Sunday, April 13, 2014

Celery Root Salad

I nearly followed the recipe for celery root remoulade (pg. 97 in Roots), just substituting Greek yogurt for the sour cream, celery leaves for the parsley, dill pickles for the cornichons, adding some chopped celery stalk and omitting the tarragon, and it was very good.
I want to try and make a celery root (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum, a.k.a. celariac) soup sometime this year.  I have a very hard time even envisioning a creamy celery root soup because the roots (swollen hypocotyls, according to wikipedia) have the flavor of the stalks with an entirely different texture.  It's a bit disconcerting to me. The stalks are from a different variety than the roots.  The species is in the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae); the parsley and carrot family.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Buying burdock made me giggle, as it felt simultaneously foolish and rebellious to be paying for roots of a weed-- particularly one my father so hates.
Following the directions in Roots, I parboiled matchstick size pieces.
And they were still basically wood.
So I chopped them up in the food processor and made lentil miso burdock soup (inspired by, but not actually following, several different recipes in the book).  It tasted like lentil miso soup with ground up boiled toothpicks.
I might try again some time, but I'm not running out to do so.
Burdock, by the way, is the taproot of Arctium, a weed in the Asteraceae.  The hooked projections of the burrs once caught in curly dog fur are allegedly the inspiration for Velcro.  I understand that young leaves are also edible, although also not tasty, and various diets proclaim the roots to be purifying and super-healthy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's the snot on the dress pants

Nobody warns you how much more you need to wash your professional clothes.
Sure, anybody conscious has heard stories about babies and their abilities to spew bodily fluids with great gusto and at odd angles. And obviously little kids and Oklahoma red dirt combine for some fantastic stains.  But nobody tells you that, by the time your kids are running around and keeping most fluids where they belong, you will still be doing extra laundry (or never ever wearing your actual professional clothes) because your kids hug you and want to be held, you won't even notice how much you've been snotted upon, and dried mucus shows up shockingly well on black pants.

I've spent a great deal of time recently noting where my time goes and thinking about all the little things that nobody knows are part of my jobs (as teacher, scientist, mother, and me).  I've enumerated many of them in blog posts in my head, from the obvious but overlooked (the paperwork) to the somewhat surprising (I recently spent an hour helping a student, neither in my class or my department, figure out what to wear for a trip to the National Academy of Sciences).  At the moment, however, this has mostly just started to make me wonder about all of the things that everyone else does that would surprise me.

Where does your time go that "wasn't exactly in the job description"?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Five days of peaches

The speed of spring is sometimes delightfully dizzying.  One moment (say, March 30) our darling dwarf peach tree barely had swollen buds, and then these were taken moments later (on April first, second and fifth).  Meanwhile, the first tulips opened on April 1, the lilacs on the east side are about to pop, we planted three kiwis yesterday and two figs last week and the whole outside smells deliciously of golden currant and hyacinths (each of which has been blooming for more than a week).

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lek Off and Toilet Leeks

Once again, there is no Lek Off, no leeks in the toilet, no June 31 and I never did start that aphrodisiac chocolate company.

If you are here because of my annual April Fool's letter, I can assure you that I am investigating roots this year, if you scroll down you can find a way to donate to CHASA (a very real organization) and if you check back, you will see photos of the burdock roots I'm currently eating.

Oh, and it is true that running a 5K is not much fun.  I didn't make that up.

Monday, March 24, 2014

CHASA Fundraising

This week I interrupt root awareness (I bought burdock, turmeric, celariac and golden beets last week!) to inform you about the Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association (CHASA, found here).
I first mentioned CHASA last fall when I wrote about Aster's hemiplegic cerebral palsy diagnosis.  Since then, I've learned a ton from the organization and its members through the improved website and a parents' facebook group (to which the Mister and both belong), and now they are fundraising.

CHASA programs include shoe exchanges, matching families to research studies, retreats and camps, college scholarships and sending stuffed animals with orthodics to kids with hemiplegia.  Importantly, CHASA is a great and expanding resource for information like how to apply for early intervention programs, best ways to apply kinesio tape or what questions one should ask at an IEP meeting.

If you want to donate directly, there is donation area on the main page (top "here" link).  At the moment, you can also donate (1/2 percent of your purchases) through the Amazon smile program.

Amazon Smile CHASA link (I think it's stable)

Amazon smile in general (definitely stable, but then you need to chose a charity)

This is in no way stating that shoe exchanges for kids whose braces require different size shoes is more important than . . . [insert worthy cause here].  I can, however, vouch that the organization does a lot with very little and offers a real service.  Thanks.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pickled Daikon

I took these photos last February, at the end of acid year, and apparently never posted them.    Last year when I made matchstick daikon pickles, I followed the Sweet Daikon Pickle recipe from Roots closely. This year I couldn't find that recipe, so I used the (very similar) recipe for Spicy Thai Pickled Carrots for my recent two jars.  Both preparations are easy and the results are tasty.
The shocking thing is that my sons gobble up pickled daikon.
It's weird.
I clearly need to make some more.
Daikon, by the way, is a true root,  It's a mild variety of radish and a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae).
The daikon kim chi I made recently is texturally not as good as cabbage kim chi, but it is also tasty, and definitely tastes fermented.