One of the goals I had in mind for this month was to cook at least one food we've never had before. Another goal is to try to prepare some recipes from my pitifully neglected stash of vegan cookbooks. I drug a bunch of the out a few days ago and while looking through them, I found a soup recipe that called for celery root, which we've never (knowingly) had and French lentils which we've not cooked either (although, not quite as novel because a lentil is pretty much a lentil, in my book).
French lentils, if you haven't seen them, look like this:
Kind of marbled and green. And smaller than red lentils. (Actually, probably a similar size to a whole red lentil, which I think are typically split.) They definitely don't take as long to cook as normal brown lentils. The cookbook said they are lower in starch than brown lentils. And they definitely have a discernibly different flavor.
Celery root, if you haven't seen one, looks like this:
Strange, gnarled looking things, with the beginnings of celery sprouting from their tops. Peeling these was easier than I expected. But, then again, I was expecting that task to be rather difficult. It was easy with a knife and didn't "waste" as much root as I anticipated.
Inside, celery roots are white and semi-spongy - they remind me of parsnips a little bit. And they have a distinctly, rather strong, celery-like smell. Or rather, they imparted such a scent to my hands, which still smell, even now.
The texture of the cooked chunks of celery root was not what I was expecting, at all. They seemed to take in quite a bit of liquid and were light and juicy. Maybe like turnips? I'm not really sure why I think that, because I have no idea about what texture a cooked turnip has. (Just now reading at wikipedia - they are also called 'turnip-rooted celery', so maybe?)
Anyway, for dinner, I used these two new-to-us foods in "Creamy French Lentils with Celery Root and Garlic", from The Complete Vegan Cookbook.
A perfect soup for this cold, wet, horrible weather we're having.