Saturday, 23 February 2013

Celery (aipo) - Less waist more taste

You dont often find such a perfect specimen as this even in a farmers market. 
And this one was off the supermarket shelf.
It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with.In our weight and waist conscious society,obsessed with the chimera of physical perfection celery is our Godsend.The promise of a quick`n´easy weight loss solution is a siren´s call to us.We race from pillar to post looking for the magic pill or food,exercise programme or magnetic belt that will magically melt those kilos away and strip metres from our vital statistics.Well look no further. It is for this very reason that the promise of "negative calories"  draws us like moths to a flame.Celery has about 6 calories per 20cm stalk,making it a dieters staple.Though chewing it may feel like a somewhat strenuous activity,it burns about the same amount of energy as watching paint dry.It is the bodily energy devoted to the ingestion of these brittle green stalks that actually exhausts those all important calories.In its defence,even if it does not work waistline wonders,those of us who are eating it are not eating something else.Look at it this way, it´s hard to sneak a chocolate bar into a mouth that is busy chomping celery.
Its no wonder celery has become a common household staple, along with carrots, onions and potatoes.Its crunchy texture and distinctive flavour makes it a popular addition to salads and many cooked dishes,particularly soups.A Minestrone is no Minestrone without the inclusion of celery. It´s all thanks to the Romans, who discovered that it´s unique taste made it the ideal vegetable for seasoning food. Centuries later the French were to name it, along with the onion and the carrot, the perfect seasoning trio, the mire-poix. A mire-poix is really just the chopped-up ensemble of the three vegetables — sweated, simmered or stewed. It’s used as the base for innumerable dishes, whether in stocks, stews, casseroles or sauces. So versatile!
Mire-poix Here´s one I prepared earlier
Similar combinations of vegetables are known as holy trinity in Cajun and Creole cooking, refogado (braised onions, garlic and tomato) in Portuguese, soffritto (onions, garlic and celery) in Italian, sofrito in Spanish, Suppengrün (soup greens) in German (usually purchased in bundles and consisting of a leek, a carrot and piece of celeriac), and włoszczyzna in Polish,typically consisting of carrots, parsnips, parsley root, celery root, leeks, cabbage leaves, and sometimes celery and flat-leaf parsley.

Onward from this era of French culinary genius, celery’s fame went from strength to strength. A simple stick of celery was later to become a prerequisite for the perfect Bloody Mary, along with a sprinkling of its salt (more on that story later) in the tomato juice mix. The famous Waldorf salad calls for celery along with walnuts and apples.Even celery leaves are really lovely chopped in a salad in the same way that you might use flat-leaf parsley, interspersed with other salad leaves. Waste not, want not!- more on that story later too.
Some other more unusual ways of using celery
Enjoy my  peanut butter with celery and cream cheese in a sandwich as tried and tested by James Ramsden in the Guardian
Use celery leaves in salads.
Next time you are making a smoothie give it a unique taste dimension by adding some celery to it.
Add celery leaves and sliced celery stalks to soups, stews, casseroles, and healthy stir fries.

3 comments:

  1. I am sooooo envious of your witty pithy headlines!

    I adore celery - it is in so much that I cook because it adds so much flavour, although celery and blue cheese (no surprise) is one of my favourites. It's hard to imagine that ancient varieties of celery were inedible (too bitter) as now it just seems sweet and peppery. I did make some braised celery recently to go with a Sunday roast, but it was a step too far for my guests. Hey ho, all the more for me!

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  2. I love braised celery,but like your own experience its not for those I cook for.This is the first of three celery posts so enjoy.The celery here is phenomenal as you can see.

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  3. Your celery looks fabulous, although I suspect the Fenmen of East Anglia might have something to say about that!

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