Sunday, April 26, 2009

Never Judge a Book By Its Cover

Weeks 2 and 3 of my CSA from Fish Hawk Acres were chocked full of curious culinary delights. My boxes included items like golden, bull’s blood, and champagne ice beets, Asian greens, pea tendrils, white carrots, micro herbs, celery root, and a plethora of beautiful, tender, and flavorful lettuces. I even received dried black turtle beans, and a gorgeous focaccia from Jeff’s Breads that I used to make some tasty croutons.

I created all the recipes that Chef Hawkins included with my package, and while all of them were brilliant, I have decided to share with you the recipes that surprised me the most. Why surprising you say? Surprising because they turned out to be my favorite even though they were made from the UGLIEST produce I have ever laid my eyes upon; beets and the celery root. I’ve already shared my thoughts on beets, but have you ever seen a celery root?

Never in a million years would I have ever sought out this stumpy looking outcast but thanks to Chef Hawkins, I’m a believer! The next time you find yourself at a farmers market or grocery store and you stumble upon one of these guys, don’t hide your eyes and run away scared, grab it. It really is one of the most delightful roots with which you’ll ever cook.

Whole Roasted Beet Salad                     By Chef Dale Hawkins

2 medium red beets, peeled and halved
2 medium yellow beets, peeled and halved
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
4 cups Asian greens, washed and spun
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons crumbed chevre’ goat cheese
Orange Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
• Toss the beets in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap individually in foil
• Roast beets for 40 to 45 minutes, until caramelized and tender
Note: you can roast the beets up to two days in advance
• Heat remaining olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat
• Saute’ shallots for 5 minutes, until tender
• Chop roasted beets into bite size chunks
• Add beets to the hot oil and shallots, sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until just cooked through
• Toss beets with half of the orange vinaigrette
• Place greens in a large serving bowl and top with beets
• Drizzle remaining dressing over greens
• Top with chopped walnuts and chevre cheese

Orange Vinaigrette
By Chef Dale Hawkins 

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice*
2/3 cup olive oil
½ clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon shallots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh chives, finely chopped

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake until the dressing is well blended. Alternately, you can vigorously whisk the ingredients in a small bowl until they are incorporated together.
*Blood oranges are wonderful in this recipe, but difficult to find this time of year. If you are lucky enough to have access, I recommend using one.

Celery Root and Potato Puree
By Alice Waters (The Art of Simple Food)

3 medium potatoes (preferably yellow fleshed) cut into large pieces
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 celery root, peeled and sliced thin

• Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender, Drain, and pass through a ricer or a food mill, return to the pot, stir in two tablespoons of butter, set aside
• Melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium low in a heavy bottomed pan
• Add celery root, season with salt
• Cover pan tightly and cook until soft, 12 to 15 minutes (lower heat if celery root begins to turn brown)
• Puree in a blender
• Stir into the potatoes
• If the puree is too thick, thin with milk
• Season with salt and pepper if needed

Tasty Tidbits:
  • The celery root and beets can be easily peeled with a potato peeler or paring knife
  • Add a little milk to celery root to make pureeing in the blender smoother
  • A nice piece of grilled halibut perched upon the celery root puree would make an insanely delicious combination

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