Monday, February 14, 2011

A 14-Carrot Valentine's Day Recipe: Marinated Celery and Carrots, Chinese Style

For Valentine's Day, my cat bit me in the face. I like to think he was going for, like, a weirdo human-kitty show of affection, and got overzealous. Or maybe that my face is actually quite delicious, and its secrets should be marketed to professional flavorers as some kind of replacement for corn syrup. More likely, he's a psychopath with a brain the size of a walnut, and my face got in the way of his biteyness.

(Note: It wasn't bad at all, and he barely broke skin. It's just weird to be injured in the face if you're not in a vampire movie or shooting birds with Dick Cheney.)

(Ha! My cultural references are the timeliest!)

Anyway, HOTUS made me feel better with a lovely Middle Eastern-style dinner, as well as my very own label maker. I never thought the day would come when I'd be all, "Sweet Bea Arthur, a LABEL MAKER! WOOOOO!" as if it was front-row tickets to a U2 concert. But it's here. And I am going to label the everloving hell out of my house. (Cat included.)

I bestowed upon HOTUS a Kindle cover, as well as these Chinese-Style Marinated Celery and Carrots from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. It's an Asian-style twist on veggie sticks, and a nice changeup to regular ol' ranch dressing. After one bite, I was all, "Hm. Okay." Ten sticks later, I would have bitten a cat's face off for another bowlful.

The one negative: The marinade begins to funkify after 48 hours, meaning the dish doesn’t keep for more than two or three days. So serve it quickly, carrot lovers!


If this looks tasty, you’ll quite like:


Marinated Celery and Carrots, Chinese Style
Serves 4
From Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.

1/2 pound carrots
1/2 pound celery stalks
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil (not toasted)
2 teaspoons rice vinegar or cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced

1) Chop carrots and celery into 2-inch sticks. They should be bigger than a julienne, but smaller than the average crudité dipper. Stick them in a bowl and mix with salt. Let stand at least 10 minutes, and up to 1 hour. Rinse thoroughly, drain, and dry.

2) Meanwhile, mix sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and garlic in a large bowl with a pretty flat bottom. (You can use a regular bowl. It just works better this way.) Add carrots and celery and stir thoroughly. You can eat immediately, or let marinate for at least 1 hour. I prefer to let it marinate. Store for up to 2 days in the fridge. (After that, it starts getting weird.)

Note: For a more salad-like side dish, chop the veggies into 1-inch sticks.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
108 calories, 7.1 g fat, 2.6 g fiber, 1.5 g protein, $0.62

1/2 pound carrots: 93 calories, 0.5 g fat, 6.4 g fiber, 2.1 g protein, $0.44
1/2 pound celery stalks: 32 calories, 0.5 g fat, 3.6 g fiber, 1.6 g protein, $0.84
1 teaspoon salt: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.01
1 tablespoon sugar: 46 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.01
2 tablespoons soy sauce: 17 calories, 0 g fat, 0.3 g fiber, 2 g protein, $0.19
2 tablespoons sesame oil (not toasted): 239 calories, 27 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.81
2 teaspoons rice vinegar or cider vinegar: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.15
1 garlic clove, minced: 4 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0.2 g protein, $0.04
TOTALS: 431 calories, 28.3 g fat, 10.3 g fiber, 5.9 g protein, $2.49
PER SERVING (TOTALS/4): 108 calories, 7.1 g fat, 2.6 g fiber, 1.5 g protein, $0.62

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