Thursday, November 16, 2006

'Tater mania

As I was making dinner tonight, it finally hit me that we may have gone a little potato heavy in menu planning this week... oops! At least they have been in different forms and didn't taste too much like each other. So, yes we had another potato dish tonight - but it was a side this time and included a new-to-us vegetable!

For this side, Mashed Roots with Buttermilk, we had to use this funky and gnarly looking vegetable called Celeriac (AKA Celery Root). No, this is not the actual root of a celery plant, but it does have a heavy celery aroma. Along with some more Yukon Golds, this recipe also called for a Rutabaga, which we have only used once before! Instead of boiling the vegetables to cook them, this time they are steamed until falling-apart tender... this way they don't become water-logged. The vegetables are then mashed with garlic and butter just until they are starting to become smooth, but are still a little chunky. Buttermilk and seasonings are stirred in and right before serving, a couple more pats of butter are added for a touch more richness. This is a very different way to enjoy mashed potatoes, but the flavor is very clean with a mild celery background. I was afraid the celery flavor would be more pronounced, but it was a pleasant counter-point to the twang the buttermilk added. We both thought that the texture is better being more chunky than too smooth - so try not to over-mash them. I did wobble a bit when I was at the market getting the ingredients for this recipe... I was a little taken aback when I saw that Celeriac was $3.99 a pound - and as it calls for two pounds, it made for pretty darn expensive side! I noticed this was the price at several different stores as well.

So the main portion of tonight's dinner, Falafel Pitas with Goat Cheese Sauce, may look a little daunting with a long list of ingredients and instructions - but it is not so bad. I was intrigied by this recipe as it uses dried beans that you soak for a few hours... but you don't actually cook them before you continue with the recipe! I thought this brought an exceptional and more hearty texture to the falafel patties as they are baked instead of being fried. A fresh relish made from chopped plum tomatoes, cool English cucumbers, green onions, parsley, fresh lemon juice and a spicy minced serrano chile is served on top of the crisp golden patties inside a whole wheat pita. For a finishing touch, a creamy sauce of tangy yogurt, soft goat cheese and a hint of fresh garlic marries the flavors together - the relish and sauce brighten and make this dish top-notch. These two toppings will definitely be recycled and used in other recipes - very appetizing!


  1. I love falafels and yours look super delicious Joe!
    I need to buy a food processor so I can properly make baked falafels at home, they are sooo yummy!!!
    Hummm, craving falafels right now...!

  2. Oh yum - I haven't had falafel in a very long time. I've been feeling meat overload at our house lately, falafel could be just the cure for that.......

  3. Ana - I know what you mean, I use my food processor all the time now!

    Alysha - We *really* liked this! I was surprised!