Learning to Love Radish Salad

 

Radish Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

IMG_1415

Let the truth be told…radishes have often found their way into my compost bin! Of course, that was a long, long, long time ago when I didn’t know better! Now that I understand how much work goes into vegetable gardening, I wouldn’t dream of gifting them to the kitchen gods quite so often. Even so, I can only eat so much radish. I like them. I like them a lot, but one or two a year seems to be quite enough for me! Well, after they exploded from the garden the other day, I realized I would soon have quite a number of radishes having dutifully companion planted them with my beans and carrots. Not only would the challenge be to create a highly palatable radish dish, but hopefully use the greens as well.

IMG_1405The last few years I have been making quite a lot of fermented veg, so of course, using the radishes in that manner was the first thing that came to mind, but I am the only one in the house who will eat them. Thinking about the fermenting process reminded me of making kimchi – specifically of grating the veg and soaking it in salt water. This is a great trick for removing the “bglahh” from some of our more bitter friends!

I also pondered a dressing that would highlight the earthy nature of the green knowing that those, too, must be included in the salad. It also occurred to me that a long time ago I used to make dressings with dijon mustard, but have forgone that option for my simple oil, vinegar and honey concoctions as of late. And so, this salad was born!

I grated the radish with a bit of carrot, salted the mix for about an hour. Then I rinsed it and squeezed out the excess water. This was added to the finely chopped radish greens, tossed in the dijon curry vinaigrette and topped with toasted almonds. It is quite delicious if I might say so myself!

The next week… I made the version below with white icicle radishes, massaged collard greens, a few leftover red peppers, the same curry dressing and a sprinkling of mustard flowers.

IMG_1473

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh radishes, grated
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • radish leaves, finely chopped
  • toasted almond slivers
  • kosher salt to sprinkle

Curry Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 Tbs. rice wine, apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Grate radishes and carrots. Sprinkle the grated veggies with kosher salt, mix together and let sit for an hour.
  2. Finely chop the radish leaves, cover and refrigerate.
  3. Mix all ingredients for vinaigrette. Taste and adjust as needed – some like more salt, more vinegar, more oil, more sweet.
  4. Once the salt has pulled much of the water from the veggies, rinse under cold water in a colander then squeeze extra water out.
  5. Toss greens, grated veggies and vinaigrette. Top with almonds right before serving. This salad can marinate in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
Advertisements

Frozen Organic Strawberries

Rumor has it there is a bumper crop of strawberries coming out of Florida lately, so prices are running a little lower than last year. Bad news for the farmers – great news for those of us crazy for smoothies! The warm weather has also reportedly upped the sugar content making the berries sweeter than in the past. Frozen strawberries add a luscious creamy texture to smoothies and when combined with pineapple, banana and spinach, it’s pure delight!

All winter I waited patiently for Spring’s delivery of this lovely fruit, so when organic strawberries began to arrive at Costco a few weeks ago, I knew what I had to do – buy in bulk and freeze so I could enjoy the berries all winter long! This is definitely a cost-saving measure as organic frozen berries run about $4.00 per pound compared to these at $2.80.

The process is really quick and easy:

  1. Wash the berries and cut the stems off,
  2. Place the berries on a cookie sheet,
  3. Allow them to dry to avoid freezer burn,
  4. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours,
  5. When they are frozen, place strawberries into freezer bags,
  6. label and store for up to one year.

Honey Brittle Nut Bars

These bad boys fall into the dessert category for me, so I wouldn’t normally encourage anyone to have such treats around the house, but my dad’s honey is just the most amazing thing, and I wanted to come up with a way to really highlight its sweetness.

In an effort the last few months to stay away from grains, raw almonds have found their way into our pantry along with a few other nuts and seeds like cashews, pumpkin and sunflower. Apparently when eaten in small quantities, these powerhouses of life provide healthy fats, omega-3 as well as a myriad of other vitamins and minerals. That is when they are raw. Turning them into dessert by toasting them probably diminishes much of the health benefits. Regardless, these brittle bars are a really tasty snack made from all whole foods. If anything, they are a good source of energy for your average marathoner or long-distance biker. Since Jeff completed 72 miles this morning, I think I’ll encourage him to have a few of these!

