Celery & Soffritto

Celery,  I ask , what do I do  with two bunches of celery?

Last week after making a delicious soup of  quartered potatoes , carrots ,  ” Smart choice ”  elbows pasta, and celery simmered in chicken broth,  I commented that I had used the LAST of the celery.   Unbeknownst to me, my husband bought celery last Saturday and this week, I bought another bunch of the same root vegetable.   While I’ve got your attention, I’ll share  a recipe that is used by Italians.

Soffritto” is the base for many Italian dishes.

a mixture of some diced vegetables which are cooked in a heavy pan with three tablespoons of olive oil (although some other kinds of oil and fat are also been used) until they reach a consistency which is defined as “under (sub) fried”. This means that we should not overcook those vegetables or caramelise them, unless it is a specific recipe which calls for that.


The basic recipe requires the following ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, small dice

1 clove garlic, flattened and chopped

salt and pepper to taste

The onion is sautéed in the oil for about 12 minutes until it becomes transparent.

During the last 2 minutes, you add the garlic and keep on cooking it.

In Northern Italy, 2 sticks of celery and 2 carrots, all diced, are added to the onion.

Many other vegetables, all diced, such as zucchini, mushrooms, aubergines, etc. can also be added.

Then your base is ready and you may add cooked meat, chicken or even seafood.

To turn this into a ragu, you add

1 large tin of tomato puree (or a tin of tomatoes, chopped)

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

herbs to taste

(If you are not using the balsamic vinegar, add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar)

and cook thoroughly for a few more minutes.

You can also add chopped olives, capers, anchovies….. there are many variations.

This can be a sauce for pasta, polenta and for many stews.

Which is your favourite sauce which starts with a “soffritto“?

Reposted from http://www.italymag.co.uk/italy/

Another Celery dish:

You can cut each stalk in half, braise it in simmering water with a piece of thyme, a clove of garlic and a spill of olive oil until tender, then eat it as is with another spill of (good) olive oil and another pinch of salt, or reduce a cup of cream with same stuff, whole garlic clove, sprig of thyme, pinch of salt by about 1/3, and then pour over celery in oven proof dish. Stick into a 350 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.

GIada  DeLaurantes makes a great salad with celery mushrooms and parmesan. Very simple salad with a light vinegraitte  🙂 I  think it’s at foodnetwork.com. Make some grilled chicken and pair it with the salad. You should be able to use a couple of stalks with that.

In New Orleans , onions, celery,  carrots  cooked in this way are referred to as the “Holy Trinity” and form the basis, along with the French Roux, for most of the Cajun dishes for which the area is so famous.

MIDWEST Chow Mein:

Take the remainder of your celery and cut into bite site pieces.   Include flower bits as well.)   Heat up a large pan.   Add some oil.   When hot add some ground pork or ground turkey meat. (1 lb. or so).

When the meat is cooked, add the celery and enough stock (or water if no stock) to just cover.

You can add mushrooms if you like them.

Add a bit of molasses (for color, to darken it) and soy sauce (for salt) to taste.

Make a cornstarch slurry – mixing cornstarch with cold water or cold stock. When the mixture comes to a boil, add the slurry, let it come back to a boil and then turn off the heat.

Then add some bean sprouts if you have them.

Serve, over store-bought Chow Mein noodles (the dry crispy kind, ie, (La Choy) and some rice if you like. Add some cashews on top for more zest.

This, in the Midwest is “Chow Mein.”

Sippity Sup has a recipe for celery,

Italian Mushroom and Celery Heart Salad Serves 4

  • 1⁄2 lb Crimini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 10 pale inner celery stalks with their leaves from a couple of bunches if necessary
  • lemon juiced
  • tsp  lemon zest
  • 4 t  very good olive oil
  • 4 t  kosher salt
  •  pecorino-romano cheese , to taste
  •  coarsely ground black pepper

Put the sliced mushrooms into a large bowl.

Pick of all the leaves from the celery and add those to the same bowl. Thinly slice the remaining celery stalks on a diagonal 1/8″  thick.   Add them to the bowl and toss to combine.

Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, olive oil and salt until well combined.

Pour the dressing over the celery and mushroom mixture, tossing to coat. Shave large thin sections of cheese on top of the salad with a vegetable peeler. Topping it all with a good helping of coarse black pepper.


MakingSense says,  I serve it as a winter vegetable frequently.

  • Celery is wonderful braised in a little chicken stock. Add a knob of butter just at the end if you like. Dash of nutmeg. Sprinkle of flat-leaf parsley.
    Excellent steamed with lemon and dill.
    A little browned butter, slivered almonds and bread crumbs.
    Blue cheese and walnuts.

