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Roasted Radishes and Carrots


Radishes are in season, but not too many people cook the tangy root vegetables. Here’s a simple recipe for Roasted Radishes and Carrots that makes a great side dish.

“I roast a ton of vegetables,” Melissa d’Arabian writes in “Ten Dollar Dinners: 140 Recipes and Tips to Elevate Simple, Fresh Meals Any Night of the Week” (Clarkson Potter Publishers, $) 24.99). “In the oven, the sharp crunch of radishes transforms into a mellow, tender, and earthy-sweet bite. An extra bonus is that they roast up pretty and pink, which my four daughters love! I like to leave a little of the green tops on the radish to give them a fresh-from the-garden look. Paired with carrots, this is a very elegant and beautiful side dish. I often have baby-cut carrots int he cripser to eat as a fast snack — if you are more likely to have full-size carrots, peel and trim them into 2-inch lengths and use those instead.”

Roasted Radishes and Carrots

12 baby-cut carrots
Bunch radishes (about 12), trimmed (halved, if large)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme plus a squeeze of lemon juice (see note)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the carrots and radishes in a 9-inch baking dish and toss to coat with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Roast until they’re tender on the outside with a slightly firm core, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, squeeze the lemon over the top, and serve.

Note: Dried thyme is grassier than fresh, so when using dried thyme, add a squeeze of citrus. When making the substitution, remember to reduce the amount of thyme by half — so for every teaspoon of fresh thyme called for, use half as much dried thyme.

Makes 4 servings.

From “Ten Dollar Dinners” by Melissa D’Arabian

If you want another take on roasted radishes by themselves, click here.

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Griffin to Go: Tales of Portugal, Chocolate and Roasted Radishes


The holiday season always means an extra-busy schedule, filled with gatherings at work and with friends as well as shopping, stuffing stockings and enjoying the lights both on the River Walk and on many people’s homes. It also brings on a lot of good food, both homemade and in restaurants around town.

The following are some random food notes that have nothing to do with each other than they were recent treats that offered a few culinary lessons along the way.

At Portugal’s table

I’ve visited Portugal twice and hope to go back many more times. The cuisine from the country’s various regions, largely unknown in America, is a lesson in making the most of every morsel available.

The people in the county are not rich in money, but their food is certainly filled with the riches of the ocean as well as their own farms. Cheeses bursting with flavor, unctuous and tangy olive oils, and hundreds of desserts made with a mixture of egg yolks and sugar are just a few of the culinary treasures to be found.

So, when Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard in Elmendorf announced that Portugal would be the latest dinner in their ongoing passport series, I was more than willing to taste whatever chef Scott Grimmitt came up with for his menu.

Sure enough, the evening began with two of those stunning cheese, which vary from town to town. One was a creamy Azores Flores and an aged raw cow’s milk cheese call Sao Jorge, both of which paired well with a sparkling wine from the ever-reliable Casal Garcia.

Then the courses flew by, with a kale and sausage filled Caldo Verde, thickened with potato, a happy marriage of pork and clams, and, perhaps my personal favorite of the evening, grilled sardines with a piri-piri sauce and fresh lemon. Grimmitt shared his recipe for the killer sauce, which he described as a chimichurri with sriracha adding a welcome kick. (So, that’s parsley, garlic, olive oil, a touch of vinegar and salt, plus the fiery kick of sriracha used to taste.) Try it on fish, fajitas of any type, roast chicken or just a slice of bread.

A hearty steak with potatoes preceded a custard tart — those egg yolks and sugar, again — topped with port-soaked strawberries. While the tart was wonderful, the simple magic of the port-soaked strawberries could make an easy dessert throughout the holiday season. A dollop of whipped cream and you’re all set.

The program for the dinner included next year’s dinners at Sandy Oaks, so you may want to start preparing now:

  • Feb. 1 — Croatia
  • April 12  — Sicily
  • June 7  —  Andalucia
  • Aug. 9  — Morocco
  • Oct. 11  — Chile
  • Dec. 13  —  Mexico

For more information on Sandy Oaks, click here.

