I am one of those people who have a hard time letting go of the holidays.  Not the commercial side of it, but the warm cozy, come together, share meals and laughs, get warm, sit in the dark with just the Christmas tree lit.  I was going to take our tree down last weekend but decided I wanted one more week and put it off to this past weekend, well the boxes for the ornaments are down, but the tree is still up.  An integral part of all holiday festivities is always the food.  This year for Thanksgiving we had a feast that was truly amazing, and it was made up of recipes I had yet to try.  Today I would like to share a few of those recipes with you ”Slow-Cooked Kale” and “Celery Root Puree With Toasted Hazelnuts”, plus one traditional item from my family’s Christmas dinner, Red Cabbage. My mother is from Germany so for Christmas we eat what was somewhat traditional for her area and family – Beef Goulash, Potato Dumplings and Red Cabbage.  We prepare our red cabbage very simply and it goes extremely well with any kind of hearty meat dish.

Red Cabbage

After removing the outer leaves, chop or grate your cabbage.  In a heavy pot or Dutch oven heat a couple of tablespoons of fat, I like bacon fat best, but you can use whatever oil/fat is your favorite.  Add the cabbage and cook; stirring to get all of the cabbage cooking.  It will look shiny very quickly.  Once it begins to soften add salt, about 1 tsp., a small amount of nutmeg and allspice about ¼ to ½ tsp. each, one bay leaf and some freshly ground pepper.  Give it a good splash of apple cider or apple cider vinegar (I prefer the apple cider vinegar), cover and cook until fairly soft.  I like to let it cook slowly for a longer period of time, on low for at least one hour.  My Mother told me I needed to add sugar, but I assured her that OUR cabbage did not need sugar and in the end, sitting down to our Christmas dinner, she agreed!

Celery Root Puree with Toasted Hazelnuts

We made this at Thanksgiving instead of the pure mashed potatoes I usually do.  As a pure mashed potatoes kind of girl I must admit I was a little skeptical, but this was absolutely delicious!

1 large celery root, peeled, cut into ½” cubes

3 lb. russet potatoes, peeled cut into 1” cube

2/3-cup heavy cream

2/3-cup whole milk

½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter cut into ½” cubes

Freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. hazelnut oil

½ cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts

Place celery root and potatoes in a large heavy pot, add cold water to cover; season with salt and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce heat; simmer until vegetables can be pierced with a fork, 20-25 minutes.

Drain vegetables well.  Pass through a food mill, potato ricer (I don’t have either so I used a masher) right back into the same pot.  Meanwhile bring cream and milk to a low simmer then remove from heat.  Stir vegetable puree constantly over medium low heat until excess moisture evaporates about 2 minutes.  Stir butter into puree a few pieces at a time, blending well.  Remove from heat; slowly fold in cream until a smooth puree forms.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  To make it really creamy and smooth strain hot puree through a medium-mesh sieve into a serving bowl, drizzle with oil; scatter hazelnuts over.

Slow - Cooked Kale

¾ tsp. salt

1 lb. kale

½ cup plus 2 Tbsp EVO

½ sprig rosemary

1 dried chile de arbol, broken into 4 pieces

1 cup sliced yellow onion OR use the leeks in this week’s box

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rapid boil over high heat.  Working in 2 batches, blanch kale for 2 minutes.  Drain, let cool and squeeze out excess water.  Coarsely chop and set aside.

Heat a large pot over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add ¼ cup oil, rosemary sprig and chile., let sizzle, shaking pan often, for about 1 minute.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add onion or leeks.  Season with ½ tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often; add garlic.  Cook, stirring often until onion is soft and starting to brown, 5-7 minutes.  Add remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and kale, stir to coat.  Season with ¼ tsp. salt, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until kale turns almost black and is slightly crisp at edges, about 30 minutes.  Discard rosemary and chile.