Once these cool, they do become brittle, however as they rise to room temperature the honey begins to soften. I would recommend cutting them and storing them in the freezer in an airtight container.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 1 cup whole cashews
  • 1 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup large flake coconut
  • 1 tsp. flaked kosher salt

Directions:

In a non-reactive sauce pan slowly melt the coconut oil. Add the honey and bring it to a simmer. Stir frequently and allow the mixture to simmer for about ten minutes.

While the honey simmers, toast the nuts separately as the small ones will burn if you try to toast them together. After each batch is toasted pour them out onto plates to cool in a single layer.

Once the nuts are all toasted and the honey has simmered and evaporated for ten minutes, pour the honey mixture over the nuts and mix well.

Pour the mixture out into a 9×9 square baking pan lined with parchment paper. The bars will be about an inch thick in this pan. Use another sheet of parchment on top to press the mixture firmly together.

Place in the refrigerator to cool.

Cut into squares and store in airtight container in freezer.

Sesame Slaw with Golden Beets and Kale

The only way to get my son to run errands with me is to bribe him. As you can imagine, this can sometimes be costly and frustrating! But getting him to the coop is easy and free…all I need to do is remind him of the samples! He usually lingers by my side in the fresh foods area picking out bananas and other fruits, but as soon as we turn the corner, he beelines to the deli for samples of cheese, spreads, crackers and salads. The other day he came running up to me with a little cup filled with some sort of a kale salad.

“Here Mom, this is for you. I thought you’d like it. It has kale.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a kale and golden beet salad from the deli.”

“Did you try it?” I asked incredulously thinking the coop had cast some sort of spell over the boy who hates vegetables.

“Of course not! It has kale. I got it for you.”

What a sweet boy and what a sweet salad. I knew from the first taste, something like it would need to come out of my kitchen. The coop salad had the same general flavor devised with sesame oil, sesame seeds and ginger that my recipe includes, but did not have raisins. Somehow a little sweet seems like a good pairing for the beets and carrots. I think some fresh fruit like chopped nectarines, mangoes or apples would also cut the bill. (What does that mean, anyway?)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large carrots grated
  • 1 large golden beet, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch curly kale, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • a few splashes of rice vinegar (2-3 Tbs.)

Directions:

Long grate the carrots by cutting them just the length of the food processor feed tube. Empty into mixing bowl. Next grate the beets the same as the carrots. I chose to quickly saute the golden beets in about a tablespoon of sesame oil as they were a titch bitter when raw. Leave them a little crunchy to the bite.

Mince the garlic, jalapeno and ginger in a food processor and add to carrots and beets in mixing bowl.

Remove the stems from the kale and chop the greens into fine pieces. The kale can be massaged to soften, steamed or sauted.

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and season to taste. Serve at chilled or at room temperature.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

I’ve been in a Spring Roll frenzy as of late. I crave them nearly every day and love the fact that I can load nearly five servings of veggies into just one roll. They are super easy to make, and if stored properly, keep in the fridge for many days. Jeff, on the other hand, is not quite as passionate about them as I am, although he likes them.  After days of enjoying fresh spring rolls with spicy sesame ginger sauce, I offered Jeff the final serving to which he replied, “No thanks.”  Feeling somewhat dejected, I asked why he does not enjoy the spring roll as much as I, and his reply was, “They would be great with Mock Duck and Sweet and Sour Sauce.” Ah hah! Now I am happy because I won’t have to eat spring rolls alone. All I have to do is include the duck and the sauce. It’s a good thing.

It’s funny how when you buy things from the store and never have a tradition of cooking the item from scratch, it can seem so mysterious and intimidating to think about recreating it.  I don’t think I could have listed the ingredients of sweet and sour sauce before yesterday. I just assumed it was a flavor infused syrup of some sort. The fact that it’s thickened with cornstarch and can be made with fruits and vegetables really surprised me. I loved the idea of sweetening the sauce naturally with pineapple and its’ juice in order to keep the sugar content a little lower. Considering such a small amount is consumed in one sitting, I am not going to feel as guilty about feeding this to my family as I would have had it been a commercially processed product.

I searched through at least a million recipes until I got the general gist of the sauce. There’s an amazing rendition on Tastes Like Home that I would have preferred, but the boys like their chunks smaller, so I went with a grated version. In fact, I sent the onion, carrot and ginger all through the grater attachment on the food processor which made this really easy to whip up. It’s still got quite a lot of sugar, but at least it has some fruit and veggies as well. Making it from scratch is also very economical. Using all organic ingredients, this project cost perhaps six dollars and yielded about five cups of sauce.