Chocolate many times over

A chocolate temple complete with torches and a pool of passion fruit sauce.

Susana Trilling, one of Mexico’s top chefs, made a welcome appearance at Las Canarias for a chocolate-themed dinner. It’s the first in a series the restaurant in the Omni La Mansion del Rio, 112 College St., has planned. Chiles and corn will be the themes of the next two meals, planned for early 2013.

The five-course tasting menu, accompanied by a savory starter and truffles laced with hot chiles, made you rethink all you thought you knew about the flavors of chocolate, cocoa and cacao.

Duck breast in an achiote-chocolate sauce was silky with a slight tingle of heat and the supple, dark mystery of the cocoa. Beef sautéed with wild porcinis in a chocolate and Cabernet Sauvignon sauce offered a complex host of flavors, and a roasted pumpkin soup was served with chocolate croutons. Chocolate came in all three dishes, but that common ingredient didn’t taste the same from dish to dish.

Perhaps my favorite expression was a mixed green salad with matchsticks of watermelon radish, Honeycrisp apple and almonds tossed with a chocolate-orange-vanilla dressing. Las Canarias chef John Brand said that the original recipe had also called for kohlrabi, but his suppliers and local farmers could find any that day.

Dessert was a dark chocolate temple dedicated to the rain god Cosijo and arrived with a passion fruit sauce that disappeared as quickly as the chocolate.

For many chefs and restaurateurs, these special dinners can just seem like extra work. But not at Las Canarias during this meal. Everyone we spoke with from the staff was in awe of Trilling and the knowledge she had to impart. Some even came in on their day off to help make the banana leaf-wrapped mole tamales filled with olives and plantain.

Roast that radish

Roasted radishes a la John Brand

This coming Sunday is Noche de los Rabanos, the Oaxacan festival of radishes. Every year on Dec. 23, the citizens of that Mexican village get together with radish carvings of the most intricate nature. It’s a chance to celebrate together before enjoying the more private family gatherings of Christmas. (A bit of trivia: Trilling was born on Dec. 23, thereby earning the nickname “Rabanita,” or “Little Radish.”)

I love to use radishes in a lot of dishes, both raw and cooked, from latkes to raw ravioli, in which this slices of lime-soaked daikon radish have goat cheese spread between them.

Brand offered up another variation of what to do with these root vegetables: Take red globe radishes, rub olive oil over them and season with rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for about a half hour or until the radishes are done. Then, serve them as a snack.

Brand said if he ever had a bar, he’d make this the snack food.

After giving them a try, I can see why. They’re aren’t just good by themselves, they’re great with a pilsner on the side.

Let no leftovers go to waste

A pot of ham soup.

In a column of leftover food items, it’s good to end with a few thoughts on real leftovers.

I found myself facing some really good leftover ham, minus the ham bone, so it just made sense to make a fresh pot of soup using the vegetables I had in the bottom of the fridge. A turnip, some broccoli stems, carrots, onion and cabbage, with a little garlic, became the base, sautéed for about 10 minutes in olive oil, while some vegetable broth came to a boil on the back burner. Then, about as much ham as vegetables went into the pot for a good warming before the stock was added. A beer was added at the end to provide an added richness of flavor.

There was still plenty of ham left. So more cabbage and onion got chopped up. This time, dill pickles were added with the ham to create a massive amount of salad, mixed with sour cream and mayonnaise, some extra dill weed for good measure, plus salt and pepper.

Both will come in handy on those days when making lunch takes up too much time in the morning.

When I told this to a friend, she wondered why no ham casserole. That’s certainly a possibility, but most casseroles have too many potatoes, carb-heavy soups and starches for my diabetic diet, but I could easily see layering ham, potatoes and cheese in a 9-by-13-inch pan, adding milk or cream and seasonings, and baking until its a bubbling thing of beauty. Or maybe adding ham to a baked macaroni and cheese.

What do you like to do with leftover ham when you don’t have a ham bone?

 

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Pickled Radishes


Do you love the bite that radishes bring to dishes? Here’s an easy pickled version from celebrated chef Thomas Keller that will add a welcome kick to most any meal.

