Showing posts with label Celery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celery. Show all posts

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mung Bean Salad with Celery, Apple and Cashews

As news from Boston reach Switzerland I could not help but think of Oslo, July 2011. 2011 I went on holidays with my parents and two of my siblings, and for 2 weeks we toured Norway and Sweden in a camper. This was the first time in years that I went away with them, and all in all we had a really lovely time. Great weather, the two countries are beautiful and I enjoyed spending time with the family.

We started in Oslo, and returned on July 22, in the afternoon, for a night there before we were going to travel back home. Around 3 p.m. my little brother, my mother and I were dropped off in front of our hotel and my father and my sister went out to return our camper to a place outside of the city. Half an hour later there was an explosion, close enough and strong enough to make our building shake. There was smoke, a little fire, too, that we could see from our hotel room window.
For 30 minutes we tried to search for information about what had happened. We wished that it was just an accident, a gas tank that exploded, anything other than a planned attack. We turned on the TV, switching between different Norwegian channels until after what felt like an eternity different newspapers and channels started talking about a probable attack. 
At this point we tried to reach my father and sister, who we knew would be okay but who still had to get back into the city, and Michael, who knew we were supposed to be in Oslo that night.
Being there in Oslo, so close to the attack, even though we knew we were safe was really scary. When I hear of these attacks in the news, they do touch me, but only the experience in Oslo brought to my awareness that this could happen anywhere, anytime, and to me, too.
That night, we left the hotel to have something to eat, at the nearest place possible. It was there, over pizza, that we saw what heard of a shooting outside of Oslo. It took a while longer to news reaching us properly.

We left Oslo the next day. It rained like crazy, and I remember very clearly my father wanting to buy tickets for the tramway and the driver just letting us in, without a ticket. It felt so significant that day, as if he wanted to say that these things did not matter right at that moment. My sister and I then continued to travel to Stockholm and Kopenhagen on our way back home, we had planned our trip like that, but the only thing I could think of was that I wanted to be back home, and hug Michael.
In moments like this one, when you feel your mortality, and you realize that actually you are never truly safe, you just want to be with the people that matter the most to you.
But then life continues, and the shock of being close to such an attack wears off. We are not eternally grateful to have been save this time. Only when I hear of similar events do those feelings come back a little, and I try and hug the people I love a little thighter. I hope you and your families and friends are all safe. Not just this week.

And because we can't worry forever, I have a salad recipe I want to share with you. This is the kind of dinner I make for myself when I am alone at home. A single salad, if you will. Ideally, it feeds me twice. I used mung beans here, because I had those on hand and usually don't know what to do with them. They somehow taste a little fresher than lentils, a little grassy maybe. But if you don't have mung beans on hand, I'd suggest substituting equal parts Puy lentils for the beans. The apple and celery provide crunch and a little sweetness, and the roasted chashews make this salad taste almost as if there was cheese in it. Or maybe that is just me. But the cashews are really important in this salad, I would not leave them out. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and papper and a little lemon zest, and you got yourself a lovely dinner or lunch.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chickpea Wraps

I realized after writing my post on what I was going to make for Christmas that I never actually told you that I became a vegetarian this summer. Up to that point I did eat meat, although were rarely. The switch was really easy for me, but I did get a few strange reactions and the protein question. If you are not vegetarian you may not know what I mean, but if you are, my guess would be that you have to hear it over and over again, too.

But, what about protein? people ask. Oh well, sometimes I really have to keep myself together to not get annoyed, but I really try to be nice about it because I know you might have asked that same question a vegetarian before. I probably did, too. And I prefer to believe that people mean well.

I usually tell them that I know what I am doing, that they should not be concerned because protein does not just come from meat.

But I also realized that I had troubles eating enough protein throughout the day when I was away at university or work, and having to rely on the cafeteria there. I have started assembling a salad at the salad bar with at least on sort of legumes throw in, but I really don't want to eat the same thing every day, and my guess is that all you vegetarians out there feel the same about your daily lunches.
So starting today with this recipe for chickpea wraps, I want to start a new series of posts here, sharing recipes for vegetarian lunches throughout the next year.

Today's lunch is really easy to throw together. You can make the filling ahead of time, roll the wrap in the morning before going to work or assemble it at lunch just before eating.
Chickpeas are my favorite legume, and they pair really nicely with lemon and yogurt. Add some dill and celery and you have a really brightly flavored salad that wont leave you feel stuffed like the cafeteria meals you might have to endure, too.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Brussels Sprouts, Celery and Chard with Tofu

