Sandy's Food For Thought: “Making It” As You Go

By Sandy McCall



You may have time to add some of the additional easy recipes I have given you here, or not. You can buy ingredients in the store or make more of your own. It’s a choice.


Today I started with fresh celery from my garden, or it’s also easy to pick up celery at the store. I always recommend that you use organic.


Here’s my recipe for easy Celery-Pecan Salad with Fresh Blueberries. One of my favorites.


Celery-Pecan Salad with Blueberries


Salad:

12 stalks celery

2/3 c pecans, toasted*

2/3 c fresh blueberries


Dressing:

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil or pecan oil

1-2 t honey

Pinch of sea salt and white pepper (black pepper works too)


Clean and take strings out of celery and chop into bite-size pieces.


Mix all ingredients together for dressing and whisk. (Or mix in a blender)


Pour dressing over the celery and refrigerate for about an hour.


Preheat oven to 350°


Spread pecans on baking sheet and toast for 5-7 minutes or until you smell the aroma or they are lightly browned. *Pecans have a fuller flavor when toasted.


Add pecans and blueberries to celery salad, stir and serve. Enjoy!


Even though celery powder and celery salt are not used in this recipe, I thought it would be fun to share this technique with you since it’s so easy to make from the part of the celery that many throw away or compost. Waste not, want not!


Did you know that you could use the leftover celery leaves to make celery powder or salt? Or try using celery leaves as a substitute when you make pesto. I often cook with celery seed, but celery powder or celery salt is also easy to have on hand with this recipe.


Celery Powder or Celery Salt


Preheat your oven to lowest possible setting. My oven is 170° convection. Or use a dehydrator if you prefer.


Wash and dry celery leaves and other celery bits and pieces. You can reduce the drying time by chopping the stalks into smaller pieces.


For the oven method, place the celery leaves and stalks on a rack sitting over a baking sheet and place it in the preheated oven.


Check occasionally and remove dry, brittle pieces, leaving the rest of the celery pieces to continue drying until brittle.


Once all of the leaves and stalks are fully dry, grind them up in a high-powered blender or spice grinder until you obtain a fine powder. Celery leaves can also be easily pulverized with a mortar and pestle. If using stalk bits, I find it much easier to use a spice grinder or high-powered blender.


Store the homemade celery powder in a well-sealed container to keep moisture out, and preferably out of direct sunlight.


For Celery Salt, just combine equal amounts of celery powder with sea salt. Store in a sealed container in a cool, dark place.


Then you might consider making this easy Red Wine Vinegar. Do I hear you grumbling, “I can’t do that?” Perhaps you don’t know how easy this can be? I love this red wine vinegar.


If you are making the celery salad today, you can use your favorite store-bought red wine vinegar and make the homemade version for the future as it takes time to ferment. Trust me, it will be worth the wait. The quality, richness of flavor and color will be apparent!


Homemade Red Wine Vinegar


1 cup *unpasteurized organic apple cider vinegar (*ACV-Bragg’s)

2 cups organic red wine (make sure you like the flavor of the wine)


*Typical pasteurized vinegar does not contain probiotics, so look for ‘unpasteurized’ on the label. (If you prefer, you can research or ask me for a method made with purchased “mother” and water.)


Put the wine and ACV into a glass jar or crock and cover with a piece of cheesecloth that is then secured with a rubber band to hold the cloth in place.


Then leave the jar in a warm spot for several weeks and gently stir the contents occasionally to keep it mixed. Start tasting the mixture after 4-6 weeks. When it tastes like red wine vinegar, it is ready.


If you want to keep making this red wine vinegar, remove the amount you want to use now and replace that same amount with more wine. It will be ready again in about a week. You can continue to add wine and make more red wine vinegar as desired.


Trial Batch: You can make a trial batch if you prefer by using 3 Tablespoons ACV and 1 cup red wine and the directions above. Start tasting in 3-4 weeks for the trial batch.


NOTES:

Similar to all fermented foods, red wine vinegar contains probiotic bacteria

Red wine vinegar also contains trace amounts of minerals including iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium





Sandy McCall’s day job is working as the Broker/Owner of Southern Life Realty. When she’s not being the

“mad scientist” in the kitchen or loving-up her cat, dogs or chickens, she enjoys being a Food Writer …

• Facebook Blog: “Sandy’s Food For Thought

• Food Writer: “Sandy’s Food For Thought” at 50PlusLivingWNC.com

• Food Writer: WholeLifeChallenge.com

For Foodie questions, email SandysFoodForThought@gmail.com


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