“Our basic pickling liquid is 2 parts vinegar to 1 part sugar to 1 part water; it can be scaled up easily for larger quantities of vegetables,” writes Thomas Keller in “Ad Hoc at Home.” It can be used with baby leeks, green beans, cauliflower, carrots and garlic, among other vegetables.

Pickled Radishes

Basic Pickling Liquid (recipe follows)
1 cup icicle radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced on a diagonal, or red radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced (see note)

Basic Pickling Liquid

1/2 cup Champagne vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water

Combine vinegar, sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator.

Put the radishes in a canning jar or other storage container and pour the pickling liquid over them. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Note: If using red radishes, expect the color to run.

Makes about 3/4 cup.

From “Ad Hoc at Home” by Thomas Keller

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Endive, Radish and Fennel Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette


Looking to add some life to your dinner salad? This easy answer comes from celebrity chef Jeffrey Saad.

“The peppery bite of radishes and the bright licorice crunch of fennel ignite the endive in this salad,” he writes in his new cookbook, “Jeffrey Saad’s Global Kitchen: Recipes Without Borders” (Ballantine Books, $22). The vinaigrette is light yet full of flavor, infused with the sharp sweetness of shallots and the subtle umami of anchovy — a perfect beginning to osso bucco or anything heavy meat course.”

Endive, Radish and Fennel Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus a squeeze to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
3 cups thinly sliced fennel
3 cups thinly sliced endive
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

In a food processor, puree the lemon juice, shallots, mustard, anchovy paste, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt until smooth. Strain, pressing out all the liquid. Discard the solids.

In a small bowl, toss the radishes and fennel with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the squeeze of lemon juice. Make sure the radishes and fennel are cut thin and lay fairly flat in the marinade so that they marinate evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the radishes, fennel and endive. Using tongs, mix with some of the vinaigrette and taste. Evenly coat the endive.

Divide among four plates. Garnish with the Parmesan cheese, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

From “Jeffrey Saad’s Global Kitchen: Recipes Without Borders”

 

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Holiday Showcase Comes to Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market


Radishes are in season.

The Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market is having a Holiday Showcase this Sunday to present a host of gift ideas that you can pick or pre-order.

The market, held in the parking lot of the Quarry Market, 255 E. Basse Road, is also changing its hours this Sunday, the same day we set our clocks back an hour. From now through the summer, the Sunday market will be open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Quarry market is certainly feeding a need within the community. Within five months, it has grown from a dozen booths to 30 every week.

The market structure requires vendors to be local and grow, raise or make their products within a 200-mile radius while not being mass producers.

Among the vendors that show up on a regular basis are those with ready-to-eat products such as organic lemonade, granola, locally roasted coffee, hummus and other spreads, heat-and-eat meals, aguas frescas, paletas, gourmet and everyday baked goods, gluten-free baked goods and tamales. There’s even a natural dog food vendor with loyal fans.

Meat lovers can take home grass-fed beef, wild boar, pastured chicken, lamb and pork as well as farm-fresh eggs from happy chickens.

Shoppers stroll to live music and stop to pick up tips at the occasional cooking demonstration or seminar. It’s a vibrant, yet mellow, Sunday morning ritual for many.

Specialty items available through the holidays include:

9-1 Farm

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage—green and purple
  • Onions—several varieties including red, crystal white and yellow onions
  • Carrots—several varieties including little finger and atomic red
  • Cauliflower
  • Greens—two kinds of spinach, collard greens, two kinds of mustard greens and turnip greens
  • Radishes
  • Cilantro
  • Turnips—purple and white

Bakery Lorraine

  • 9-inch pies—pecan (with Jack Daniels No. 7 whiskey and a touch of molasses), Dutch apple (4 varieties of apples) and oven-roasted pumpkin
  • 10-inch pumpkin cheesecake (made with gingersnap crust and oven-roasted pumpkins)

