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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C_girl said...

That sounds awesome. Reminds me that I've always wanted to know how to make that cabbage salad you can get at Chinese's just cabbage and carrots, and the dressing is pretty sweet and a little spicy.

And THAT reminds me of a recipe my Lebanese roommate used to make that I have never been able to recreate, sadly: A cabbage and tomato salad, with a dressing made of soy, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, dried mint, dry mustard, and??? something magical and amazing that I have never been able to reproduce. Oh, how I miss that salad.

adventuresindinner said...

This looks-yumm! I didn't get bitten by the cat today but my one year old did leave fang marks on the back of my legs this morning when I didn't pick her up quickly enough.

aprilblake said...

Mmm! Do you think broccoli would be good as a substitute for celery? I don't like raw celery but think that this dish would be weird with just carrots.

DMBY said...

Benny gave me a love chomp to the nose when I dared to hug him upon returning from a work trip the other day. :)

Kris said...

@Aprilblake: I think Bittman suggested snow peas as a substitute. It could work really well.

Jen @ Dear Mommy Brain said...

My favorite quote ever, "Sweet Bea Arthur, a LABEL MAKER! WOOOOO!" EVER.

Anonymous said...

Just be careful-cat bites can give you a bad infection that can be serious ie if any funkiness should happen at the site seek help quickly-seriously

Beth said...

I totally feel you on the label maker. I got inordinately excited to find out that the label tape can come in different colors. I am truly an administrator at heart. Enjoy yours!

Jenna said...

Maybe cats just go nuts on V-Day?

Pandora nailed me in the corner of my mouth at 2 in the morning (a tiny slice, but in a spot that is going to be a pain to get healed, alas).

Bunny (short for Bunnicula - the cat is terrified of sunshine and eats veggies. My animals are all damaged.) tripped my on the stairs while I was carrying a laundry basket - surfed down hard, and have a bruise on my... well. Assets.

Lunabugs sliced my husband a good one on his neck when she decided to try and eat his hair.

And Harlequin? Well. She just sat and purred, while staring crosseyes at us. So, normal for her.

The critters are rising against us! Quick more veggie recipes! (And the carrots/celery idea? Definitely getting made in the morning.)

M Family said...

Lol, I got that way when I got my vacuum sealer for Christmas! Hell I'm still that way, giggling like a school girl as it sucks the daylights out of a bagful of homemade chicken fingers tee hee!

Suze said...

V-D is a challenge for me. HOTUS really stepped up to the plate - label maker and U2 tickets. I'm officially adopting him - along with my other adopted son ROBERTO master grill/brew master.
HOTUS SR. bestowed chocolate dipped strawberries and a beautiful card.
My card to HOTUS SR. A cute Ape on the front - inside - Yes Yes You're ADORABLE - Don't act like you don't know it. Happy V-D love Me!
Dinner - chicken anchiladaes, red rice and pico.
After 25 years oh marriage - live is sooooooooo good!

Sally said...

A now-closed Chinese buffet had something similar, only it was carrots and turnips and the dressing was probably only sugar, rice vinegar and salt -- definitely no soy sauce or sesame oil. It was so good, I'd go back for seconds of it.