Wednesday, March 19, 2014

OW Cooks: How to Butcher a Bunch of Celery

I am going to do a series of very basic cooking entries. This one, hummus, an extensive soup one, a series on bread... How little so many people know about cooking has just shocked me. Anyone who is poor or who is looking to be healthier and/or bank some money: YOU NEED TO COOK.

So, I apologize for lingering long on basics, but I have the feeling a small portion of the population needs it. They are worth rescuing.

First, let me tell you a story. We had a couple over once, and I made some celery sticks while they were here. The woman was very critical of how I was doing this, but my stubborn kicked in so I did it my way. The next time we were at her house, she made a point of bringing out some celery. I think it was purchased for that reason, actually. Then she cut through in just two slices, producing a lovely stack of 3" sticks and wasting better than half the plant, "That is how you cut celery..."

Getting no reaction (I do NOT like confrontation.), "What do you think of that?"

"It's not my place to tell a lady, in her house, how to cut up her celery. Her celery that she worked to get the money to buy, furthermore. I'm not going to do that. You do what you want with your celery."

The guys got a kick out of that, but was she mad! She slammed it down and left the room.

Sometimes I do alright. Sometimes. I never know until after the fact. If I can't think of something good to say (by good--- non-aggressive and honest, not necessarily clever), it's best to just take it. Take whatever they can dish. Surviving is itself a victory.

My days of socializing, however, are firmly over.

Well, call me weird. I am Yoda, now. Yoda was weird. He was green and fuzzy with pointy ears.

deceptively simple is cutting up celery

I will show you the ways of the vegetable force!

Above is a bunch of celery that has been pulled apart, and I've rinsed the dirt away. I didn't bother pulling the ribs of the yellow core (fore) apart.

Now here are some sample pieces from short to tall. The first thing I do is pull the leaves off. These can be added to salads for a peppery bite or to soups for a milder celery taste. I've taken the leaves off all ribs in the photo.

Next, I cut the bottom off the core, the shortest piece. It's the biggest part of what I won't use, but you can try to sprout it. Try. Best to plant the whole core if you want a plant.

Then, the longest piece, I severed at the joint at the top.

a closer look at the joint
 I prefer to do this in stages by product. Here I have removed all leaves:

Like any prepared/cleaned green for salads, this is best preserved by sprinkling in a single layer on a clean cloth (bath towel if you have a horde to feed, wash cloth if you, kitchen towel, anything) and rolled up and put in the crisping drawer.

Then, I cut the tops off at the joint. Some of these are tall enough above that to pass for celery sticks. Cut the two-pronged bottom off and set aside with the other ribs of celery. The rest will be diced for soups, sauteés, and stir fries. See the three short bits facing me? I cut the blackened end off creating a new end. This is entirely unnecessary. It is only dessicated (or dried out). However, as with the top bits that will pass for celery sticks, preferences will vary from family to family. You won't be able to tell at all if you put this in soup or use it to make stock so I encourage using it. All that makes that color is some water missing.

 Slice them into matchsticks, then dice them up. They go in the freezer to flavor future dishes!

Now we get to the perfectly shaped green three inch crudité so craved of from this plant! Line them up and cut. Be thoughtful about the shorter bits, slicing a sliver from the root end and sorting into 'guest' celery sticks (like I have guests?!?!?? Except Non-Ortho Friend, who I always fill the table for) and 'us' celery sticks.

The above is all that was wasted. In fact, it could still be easily used to flavor broth. You could also compost it.

Love and ... I don't know what  I'm sending this week,

A Lady Who KNOWS You Only Have to Be Poor Once
It Sticks Like a Spaghetti Noodle!

PS: I must say this is  not a rule. This is helpful advice... maybe. If it helps you, yay! If you don't want to do this, don't, but don't disparage those who do, perty please.

No comments:

Post a Comment