Posts Tagged ‘Urban Pear’

Seasonal eats: Winter kale stir-fry & celery root purée

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Photo of kale: Flickr, cJw314’s photostream

My March 16 post featured Chef Ben Baird’s recipes for coconut-crusted cod and tomato broth from Chef Ben Baird of the Urban Pear. While those dishes can be served on their own, Chef Baird paired them with two comforting winter vegetable concoctions: celery root purée and winter kale, mushroom and green onion stir-fry.  If you’re preparing the four dishes together, give yourself about 1.5 hours from start to finish. Quantities will serve two people.

About the chef

Ben Baird is chef and co-owner at The Urban Pear restaurant on Second Avenue and the Ottawa STREAT Gourmet food truck, one of 18 new food trucks and carts approved by the City of Ottawa last month. Starting in May, Ottawa STREAT Gourmet will serve fresh, local, seasonal fare on the north side of Queen, west of O’Connor.

About the ingredients

Baird notes that the celery root and garlic he used in the purée came from Rideau Pines Farm and have been in his cold storage since November (he perked up the celery root by putting it in ice water for 20 minutes before cooking).  “The kale came from my local grocer – Nicastro — but could have been grown locally.  I source my mushrooms from Le Coprin which grows them year-round in Chelsea. “

Benefits of celery root and kale

Celery root, also called celeriac, is a knobby, hairy vegetable with a mild celery flavour and a potato-like texture. You can roast, stew, blanch or mash it, or add it, sliced, to soups and casseroles.  As a root vegetable, it stores well, making it an ideal choice for fall and winter eating. Celery root is a good source of dietary fibre, Vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese, and an excellent source of Vitamins C and K, phosphorus and potassium.

Kale is trendy these days and it’s easy to understand why. Not only is it simple to prepare –  just blanch and steam, or stir-fry – it’s a milder tasting, super-nutritious alternative to spinach. A member of the cabbage family, kale is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and a good source of fibre, protein, thiamin, folate and iron. It’s also packed with Vitamins A, C, K and B6, as well as calcium, potassium and other minerals.

Celery root purée

celery root

4 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 tbsp butter (optional)

2 tbsp milk or cream (for dairy-free, use vegetable broth)

salt and pepper

Peel and wash celery root and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Put celery root and garlic cloves in salted boiling water and gently simmer until celery root is fork- tender. Strain and put in food processor (garlic included).

While the processor is running, add butter and milk or cream and purée until very smooth (5-10 minutes). 

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Return purée to pot, cover and leave in a warm place until ready to plate.  If needed, put it over low heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Winter kale, mushroom and green onion stir-fry

½ bunch kale, washed and stem removed

2 cups mushrooms

1 bunch green onion, cut in 1-inch lengths

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp ginger, finely chopped

2 tbsp preserved lemon, skins only, finely chopped (available at most Middle Eastern grocery stores, or but make them yourself,* but allow about 2 months for the lemons to ripen)

oil for sautéing

*There are lots of resources online, including YouTube videos.

In a large hot frying pan or wok, pour in enough cooking oil to just grease the bottom of the pan.  Add mushrooms and cook until golden.

Add green onion, garlic, ginger and preserved lemon and cook for about a minute.

Add kale and toss well.  Put a lid on pan and let the kale steam itself.  Season and set aside until ready to serve.

Celery root  photo: Flickr, Mel Green