I hate wasting food. Hate throwing out ingredients I didn’t use, that got too old, withered and unappealing.
I was thinking about this more recently as I was working on an article about buttermilk (it will appear in the Hearst newspapers in a couple of weeks and I’ll send it out on my Twitter account). People tell me they don’t buy buttermilk because they’re afraid they won’t use it all and so it isn’t worth the cost of buying a quart.
Well, this is one ingredient I never have leftover. I use it for dozens and dozens of recipes. But more on that some other day.
But I did wonder about stuff I buy because I need a small amount of it and the rest goes to waste.
Like celery. I frequently throw out celery. I buy a bunch for soup. Then we snack on a stalk or two and the rest of it gets yellowed and withered and disgusting and then It ends up in the garbage.
And I feel guilty about it. I grew up in the generation whose parents said “think about the poor starving children in Europe” (this was post World War II) when we didn’t want to eat everything on the plate.
But I have wasted a lot of celery in my day. So I started to imagine ways to use more of it.
In the past I’ve used celery for snacks — stuffed with peanut butter or cottage cheese or cream cheese (in which I mixed in fresh herbs and chopped up celery leaves). I’ve made braised celery, which is delicious with some of the heavier meats like steak or roast beef. I’ve even made celery soup, seasoned with parsley and caraway, which is light, not too fattening and a good choice for spring or summer dinners.
But now that the weather is so much warmer and the sun is shining, the trees are flowering, the grass is actually green and I am beginning to hope that I can finally use the outdoor grill and make summer food, I am thinking “Cole Slaw.”
I came up with this tasty way to make slaw and at the same time not waste the celery that’s sitting in my fridge thinking that it will soon be keeping company with the coffee grinds and carrot peels:
6 tablespoons dairy sour cream or plain Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon paprika
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
7 medium stalks celery, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chredded snow peas
2 shredded carrots
In a bowl, mix the sour cream, sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, vegetable oil and wine vinegar until thoroughly combined. Place the sliced celery and shredded snow peas and carrots in a large bowl. Toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. Pour the dressing on top and toss ingredients to coat them all with the dressing. Let rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. Makes 6-8 servings