Mashed Celery Root

So here is a little secret. I have a love affair with Portland, OR. I don’t know why. Truth is, I’ve only been there twice, but if you were to say there was a job available up there for both Chris and I next week, I’d drop everything and start packing.

There is something about the perfect combination of city, suburbia and rural that I love. It’s not as busy as Los Angeles or Orange County, but not too suburban and cookie cutter like my hometown in Connecticut. And if you drive 20 minutes in any direction, you are in the mountains, at the river, in the middle of a farm, or on a vineyard. Literally amazing.

Last month we road tripped up to Portland for the second time. We woke up at 4 in the morning, were on the road by 5, stopped fort our first coffee at 5:15 and were in Portland by 10 at night. We spent 5 amazing days and packed everything we could in. My sleep hasn’t been the same since. We ate, we drank, we hiked, & we toured the city like we lived there. All of my favorite things. (Okay, maybe not so much the hiking. That really kicked my ass.)

The first time we went up to Oregon we were going for Chris’s cousin’s wedding, but ended up making a trip out of it. We spent a lot of time with family and the rest of the wedding party and at the end of the trip ventured off on our own to get to know the city.


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The wedding was gorgeous. Set up high on a mountain, overlooking amazing grape vines with Mt. Hood off in the distance. It was beautiful. Me, of course, I remember the food. Chris and I both had a delicious, creamy celery root mash as our side and both fell in love. It was the same consistency of a mashed potato if it was pureed… a lot, but it was light like a cauliflower puree. For the past three years we kept saying we need to try to recreate that & of course, never did it. I mean where to do you find celery root!!?

Until I asked the produce guy at our local supermarket. There it was, just two in the entire store… but they were there, hidden with the other root veggies. Who would have thought?! So I bought them and began experimenting. I like a little texture in my sides so I left this a little more mashed then the celery root that we had at the wedding but it’s simple, quick and tasty. Try it out, enjoy!

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1 large celery root
½ cup milk
2 Tbsp butter, salted
Salt and pepper
1. Chop off the stem of the celery root. Now flip root upside down so it is sitting flat on the cut side. Carefully peel the outside of the root off of the middle and discard.
2. Dice into 1 inch squares.
3. Place celery root in pot and fill with water about 2 inches above the root. Salt water and bring to boil. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until root is tender, like you would with a potato.
4. Drain root and return to hot pot.
5. Combine all ingredients and mash with a potato masher. For a smoother finish use a electronic mixer.

 

Turkey Tacos

It is very rare that I get a weekend day off being I work in retail but I absolutely love when I am off like the rest of the world. Weekends in Southern California can be so vast. You truly can go anywhere, & everywhere all in the same day.

We started our morning on Saturday heading down to the desert to pick up some wine at a few wineries that we are members at. Yes I said a few. We may have a slight problem of collecting wine clubs. I am a big fan of supporting small mom & pop shops. I will go to a home style restaurant before you ever see me at a Fridays or Applebees. (Don’t get me wrong, I love both of those places, but if I had the choice, the small window front restaurant is going to get my business first.) I love shopping at small retailers where not everyone is going to have the same thing as you. And I would shop at a farmers market every day if I could.

So when I first discovered Temecula, CA & the small wineries they had to offer, I said sign me up!

No but literally we signed up… a lot.

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It works out to about once a month we head down to the desert & pick up anywhere between 2 & sometimes even 9 bottles of pre-selected wines that the wine clubs pick out for us. Best part is, while we are there we are able to have a flight or glass for free.

So Saturday we headed down to Temecula, picked up some wine, had a glass & soaked up the sun.

After all of that sun I talked Chris into heading to the beach to watch the sunset, & he is such a great guy that we drove almost two hours out of the way to make it just in time to Dana Point and watch the sun set over the Pacific. It truly is an amazing view, & one of my favorite parts of living in California. I grew up at the beach but the quaint beaches of Long Island Sound got nothing on the cliffsides and waves of the Pacific Coast.

After sunset we drove up Pacific Coast Highway, through Laguna Beach (picking out restaurants and bars we want to try), & ended up at Balboa Island in Newport Beach.

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Balboa Island is known for two things: it’s cute beachside cottages that can run upward of a million dollars, and frozen bananas. YUM! There are two ice cream shops, about 500 feet from each other, that ironically, both claim to be the original home of the frozen banana. Now I don’t know who is embellishing, can honestly I don’t really care, but these things are amazing.

The only things that could have made the day any better was to stop at a little Mexican joint on the water, have some guacamole & of coarse… tacos. So instead. I decided I’d make my own.

Tacos growing up meant heavy McCormick’s seasoning, and hard taco shells. After Chris & I started dating, I began going to his house for dinner & that is when I saw true Mexican tacos, & how easy they can be to make! Lucky for me he was the seasoning taster in his family (aka the most judgmental about his tacos) so it didn’t take me too long to pick up how his mom made them.

I’m still working on the whole warming my tortillas up on the stove… for safety reasons of coarse. I am kind of a klutz. But this is one of my favorite go to recipes I have picked up. Try it out & of coarse, enjoy!

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1 lb turkey meat
Garlic salt, pepper
½ head iceberg lettuce
1 roma tomato or 12 grape tomatoes
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
½ avocado
cilantro, chopped

1.  Slice iceberg lettuce into ¼ inch slices, wash and dry lettuce. Wash and slice tomato into similar slices.
2.  Pepper to taste and soak in apple cider vinegar and set aside.
3.  Place ground turkey into heated skillet over medium heat. Cook over medium heat breaking up meat to small pieces. Season with garlic salt and pepper to taste.
4.  Once meat looks cooked through, lower heat and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes stirring regularly.
5.  While meat simmers place tortilla over open flame, laying directly on gas burner. Once edges begin to curl slightly, flip using rubber coated tongs. **Be careful here! I’ve burnt myself a few times.
6.  Built taco using heated tortilla, turkey meat and topped with lettuce and tomato mixture. Top with salsa, diced avocado and cilantro.

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