They used to say (whoever they were ) that you could lose weight by eating celery. They said that you used up more calories chewing and digesting it than it had.
I don’t know if anyone ever proved or disproved that theory (but I do have my doubts).
At any rate, this crunchy cruciferous vegetable is worth our notice, since it finds its place in a myriad of side dishes and soups and salads. And there’s an added benefit: You can eat it either raw or cooked.
Some recipes call for the stalks only. That’s okay — you can save the leaves, chop them up and add to any soup, salad or casserole; chop even more finely and throw them in your meat ball mixture, into tuna patties, etc.
If you do it this way, the kids might not even notice they’re actually eating “vegetables.”
(Dairy or Pareve)
Often vegetable soups want you to add a roux for a thicker consistency. This one doesn’t — the pureed vegetables thicken the soup. The soup will be tastier if you do use butter and a good-quality vegetable stock, but water can also be used.
1 bunch fresh celery
1 medium potato
2 Tbsps. butter or olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium onion, peeled and cubed
1⁄2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 quart vegetable stock (or water)
salt and (white) pepper
Chop celery into pieces, about 1⁄2-inch to 1-inch thick. Peel and cube the potato.
Heat butter or olive oil over low to medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pot.
Add celery, garlic and onion, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is slightly translucent, stirring constantly.
Add the wine and cook for another minute or two until the wine seems reduced by about half.
Add the stock and the potato. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until celery and potatoes can easily be pierced with a knife.
Remove from heat and puree carefully with an immersion blender.
Bring to a simmer again, adding more stock or water to adjust the thickness, if desired.
Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
Serves 6 to 8.
Almond Tree Cabbage Salad
1 medium head green cabbage
2 stalks celery
1 large green pepper
1 medium cucumber
1⁄2 cup minced green onions
1 cup mayonnaise
1 and 1⁄2 oz. sliced, blanched almonds (divided)
Trim, rinse and dry all the vegetables.
Slice cabbage coarsely. Dice celery, green pepper and cucumber. Combine with cabbage. Chill in a covered container for at least two hours.
Immediately before serving, combine green onions, mayonnaise and half the almonds. Mix with vegetables. Sprinkle with remaining almonds. Serve immediately.
Old-Fashioned Waldorf Salad
1 bunch celery (stalks only)
3 large Delicious apples
juice of 1 lemon
1 large can cubed pineapple
3 and 1⁄2 oz. shelled walnuts
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise (regular or reduced calories)
Trim, rinse and dry the celery stalks.
Slice the celery into 1⁄2-inch slices. Peel and core apples; cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
Drain pineapple well. Chop walnuts finely. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and combine with mayonnaise.
Chill, covered, for at least 2 hours.
2 bunches celery
3 Tbsps. soy sauce
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsps. honey
1⁄2 cup oil
2 tsps. oregano leaves, chopped
Trim, rinse and dry celery. Slice into 1⁄2-inch slices. Blanch in boiling water for two minutes. Drain and plunge immediately into cold water for one minute. Drain well.
Combine remaining ingredients (except for oregano) and pour over celery. Chill for at least 6 hours. Sprinkle with oregano leaves.
Rivka Tal is a former Minnesotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 46 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at: [email protected] .