Bistro Bakery

  • Roasted and stuffed turkey with all the trimmings (gravy, dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce) for parties of 10, 20 or 30
  • Assorted pastries
  • Pecan, pumpkin and apple pie
  • Grapefruit-pistachio tart
  • Marvelous chocolate meringue pie

Cowgirl Granola

  • Thanksgiving and Christmas blends
  • Jars of merlot-marjoram mustard, chardonnay-tarragon mustard and homemade mayonnaise
  • Organic Blue Cornmeal Pancake and Waffle Mix (gluten-free)

Engel Farms

  • Sweet fall broccoli
  • Greens such as Swiss chard
  • Beets, carrots and turnips
  • Butternut squash
  • Sugar pie pumpkins
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Radishes Lettuce mix
  • Pears
  • Cauliflower

Fresh broccoli is bursting with flavor.

Engel’s

  • Pumpkin-apple curried soup
  • Cornbread and sausage stuffing

Good Gluten-Free Foods—all gluten-free holiday offerings

  • Herb stuffing
  • Roasted turkey gravy
  • Green bean casserole
  • Dinner rolls
  • Pecan pie (no corn syrup)
  • Pumpkin pie
  • German apple pie
  • Pie crusts
  • Turkey-shaped glazed pumpkin pound cakes

Green Hills Poultry

  • Full selection of chickens, cut-up chickens as well as pieces and parts
  • Farm-fresh eggs

Humble House Foods

  • Gift set of four assorted gourmet spreads

Kocurek

  • Duck leg confit
  • Pâté de champagne

Katie’s Jar

  • Gift boxes full of dog bones or empanadas
  • Hand-braided fleece tug toy or bone
  • Gift certificates

Koch Ranches

  • Fall and Christmas wreaths (made with barbed wire or grapevine and a combination of antlers, leaves, ribbons, ornaments, etc., in fall and holiday decor)
  • Beribboned mistletoe
  • Oak firewood
  • Holiday gift sets featuring preserves, honey and jerky
  • Uncured fresh wild boar hams
  • Lily’s Chicken Ranch farm-fresh eggs

Ming’s Things

  • Southeast Asian spiced nuts

 My Father’s Farm

  • Salad mix in a clamshell container, along with assorted lettuces and Asian greens
  • Lettuces in a potted plant
  • Beet greens
  • Multi-colored radishes
  • Spring onions
  • Broccoli, broccoli raab and broccoli greens
  • Bok choy
  • Fresh cut basil and potted herb plants
  • Squash and okra
  • Greenhouse tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers

Sol y Luna

  • Gingerbread muffin
  • Cranberry-orange muffin
  • Cranberry-walnut-pumpkin bread
  • Cranberry-apple coffeecake

South Texas Heritage Pork

  • Holiday hams
  • Tamales using South Texas Heritage lard and pork

Try some just-picked carrots.

Springfield Farm

  • Skin care products using natural farm ingredients including salve with rosemary, lip balms with honey and a variety of goat milk soaps
  • Carrots
  • Spinach, kale, arugula and beet greens

The Gardener’s Feast

  • Vacuum-sealed six-packs of assorted tamales

The Lemonade Co.

  • Green Machine juice—celery, apples, alfalfa sprouts, parsley, mint leaves
  • Fresh pressed carrot, apple and grapefruit juice
  • Kidney cleanser—watermelon, cucumber, apple and cranberries

Wholesome Harvest Farm

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage—green and Napa
  • Cauliflower
  • Bok choy
  • Asparagus
  • Assorted lettuces including several red leaf varieties as well as frisee, romaine and red oak leaf
  • Greens—arugula, spinach, mustard and collards
  • Root vegetables—beets, carrots and rutabagas
  • Raw peanuts

For information, visit www.quarryfarmersmarket.com or call 210-722-5077.

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Griffin to Go: Fresh Is Best, No Matter Where You Are


Island life can be expensive, but smart shopping can help you save.

Before I visited Maui the first time, a friend warned me about the food prices on the island. “If you have to have cereal,” she warned me, “pack your own.”

I remember seeing the cost of such items and I was glad that cereal is just one of the many foods I can live without. If it comes in a box, it most often doesn’t get a second glance from me.

