Monday, December 27, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want Winter Salad

...But If You Try Sometime, You Just Might Find, You Get What You Need

The Rolling Stones have been in heavy rotation on the kitchen stereo. The girls absolutely love "Wild Horses," Coral requests it endlessly (literally) and Colby concurs with a beatific smile when it comes on. My favorite lately is "You Can't Always Get What You Want." I think it is a very Buddhist reminder of the way life goes. I was humming it to myself when Craig brought home a new stove.

Craig's dream stove, the one he visits at the local appliance store and rhapsodizes on all the things it would make possible in our modest kitchen, is a six burner, 36" gas cooktop, by Viking. That being far down on our list of priorities with things like insulation ahead of it, he focused on not what he wanted but what he needed. He scoured the resale spots and found a perfect little four burner gas stove, exactly like the standard issue in NYC apartments, to stand side by side with our 1970s electric stove. Eight burners! Gas and electric! Each stove was bought used, each for about $100.- dollars. He was in heaven. Thanksgiving for fifteen guests was what pushed him to action, and it has been a fun and helpful addition to our tiny kitchen-scape.

Every time I look at these modestly handsome siblings, side by side in the kitchen, I start to sing, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need." There are so many, many places in life this is true, this very moment in fact, trying to write with both girls hanging over me, demanding attention, is not the writing moment I would want, but I need the time, so this will do.`

Not quite having what you want, but what you need, happens all the time in cooking. We had friends over recently and Craig set out to make a celery root salad. Realizing mid way that he did not have enough celery root, he looked around the kitchen for what to add to extend the salad. He decided to try a couple of Gold Rush apples. The sweet, tart and slightly chalky apples were a pleasing counter balance to the earthy nuttiness of the celery root. We had what we needed, and it was great.

A Winter Salad

Celery root
Tart apples (such as Gold Rush) 
White (chardonnay or champagne) wine vinegar
Olive oil
Sea salt, powdered cumin & black pepper to taste

Wash and peel celery root and apples. Grate celery root and apples on the largest hole of a box grater. Amounts are about 2/3 celery root to 1/3 apples. Add salt, a small dash of cumin and pepper to taste.  Mix well with hands. Splash in a glug or two of vinegar and about the same of olive oil. Mix well. Let rest about half hour, the grated vegetable and fruit absorb the dressing nicely. And serve!

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