health Solutions has nutrition information and lots of serving suggestions

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.