What’s in the box – 24/25 November

by Amanda McInerney on 27/11/2010

This weeks box link.

This week I decided to focus on some celery recipes as it always seems to be the bridesmaid, never the bride!  Celery is known to have been around since Tutankhamun’s time, when it was used as a medicine, but it is unclear whether it was cultivated at that period or just growing wild.  However, it is clear that it was being cultivated by classical times.  It is known to be high in Vitamin C and silicon, which is necessary for healthy connective tissue and joints.  It has a very high water content – about 95% – and is not the most nutritionally dense of veggies, but is valued for its flavour and crunchy texture.  Alarmingly, it is one of a small group of foods (along with peanuts) that can induce a very severe reaction in those allergic to it, and can cause anaphylaxis!

Given celery’s paucity of nutrients and it’s predilection to cause life-threatening medical conditions, I suppose it is no surprise to find that recipes starring it are a little thin on the ground – however I have come up with a couple of ideas.

A very quick and refreshing salad can be thrown together by slicing celery (either cross-ways or in thin strips) and combining it with peeled orange or mandarine segments.   Add to this either chopped fresh mint, chopped fresh coriander or a good sprinkle of ras el hanout.   Instead of the ras el hanout, a sprinkle of sumac will give it all a lovely tart tang, if preferred.  This can be dressed with a squeeze of orange or lemon juice and a drizzle of very good South Australian olive oil.

Alternatively, why not slice up some fresh celery stalks, drizzled with lemon or lime juice then toss with some toasted walnuts or pecans and grate some parmesan over the  top?  Low fat, high flavour!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

tracey November 27, 2010 at 5:41 pm

had no idea celery could cause allergic reactions. So those afternoon snacks of peanut paste spread in sections of celery stalk could be quite dangerous?? What is ras en halout?

Anna Johnston November 28, 2010 at 9:17 am

Nice ideas Amanda. I struggle to include celery in salads even though I know how good they are for us, great ideas.

Amanda November 28, 2010 at 9:32 am

Tracey – it came as a bit of a surprise to me too and it sure does make the happy combination of peanut butter and celery look pretty lethal for some! Ras el hanout is a classic Moroccan spice blend and means “top of the shop” or the very best the trader has to offer. The actual blend varies and every Moroccan housewife has her own special secret blend. It is my very favourite blend of spices.
Anna – I try to put it into salads, but the teenage son always picks it out!

nesta finch November 28, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I LOVE celery. And my favourite new combination this year was finely sliced celery with pomegranate, undressed but tossed together and served with rabbit rillete. Fantastic with anything a bit oily – fish, confit, even smoked chicken.

Amanda November 28, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Nesta – that sounds divine! Thanks for sharing.

nesta finch November 28, 2010 at 3:49 pm

oh, and i STILL love Waldorf Salad – celery, sweet apple, walnuts or pecans, but dressed with a really good natural yoghurt (and some mint or chives) rather than mayonnaise.

Mandy - The Complete Cook Book November 28, 2010 at 10:50 pm

No ways, who would have thought that a person could be allergic to celery!
I absolutely love your salad ideas – brilliant!
:-) Mandy

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