Monday, June 9, 2008

Celery Week

I'll give celery one thing: it certainly lends itself well to cheap puns. Beyond that though, I honestly was looking forward to celery week. When I was younger, I was always jealous of the ants on a log crowd because it seemed like such a good snack (who doesn't want to eat something compared to insects crawling on wood?) but I could never really enjoy it. Thus ants on a log was the first thing I excitedly tried. Turns out though, celery with peanut butter and raisins on it tastes a whole lot like celery and not so much like peanut butter or raisins. This would not necessarily be a bad thing (though it would sort of defeat the purpose) if I didn't also realize I'm not that enthusiastic about celery. I see it as a much less offensive carrot. Oddly, I can't figure out what exactly bothers me about it--the taste is sort of refreshing. I think it might be the slight stringiness which accompanies the crunch.

As another vain hope of recapturing a celery-centric childhood, I wanted to do that thing where you put a stalk of celery in water with food coloring and watch it change color. I like to think this was a staple of elementary school education or at the very least the sister experiment where you use white carnations instead of celery (the color is better, but the vascular tissue is less pronounced). Its a good experiment because it combines the wonder of plant water absorption with the fact that kids love when things turn unnatural colors (something the Koolaid industry has capitalized on). Sadly, this whole last paragraph was something of a nostalgic digression because I didn't actually do the food coloring experiment. Apparently "having a constant supply of food coloring in my cabinet" is another vestiage of childhood I've left behind. As is "remembering to buy some when I'm actually at the store."

I tried celery with ranch dip which at first brought back more painful memories of carrot week, but then it really wasn't too bad. Celery lends itself far more to ranch dipping because it lacks carrot's officious density. A couple of bites and the celery is appropriately chewed without ever losing the ranch dip. I also tried celery with the cream cheese orange juice mixture mentioned in the comments. That seemed to work better still because its thicker than ranch dip. Also it offers a sweet option to vegetable consumption, something which is always appreciated.

I had intended to try a celery soup (my cure-all for texture problems) but found it more difficult a recipe to find than you would think. Apparently the Joy of Cooking does not consider such a thing worthy of publication. They do however, have a juice drink that combines watermelon and celery. It sounded rather good until I read the directions which instructed me matter-of-factly to put the watermelon and celery into my juice extractor. I am unfortunately one of those shortcut-taking modern women who doesn't own a juice extractor. So much for enjoying a delicious watermelon celery breeze on a warm summer's day.

So yes, no soup this week. I did make some dressing with celery in it to be served along side some roast chicken. It wasn't bad at all. I'm a true believer in box stuffing. Its so simple and yet always delicious. Perhaps not a summer food as much, but I enjoyed it thoroughly nevertheless. I think dicing the celery up and cooking away a little of the crunch really went a long way in this instance.

Now onto next week! I've finally been worn down...

Next week: artichoke!


Susan Thompson said...

Before I start in on artichokes, let me just say that I baked some eggplant last week and it was delicious. Thanks for the tip. I served it with some spaghetti sauce and cheese.

I'm a believer in box stuffing, too. As far as I'm concerned, Mrs. Cubbison has the seasoning just right.

I always buy the little jars of artichoke hearts in oil. These are wonderful on a salad and you can just add the oil from the jar to the salad, too. And those same artichokes are incredibly delicious on pizzas. And then there's artichoke dip with chips. Never made it myself but I get it in the deli section of the grocery store.

Anonymous said...

Hey SUSAN, it's Megan. Now that you have celery down, you should try my favorite soup--mulligatawny. It's basically a curried soup with celery, carrots, onion, and an apple. Sounds odd, right? NO! It's fucking delicious and easy to make. It also involves blending so the texture issue is irrelevant. I don't really remember the exact recipe, but you're internet savvy and can look it up. DO IT!!!!!

fafner said...

Susan--I'm glad you liked the eggplant! I'll definitely be getting some more of it myself.

Megan--I googled mulligatawny ("pepper water" according to wiki) and it looks pretty good. We should make some when we're living in the same neighborhood!