Celery Salads are easy make-aheads
Whether fixing family meals or planning a party menu, consider these easy to prepare celery salads. Crisp, colorful and quick, these salads can be made ahead, and to save time, start with fresh cut celery available at produce departments. Celery Salad a la Greece tastes best when it's made several hours or a day before. To tenderize the vegetables, first simmer in a seasoned mixture of lemon juice, olive oil and tarragon. Reduce the liquid. Refrigerate and use as a flavorful vegetable marinade. Take the salad from the refrigerator, stir and serve. Or try a crunchy celery, carrot and water chestnut salad. Julienne or slice celery and carrots before lightly cooking. Toss with sliced water chestnuts and a fragrant dressing of olive oil and cider vinegar blended with Dijon mustard. Serve immediately or marinate.
In a medium saucepan, combine water, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and tarragon; bring to a boil. Add celery, carrots, red pepper and onion; bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are crisp tender, 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat; using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a serving bowl. Place the saucepan over high heat; boil the liquid until it is reduced to 1/2 cup; pour liquid over vegetables; cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before serving. Makes 4 portions, about 3 1/2 cups
From the files of Al Rice, North Pole Alaska.