Celeriac ‘Bread’ Sauce

This sauce is a riff on English bread sauce, which is a savory sauce that is made with milk and onion thickened with bread or breadcrumbs and butter. Celeriac is the thickener here, making this not only a sauce but a side dish as well. This can be served either warm or cold to accompany main course dishes, such as chicken or pork, or as part of a vegetarian meal. The spices and herbs listed are those used in the traditional bread sauce, though any number and combinations of spices and herbs can be used, depending on the nature of the meal. Again, other roots, such as kohlrabi, turnips, even beets, can sub for or combine with the celeriac.

1 small onion, peeled
4 cloves
2 1/2 c milk or a combination of milk and cream; or milk substitute
2 bay leaves, coarsely crumbled
1/4 t mace
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed, left whole
2 T butter
3 c or so peeled, diced celeriac
salt and (white) pepper, to taste

1. Stud peeled onion with the cloves. Put into a sauce pan with the milk, crumbled bay leaves, mace, and garlic. Bring just to the boil, then remove from heat and allow to infuse for about 10 minutes.

2. In a large skillet or saucepan, melt the butter. Add the celeriac and stir to coat with the butter. Strain the milk mixture over the celeriac (carefully!). Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the celeriac is very tender. The time will depend on the size of the pieces. if you like, you can remove the cloves from the onion, chop the onion and add to the celeriac. If the milk separates or curdles, do not despair.

3. Remove the skillet or saucepan from the heat. Transfer to a food processor or blender and purée to desired consistency. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm, at room temperature or cold.

Sauerkraut Hummus

Sauerkraut hummus! If you know people who claim not to like raw sauerkraut, give them this to try. There’s a good chance they’ll change their mind, at least for this recipe. This hummus, like a hummus, is versatile. Good as a dip, as a spread on sandwiches, over cooked grains, pasta, as a side sauce with cooked meats and/or roasted veggies, or just on its own. I think that you could use other beans here, though then it would be called Sauerkraut/Bean Dip rather than hummus. Still good!

2 c cooked chickpeas, drained
3/4 c raw sauerkraut, plus 2 T sauerkraut juice (or 2 T chickpea cooking liquid)
2 T tahini
2 T chopped, fresh herb or 1 t dried herb; plus extra fresh herb for garnish
1 – 2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T prepared mustard
1/2 – 1 t ground black pepper, or to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and whiz to a smooth, hummus consistency–or not, depending on your preference. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with some fresh chopped herb if you have some. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Teriyaki Beets

In this recipe, you take roasted or other ways cooked beets and/or other root vegetables and finish them in a teriyaki sauce. Teriyaki sauce is a sweetened soy sauce and rice wine (mirin) mixture that is an all-purpose marinade, basting sauce and dipping sauce. Variations abound. I’m using the one I make most often. You can use store-bought teriyaki sauce, but by making your own you can control the amount of sugar. This is relevant especially if you’re using beets, which are quite sweet when roasted. You probably won’t need to use all the sauce the recipe makes. It keeps really well in the fridge. if you don’t have mirin and are using sake or white wine, you may want the full amount of sugar.

5 or 6 medium beets
1/2 c soy sauce, or 1/4 c soy sauce and 1/4 c water, or 1/2 c Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/4 c mirin (rice wine) or sake or sweet vermouth or white wine
1 – 2 T sugar or honey or other sweetener
2 T minced garlic
2 T peeled, minced fresh ginger
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste, optional
1 – 2 T butter or vegetable oil
chopped green onions, optional

1. Roast or cook beets according to your method. I wrap them in foil and roast in a 400ºF oven for about an hour. Let cool, then peel, or not. Trim ends and slice or dice.

2. Meanwhile combine remaining ingredients except the butter or oil, and green onions in a small saucepan. Simmer until slightly thickened and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

3. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the sliced beets and toss to coat. Add enough teriyaki sauce to coat the bottom of the skillet and to coat the beets. Simmer until heated through and the sauce has been absorbed by the beets and/or mostly evaporated.  Sprinkle with green onions and serve.

Tomato Apple Pasta Sauce

Tomato and apple is not the first combination that comes to mind for pasta sauce. It works, with the apples smoothing out the acidity of the tomatoes and adding body to the tomato sauce. If you have already-prepared tomato sauce on hand, simply add the grated apple and cook as per the recipe. I tried this with apples peeled and unpeeled and liked the unpeeled version better. The apples peels need longer to cook to become softer. Your call. While you’re making the sauce, prepare your pasta of choice, using 3/4 – 1 pound for this sauce.

