Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

 Everything you wanted to know about celery in a blog post!

Ok, not really…..

 

Yeah, I know.  Celery, so boring right?  No! Not at all!  On my way to work this morning the DJ on my radio station made a mistake and said, “Forget it!  I’m just going to eat a piece of celery!” and proceeded to munch away at it’s crunch goodness on the air.

 

So when I saw that today is National Celery Day, I thought it must be fate and I have to talk about celery!  How many of you remember the grade school science experiment of putting a rib of celery in colored water and watching the water travel up through the celery?  And, the next day when the leaves had turned colors too?  How cool!

 

 

I can remember my mom trying to get me to eat celery filled with peanut butter (’cause I was not such a good eater) and I remember picking it out of the dressing at Thanksgiving.  Travel with me through time to my early culinary school days.  One of our first cooking labs focused greatly on knife skills.  And, let me tell you, we were not very good!  What did we have to practice our chopping skills on?  Celery! and carrots and onions.  You can guess what came next, making stock.

Fast forward to my early catering days when I had a lady “help” me by removing all of the strings from the celery on my veggie tray. I can tell you, I was not going to take the time to do that!  Now, looking back to the many veggie trays, soups, stocks, dressings and casseroles I have made over the years, I see the value in this culinary standard.

Doing a little research, I’ve learned a few interesting things about celery.

  • Celery can reach a height of 3.3 feet
  • Celery was used as a “bouquet of flowers” to reward athletes in Ancient Greece
  • There is a town called Celeryville, OH founded by celery farmers
  • The ancient Romans wore celery wreaths during a night of drinking to avoid experiencing a hangover the next morning.  Did this work?  No idea.  Anybody willing to try it out?
  • The darker the stalk of celery, the stronger the flavor will be

In my culinary school days, we were all tasked with making a soup and had to do a blind draw on which soup we would make.  One of my fellow students drew Cream of Celery and I thought, “Ugh!  How boring!”.  But, to my surprise, he made a delicious and beautiful soup garnished with bias cut thin slices of celery.  

What do you do with celery?  Here’s a few interesting recipes including…. celery soda?  Yep!  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/07/celery-recipe-raw-braised_n_2536087.html

Posted by & filed under Gourmet, Local and Specialty, Meats, Product.

At our Louisville location we are fortunate enough to have an in-house chef who creates tasty, nutritious meals for us daily.  Chef Marsha has worked the restaurant scene in Louisville and worked for Creation Gardens a few years back.  She came back to us last year to head up our lunch program.  Her meals are inventive, colorful, nutritious and, most of all, delicious!  She created a recent dish that many of us just had to have the recipe for.  We thought we’d share it with you!

Garlicky Black Pepper Chicken and Black Eyed Peas Stew

 

For the Black-eyed peas:

4 bacon slices (do yourself a favor, buy the good, thick sliced bacon)

4 scallions, chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

1 celery rib, finely chopped

1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

2 (15 oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 3/4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

For the Chicken:

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts – diced

3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 cup dry white wine

Make the black-eyed peas:

Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until browned but not crisp.  Transfer bacon to a plate, then tear into small pieces.

Cook scallions, carrot, celery, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, red pepper flakes, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in the bacon fat (Yum!) over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are pale golden, about 10 minutes.  Add black-eyed peas and broth and simmer 5 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl.

Make the chicken:

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers.  Season chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Cook chicken with garlic, stirring occasionally until cooked.  Add wine and bring to a boil, then simmer 2 minutes.  Add bacon and black-eyed pea mixture and simmer until just heated through.  Discard bay leaves.

Serve however you want, but I think this would go great with some cast iron skillet cornbread.

Until next time!