Braised Radishes

If you’ve only eaten radishes raw, try eating them cooked. This simple recipe adds another way of enjoying this root vegetable to your culinary repertoire. This recipe is based on one from Diane Morgan found in Fine Cooking (Issue 122).

What You’ll Need

  • knife
  • chopping board
  • large skillet or frying pan
  • measuring cup and spoons

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches radishes, tops removed (can save some of the radish greens)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, salted or unsalted
  • 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (or reserved radish greens)

How to Cook Braised Radishes

  1. Rinse and dry the radishes. Cut off the tops and root tails. Then slice into approximately ¼ inch rounds (if radishes are very small, feel free to halve or quarter them).
  2. Over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the radishes (with a pinch of salt), cover and cook them on medium-low for 5-10 minutes, stirring fairly often (of course, you’ll have to uncover them to stir). They should become noticeably softened.
  3. CookRadishes

  4. Once softened, add your stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Then add the vinegar, sugar, and salt (about ½ tsp, though you can use less if you opted for salted butter). Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally.
  5. Cook until the liquid is reduced to a glazy consistency.
  6. Garnished with chopped parsley or chopped radish greens. Serve immediately.

FinishedBraisedRadishes

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Curried Pumpkin-Apple Soup

A bowl of hot pumpkin soup is a rite of fall in my kitchen. This particular soup is easy to make and freezes well, too.

What You’ll Need

  • measuring cups, solid and liquid
  • measuring spoons
  • chopping board
  • knife for chopping
  • vegetable peeler
  • small knife or garlic press (for garlic)
  • large saucepan or soup pot
  • wooden spoon or whisk
  • blender, regular or immersion

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (use a neutral oil for a vegan version of the soup)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder, divided
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 cups pumpkin or winter squash puree (about 1 can of prepared pure pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling)1
  • 1/4 cup apple juice (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • salt and freshly ground pepper for finishing
  • sour cream or crème fraiche (optional)

How to Make the Soup

  1. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook until tender and translucent, but not browned.
  2. CookingOnionsRS

  3. Add the apples and 1 tsp of the curry powder, plus another pinch of salt. Cook until apples are a bit softened, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic. Cook for another minute.
  5. Add the chicken stock, pumpkin, and salt (if your stock is salty, add only a half-teaspoon of salt, as you can adjust the taste later). Stir or whisk so that the pumpkin is fully incorporated. Then bring to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes.
  7. CookingMixtureRS

  8. Remove from heat and stir in the apple juice, if using. Using a blender, puree the soup. If you are using a stand blender, you will probably need to do this in 2 batches, since you should not fill the blender jar more than 2/3 full, lest you risk an unpleasant surprise.2
  9. BlendingSoupRS

  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Top with sour cream or crème fraiche, if using.
  12. CurriedPumpkinSoupRS

A variation on this soup would be to saute the onions and apples in coconut oil, replace half the stock with coconut milk, and top the completed soup with a squeeze of lime instead of sour cream. That gives it not only a Caribbean twist, but also makes the soup dairy-free and vegan (assuming you use vegetable stock).

1I’ve made this with both canned pumpkin and kabocha squash puree. Kabocha squash is dense and sweet, so no need for the apple juice.
2The combination of steam from the hot soup, plus vibrations from the blending, may result in your blowing the lid of the blender off and redecorating your kitchen in Midcentury Soup Design. So, if you are using a stand blender, firmly press down on the lid while blending (protect your hand with a mitt or towel).

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Using Up Your Market Bounty—Gado Gado

Hopefully those Dane County Farmers Market posts have inspired you to seek out your local farmers market or farmstand. If so, you’ve probably returned home with a veritable plethora (oh, how I love that word) of produce—the bounty that is late August and early September. Cucumbers and zucchini crowd your vegetable crispers. Tomatoes of many colors and stripes fill your bowls and counters. Basil and parsley and thyme add their herbaceousness to the scent of your kitchen. You tear up in poetic appreciation for the abundance bestowed upon you by the hard work of your local farmers. You sit back, satisfied.