3 c canned tomatoes, (plum tomatoes if you can find them), undrained
4 T vegetable oil
1 c chopped onion
1 c shredded carrot
1 clove garlic, minced
2 t dried herb, such as oregano or basil
salt and pepper, to taste (check the salt content of the canned tomatoes before adding salt)
2 – 3 medium apples, or about a pound’s worth
1 c grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, plus extra for serving
2 T extra-virgin olive oil

1. Purée tomatoes in a blender or food processor, or not.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. If you didn’t purée the tomatoes, break them up with your stirring utensil as they cook down. Add the dried herb, some salt, and pepper. Heat to a simmer.

3. Meanwhile, peel and core apples. Coarsely shred and add to the sauce as you do so. Return sauce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and the apples shreds are tender

4. When the pasta is done, drain, reserving some of the pasta water. Gently add to sauce and toss for a minute or so. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the grated cheese. Drizzle over the olive oil, toss again, and serve, extra grated cheese.

Roasted Beets with Potato Skordalia

Skordalia is a Greek sauce/dip/purée/spread that is made with either mashed potatoes or soaked bread and lots of garlic and olive oil. It’s smooth, unctuous and flavorful. The following recipe is, of course, made with potatoes. It takes mashed potatoes and elevates them to pesto status. Besides a dressing for beets, try it with other cooked vegetables, or as a side to meat dishes. For a super carb hit, slather it on toasted baguette slices! You will get a smoother skordalia if you peel the potatoes, which is the more authentic method of preparation for this dish.

4 beets, trimmed
1 lb or so potatoes, peeled or not, preferably Russets, but most varieties work here
6 – 7 cloves peeled garlic, or to your preference
1/4 – 1/2 c toasted, ground or finely chopped walnuts or almonds, optional but traditional
1 c extra-virgin olive oil
3 T fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
salt, to taste (some pepper if you like, but it’s not traditional)

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Wrap beets in foil, place on a baking sheet and put into oven. Roast until tender, when a knife easily pierces a beet. Remove from heat, allow to cool, then peel and slice. Set aside. Or roast beets according to your own preference.

2. Meanwhile, boil potatoes in (salted) water until tender. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water. Mash until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

3. In a blender, combine the garlic, nuts, olive oil and lemon juice. Whizz until smooth. Slowly pour into mashed potatoes, stirring until well incorporated and smooth. Season to taste with some salt (and pepper, if you wish). Alternatively, you can finely mince the garlic or make a paste of it. Stir into the mashed potatoes along with the nuts. Then slowly pour in the oil, and after, slowly pour in the lemon juice. Season to taste.

4. Set sliced beets on a serving platter and mound the skordalia alongside.

Roasted Roots with Gribiche Dressing

Gribiche is a mayonnaise-type sauce made with hard-boiled egg(s) rather than with raw eggs. It has a tartar sauce-like consistency. It is most famously used as a dressing for steamed or roasted asparagus, but can complement many vegetable dishes. Here they dress a variety of roasted root vegetables.

assorted roots, peeled if necessary, chopped and/or sliced
vegetable oil, as needed
salt and pepper, to taste

Gribiche Sauce:
3 – 4 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
2 T white vinegar
2 t mustard, Dijon if you have it
1 T drained capers, coarsely chopped if large
1 or 2 gherkins or small pickles, chopped, optional (but good)
2 T chopped onion or shallot
3 – 4 T chopped, fresh parsley and/or other herb(s)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 – 3/4 extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Toss roots with oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast until tender, roughly 30 minutes.

2. Prepare sauce: Remove the yolk from one of the eggs. Put into a medium sized bowl and mash. Add vinegar and combine. Now you can add each following ingredients but not the oil individually, or you can just toss them all in and combine well. Slowly add 1/2 c of the olive oil, a slow dribble until the gribiche is emulsifying, then in a steady stream. Some people just pour the oil in. Your call. Add more oil if it’s not mayo-like enough.

3. Press the remaining eggs plus egg white through a sieve or grate them. Stir into the dressing with a fork. Taste for seasonings.

4. When the roots are roasted to a delectable tenderness, remove from oven and transfer to a serving bowl or dish. In the bowl, fold in three-quarters of the gribiche, adding more if you think it’s needed. For the plate, pour the gribiche over the vegetables.