This past weekend’s dinner party was… dare I say, “Wow?” I had many of fabulous sous chefs helping in the kitchen and some seriously expert meal planning assistance from my rockin’ Sister Chef. I have to say though, I am still quite proud of how it all came together. So proud that I feel a little cocky rooster boasting coming on…ahhh, it’s too big to restrain, I can’t quash it…it…oh no, it’s a photo explosion. Sorry, I tried to hold back. I failed. Here it is.
After that delicious food trip down Photo Lane, I truly don’t know what recipe to share first! I loved all the new ones that I tried, and literally the only kitchen snafu that occurred was slight burnage of kale chips. They were still deemed edible by the judges, however. One thing not pictured that I was really excited about (as were the guests, apparently, since not a single crumb remained post-party) were the Sweet Potato & Celery Root Croquettes. I found the recipe for a similar purée on the NY Times website, and found myself intrigued. Yet, as my sister astutely pointed out, puree is awfully hard to eat as a finger food. She brainstormed up croquettes, and after a little trial and error, a fabulous frying team, and a breadcrumb trail to pave the way, an incredible (if not incredibly photogenic) platter of croquettes materialized:
So, even though they were slightly ugly and more than slightly fried, I have to trust my audience, and my boyfriend and rank them as the #1 bestseller. (Plus, you can reserve half of the puree to be eaten as a leftover – a fantastically healthy post-food coma snack!) Here’s the recipe. Since I made up the croquette version on the fly, I don’t have exact measurements. Experiment to the consistency that you like, then mold to your desired size and shape: patty, croquette stick, or melon ball.
Celery Root, Sweet Potato and Apple Puree
1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces (I used half and half Yukon gold and sweet potato)
2 large celery roots, about 2 pounds, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 large or 2 small tart apples, such as a Granny Smith, peeled, cored and quartered
1/2 cup, approximately, warm milk or broth from the celery root
2 tablespoons butter or walnut oil (or a combination)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Place the potatoes in one saucepan and the celery root and apples in another. Add salt to taste to each, about 1/2 teaspoon. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Drain the potatoes, and return to the pot. Cover tightly, and allow to sit for five minutes to steam and dry out. Drain the celery root and apples through a strainer set over a bowl. Purée all of the produce using a food mill or a potato ricer. Stir together, and whisk in the milk or the broth until the mixture is fluffy. Add the butter or walnut oil to the hot purée, stir until the butter melts, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. If you are dying for croquettes, let the puree cool first. Then mix in 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, and a rounded cupful of plain bread crumbs. Add more breadcrumbs as needed to reach desired molding consistency. You can also dredge the croquettes in bread crumbs for a more delectable exterior. Lastly, cook the croquettes in a deep skillet on medium high until browned on both sides. The best thing about these babies is that they taste just as good served at room temperature as they do hot (if they last that long).