Moroccan Swiss Chard Carrot Salad

IMG_3434

It’s winter in New York. The weather has been vacillating between cold and colder or snow and slush. While yesterday was snowing, today it’s all being washed away with rainy slush. So I am home with a cold and I just want something easy to eat that will be fulfilling and yet wash out my system from this cold. That being said, at this time of year a lot of root vegetables are in. In particular, carrots and celery. Couple that with swiss chard and harissa (to burn out this cold) and a bright sprinkling of lemon and we have a medicinal dish.

According to Chinese medicine and basically all ancient food traditions, we should be eating to the seasons and during the colder seasons, increase the heat in our body. Makes sense. So this Swiss Chard & Carrot salad, which is not only delicious, has tons of garlic (which acts as an antibiotic) and harissa, which is a hot and spicy red pepper sauce that will dry out this cold. If you can’t find harissa, which is usually available at an ethnic supermarket, then replace it with hot sauce. Or you can purchase from my dear friend, Osi at Osi Living, here. You can be sure, it’s organic and made with the finest ingredients.

This recipe has been adapted from Wolfgang Puck’s contribution to The New York Times Passover Cookbook.  On these colder days, when you wrap a thick cardigan around your thick wool sweater, it’s the perfect recipe.

Yields 4 (as a side dish)

Ingredients
1∕3 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
6 thin long carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 ribs celery,
peeled and cut into small chunks
1 large bunch Swiss chard or spinach, ribs and leaves, sliced thin

Dressing
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of Harissa (depending on your level of heat preference)
Freshly ground Sea Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the half oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and sauté until just fragrant.
  2. Then add the celery and carrots. Cook until the carrots start to soften or sweat. Add the Swiss chard and cook an additional 10 minutes, until very reduced and very tender.
  3. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, and pour over the vegetables, mixing thoroughly. Serve Moroccan Swiss Chard Carrot Salad at room temperature.

Celery & White Bean Salad

Celery & White Bean Salad

I had a big event planned for this evening in my home – a Challah bake incorporating ingredients that are linked to the Jewish theme of the month. Interestingly, the Jewish month is Shevat, which is supposed to be a month that ushers in the Spring. Can you imagine?? Spring…. in New York in January?? Well, kind of and not exactly. The Jewish calender relates to Israel. So Spring in Israel, maybe, but even they just had a huge snow storm that shut down the city for days. So why do I tell you all of this…. because I had to cancel my event due to Snowstorm Hercules. We are about to be pounded with snow. Right now, it’s so beautiful outside – a dusting of white, clean and pure snow. It’s so so quiet outside. In this quietness, I like to make a little something, while gazing out my window in a sort of dreamy state, chopping up some celery. Hopefully, not my finger.

The easiest salad to assemble with the dear ol’ celery, that is so often overlooked and mostly used as a backbone in a dish. I have a can of white kidney beans, although you can use cannellini beans (almost the same) in the sense that they are both buttery and soft. Heat it up and toss with the the chopped celery. Add a squeeze of lemon and slivered almonds, because I just love almonds with just about anything, especially in a salad that’s gluten free. Although I added raisins, you can add any currants you like, if you are looking for sweetness, or completely forgo it. I like this salad both ways. I can assure you that every thing in this recipe most people (that like to eat) would have as staples in their pantry. Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is that?

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

8 large celery stalks, stripped of strings
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans, heated
3 tablespoons raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Sea salt, to taste

  1. Slice the celery stalks quite thinly.
  2. Then, in a small bowl, make a paste with the olive oil, lemon juice, and Parmesan. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl toss the heated beans with the olive-Parmesan mixture. When well combined, add the celery, raisins, and most of the almonds. Toss once more. Taste and add a bit of salt if needed.
  4. Serve in a bowl or platter and top with some more Parmesan.

 

Curried Celery Soup (Vegan, Gluten Free)

How annoying is it when you are cooking up a dish from a recipe that calls for one or two celery stalks and you are still left with a bunch of celery?  How many times has celery just sat in your fridge begging to be used to no avail?? A celery here… a celery there…. still it just does not get used up and this is because, most of the time celery is used as a root in a recipe and does not really enhance the flavor to the dish.

Finally a soup that uses 1 1/2 pounds of celery!! That’s right…. now you get to use up that glut sitting in the fridge for an Indian spiced soup that will beckon you to make this soup over and over again.

While I agree that celery may not have a lot of taste, when combined with potatoes, onions and curry, celery morphs into an exotic blend that is perfect for a winter warmup.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, washed and sliced
1 1/2 pounds celery, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 potatoes, washed, peeled and diced
3 3/4 cups vegetable stock
1 bouquet garni (parsley, thyme and bay leaf tied together)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, leek and celery. Cover and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the curry powder and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring the vegetables occasionally.
  3. Add the potatoes, stock and bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Remove and discard the bouquet garni and set the soup aside to cool lightly.
  5. Use a hand blender and process in pot until smooth.
  6. Add the fresh parsley, season to taste and ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with some celery leaves.