Tag Archives: mint

Check My Pulse

I have vacation belly.  The syndrome where you start with great intentions of healthful eating while on holiday (“maybe I’ll have half a freezie every other day”) and quickly surrender to all-out gluttony.  It starts with, “Well, I can’t get these duck rillettes in Ontario so of course I should have them for breakfast on a warm croissant” and ends tragically with, “Where else can I eat licorice Nibs and McNuggets for lunch if not in Quebec?”

Which leads me to the amazingly delicious lentil and celeriac salad I made the day we returned from holiday.  Nutrition guilt led me to this pulse-based dish (also I had meant to make it the week before we left for holiday and the poor celeriac was losing all life sitting in the fridge).   Plus I’ve been dying to try some of the recipes in my new cookbook, “Plenty“. It’s the second from Yotam Ottolenghi, based on recipes from his UK restaurant and this book is all veggie.  (Which we need more of in this household.)

Without further ado, I introduce “Celeriac and Lentil Salad with Hazelnuts and Mint”.  Here is the original recipe from Ottoleghi’s Guardian column.

Celeriac: a rather knobby looking coconut exterior

You begin with about a 1.5 pd celeriac aka celery root (I forgot to take the picture BEFORE peeling, sorry).  And slice into 3/4 inch pieces.

Then you pop these into boiling water for 8-10 minutes until softened. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile you gather your lentils, some thyme and a couple bay leaves, add 3 cups water and bring to a boil.

just add goldfish

You are supposed to use Puy lentils (which stay nice and firm when cooked) but I could not find them at the bulk store and so used what I had aka “lentils in the plastic container” (which I think may have been the French lentils anyway).  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are cooked but still have bite to them (15 minutes or so).

Just to make sure the oven is not feeling left out, preheat to 275 F and toast 1/3 cup hazelnuts.  Skin on.  Cool and roughly chop.  Set aside.

Chop up some fresh mint.  Easiest to roll the leaves into a “cigar shape” and chiffonade.

Drain your lentils and while they are still hot (so that they absorb flavour) add olive oil, hazelnut oil (could not get this so substituted walnut oil), good red wine vinegar and a generous amount of salt.  Plus some fresh pepper.  Mix gently.  Add the celeriac and hazelnuts and serve warm….

…or room temperature.  Just hold off adding the hazelnuts and mint til just before serving and adjust seasoning.  You will probably need a bit more vinegar.

Lusciously healthy, this would make the best brown bag lunch ever.  With chicken McNuggets and Nibs.

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Filed under All Recipes, Cookbooks, Magazines (+recipes from), Ruminations on the Edible

So Many Damn Peaches

Planet Peach

Summer peaches.  A perfectly ripe, juicy, pain in the ass.

Why do I have to buy a whole basket of peaches?  Why can’t I buy just two or three at the farmer’s market?

Because none of the farmer’s want to deal with all those damn peaches either. “Take them urban consumers!” they shout at us. (In their heads.)

So my perfect peaches sit on the counter while  fruit flies circle and I shove slice after slice into my mouth like some uber-healthy, hot dog eating contest for the “eat local” movement.  At which point I’ve only eaten 2 1/2 peaches.

Ready for the sauce.

So how do I rescue my delicate bounty from the fate of the green bin?

Luckily, Delmonte comes to the rescue.  Peaches in syrup.  AHA!

I slice eight peaches.  I make a light syrup in a medium pot.  (4 cups water, 2 cups sugar).

Once the sugar has dissolved I add the peaches and some mint and basil leaves (my basil plant weeps with gratitude at its usefulness–the poor thing barely sprouts a leaf under my care.)

A peach of a plan.

And then I bring it all up to a simmer, pour in a shot of Triple Sec (from my margarita stash) and pull it off the stove.  Let cool and store in the fridge so you can eat them all week. On top of ice cream!  YES.

Don’t be distracted by the above picture, keep your focus on the fact that the herby-fresh syrup created from our peachy compote is great for cocktails.  Like peach infused Mojitos.

The  minty, aromatic liquid is a perfect sweetener for the limey-tart concoction.  Mash some of the fruit in there too.  God knows you have to use it up somehow.

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Filed under All Recipes, Cookbooks, Magazines (+recipes from), Ruminations on the Edible