    Health Benefit Of Celery

    The medical quality of celery was first described by the Greeks Discorides and Pliny.    The green leaves, stem and the bulbous root of celery are all extremely rich & makes celery a very important medicinal plant.
    It contains balanced minerals, vitamins & nutrients & its oil has strong smell due to concentrations of plant hormones.    The existence of essential oils makes celery special.  They are also found in the seeds & can be added to the juice also. These oils have a specific effect on the regulation of the nervous system, and have a great calming influence.
    A tablespoonful of honey in celery juice, sipped slowly, will very effectively reduce the appetite if taken before a meal, and makes a delightful drink. It will also help in reducing their weight.

    You can take the same mixture as a nightcap; it will help you to relax into a soothing and restful sleep. So those who have a problem of sleeplessness must enjoy the sound sleep after having this yummy health drink.

    The strong water removing powers of celery enable it to be used in the control of health problems such as arthritis, stone, liver problems and rheumatism.

    Calories In Celery: 1 cup or 100 gms of celery has only 14 calories


Best Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet     and reposted from  Smitten Kitchen.

Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies (the size you see pictured yielded 25)

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces or 141 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (9 7/8 ounces, 280 grams) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces, 82 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, as I used)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup (66 grams, 2 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heat-proof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added. [Note, many people who have tried this recipe have found that this step works just fine in the microwave. Couldn’t test this because we don’t have one, but it sounds like it would work.]

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me at least 10 minutes longer to get them set. Let cool completely on a rack. (I go further and throw mine in the fridge or freezer for a while; it’s the only way I can get them to cut with clean lines.)

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Recipe-homemade cookies from cake mix

So quick to make cookies from a cake mix, who would have thought?

Triple Chip Oatmeal Cake Mix Cookies

yellow cake mix
1/4 c. oil
1 egg
1 c. oats
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. chocolate chips
1/4 c. white chocolate chips
1/4 c. butterscotch chips

Mix all ingredients together. Bake on cookie sheets sprayed with cooking spray at 375 for 12 minutes or until done.

Recipe-no cook Strawberry jam

Who likes strawberries?  Does the thought of canning and making your own jam sound like too much work?  If so,  here’s a recipe for you!  What you will need is Drambuie liqueur.  I’ll have to send my husband to a liquor store for this. I have everything else on hand. 

No- Cook Strawberry Jam

1 quart crushed strawberries

4 cups sugar

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 bottle liquid fruit pectin


Thoroughly crush enough strawberries to measure 1 and 3/4 cups into a large bowl.  Add 2 Tablespoons of Drambuie liqueur.

Mix sugar into fruit and let stand 10 minutes.   Add citrus juice and pectin.  Continue to stir for 3 minutes.  Pour quickly into jars.   Cover immediately with tight tops.  Let the jam set about 24 hours.  Freeze.

Recipe makes about 5 cups.

CookBook:   “The Strawberry Connection”

by Beatrice Ross Buszek  of Cranberrie Cottage, Nova Scotia 1984

No-Cook Strawberry Freezer Jam

recipe difficulty 3/5 Difficulty:   3 (1=easiest :: hardest=5)

Serves/Makes:   3 pints


1 3/4 quart fully ripe strawberries
1 package Sure Jell Light Fruit Pectin
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided use
1 cup corn syrup


Hull and thoroughly crush strawberries. Measure into a large bowl. You should have 4 cups of strawberries.

Combine fruit pectin with 1/4 cup sugar. Gradually add pectin mixture to fruit, stirring vigorously. Set aside for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add corn syrup; mix well. Gradually stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar until dissolved.

Ladle quickly into freezer containers. Cover at once with tight lids. Refrigerate overnight, then store in freezer. Small amounts may be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Per 1-Tbsp serving: 29 cal , no fat, no chol, no pro, 7 g carb, 6 g sugar, no fiber, 10 mg sodium, 1 mg calcium.


29 calories, 0 grams fat, 8 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams protein per tablespoon. This recipe is low in sodium. This recipe is low in fat.

Cholesterol (mg) Healthy choice: this recipe is considered low in cholesterol Folacin (mcg) 2
Sodium (mg)
Healthy choice: this recipe is considered low in sodium Niacin (mg) trace
Potassium (mg) 18
Vitamin A (r.e.) 1



Ruby Tuesday


Swiss United Church of Christ in New Glarus, Wisconsin

This Swiss church is situated on a hill.  I was impressed with the  architecture and the two steeples.  There is a statue of memorial to the First Settlers, with many of their names inscribed in a brick walkway.

Since it was  weekday, we did not get to see the  inside  of the church.  But as the sunset was  fast approaching , we captured this photo.

Glaurner Stube, fine dining and spirits in New Glarus, WI

I like the red brick of this imposing building,  prettily painted Swiss scenes on the outside of the building, and the quaint  hanging sign.  What is  memorable, if you look closeup, is the name of the founder of the building and the year.  This is a piece of history.   I enjoy finding buildings like these.

built 1901, Saloman Stuessy

Reflection! What do you see?


Please join in the meme, Ruby Tuesday  to share your photo in Red.



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