Okay, maybe not. But you came home with a few tomatoes and cucumber. Perhaps you even grew them yourself. As you eat your fill of this fresh produce, you may be looking for an usual treatment for it. Enter Gado Gado, an Indonesian peanut-coconut sauce served with rice and vegetables.

Wait, you say. Hold on. Indonesian??? How is that Flyover? Well, dear readers, the Flyover parts are your local vegetables. And it may come as a surprise to some, but the Flyover States are home to people of non-European ancestry or origins. To wit, the largest concentration of Hmong Americans are found in Minnesota. Fort Wayne, Indiana, is host to the largest concentration of Burmese immigrants. A vast number of Arab Americans reside in the Greater Detroit area (specifically Dearborn). So, a look at Flyover Food incorporates some global cuisines. And while the Indonesian American population isn’t found in the Midwest and Plains, this dish serves to showcase the gorgeous local produce that IS Flyover in origin. So, here’s a version of Gado Gado for your Flyover Culinary Enjoyment! And it’s vegan, to boot.

This serves 8

What You’ll Need

  • chopping board and knife for vegetables, garlic, and ginger
  • garlic press (optional)
  • 2.5 quart saucepan
  • whisk
  • wooden spoon
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • grater—box or Microplane

Ingredients

GadoIngredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil (peanut, roasted peanut or canola—not olive)
  • 1 or 2 dried, crushed hot chile peppers (or more if you like it spicy!)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 cups coconut milk (lite is okay) or 1 14-oz can
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (can add a little more to make it more peanutty)
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce (regular or wheat free)

How to Make the Gado Gado

  1. Saute onion in 1 or 2 Tbs. vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. When onions soften and become transparent (don’t let them brown), add garlic and saute for another minute or two.
  3. Add all of the other ingredients EXCEPT for the peanut butter and stir to combine.
  4. Add the peanut butter, whisking so it is fully incorporated in the sauce.
  5. Turn up heat to high and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn down heat to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring or whisking often. The sauce becomes thick and can stick to the bottom of the pan, in which case you run the risk of it burning. So pretend this is like a Chicago election—stir early and often.
  7. Remove from heat, let cool for 10 minutes, and serve with some combination of rice, vegetables (e.g. cucumbers, steamed carrots or cabbage or cauliflower, bean sprouts), fried tofu cubes, and (if it doesn’t have to be vegan) slice hard-boiled eggs or cooked shrimp.

I actually prefer to make this a day ahead. I find the flavors blend together better with the benefit of an extra day. This also freezes beautifully—you can divide the sauce in half, serving one and freezing the other. Additionally, this is nice tossed with rice noodles.

GadoSalad1

Here I’ve used the sauce on a salad with greens, cucumber, and heirloom tomatoes.
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Loubia—Putting Your Farmers Market Produce to Work Deliciously!

While I don’t live in Madison and can’t visit the Dane County Farmers Market on a weekly basis, I’ve got my own market where I shop (almost) every Saturday (and you should be supporting your own local farmers market!) And Green Beans are now in season and available! There are so many delicious ways to enjoy them–boiled and blanched to maintain color, cooked and tossed with chopped onion and vinaigrette for a green bean salad, even raw with a dip. Here’s a tasty (and simple!) recipe for green beans slow cooked with tomatoes and onion called Loubia (or Loob’ya or Loobya or Loub’ya or some other transliteration from Arabic). It stems from the Lebanon/Syria region of the Middle East. Tastes even better the next day and can be served warm or at room temperature (or cold from the fridge while standing at the sink—not a joke, people, trust me on this!) This is a fairly soupy dish and I suppose if you cut the beans into small pieces, say 1-2 inches, you can serve this as a soup). That said, you can remove some of the sauce to make it more like a regular vegetable side dish.

