Archive for Special Occaisons

Roasted Celeriac with Mushroom Gravy

It’s Christmas later this week, and when you don’t eat meat, there’s always a question: what do you eat? What’s the centrepiece of your meal?

Growing up, it was always a turkey or a ham. In my younger days on my own, it was cornish game hen, and one time, a duck.

Over the past years since I’ve stopped eating meat again, I’ve mostly spend Christmas with friends or family, and that’s meant I mostly just eat everything else other than the turkey, and I’m 100% okay with that. This year, however, I’m likely to be eating alone.

Roasted Celeriac with Mushroom Gravy

Of course, you could always try one of the three or four “holiday roast” products available on the market. They’re mostly made of soy or seitan and are usually stuffed with some kind of stuffing so that they look like a turkey breast roulade. My experiences with these have been mostly disappointing (dry), though I’m told the Very Good Butchers do a good one.

So what does that leave? Some kind of centrepiece vegetable. A roasted cauliflower would probably do nicely. But sometime around American Thanksgiving, I was watching Jamie Oliver and he did a whole roasted celeriac.

I was curious. It certainly looks good; it has that showstopping look you want when you’re bringing it to the table.

Though clearly, if you are not a fan of celery, this is not for you.

I set about to try it, and completely veganize it while I was at it (Jamie’s recipe is vegetarian). The mushroom gravy is really, really good, and the roasted celeriac needs it, so don’t skip it. Jamie serves his with pearl barley, but honestly, I might just go a more traditional route and serve it with mashed potatoes or yams.

Be warned–just like your turkey which you have to start three days in advance, this takes time. Not three days, but it’s a big, tough vegetable, and it needs a full two hours in the oven. And like your turkey, your house will smell delicious and Christmassy before it is done.

whole roasted celeriac

Whole Roasted Celeriac with Mushroom Gravy

(recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver)

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole celeriac, about 1 kg or a little more
  • fresh thyme
  • 6 bay leaves (fresh if possible)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 1-2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 cup chopped greens: kale or spinach

Method

  1. Scrub the celeriac well with a brush to get any dirt out of all the nooks and crannies. Line an 8″ square pan with two overlapping sheets of aluminum foil and place the celeriac in the middle. Rub it all over with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bash up the garlic, and throw it into the foil packet with the thyme and 4 bay leaves. Top the celeriac with the miso paste and more olive oil, then wrap the entire thing up tight. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for two hours. If you like, you can peel back the foil 15 minutes before you take it out of the oven, to get some colour on the top. The sauce/gravy will take about 15 to minutes to make.
  2. Start by chopping the onion and mincing the final two cloves of garlic. Place a large pan over medium heat and heat up a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.
  3. Slice the mushrooms and add them to the pan, adding additional olive oil if needed. Let them cook down about 5 minutes, then deglaze the pan with a little white wine. Add 1 cup of stock, the remaining bay leaves, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the whole thing to reduce for about 5-10 minutes, until thickened.
  4. Now add the coconut milk, the mustard and stir it in, as well as the greens. Allow the whole thing to cook down together for another few minutes, adding additional stock if it gets too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Remove the celeriac from the oven and place it on a pretty plate. Pour the gravy over top and around the celeriac. Slice the celeriac at the table and serve with the mushroom gravy.

Blueberry Goat Cheese Crostini

Feels a bit weird to be writing a party recipe when there are no parties this year.

Party of one? or two? Virtual parties? Next year?

Maybe there’s something to be said for celebrating the little things this year. Like I have this bottle of wine I’ve been saving forever for “a special occasion.” Maybe a special occasion can be Tuesday. I mean, our expectations are much, much lower this year. Just surviving a random Tuesday should be cause to celebrate, no?

Blueberry Goat Cheese Crostini

Also, this recipe is super simple to make. So that makes getting to the celebrating part that much easier and faster, and I’m here for it.

Part of the reason I love this recipe is because it uses local ingredients and ones that are easy to find any time of the year. I elected to use frozen blueberries here, because even when they’re not in season, the frozen ones are still really good. I don’t know about you, but I’m cooking way more from freezer and pantry since the pandemic; buying more stuff in bulk so I don’t need to go to the grocery store as often.

You might think of blueberries as a sweet food, and you wouldn’t be wrong. I certainly put them in my smoothie every day (again, frozen, because they last a long time and are super healthy). But blueberries can also be savoury, as I have used them here.

Crostini is just fancy toast. Here, I’ve topped it with some local goat cheese (my faves are Milner Valley in Langley and the Farm House in Harrison) and a savoury local BC Blueberry compote.

Maybe it sounds weird? But it is really, really delicious. You have the good crusty bread, and then the tangy, creamy goat cheese, and the sweet-sour of the blueberry compote. You might not be able to serve it at a party, but you can serve it to your mouth (where it can party). Oh boy, that was bad. Sorry, not sorry?

Blueberry Compote with Chevre

Blueberry Goat Cheese Crostini

For the compote:

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegear
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp grainy mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the crostini

  • 1 baguette
  • chevre
  • additional rosemary for garnish

Method:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, place about 1/2-1 tsp oil. Add the onions and sauté for about 5-10 minutes, until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the blueberries, stir well, and allow to cook down for about another 5 minutes or so. Add the balsamic vinegar, rosemary and the sugar, and stir.
  3. Add the spices and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Set aside.
  4. Slice the baguette and drizzle each slice with a little olive oil. Toast either in the oven/toaster oven or in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Place the toasts on the plate, and schmear each one with a dollop of chevre. Dollop a teaspoon of the blueberry compote on top and garnish with a little sprig of rosemary to serve.

 

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