Arsip Tag: celery

endive and celery salad with fennel vinaigrette – smitten kitchen

I know you all think I must be immune to this, but I go through phases of Down With Cooking all of the time. Sometimes, I’m just extra tired. Sometimes, the food outside the apartment is way more tempting, as it has been since we’ve moved into a new neighborhood full of intriguing sandwiches, hummus joints and more new flavors than I could pack into a year. Other times, I lack inspiration, or worse, an appetite as I did through that needling first trimester. I have cold cereal for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly for lunch. I fib my way through it on this site, plugging in recipes I have backlogged and sticking to simple things like snacks of pickled grapes in hopes that if I do not force it, it will come naturally back to me. I fear cooking becoming a chore, though I know even this worry is a luxury exclusive to people who share blocks with six eateries.

fennel seedstoasting the fennel seedstoasted fennel seedsground fennel seeds

Four days after we moved apartments and kitchens, we took off for four days in the country. I didn’t unpack the kitchen before we left and I didn’t unpack it when we got back. We were at a standstill, this newer smaller kitchen of mine. Nothing fits in it, including the fridge (though it’s in there anyway, ugh, I’ll discuss that mess when I’m able to without grinding my teeth). The dishwasher we’d swooned and were sold over was broken, we needed to buy a cabinet for the living room before we could even unpack our dishes, the sink was borked, the wall had no room for our pot rack and we accidentally forgot to unpack the entire bin of perishables (mayos, jams, boullons, mustards, yeasts, cheese, butter, shudder) finding the box 10 days later (post-heat wave with no air conditioning yet, to boot) suitable for nothing but the trash bin. It was not looking very promising.


My only hope was that one day I’d get hungry, hungry enough that I’d go back to my old self who never cared how little space I had, just that I got to make the food I wanted to in it. My strain of madness has gotten me through a wedding cake and a zillion projects better suited for kitchens with more than two square feet of counter space so I trusted it would not stay dormant forever. [I also trusted that it would not take three weeks to rouse from it slumber, but hey, I can’t be right all of the time.]


Well, it has finally happened, and not a second too soon. Oh, the kitchen’s not unpacked, far from it. But a bare minimum of pots and pans are, the dishes cabinet arrives Tuesday, the sink no longer sprays water to the ceiling, the dishwasher does it’s dishwashing thing, we’ve started buying bits and pieces of groceries again and, oh, this: The girl who thought she could never love a kitchen without a skylight on top has discovered that she’s actually totally smitten with the delicate, angled light that filters in from the kitchen window.


And I know we should get started with something more exciting than salad — yawn, Deb, really! — but sometimes it’s these basic things you miss the most when you let everyone else cook for you. I saw a variation of this a while back in Gourmet and was completely stuck on the pairing, which with it’s fennel seeds and bitter endive and celery probably couldn’t be filled with less popular ingredients if it had tried. But that’s what cooking at home is all about, getting to eat the food you’re excited about, even if it will never win a placement on a coveted menu and I, for one, am quite pleased to be back to it.

toasted fennel seed vinaigrette

One year ago: Martha’s Macaroni and Cheese
Two years ago: Pineapple Upside Down Cake [wow, only two of my favorites from the archives. If you make them, can you share with us?]

Endive and Celery Salad with Toasted Fennel Seed Vinaigrette
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

Despite my drive to make this, the grocery forces were not with me. The (awful) (yes I know I should be more poetic about it but it really is awful) Whole Foods I was auditioning in Union Square didn’t have Belgian endive (which is so gorgeous if you can find it) or frisee, and the paltry bundle of celery I got didn’t slice up to make half the amount the recipe suggested three stalks would. Fortunately, salads are infinitely flexibile and not requiring any kind of religious devotion to their ingredient lists and quantities, so have fun with this. Make it yours.

Serves 8

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (1 large)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound frisée (French curly endive), torn into bite-size pieces (10 cups) [we swapped butter lettuce]
3 Belgian endives, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide slices [we swapped regular green endives]
1 bunch of celery ribs, thinly sliced crosswise (1 to 2 cups, depending on the size of your bundle)

In addition: Either an electric coffee/spice grinder or exceptional skill crushing spices in a mortar and pestle

Grind fennel seeds in grinder until ground but not powdery. Transfer to a small bowl or cup, then stir in oil until combined. Let stand 15 minutes.

Whisk together lemon juice, shallot, salt, and sugar in another small bowl or cup until salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir fennel oil, then add to shallot mixture in a slow stream, whisking until combined.

Toss lettuces and celery in a large bowl with just enough vinaigrette to coat. Season with black pepper to taste.

Pairing: I think this salad would be fantastic with maybe some shards of your favorite hard cheese and a poached egg on top, should those of you out there not be at a point in your lives when runny yolks are verboten. (Sniffle.)