What You’ll Need

  • chopping board and knife, for prepping the beans, tomatoes, and onion
  • large saucepan or cast iron enameled pot
  • spoon for stirring
  • garlic press (can also manually mince the garlic)
  • Ingredients

    • 1 to 1.5 lbs green beans, washed and drained, with tops cut off
    • 1 onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (add more if you are one of those garlic people)
    • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (or 1 14-oz. can whole or diced tomatoes)1
    • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
    • salt and pepper

    Ingredients

    How to Make Loubia

    1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat2. Add the onion and a pinch or two or salt, and saute the onion until it is soft and translucent, but not browned.
    2. CookingOniona

    3. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a minute or two; do not let the garlic burn, as it’ll taste bitter.
    4. Add the green beans and the tomatoes; if using canned tomatoes, be sure to add the juice from the can as well. Add the stock. It should barely cover the beans and tomatoes (it’s okay if a few beans stick out of the water!) Add another pinch or two of salt, plus some pepper (as much or little as you like).
    5. AddingTheBeans

      I used a mixture of green and wax beans–the color contrast is visually interesting.

    6. Bring the green beans to a boil,

      BoilThenSimmer

      reduce heat to a simmer, and cook (covered) for about an 45 minutes. Give the pot a stir every now and then.
    7. Reduce

    8. Remove the cover and cook the beans, maintaining a simmer, for another 45 minutes.
    9. Bring to a boil and cook the beans for another 20-30 minutes to reduce the amount of liquid.
    10. Remove from heat. Can be served warm or at room temperature.
    11. MmmMmmmGood

    1If using canned whole tomatoes, chop them up or break them apart with your (clean) hands–don’t leave them whole. If you do that, though, be careful–cover the tomato with your other hand to avoid squirting tomato juice on everything. I speak from experience here.

    2If using stainless steel, let the pan heat up a bit (until the edges are warm to the touch) and then add the oil. It’ll help keep the onion from sticking.

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Creamed Kohlrabi

What You’ll Need

  • knife and cutting board
  • large saucepan
  • small saucepan
  • colander
  • spoon for stirring

Ingredients: For the kohlrabi:

  • 6 cups diced kohlrabi (about a ½” dice)1
  • 1 cup finely chopped kohlrabi greens2
  • Salt

Ingredients: For the white sauce:3

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ onion
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons white flour

Cooking the kohlrabi:

  1. Bring a saucepan of water (one large enough to hold the kohlrabi) to a boil and add salt. Stir to dissolve the salt—don’t be shy with the salt. The water should taste like seawater. You can actually add the salt and dissolve it before boiling.
  2. Add the kohlrabi and cook until tender enough that a wooden skewer pierces a cube, about 4-6 minutes, depending on the size of your dice.
  3. Take off the heat and add the chopped kohlrabi greens. Let stand for about a minute (to heat the greens), then drain in a colander.

Make the white sauce:

  1. Stud the onion with the cloves. In a small saucepan, add the milk, onion, and bay leaf.
  2. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat (or turn on very low—stir or whisk occasionally to keep the milk from getting a skin, but if it does, just stir it back in).
  4. In another saucepan (this can be the same saucepan you cooked the kohlrabi in—don’t worry if a few bits of greens are left), melt the butter over medium-low heat, then add the flour, stirring constantly.
  5. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, just enough to smell the roux (butter-flour mixture), but don’t let it brown—you only want to cook it enough to get rid of the raw floury taste. Slowly whisk in the warm milk.
  6. Cook until the sauce thickens to your liking. Season with salt and pepper.

Putting it all together:

  1. Add the drained kohlrabi and greens to the white sauce.
  2. Mix thoroughly and make sure the kohlrabi are heated through. Serve immediately.

1To prepare the kohlrabi, cut off the outer-space-like “tentacles” and peel the outside. Save a few of the greens, preferably the smaller and more tender ones. Cut each kohlrabi in half before you dice them—it’ll be more stable that way on a cutting board. If you have a larger kohlrabi with a woody center, just use the “unwoody” part—no need to discard the whole thing!

2Kohlrabi greens have a flavor somewhat akin to kale. Remove the green part from the stalk—the green part is what you want to chop up finely.

3This white sauce recipe is from the 1999 edition of Joy of Cooking. You can certainly make a simpler version without the onion, cloves, and bay leaf.

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