THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for Vegetables-Salads-Herbs

TIP OF THE DAY: Roast Your Roots

While we wait for spring vegetables to appear, we’ve been eating lots of root vegetables.

Root vegetables have sustained mankind through millennia of winters, because they last for long periods in cool temperatures.

Before the advent of modern refrigeration, root cellars provided vital cold storage that kept a family fed through the winter.

Growing underground (photo #1), the root are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. These large roots are eaten as vegetables.

WHAT ARE ROOT VEGETABLES?

Root vegetables are plant roots eaten as vegetables (photo #2).

Beet, carrot, parsnip, potato and sweet potato, radish, and turnip are widely consumed in the U.S.

Some roots, such as galangal, ginger, horseradish, turmeric and wasabi, are used for condiments or seasonings. Arrowroot is used as a thickener. Gingseng is used medicinally.

To give you a perspective on the category, here’s a categorization of the root vegetables more familiar in the U.S.

True Roots

  • Taproots: beetroot (beet), burdock, carrot, celeriac (celery root), daikon, dandelion, jicama, parsley root*, parsnip, radish, rutabaga, salsify and turnip, and others not well-known in the U.S.
  • Tuberous roots: cassava/yuca/manioc, Chinese/Korean yam, and sweet potato, among others.
  • Bulbs: fennel; garlic, green onion/scallion, leek, onion, shallot and the rest of the Allium family.
  • Corms: Chinese water chestnut, taro.
  • Rhizomes: arrowroot, galangal, ginger, ginseng, lotus root, turmeric
  • Tubers: Chinese artichoke/crosne, Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke), potato, ube, yam.
  •  
    Roasted taproots and tubers are popular roasted vegetables in American cuisine. Even people who fuss over eating vegetables enjoy the sweetness of the sugars that come out during roasting.
     
    TWO WAYS TO ENJOY ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES

    There are endless recipes, of course; but here are two recipes from Idaho Potatoes with some added glamour.

    RECIPE #1: ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES WITH CHICKEN

    We like the convenience of this recipe. Root vegetables are hardy, and can keep for a few weeks. It’s easy to pick up a rotisserie chicken if you don’t have time or inclination to roast one.

    You can use substitute other root vegetables, or create a grain bowl with a bottom layer of a favorite grain.

    Ingredients

  • 4 russet Idaho potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 turnip, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into wedges
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup butternut squash, chopped and peeled
  • 2 beets, rinsed, peeled, cut in half and then cut into wedges
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stem
  • 3 cups Swiss chard, removed from stem and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup cooked rotisserie chicken, chopped
  •  
    For The Maple Aïoli

  • 3 tablespoons fresh mayo
  • 1 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  

    Root Vegetables Illustration

    Root Vegetables

    Roast Chicken & Vegetables

    Whole Roast Chicken

    [1] An old illustration showing how root vegetables grow (photo courtesy Etsy). [2] Harvested root vegetables (photo courtesy DIY Naturals). [3] Recipe #1: roasted root vegetables with chicken (photo courtesy Idaho Potatoes). [4] Rotisserie chicken (photo courtesy McCormick).

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

    2. TOSS all of the vegetables in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with thyme. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden and fork tender, flipping once, halfway through. Meanwhile…

    3. HEAT the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-heat. Sauté the Swiss chard with the chopped garlic, until wilted, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    4. MAKE the aïoli: Whisk the mayonnaise with the maple syrup and cinnamon until combined. Spoon into a serving dish.

    5. DIVIDE the chard evenly in serving bowls. Top with the roasted vegetables and chicken. Serve with the maple aïoli on the side for dipping.
     
    ________________
    *Parsley root is not related to parsley, the herb, but is a beige root vegetable that resembles a parsnip or turnip. The edible leaves that grow above the ground do resemble curly parsley leaves, but taste like celery. Parsley root is also called turnip-rooted parsley. In Germany it is known as Hamburg parsley, and is a popular winter vegetable in Germany, Holland and Poland.

     

    Scalloped Root Vegetables

    Purple Top Turnips

    Smithfield Honey Cured Spiral Ham

    [5] A three-potato gratin with turnips (photo courtesy Idaho Potatoes). [6] Turnips (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [7] We served the casserole with a beautiful Smithfield spiral-cut ham (photo courtesy Smithfield).

     

    RECIPE #2: SCALLOPED ROOT VEGETABLE CASSEROLE

    This casserole reminds us of a tian, a beautiful way to serve summer vegetables.

    It is actually a gratin†.

