For Bon Appetit, by Alex Lau.
I’m looking into your fridge with my third eye, and I see the things that you’ll never Instagram — shameful things. A bunch of slimy scallions still in their original rubber band, minus the mere two you ate. A jar of fuzzy vintage 2012 olives for barbaric guests who don’t drink martinis with a twist. Something we’ll call “Last Monday Mush.” And a big ol’ bag of celery.
But, just like when you realized you could trade your Netflix login to a friend for their Hulu subscription, you’re in control of your own destiny, friends. Celery is no potato chip in the flavor department, but, when used correctly, celery makes nearly everything else better.
From this day forth, never waste celery again.
The Lazy Option
So you needed 1 stalk of celery for that braise. Take the extra step of putting the rest in a bag, and labeling it “future stock.” Now put it in the freezer. You will make stock one day, definitely not today, possibly not while Mars is in your second house, but eventually. And it’ll really need celery for aromatic depth.
Definitely Not Going to Say Ants on a Log, But…
This celery, the best bar snack in town, is so ridiculously low-key to “make” (cut celery, put in sesame oil, add fancy salt, done) you have to try it at least once. It’s not ants on a log, because you can go to the bathroom by yourself now, but it’s a close second.
Lettuce is for Wilted Wusses
Listen, I’m not lobbying for celery, God’s forgotten floss stuck between teeth for eternity, but food waste is real. We have to get creative here. And while I don’t usually personally endorse “salad” in a public forum, using super thinly sliced celery in place of God’s curly nose hairs, kale, is pretty interesting — if not delicious, especially with figs and a blue cheese vinaigrette. We even have two recipes for celery Caesar salads. Wow.
Remember what I said about celery not tasting like potato chips? Well, if you make tuna or chicken salad with it, you can ADD potato chips. Best of at least one world.
Use It As an Excuse for This Peanut Sauce
The recipe calls for one stalk, but go ahead and use two for extra crunch. Then make 5 times the peanut sauce, throw your hands in the air, and exclaim to your cat, “Guess I’ll have to eat this every day this week!”
Roast a Chicken On It
Literally, just build a little fort — those Lincoln Logs skills FINALLY come in handy — and put the chicken right on top of it. Celery doused in chicken fat goodness? It’s not gonna suck.
Let the Celery SHINE
Finally, after years in minor roles, mid-level management, always a bridesmaid, etc etc, celery finally gets its moment out of the onion skin graveyard known as your crisper. Womp womp: it’s soup. But at least it uses up ALL THE CELERY and there’s heavy cream, so.
Make Celery Syrup, Grow a Twirly Mustache
Because you fancy yourself a mixologist now. Add gin and you’ve got an herby delicious spring time cocktail. Add bubbly water and you’ve got Cel-Ray soda, which a waiter at Katz’s deli once told me is “terrible” but I ordered it anyway. It was awesome.
Add it to... Guacamole
I can’t endorse this, as a Texan, but I can give you all the information and let you make up your own damn mind.
Maybe Just Compost It
Let nature run its course, turning back into the soil from whence it came, probably to become celery stalks again, which you will buy and let slowly brown, turning into rubbery rejected Harry Potter wands in your decrepit excuse for a crisper. At least I tried.
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