Wednesday, October 28, 2009

*horseradish tales.

Question: Can you tell the difference between this:


and this?


Yeah, neither can I. And, apparently, neither can Publix. This


is horseradish. This


is celery root. Because I have no spouse or rugrats or other sanity motivators, I got a crazy notion to cook a three-course meal Monday night, and I wanted Celery Root Rémoulade.

Whatever. Your mom's random.

Ina's directions begin, simply, "Use a serrated knife to peel the celery root of all the brown outer portions, like peeling a pineapple." Sounds easy enough, right? For a bear, maybe. It's like a cross between a coconut and a potato, only dirtier. The inside looks like jicama but smells exactly like celery.

Or it's supposed to, anyway. I hacked off the leggy end of the horseradish and instinctively sniffed it. NOT CELERY ROOT. Then I cried great big sloppy tears and marched back out to the Publix to buy the appropriate root. Which was inexplicably labeled "fresh ginger."

Publix is run by monkeys.

By the time I had painstakingly peeled the tubers, I was pretty much over it. Did not want any more celery—root, rémoulade, or otherwise. But I plowed through. I carried on. I muscled the peeled celery root

white root.

and all of my superhuman strength, and pulled out the food processor. I didn't immediately see the bowl and top portions, but then I remembered just where I keep it: at MW and TwinFin's house.


I tried out the mandoline, but I just can't use the damned thing. I scraped and hacked, and ended up with celery root mush mixed with salty, salty tears. So I said fuckit and resorted to the box grater. Because that is how we do on the Woodside. We are gritty and industrious and we can make thick shreds of celery root in just under an hour because we have no shoulder muscles to speak of. Then we take a nap.

The shreds get a sprinkle of salt and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice,


and then they marinate for about half an hour.

root shred.

In the meantime, I whisked together the white wine vinegar,


salt, pepper, mayonnaise,

may nase.

and both Dijon and whole-grain mustards


to get ... rémoulade.


Then everything gets a mix together and refrigerated until ready to serve!

root rémoulade.

The evening's second side dish was Ina's mustard roasted potatoes, a recipe from one of her books that doesn't appear to be on the Food Network Web site. (Buy books!)

I quartered red potatoes, the waxy-skin variety that are God's gift to lazy people. Or people who have just peeled 2 pounds of celery root. A soak in cold water kept them from discoloring whilst they awaited the oven. The recipe called for 2.5 pounds, but I used the whole 3-pound bag.


After they're drained, they go onto a baking sheet, tossed with two yellow onions, sliced into half rounds,

half rounds.

3 tablespoons olive oil,


salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard.


Then into the oven at 425 for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or however long you like. It's almost impossible to overroast a potato. When they come out, they get another light sprinkling of salt and a dusting of


what the hell is that? Fricking curly parsley? Publix, you are on notice. Flat. Leaf. Italian. Parsley. Get with the program.

Where was I? Oh yes, Chicken with Balsamic BBQ Sauce.

See? Chicken.


Balsamic BBQ Sauce.

balsamic sauce.

That'd be balsamic vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, and minced garlic. It sits over medium heat to reduce, during which time it is unwise, I discovered, to stick one's head over the pan. Unless one wants a vinegar bath to the brain.

But by the end it's sticky and thick and not too sweet, and it makes chicken breasts, expertly cooked for 8 minutes on each side, delicious—tangy, smoky, and chargrilled in all the right places.

bbq grilled.

Then badly photographed for maximum effect.

The dinner was lovely. The potatoes were crisp and flaky, and we three people managed to consume all three pounds. The chicken was tender and piquant, and the remaining BBQ sauce got drizzled on everything. The celery root ... was sour. Prohibitively sour. Screw-up-your-face-in-devastated-surprise sour.

bbq dinner.

BiL misjudged the width of my dining table and set his Champagne glass down in midair, producing a deafening crash and an abjectly appalled look from his pregnant wife: "What were you doing?"

I thought it was funny. People dropping things without reason often is. And now I have a matching set of Champagne glasses! No one likes an odd number.

Later we sent BiL out to look for eggs (there was brownie-making), and he came back empty-handed because neither of the two convenience stores he visited had them. No word on what his success rate would have been had he gone to the supermarket. After that he dropped the house key and couldn't find it, rendering himself and a very pregnant (six more days, ROCK!) LSis on the cold cold curb until the locksmith arrived at 11:45.

It was not exactly his night, the poor dear.

Today I took the leftover half chicken breast and the (thankfully) mellowed celery root and made a lovely sandwich.

bbq rémoulade.

Because everything tastes better as a sandwich.


All in all, I call it culinary success, or what passes for same in the Woodside kitchen. Multiple grocery store trips, broken stemware, 66% success rate, all culminating in sandwich. Sounds about right.

Now what the hell am I going to do with a POUND of fresh horseradish?


at: 8:29 PM said...

Lovely dinner, and I'm duly impressed by your muscling through the part when it would've been easier to say effit and order pizza. Though I beg to differ about the difficulty of over roasting a potato. I can turn them into little lumps of carcinogenic char with no effort whatsoever. -jhb



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I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.