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egg salad with pickled celery and coarse dijon – smitten kitchen

Someone pointed out to me a few weeks ago that this site has not a single recipe in the archives for egg salad. However, unlike the time I realized the broccoli archives boasted but a single recipe (and quickly sought to populate it) or the time I accepted that a quickie from-scratch homemade chicken noodle soup deserves a place in every arsenal, the egg salad-shaped hole in the archives went unnoticed less due to editorial oversight and more because, well, you know: egg salad; it’s pretty dull. Could anything be more uninspired than an amalgamation of smashed-up hard-boiled eggs and the dreaded mayonnaise? I mean, have you seen the yellow, flavorless mounds of dubious origin and assembly date most delis scoop onto a slice of bread and try to pass off as lunch? It would hardly make an enthusiast out of you. Or anyone.

hoping they're perfect inside
whisking the pickling liquid + helper

But for those of us who see past the lack of beauty-queen stature and fervor around it, we know egg salad can be rather delicious if made properly, which is to say, at home, with perfectly cooked eggs and just enough dressing to cling, not drown them. At home, I make three small additions that I think transform it from the unglamorous status-quo to something I find crunchy, bright and absolutely perfect on a slice of whole-grain toasted bread in the middle of the day. The first is that I love to use coarse, or whole-grain Dijon mustard. Not only is it the prettiest thing in my fridge, the combination of the faintly crisp/crackly seeds and its milder flavor are heavenly here, adding texture and just enough kick to the eggs. The second is finely minced shallot, just a little. You could use red onion, too, but I think the texture is key. You want it to be noticeable enough that you enjoy it but not so loud that it upstages the star, kind of like surprise guests at a halftime show.

sad old celery from the back of the fridge

celery, diced tiny
the egg peeling forces were not with me
yes, i have an egg slicer, totally normal, right?
just-shy-of-hard-cooked eggs
with pickled celery, coarse dijon, minced shallots

The last thing is the one that will make you say, “Wha? No, no way.” but trust me, a spoonful of lightly pickled celery is wonderful here. I talked about my love of this a bit in the book, where I put it on a fingerling salad with a sharp dressing but I promise, once you make it, it has a habit of showing up everywhere, from chopped to tuna salads. It adds a little accent and crunch, and once you fall in love with it here, it will be impossible to make it any other way, so consider yourself warned.

egg salad with pickled celery and coarse dijon

Events: After a lazy month I affectionately referred to as Sloth January, things are getting fun again. On Friday, I’ll be on WNYC’s Last Chance Foods segment of All Things Considered with Melissa Clark and Amy Eddings discussing the finer points of hummus and pros and cons of chickpea-peeling. (Do I have the best job, or what?). This weekend, I’ll be heading to Montreal for the very first time ever, I can’t wait [even though it is currently one single degree out there; I’m just going to wear all my clothes at once, okay?]. On Saturday, I’ll be at Appetite for Books for a signing at 3 p.m. There is also a smaller reception at 2 p.m. but unfortunately, it already sold out. With or without a ticket, you are welcome at 3 p.m. [Details.] And next Tuesday, rumor has it that a little segment we filmed in my little kitchen last month for The Today Show will air. That evening, 7 p.m., at PowerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, we’re going to have a Valentines Day Cookie Swap and book signing along with the Dawn Casale from One Girl Cookies, Adam Roberts from Amateur Gourmet and author of Secrets of the Best Chefs and Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito of the Baked Bakery and all of its wonderful cookbooks. I set up this event because the lovely store and event space was badly hit by Hurricane Sandy (they lost everything; every book, every register) and they’re the exact kind of place I’d like to see around for a long time. I hope if you’re in the area, you can come by. You’re welcome with or without cookies! [Details.] As always, every event and all of the details we know are listed on the Events & Book Tour Page.

Signed books: If you’d like to order a signed or signed-and-personalized book for your sweetie for Valentine’s Day through McNally-Jackson, the deadline for shipping is this Thursday morning, February 7th. More details here. Order form here.

One year ago: Cheddar, Beer and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread
Two years ago: Mushroom and Farro Soup and Meatballs Subs with Caramelized Onions
Three years ago: New York Deli Rye Bread, Best Cocoa Brownies, Chana Masala and Walnut Jam Cake
Four years ago: Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad, Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes and Crisp Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw
Five years ago: Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree, Candied Grapefruit Peels and Matzo Ball Soup
Six years ago: Asparagus, Artichoke and Shiitake Risotto and Miniature Soft Pretzels

Egg Salad with Pickled Celery and Coarse Dijon

As I learned here, there are about as many ways to hard-boiled eggs as there are people who make them. If you’re looking for a new technique, you will delight in the comments. Here, I use my approach, the one that works for me every time. If you rest the eggs in the fridge for a day or so after cooking them, they’re usually easier to peel while keeping the eggs intact. (Although mine, three days old, still were not. Punks.) If you’re not into mayo (I know you’re not, even if I don’t agree), you can use plain Greek yogurt instead. I have you make more celery than you’ll need because trust me, it will get used, as it’s great in everything from tuna to potato salads.

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons Kosher salt (you can go up to 1 tablespoon if using the lighter weight Diamond brand; here’s why)
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 stalks celery, trimmed, diced tiny
4 large eggs
1 heaped teaspoon whole-grain Dijon
2 teaspoons minced shallot or red onion (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise or full-fat plain yogurt
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped flat-leaf parsley or fresh dill (to garnish, optional)

Pickle your celery: Combine vinegar, water, Kosher salt and sugar in a jar and shake it until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add diced celery to jar, cover it and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, ideally one hour and up to one week.

Cook your eggs: Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with an inch of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and set your timer for 10 minutes (for perfectly cooked through eggs), or 9 minutes (if you like them just-barely-set in the center, like mine above). Once the timer rings, drain eggs and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. To quickly chill them so you can use them right away, cover them in ice water for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make your salad: Peel your eggs and chop them, placing them in a medium bowl. Add 1 heaped tablespoon of pickled celery (more to taste), Dijon, shallot, mayo, salt and pepper and mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on toasted whole grain bread, garnished with fresh herbs.

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