Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Covid Cafe: Celery Salad With Dates, Almonds, and Parmesan

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Hello, chefs. We're trying to eat everything in our produce drawer before our first CSA share arrives tomorrow. We still have organic celery because when I see it I buy it in multiples. (Non-organic celery is heavily sprayed and not recommended if pesticides aren't part of your meal plan.) The indispensable Environmental Working Group publishes this chart annually.

Celery Salad with Dates, Almonds, and Parmesan
The recipe says: Sweet from dates, sour from lemon, bitter from celery, and salty from Parmesan, this humble salad manages to get all taste buds firing at once. 

It's all true. I've been known to riff on recipes based on what's in the house, and this one is no exception. I don't keep dates on hand, but I always have a bag of prunes, so we use those. I recently roasted a pan of pecans, so we're using them here.

 This salad is cold, crunchy, and flavorful. The lemon dressing is a piquant surprise.

Celery Salad with Dates, Almonds, and Parmesan

·       ½ cup raw almonds
·       8 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal, leaves separated
·       6 dates, pitted, coarsely chopped
·       3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
·       Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
·       2 ounces Parmesan, shaved
·       ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
·       Crushed red pepper flakes



·       Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out almonds on a small rimmed baking sheet; toast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop.
 Toss almonds, celery, celery leaves, dates, and lemon juice in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add Parmesan and oil and toss gently; season with red pepper flakes.


Here's a helpful primer on celery from the World's Healthiest Foods:
If you have become accustomed to thinking about celery as a crunchy, low-cal vegetable but not a key part of your health support, it is time to think again. Recent research has greatly bolstered our knowledge about celery's anti-inflammatory health benefits, including its protection against inflammation in the digestive tract itself. Some of the unique non-starch polysaccharides in celery—including apiuman—appear especially important in producing these anti-inflammatory benefits. (Unlike starchy polysaccharides that provide plants with a way to store simple sugars, these non-starch polysaccharides in celery help provide this vegetable with its unique structure and are not made from simple sugars but rather from pectins.)

Eggplant, tomato, peppers, squash, lemonbalm

I look at the world
I look at the world
From awakening eyes in a black face—
And this is what I see:
This fenced-off narrow space   
Assigned to me.

I look then at the silly walls
Through dark eyes in a dark face—
And this is what I know:
That all these walls oppression builds
Will have to go!

I look at my own body   
With eyes no longer blind—
And I see that my own hands can make
The world that's in my mind.
Then let us hurry, comrades,
The road to find.

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