Odds and Ends – Pad Thai Pasta and Celery Root Puree

December 13, 2011

One of my last purchases of the season at the Boulder Farmers’ Market was Pappardelle’s Spicy Thai Linguine, which is inspired by the flavors of Pad Thai, one of my favorite Thai dishes. I decided that I’d try to find a recipe for the sauce used for Pad Thai, and then add the other usual ingredients (more or less). So I did a bit of searching, and decided on a recipe I found on about.com for Pad Thai. Finding tamarind paste seemed unnecessarily challenging, but only because I looked at King Soopers and Safeway first, which were disappointingly devoid of tamarind. At that point I figured I’d need to make a trip to Pacific Ocean Marketplace in Broomfield, but decided to make one last attempt at Whole Foods before I did so. I slowly moved down the aisle with Asian ingredients, looking at each item without spying tamarind. But then, hidden in the middle of the Indian items – tamarind! Okay, we were good to go now.

The sauce was extremely easy to make – brown sugar, fish sauce, tamarind dissolved in water, some crushed red pepper and some cayenne. I put minced garlic in the sauce as well.

Pad Thai Sauce Ingredients

Pad Thai Sauce Ingredients (now with Bonus Glare!)

For the rest of the dish, I used some cooked shrimp, briefly sautéed green onions, and raw bean sprouts. We didn’t have any peanuts on hand, and I couldn’t find any in bulk, or in a small package at the grocery store, so I just chopped up some soy nuts (I had some from previous granola making efforts), and that worked remarkably well. The resulting dish was outstanding. Between the noodles, the sauce, and the added ingredients, it really tasted just like Pad Thai! I’ll definitely be repeating this one.

Spicy Thai Linguine with Shrimp and Pad Thai Sauce

Spicy Thai Linguine with Shrimp and Pad Thai Sauce

On a completely unrelated note, I was paging through a copy of Eating Well magazine, and I happened upon a recipe for Celery Root Puree. I tried making mashed turnips (or was it rutabagas?) at one time, hoping for a less caloric substitution for mashed potatoes, but they really didn’t taste that great. So I thought I would go ahead and try making celery root puree and see if I fared better with that. Celery roots are really kind of ugly things, but their ugly exteriors hide a really tasty inner beauty.

Celery Root

Celery Roots

I didn’t follow the recipe precisely, but I did use the same ingredients. I peeled and cut up the celery roots and then steamed them until they were very tender. Then I just proceeded like I would when making mashed potatoes.  I used a mixer to puree the celery root, and added some light butter (which I’m really thinking of getting away from the more I read the ingredient list), as well as some skim milk, salt, and pepper. I generally use a lot less butter for mashed potatoes than most recipes call for, but since this was light butter I used a whole tablespoon even with this small amount of celery root).

Celery Root Puree

Celery Root Puree

My husband and I were both thrilled with the result. The celery root has a bit milder taste than celery stalks, so this is kind of like celery-tinged mashed potatoes with a very smooth texture. Given that the bulk of it is a vegetable, and the only fat you are adding is from the butter (and I used light butter), it’s not as caloric as mashed potatoes. And you could use olive oil to make it healthier as well. This was really easy to make, so I think I’ll keep this one in rotation, especially for winter nights where some warm but quick comfort food is just the thing.

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