Getting Botanical with Celery
We cannot believe that there is only one more week of CSA after this! We’ve been thoroughly enjoying the rare, warm, sunny October days out in the fields. Any October day in Oregon that doesn’t require full rain gear is a very good day. This week you have celery in your box. You’ve already received celery root – celery’s staut, hardy cousin – but I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some other vegetables in the celery family who all have similar flavor profiles, growth habits, and flower structures, known botanically as the inflorescence.
The celery family is known as Apiaceae, and is home to carrots, parsnips, parsley roots, parsley, cilantro, dill, fennel, lovage, and other such aromatic plants that don’t grow as well in our climate such as caraway and cumin. The familiy is also home to various weeds such as queen anne’s lace, poison hemlock, and cow parsnip, a tall weed that you find growing near water in Oregon.
One leading feature that ties this plant family together is the flower structure, known as an umbel. And to follow along with our theme of fractals from last week, Apieaceae flowers are often made of compound umbels—an umbel made of umbels. When you see an umbel, that you will now able to site ID a plant family! Take a peak into the world and see if you can spot Apiaceae on your plate or on the ground.
Best, Laura Bennett
Table of Box Contents
- Celery—First of the season folks, woo! Don’t believe the gossip about celery taking more energy to chew than you get from eating it; they’re blasphemous lies. Most vegetables decrease in their nutritive content when cooked, but celery retains most of its nutrition and is therefore a great addition to soups and stir-fries, in addition to being crunchy and refreshing raw.
- Delicata Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Cauliflower—This week you’ll be receiving either a green or white cauliflower.
- Bunched Carrots
- Swiss Chard
- Green Bell Pepper
- Sweet Colored Bell Pepper—Enjoy the last of these gems!
- Leeks—Buttery onion magic
- Nicola Potatoes
Roasted Butternut Squash Coconut Curry Soup/Puree
Adapted from Food52 recipe:
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil, plus more if needed
- 2 1/2 medium Butternut Squashes, cut in half and seeded
- 2 pinches Salt & Pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 2 large Yellow Onions, chopped
- 1 Sweet Peppper, seeded and chopped
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 2 inches Fresh Ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce, naturally brewed (tamari)
- 1 tbsp Red Curry Paste
- 2 tsp Garam Masala (preferably) or Curry Powder
- 14 oz Coconut Milk
- 2 cups low/no sodium Vegetable Broth
- 1 handful Cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 375° F and coat a large cookie sheet with olive oil.
Sprinkle each half of butternut squash with salt and pepper and lay cut side down on cookie sheet. Bake for about an hour until fork tender. Let cool for a bit and peel skin off, I used an old grapefruit spoon, but you could use a paring knife. Cut into chunks.
While butternut squash is roasting you can get started on the soup. In a large heavy bottomed pot heat up coconut oil at medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and sauté till onion turns translucent (about 8 minutes). Add the red pepper and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about another 10 minutes (stirring and taking care not to burn).
Add in soy sauce, red curry paste, garam masala/curry powder and stir to coat. Add the coconut milk, veggie broth, and 2 1/2 of the roasted butternut squashes and stir to combine. I used my potato masher to further mash up the butternut squash.
Bring to a boil and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Puree if desired in batches in blender. Return to pot and add extra broth depending on how thick/thin you want it to be and season to taste. When ready to serve, sprinkle the cilantro over it.
Adapted from Food52 recipe:
- 1 bunch Rainbow Chard or Swiss Chard, stems and leaves separated, with stems chopped into 2- to 3-inch pieces and leaves chopped into thirds
- 1 tbsp extra virgin Olive Oil (or butter)
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1/4 cup Chicken Stock
- 1/4 cup White Wine
- 2 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Honey
- 2 tbsp Toasted Pine Nuts (optional)
Sauté the chard stems in the olive oil and a little salt until they start to break down, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the stock and wine and let them cook down for about 5 to 6 minutes, then add the chard leaves. Once they have wilted, add the vinegar and honey.
Let it cook down until the liquid has mostly evaporated and the chard is soft. You can add some toasted pine nuts over the top if you want some added crunch.