But I can’t live without fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fresh meats and seafood. If your idea of grocery shopping is only about a trip to the local supermarket, then you may be in for the same sticker shock that my friend talked about. Limes were $1 apiece at one grocery store near the place I’m staying. Carrots were close to $3 for a small cellophane bag. Lettuces were out of reach.

On my first night, I arrived after most of the restaurants were closed and I was starving, but I didn’t want or couldn’t afford much of anything, so I ended up with a Maui onion, some celery and a carton of eggs. Scrambled eggs always work in a fix.

The next day, Costco beckoned and I loaded up on cheese, raspberries and wine, all of which can be truly expensive elsewhere. The store is located less than a mile from the airport, so you can make an easy pit-stop after your arrival. It also specializes in the freshest local fish you could want. I cooked up a meaty ono fillet one evening after marinating it in local spices.

Alongside the fish was organic kale that I found in an upcountry grocery store and trinket shop. Behind the souvenirs and postcards was a display case filled with local clover sprouts (they weren’t from Europe, so I assumed they were safe) and just-picked zucchini. Nearby were tomatoes that had been harvested at the peak of ripeness.

After loading the car, we headed further into the country where we found a fresh fruit stand with an honor box at the side of the road. Lemons and limes were 25 cents apiece, so were tiny Mandarin oranges that were so aromatic I left the peel in the car as a pleasant reminder. A few rock hard avocados were there for 50 cents apiece. I have them in a brown paper bag and hope they ripen before we leave at the end of the week.

On the way back, we found a farmers market set up in a Kmart parking lot (just behind the Costco). Ripe fingerling bananas, tubers of all shapes and colors, exotic roots and more filled the stands, and I felt like a kid on Christmas morning sifting through everything there. Fresh pineapples, three for $5, were next to miniature organic watermelons. Litchi and mangosteen (at least I think that’s what the farmer called them), fresh dill and basil, butterleaf lettuces, carrots, Asian eggplants — I couldn’t believe my luck. The prices and the quality were much better than those touristy markets set up alongside the main drags where pineapples are priced at $7 apiece.

Ratatouille

A chiffonade of Thai basil topped the tomato and slices of fresh mozzarella. Each ingredient was so good, so ripe and so flavorful that no olive oil, balsamic vinegar or salt was needed, though we had all three on the side.

The pineapple I picked was so ripe and golden that its fragrance perfumed the car. It proved the star of the evening. One slice was all that was needed for the perfect dessert. It was sweet, almost honeyed, yet it had enough acidity to offer balance. No canned or fresh pineapple on the mainland can ever come close. As my friend Carol said, “One has never had pineapple unless one has it in Hawaii.” If you’ve never been here, that may sound snobbish. Once you visit, you’ll understand how true her words are.

I threw the remainder of the pineapple in the blender to create a marinade for a pork roast, which was also seasoned with fresh ginger and garlic. Perfect with a ratatouille made from the zucchini, tomato, onion, red bell pepper and radishes.

One of the secrets of enjoying any trip you’re on is sampling as much local food as possible. The local food is always the best. That’s why it grows there in abundance. It’s really that simple. And thanks to the growth of farmers markets and independent vendors, more and more people, locals and tourists alike, are tasting the proof for themselves.

Ratatouille

Olive oil
Onion, diced
Garlic, minced
Zucchini, thinly sliced
Red bell pepper, diced
Radishes, diced (optional)
Tomatoes, diced
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Fresh herbs, such as basil or thyme

The beauty of this dish is that you can make it to your tastes, using as much or as little of any ingredient as you choose.

Pour a tiny bit of oil in a pan and heat the onion and garlic together until slightly soft, 4-5 minutes. Empty the pan into a large pot.

Add a tiny bit more oil to the pan and soften the zucchini, about 5 minutes, depending on how much you use. Add that to the pot. Repeat the procedure with the radishes, if using, and red bell pepper. Last, warm the tomatoes slightly. Add to the pot and season with salt and pepper and thyme, if using. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are ready. Just before serving, stir in the basil, if using.

From John Griffin

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