By the way, I found these wonderful jars at Ikea today. Since I’ve been into making refrigerator pickled peppers, I was really psyched to find the jars!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 6 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. chile flakes
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs. corn starch dissolved in 4 Tbs. cold water

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a sauce pan except the corn starch mixture. Let the ingredients simmer for five minutes or so, then add the cornstarch to thicken. Let it cool a bit and pour into glass storage.

Open Faced Patty

Not Corned Beef on Rye, but tomato and avocado instead. This is my green option for St. Patrick’s day. Pumpernickel Rye from local breadhouse, Great Harvest, is paired with a fat slice of tomato, topped with half an avocado, pickled onions and Drew’s Poppyseed Dressing. I threw in two cups of Romaine to make five servings of vegetables in one dish! I recently heard that only 20% of us actually consume enough daily veggies, so I thought I would stay present with that challenge! The dish would have been more picturesque and healthy with deeper greens, but I loved the flavor combination of Rye and Avocado. This will definitely be a repeat meal in my kitchen as it was both delicious and wonderfully simple – fantastic!

Here’s the other half, sans greens.

Chestnut Crabby Crisp

DSCN2561

What a lovely little blushing princess is this! She’s called the Chestnut Crab, about the size of  a golf ball, just sweet and tart enough for a demure little nibble, with a finish reminiscent of childhood in the tree. The Chestnut is flying off the shelves of your local co-op because folks like Dan Walsh know their pleasures.

You may have met Dan and his family if you visited the Kingfield Farmer’s Market. The Walsh family spends their summer tending heirloom tomatoes, the early spring tapping maple trees and for a few Sundays in the summer, Kingfield can enjoy the fruits of their labor. Dan’s wife, Kathleen is a co-worker of mine – a fellow teacher extraordinaire!

Well, a few weeks back, Dan informed me that the Chestnuts had arrived and I had better hurry if I wanted to indulge. Chestnuts you say…what exactly is the chestnut? He explained simply that they are one of the only edible crab apples and are quite delicious little delicacies. Well, of course, being the (clear throat here) foodie that I am, I suddenly had an urgent need to acquire some Chestnut Crabs, so off to the co-op I went.

Lo and behold, Dan was right. There, amidst the apples was a small section with a tag labeled, “Chestnut Crabs,” but there were no tiny lovelies to be had, boo hoo. I immediately inquired as to their whereabouts and was quickly reassured that they were just coming out of the cooler! Whew. Once the box of little crabbies was wheeled to the produce section, I had my pick. I packaged my two pounds and off I went to make a pie…

Four weeks later…

Apple pie turned to apple crisp! It’s Wednesday after all, I have the math tests yet to correct this evening, report cards are waiting in the wings, and a mock-up of this week’s art lesson is pounding on the door – not to mention that I better get started thinking about next week, or I’ll be planning lessons all weekend.

Yes, I am busy, but not without a little creative energy. Tonight’s apple crisp has a few surprises. First and foremost it is sweetened entirely with the Walsh family maple syrup from the spring of 2009. The demure little Chestnut Crabs also share their quarters with a large diced beet, some blueberries from last summer, a little amaretto glaze and chopped almonds to top it off. Not your average crisp. This one is hearty and not too sweet.

DSCN2564

Chestnut Crabby Crisp – Ingredients

Filling:

  • 2 pounds Chestnut Crabs, cored and sliced
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup roasted beets, diced
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs. Amaretto

Topping:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 6 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

Coring the Chestnuts is a pain. I tried the old-fashioned method of quartering and cutting out the seeds, and figured that would have taken me until tomorrow. Next I tried the apple cutter, but the skins are too tough to break through. So, I ended up cutting the bottoms off the little apples and that way they went right through the apple slicer. Check it out.

DSCN2563

Once you get all the fruit sliced, dump it into a 9 by 13 pan. Sprinkle it with the amaretto and pour the maple syrup over the top.

Mix the crisp topping ingredients in a bowl. The oil and syrup should make the topping stick together slightly. Spread this out over the fruit and bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees. I found out that Chestnut Crabs remain pretty crunchy after baking and so this dish turns out to be pretty hearty – perhaps a good breakfast meal. Enjoy.

