Winter Recipes – December 18, 2016: Quick Celeriac Slaw and Cooking Dried Legumes. No Soaking Needed!


While you probably won’t find celeriac in your average grocery store, it is worth hunting down at a winter farm stand or market. It’s low in calories, high in fiber, has a lovely crunch when raw, and a mellow “celeryish/almost but not quite turnipy” flavor that deepens when roasted. And, it Before storing in the fridge, remove any attached greens and store them separately to use as garnish or in salads. Peel using a sturdy chef’s or paring knife to cut off ALL the tough, fibrous skin. And yes, this is one homely vegetable!

To use raw, grate or julienne for slaws, salads, or to give a crunch to a sandwich or a cooked soup, stew, or casserole dish. You can also roast it in chunks, slice thin to bake into “chips,” or even slice it to make “French fries!” You can also cook it by boiling or steaming and serve seasoned with butter and herbs or puree into a soup. NOTE: After prepping, toss with a little lemon in water to keep from browning if not cooking or putting in a vinegar or lemon based salad right away.

Quick Celeriac Slaw

Simply combined equal amounts of grated celeriac, carrots, and apple, and then add finely chopped white or red onion to taste. That’s it! You must of course peel the cereriac and onion, but just scrub the carrot and grate the whole thing, and rinse the apple, quarter to remove the core, and grate the flesh holding the skin side of the apple until you are lef with just the skin in your hand for disposal. So easy, healthy, and most important, REALLY refreshingly tasty!

Boston baked beans are great! But what else to do with legumes? Charley of Baer’s Best Beans, whose legumes we featured this month, recommends eating the Black Coco or other dark beans right out of the oven or room temperature with a dash of tamari or soy sauce. We tried it at the market. Delicious! You can also toss any kind of cooked bean into a green or veggie salad, mash for a bean dip or spread or as a base for veggie burgers,  or pureed for a soup or stew. Plus, you can always cook a batch and freeze to use later in soups, stews, dips, or spreads.

But, what if you want to cook and use the beans now but forgot to soak them? No fear. You do NOT NEED TO SOAK DRIED BEANS BEFORE COOKING. Really! And, let’s clear up the “when to salt issue, while we are here. Multiple studied published in the likes of the Journal of Food Science and the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, as well as experiments by the folks at the Cook’s Illustrated Test Kitchen have shown salt to decrease cooking time and even produce beans with a softer skin. The salt also makes your beans taste better, as the salt penetrates the whole bean, rather than only flavoring the surface. But, salt before or after, here it how to cook beans without having to soak beforehand.

No Soak Method for Cooking Dried Beans
Preheat oven to 350.
Put 1 pound of dried beans in a Dutch oven or other heavy ovenproof pot or casserole, cover with 1 to 1 ½ inch water. Add 1 tsp salt per pound beans, cover tightly, and cook for about 1 hour and fifteen minutes or until most of the water is absorbed and the beans are tender. NOTE:  Check beans after 45 minutes to stir and add water if needed, then check/stir occasionally until done to desired tenderness.

Don’t need to cook a pound of beans? Cook only what you need! For example, put 1/4 pound in a quart corning ware with 1 cup water and 1/4 tsp salt. Cover and cook the as recipe above directs.