There are very few things that I did not like to eat when I was a kid. (A fact that is probably related to my mothers insisting on us eating everything she cooked, no matter what). So I liked most things that landed on my plate, expect for a period of time when I did not like beets, the phase of aversion against a salad called Chinese cabbage here, and the Brussels sprouts I was only confronted with when I visited my great grandmother together with my grandma.
There are only a few things I remember of her. She spent the last few years suffering from Alzheimer's, unable to talk or to recognize her daughters. But years before that, I sometimes went to visit her, together with the grandmother I wrote about last week. And one thing I distinctly remember is the small of boiled Brussels sprouts wafting all through her apartment. Still to this day, Brussels sprouts remind me of her and the house she lived in with its garden and the girls in the neighbourhood I used to play with.
I did not like Brussels sprouts back then, but thanks to my boyfriend, I came to really like them. Sautéed until slightly crispy, drizzled with a little maple syrup, they are completely different from the Brussels sprouts I was served in this apartment all those years ago. Maybe you never like them, either. But they are a totally different vegetable when not cooked to death, still crunchy in some places, caramelized in others, sweet and salty at the same time.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yellow Bean Salad with Fennel and Celery

I love to go to the farmers market on Saturday morning. I say that now that I went today, but I don't want you to live with the impression that I go to the farmers market every Saturday.
I would love to be that person, always buying her produce at the same market stand, with the farmer knowing my name and all. But the farmers market conflicts with my sleeping in, and so I don't go too often. I haven't been in quite a while, and when they had plenty of cherries the last time I went, there were none to be seen today. There were grapes instead, but I missed the cherries. I did not buy enough of them while they were here.

So I love to go to the farmers market, and when I do I buy whatever looks best at the market. Today I bought yellow beans (they were called butterbeans) and a few small bulbs of fennel. And bags full of fruit, and tomatos, but these were not featured in this salad.

Lunch on these Saturdays then simply consists of a salad. A simple salad of lots of fresh vegetables, raw or only slightly cooked. I love those saturdays.
I bought these butterbeans at the market because they looked so lovely and creamy, and because of the name. Something called butterbeans sure has to taste great, right? I bought the fennel to accompany the beans in a salad, and only saw back home that Deb from smitten kitchen has shared a quite similar salad before.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Green Gazpacho

I have been absent for quite a while, and I missed you. I missed being here, talking about food. And I missed cooking, too.
You might remember me talking about going to France for a while. And even now, what feels like a year after, I still owe you photos and tales from the land of fabulous food. I'd love to share, and plan to get back to it.

I have been away some more, though, keeping myself away from the computer for another week. I spent one week cooking for 22 kids at a camp, together with my boyfriend. It has been a exhausting but rewarding week.
And the days in between, those I did not spend working, were spent at my boyfriend's family's chalet, where the days are long and lazy, and the computers turned off, for the most part.

I am happy to be back, for now. And I'd love to share this recipe for a green gazpacho with you. I saw this recipe in Ottolenghi's cookbook Plenty just yesterday, and loved the concept of a green gazpacho. And I really liked how these different ingredients worked together to create a soup that tastes like gazpacho, but is still different. I wasn't too sure about the celery in the beginning, but it really blended in nicely. I changed quite a few things, though, some out of laziness, because a gazpacho recipe really should be easy to throw together. Most notably, I refuse to add more than one clove of garlic to a gazpacho, contrary to what you might believe me to do, considering the name of this blog. But adding four cloves of garlic, uncooked, and puree them into this delicate soup, it just destroys the flavor. If you do like your gazpacho to be garlicky, though, add more garlic to your liking. One more thing, last February in Spain, we were served gazpacho as a drink, to accompany the meal we ate. I love this concept, and if you want to try it, you should be adding more water than I suggest in this recipe, to make the gazpacho drinkable.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Légumes d'Hiver au Vin

When I am in France, looking at le menu, I usually chuckle a bit when reading le menu. Everything has really fancy names, the meat is served avec sa sauce de, or sur son lit de. And often the time spent crafting those fancy sounding titles would have been better spent working on the dishes they serve. Lesson learned: Not everything that sounds fancy, is fancy.

That seems to be the theme for many situations in life. What looks great at first glance may not be so great when looked at closer. Like the first course of studies I started that turned out to be wrong for me. Like the ex who turned out to be not right for me. Like the nice shoes that ended up killing my feet.

Sometimes though, things turn out well when you don't really expect them to. Like when we found this Ethiopian restaurant and now love this cuisine and keep going back for more. Like when I met my boyfriend at university, studying what turned out the wrong path, but the right man. Or when you cook something out of humble ingredients and it turns out beautifully.

This weeks Food Matter Project recipe was Vegetables au Vin with Coq. I actually did not really look at the recipe before I decided what I wanted to do. I was also influence by an article about René Redzepi, the chef of Noma (the famous restaurant) and his idea of cooking vegetables like meat. So for this dish, I started cutting all the vegetables in rather large pieces, searing them in a cast-iron skillet until browned and only then braising them in the oven with white wine. You could use any combination of vegetables you want as long as they keep up well enough for searing and braising. Winter vegetables are suited best though, I'd say. In the recipe I list the vegetables I used, but feel free to use anything you have in your fridge (like I did).