As for side, I made Celery Root Puree, a recipe by Chef Toni Froio, former owner of Farmingdale House and Il Cortile. Celery root has a flavor similar to turnips, is rich in antioxidants and high in vitamin C. With almost 10% of your daily recommended dose of potassium, celery root can help lower blood pressure and risk of stroke.
For this recipe you’ll need a large celery root, 2 russet potatoes, heavy cream, butter, salt and pepper. Surprisingly, the combination of the celery root and potatoes where quite light tasting. Both the celery root and potatoes are diced into 1-inch pieces and are cooked until tender. The food processor does the work of pureeing. After pureeing, the mixture is placed in a saucepan whereupon cream, butter and seasoning are added and cooked until just boiling. It was a delightful change from mashed or sweet potatoes as an accompaniment.
My other side dish was a bit retro, spinach soufflé with cheddar cheese sauce. I can recall going to the Magic Pan Creperie at Paramus Park Mall and ordering this as a filled crepe. The recipe I use comes from The Betty Crocker Cook Book and is very easy to make. For the recipe you’ll need a 1-1/2-quart high side casserole dish (or traditional soufflé dish) fresh spinach or Swiss Chard, butter, flour, salt, pepper, milk (I used 2%), finely chopped onion, nutmeg, eggs and cream of tartar.
Making a soufflé is not daunting, it does require patience as your eggs must be separated and the whites whipped into stiff peaks. However, your guests will enjoy this heavenly dish as it makes quite an impression.
As a side note, I recently purchased at my local Whole Foods market a heritage breed roasting chicken called LaBelle Patrimoine Heritage Chickens. These chickens are raised on small farms in Pennsylvania with outdoor access and with an all-vegetable diet. You’ll find the taste a bit different that regular grocery store chicken, but cook wonderful with lots of flavor.
My apologies for not capturing pictures of my Easter meal.
By Genevieve Ko
“The Most Flavorful Easter Ham Starts on the Stove,”
The New York Times, April 8, 2022
Yield: 8 servings
Time: 1-1/4 hours
2 cups Riesling or other semi-dry white wine
1 tablespoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon whole black or green peppercorns
5 whole cloves
3 tablespoons honey
1 large onion, thickly sliced
1 Pre-sliced quarter-ham (4 to 6 pounds), drained if needed
½ packed cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
Betty Crocker’s Cookbook
Golden Press New York
Western Published Co., Inc.
Tenth Printing, 1971
Servings: 4 to 6
1-pound fresh spinach or Swiss chard*
¼ cup butter*
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tea. Salt
1/8 tea. Fresh ground pepper
1 cup milk
1 tea. Minced onion*
1 tea. Salt
1/8 tea. Nutmeg
3 eggs, separated
¾ tea. Cream of tartar
Prepare and cook spinach or Swiss chard. (I used fresh spinach that I cooked in a shallow skillet with ¼ cup or so of water.) Chop and drain thoroughly.
Heat oven to 350°. Butter 1-1/2 -quart soufflé dish or casserole. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Blend in flour, ¼ tea salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and the nutmeg.
In large mixer bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff; set aside. In a smaller mixer bowl, beat egg yolks until very thick and lemon colored; stir into white sauce mixture. Stir in spinach. Stir about ¼ egg whites into sauce mixture, gently fold into remaining egg whites.
Carefully pour into casserole. Set casserole in pan of water (1-inch deep). Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until puffed and golden and until a silver knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Serve immediately.
*I substituted fresh onion. As this recipe is from a very old book, they called for butter or margarine. However, I feel more people these days use butter more.
Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Yield: 1 cup
2 tablespoons butter*
2 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 tea. Pepper
1 cup milk
Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in ¼ teaspoon dry mustard and ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Lower heat, stirring constantly until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
Celery Root Puree
Brookdale Creative Cooking School
“An Evening with Guest Chef Toni Froio”
1 large celery root
2 large russet or Idaho potatoes
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Peel and rinse the celery root. Dice into 1-inch pieces. Cook the celery in lightly salted water until tender.
Peel and rinse the potatoes. Dice into 1-inch pieces. Cook the potatoes in lightly salted water until tender.
Puree the celery and potatoes separately in the food processor.
Combine potatoes and celery root in a saucepan set on low heat. Add the cream, butter, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.