DSCN2570

Brussel and Sweets Roasted

DSCN2507

Yikes, another not-so-beautiful-the-kids-will-hate-it one dish delicacy! Here we have slow roasted brussel sprouts with sweet potatoes and chard – all from this week’s CSA.

Brussel and Sweets Roasted – Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds brussel sprouts
  • 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch swiss chard chopped
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

1) Saute the garlic in olive oil. As soon as it becomes fragrant, mix in the washed brussel sprouts and swiss chard. Cover to steam a bit. You want the brussel sprouts to get a head start as the sweet potatoes roast up pretty quickly.

2) After the brussel spouts have the chance to soften a bit (perhaps 10 minutes), add the sweet potatoes, maple syrup and seasonings.

3) Pour everything into an oven proof dish and bake for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Roasted Red Potatoes, Cauliflower and Green Bean Salad

DSCN2427

This potato salad is hearty, yet feels light and fresh with a lime and fresh basil vinaigrette. Foxtail Farm CSA vegetables included: red potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, garlic, basil, and red onions.

Roasted Red Potatoes, Cauliflower and Green Bean Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds red potatoes, diced
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 pound green beans, cut into one-inch pieces
  • olive oil to coat vegetables
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

Vinaigrette:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil

Directions:

Clean and prep the vegetables. The potatoes will be roasted on a separate cookie sheet from the cauliflower and green beans as they take a bit longer. Mix the diced potatoes with a little oil to coat and salt and pepper. Then turn them out onto a baking sheet and roast at 450 degrees until they are browned on the top. Do the same with the cauliflower and green beans – toss them in a bit of oil, salt and pepper and then spread onto a baking sheet. The potatoes will take about 45 minutes to roast and the green beans and cauliflower will take about 20 to 30 minutes. I didn’t keep track of my time, so just keep an eye on them.

Once the veggies are roasted, take them out of the oven and let them cool. Meanwhile, mix the vinaigrette using a food processor. Pulse the garlic, basil, lime juice, Dijon, salt, pepper and oil. When the vegetables have cooled, mix the vinaigrette and onions into them and serve.

Yellow Curry

IMG_3690

Cooking sure takes on a new meaning when it’s performed after a full day’s work. Now instead of leisurely peeling carrots and marveling at their bright orange beauty, I find myself counting how many strokes of the peeler it takes to clean them of their lovely little roots. Did you know that Foxtail Farm’s carrots each take, on average, seventeen peels. The creamy fresh yellow potatoes take on average twenty-four peels and the same number of knife strokes to dice them! I’ve either developed obsessive compulsive traits, or I have math on my brain.

As many of you know I have spent the last two months exploring the virtues of my CSA box while on summer break from my teaching job. You have benefited from my crazy cooking adventures. Now my energetic and very eager fifth graders are anxiously awaiting the first day of school, and I am busy setting up a wonderful learning environment so their learning can be maximized. I’ve turned my attention away from menu planning and back to lessons. The blog is definitely enticing especially when last week’s CSA box was still lingering in the crisper drawer until just a minute ago. Tomorrow is Thursday, my next CSA box arrives, and my students will be coming to meet me at the Open House. The juggling act begins.

I still have five or six weeks of CSA boxes coming, so I’ll still be cooking. I’ll try to continue to post the recipes that work, but in warning, it could end up being a lot of soup.  We shall see.

This yellow curry uses Foxtail Farm yellow potatoes, carrots, yellow wax beans and delicious yellow onions. Not from the CSA were the garlic, spices and cilantro.

Yellow Curry Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into thin rings
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10-12 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 pounds yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound yellow wax beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 10 Holy Basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp. brown mustard seed
  • 1 Tbs. cumin seed
  • 2 Tbs. good curry powder (I used Penzey’s Hot Curry Powder)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • water for simmering

Directions: Saute the onion rings on low heat until they begin to caramelize and then add the spices. Turn the heat up just a little and remember, you will hear the mustard seeds start to pop and turn a little gray. Move the spices around and add the garlic. Saute just until the garlic releases its’ fragrance. Next add the potatoes, beans and carrots and enough water just to be able to simmer the veggies, perhaps three or four cups. When the potatoes are tender, gently fold in the herbs. Serve immediately over jasmin rice.