We have come so far with Zuzu’s food allergies that I am in danger of becoming complacent about them. In the past six months, she has been cleared to eat wheat, eggs that are baked in a batter and now milk that is baked in a batter — so long as it is not too much milk. For example, when I make banana bread, I can now use regular milk because my recipe only calls for 3 tablespoons and that amount does not cause Zuzu to react. She can even eat a buttermilk raisin bread that I make in my new, beloved bread machine. She still cannot tolerate straight milk or eggs though, a fact that I was reminded of the other day when I did not read a label as carefully as I should have and she had a reaction after eating some white chocolate candy that contained dairy. Fortunately, she told us right away that she felt funny and a quick dose of Benadryl cleared up the hives before they even started.
So while I am enjoying cooking and baking all kinds of new things for Zuzu, I still find myself having to make substitutions or alter certain kinds of recipes to make them dairy-free. The good news is, sometimes when you make a recipe dairy-free, you also make it much less fattening. That was the case with the potato-celery root purée I made for our Sunday dinner.
For those of you who are not familiar with celery root, it is a round, bulbous root vegetable with green stalks. It has a delicate celery flavor without the unpleasant stringiness of celery. It is more popular in Europe than it is here, but it is nevertheless easy to find at farmers’ markets and good supermarkets, especially in the fall when it is in season. Large, lovely celery root bulbs were on sale at the Oak Park farmers’ market this week for a mere $3 each. My first thought when I saw them was potato-celery root purée, a typically French dish, which is like mashed potatoes but with an lighter, fresher flavor.
We’ve had luck making dairy-free mashed potatoes for Zuzu using dairy-free margarine, plain soy milk, and chicken broth in lieu of butter and cream. For the purée, I stuck with margarine and chicken broth and the results were delicious and so much less fattening than a purée made with cream or even whole milk. Considering that my husband and I were also eating creamed kale with our dinners – the kids had peas – the lighter purée was a welcome change. A nice lean flank steak rounded out the meal. It was a perfect Sunday dinner after a beautiful, if hectic, fall weekend that had included swimming lessons, a soccer tournament, family photos, Hebrew school and a trip to the Brookfield Zoo.
Potato-Celery Root Purée
Adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten
Serves 3-4 as a side dish
1 lb. celery root, peeled
1 lb. boiling potatoes, such as Russet or Yukon Gold, peeled
1 cup chicken broth, canned or homemade
2 TBs butter or dairy-free margarine, such as Fleischmann’s Unsalted
Salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the potatoes and celery root into large chunks and cook them in separate pots of salted boiling water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. (You can do this step ahead of time.)
Heat the butter or margarine and the chicken broth in small saucepan over medium heat, whisking to combine.
Place the pieces of celery root in a food processor. Add half of the liquid and purée until smooth. (Do not be tempted to purée the potatoes in the food processor. Doing so will make them gummy.)
In a large saucepan over very low heat, mash the pieces of potato with the remaining liquid until smooth. Stir in the puréed celery root. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.