Celery Root Mashed Potatoes

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Our Thanksgiving spread.

I love the flavor of celery root, and think it tastes great on its own.  Celery root, or celeriac, is the root that grows beneath celery stalks.  Last Thanksgiving, I volunteered to bring mashed potatoes to dinner, so I incorporated a couple of traditional Yukon Golds for a more familiar flavor.  Alex and I shared Thanksgiving dinner with Daniel, a friend from work, and his two young children.  We were joined by his long-time friend, Jessie, and savored a non-traditional menu.  Our meal did not stray from certain Thanksgiving themes – food, time spent together in the kitchen, board games and puzzles with family, and a leisurely gathering around the table for a variety of courses.  With the menu, we were a little more experimental and creative.  Before we arrived, Daniel spent the afternoon preparing delicious, crisp duck and a vegan pumpkin dessert.  Later on, Alex and I spent time playing games and puzzling (I am a huge puzzle fan!) with Daniel’s children.  Meanwhile, Daniel put the finishing touches on his signature “pink soup” (beets with vegan cream).  Before dinner time, he also prepared kale chips and fresh tostones – both of which barely made it to the dinner table!  Alex and I brought along rainbow carrot salad and my version of mashed potatoes.  We left the table feeling satisfied, but not overly stuffed, and returned to the floor for more puzzling.

Because of dietary restrictions, I made the celery root/mashed potatoes completely vegan for Thanksgiving, but feel free to try these at home with butter and milk or cream.  Next time I make this recipe, I am going to use just celery root and no potatoes.  Give it a try – you might not notice the difference!  Celery root tends to have a silkier texture, compared to the starchy texture of potato.  The two work well in combination.

 

Recipe

Celery Root Mashed Potatoes – serves 6 to 8

For this recipe, feel free to adjust quantities of milk and butter for your desired taste.  At home, we usually add a lot of butter to Yukon Gold potatoes, but I find that I need less butter to add flavor to celery root.

You will need: 38e74300-2559-48f6-bfc2-45cc45020ff5

  1. two giant celery roots (about 1 pound)
  2. four Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound)
  3. 1 – 2 T olive oil
  4. 1 – 1.5 C soymilk (or milk)
  5. 2 – 4 T vegan butter (or butter)
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  7. optional: vegetable or chicken broth to thin leftovers

Steps:

  1. Cut off the root end of the celery first, so you have a flat surface to rest on.  Slice the gnarly bumps off the root with a small knife (this is much easier than using a peeler). Cut roots into approximately 1-inch cubes for even cooking.
  2. Peel potatoes.  Cube potatoes as well.
  3. Put celery root and mashed potatoes into two separate large pots, and cover with salted water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, checking for tenderness after about 15 minutes.  When both root vegetables are tender (about 15 minutes for potatoes and 20 minutes for celery root), drain water and combine celery root and potatoes into one large pot for mashing.
  4. Reduce heat to low.  Drizzle with olive oil and mash.
  5. Add butter and stir to combine.  Gradually add milk, one half cup at a time, until your potatoes reach desired thickness.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  We usually like a lot of pepper!
  6. Serve warm.  To reheat your mash, add leftovers to a pot over low heat, and revive with a little splash of vegetable broth, chicken broth or more milk.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Turkey Bacon Pasta

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The cooked egg coated the pasta and other ingredients nicely, and I was happy to have the extra protein.

I pulled this recipe together after a long morning of rowing workouts.  I dreamt up this recipe when I found leftover turkey bacon, lemon and Brussels sprouts that needed to be used, and combined those ingredients with the bowtie pasta I was craving!  I have cooked a similar recipe from “How to Cook Everything: The Basics,” called “Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage,” and that experience informed my steps for this recipe.

The first time I had shaved Brussels sprouts was at my mother-in-law Betsy’s house, so I consulted her to find out which food processor blade to use.  I have used the chopping blade before for Brussels sprouts, and that produced confetti-sized pieces.  With the slicing disc, you get larger pieces, and I prefer that texture for a hearty meal like this.  The turkey bacon added a rich, savory flavor to the Brussels sprouts.  We have a really nice brick of parmesan cheese that we have been grating, so I added plenty of cheese for more flavor.  Lemon juice added a bright note to the combination, and I finished the dish with more grated parmesan and fresh ground black pepper.  As soon as I sat down to eat this dish, I realized I wanted to add some more protein.  I poured my serving into a small pot and cracked an egg on top, and scrambled the combination until the egg was fully cooked.

Recipe

Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Turkey Bacon Pasta – serves 6 – 8

Betsy and I chatted after I made this dish, and she suggested that Canadian bacon could also be used.  She also mentioned using liquid hickory smoke and edamame for a no-meat version of the dish.  Toasted walnuts, slivered almonds or pine nuts might make a nice topping.

You will need:img_0025

  1. 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  2. one pound of bowtie pasta
  3. about 1 T olive oil
  4. 2 slices of turkey bacon, chopped or torn into small pieces
  5. 1 T lemon juice
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  7. 2-3 T grated parmesan cheese
  8. one egg per serving

Steps:

  1. Set up your food processor with the slicing disc.  Wash Brussels sprouts and chop off rough ends.  Feed Brussels sprouts into your food processor be shredded.
  2. Add water to a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil for your pasta.  Add pasta when water is ready, and follow cooking directions according to package.  Do not dump out your pasta water – you will want some later on.
  3. In a large, stainless steel skillet heat about 1 T olive oil over medium heat.  Add turkey bacon and cook, stirring so bacon does not stick to your pan.  When bacon has browned a bit, add shaved Brussels sprouts to the pan.
  4. Add about 1/2 cup of water and cover your skillet with a lid to steam.
  5. When Brussels sprouts are just beginning to become tender, squeeze lemon juice over the pan and stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add cooked pasta to the skillet using a slotted spoon.  Remove pasta pot from heat and reserve pasta water.
  7. Stir pasta and Brussels sprouts to incorporate, and grate a generous pile of parmesan cheese on top.  Add up to 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water as needed to keep moisture in the dish and to create a creamy sauce to coat the pasta.
  8. If desired, scoop one serving of shaved Brussels sprouts and turkey bacon pasta into a separate small pot or pan over medium heat and add one egg.  Scramble ingredients until egg is fully cooked and egg whites go from clear to white.

Source: Bittman, Mark. How to Cook Everything: The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food–with 1,000 Photos. N.p.: John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2012. Print.