    This recipe serves a trio of potatoes plus turnips under a cloak of melted cheese. They work together in this recipe because they can be sliced into roughly the same sizes, which cook evenly.
    Ingredients

  • 4 large russet Idaho potatoes, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • 3 red Idaho potatoes, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • 2 sweet potatoes, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • 3 turnips, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 packages of whipped chive cream cheese
  • 16 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoon of salt, more to taste
  • Garnish: grated Parmesan and diced chives for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Slice the potatoes and turnips and set aside in a large bowl.

    2. HEAT 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium heat in a medium, non-stick skillet. Add the onions and garlic; sauté until translucent.

    3. ADD the cream cheese, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and stir until smooth. Turn off the heat.

    4. SPRAY a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place half of the potatoes and turnips in a separate large bowl. Slowly add 1/3 of the cream mixture into the bowl with the potatoes and turnips and mix to coat well.

    5. PLACE the coated potato and turnip slices into the baking pan vertically, using your hands. Make sure the slices are close together (see photo #5). Add another 1/3 of the cream mixture to the remaining potatoes and turnips, coating well. Layer them into the baking dish. Once all the slices are in the baking pan…

    6. POUR the remainder of cream mixture into the baking pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the foil and bake for an additional 40 minutes.

    7. REMOVE from the oven, sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Garnish with the chives right before serving.

    We liked the recipe so much, we’re making it again today!

     
    †WHAT’S A GRATIN?

    Gratin (grah-TAN) is a method of food preparation in which a protein, vegetable or starch is served with a browned crust of grated cheese. The crust may also include breadcrumbs, egg and/or butter.

    Gratin originated in France and is usually made in a shallow baking dish. The main ingredient can be baked (roasted) in the oven or cooked on the stove top. In the latter case, the toppings are then added and the dish is finished in the oven or broiler.

    The baking dish is usually brought to the table piping hot. It’s a perennial favorite: Who doesn’t like their food topped with melted cheese?

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Breakfast Salad

    Breakfast Salad

    Breakfast Salad

    Granola Breakfast Salad

    [1] Bacon and egg over Caesar Salad. [2] Deconstructed Eggs Benedict: poached egg, julienned Canadian bacon and English muffin crouton atop a mixed green salad. [3] Romaine, apples and grapes with a honey-yogurt dressing, topped with granola (all photos courtesy Food Network; the recipes are below).

     

    We first heard of breakfast salad in 2014. Someone sent us a recipe, but it got lost in the shuffle.

    In the ensuing two-plus years, the concept has spread. So if you’re ready to move on from the last breakfast trend—overnight oats—here’s a roundup of the latest.

    Breakfast salad is a fusion of conventional breakfast items with salad greens or other raw or cooked vegetables. Example: bacon and eggs on a lettuce wedge, or yogurt and fresh fruit salad atop mesclun greens.

    For years we have served what we never thought to call “breakfast salad”: an omelet topped with lightly dressed baby arugula and watercress; and for brunch, poached egg on top of a frisée salad with lardons, or on top of a Caesar salad.

    So we decided to take a look at what other people were eating. We found:

  • Some were following the breakfast food-and-greens or vegetables concept.
  • Some were serving up fresh fruit atop greens.
  • Some were throwing an egg on top of a grain bowl.
  • Some were featuring luncheon salads (Cobb, spinach-egg-bacon) for breakfast.
  • Some were medleys of cooked vegetables (bell peppers, potatoes, root vegetables) with chickpeas for protein.
  • Some were featuring sandwich ingredients (smoked salmon and avocado) atop greens.
  • Some served what we would call side salads breakfast salads (diced squash and pomegranate arils atop greens, with some almond butter in the dressing).
  • Some tossed greens atop avocado toast.
  • Some even featured a liquid salad, i.e., a green smoothie.
  •  
    BREAKFAST SALAD RECIPES

    We decided to go purist. Here are some recipes that fit our bill of breakfast salad fare:

  • Bacon & Egg Breakfast Caesar Salad, the egg yolk served cooked on top of the salad instead of raw in the traditional Caesar dressing.
  • Egg, Sausage & Avocado Breakfast Salad.
  • Eggs Benedict Breakfast Salad, deconstructed Eggs Benedict.
  • Frisée Salad With Eggs & Bacon (what’s frisée and another recipe).
  • Greens, Grapes & Granola Breakfast Salad, romaine, apples and grapes tossed with a yogurt dressing and garnished with granola.
  • Grilled Wedge Salad With Fried Egg & Cranberry Feta Cheese.
  • Potato Breakfast Salad, an opportunity to eat pan-fried potatoes with some egg white and chickpeas for protein.
  • Quinoa, Ham & Pepper Breakfast Salad, a Western Omelet deconstructed on top of quinoa (or greens, if you prefer).
  •  
    Do you have a favorite breakfast salad recipe? Please share!

    And feel free to eat breakfast salad for lunch or dinner. The concept is no different from an omelet or any luncheon salad.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Olive Salsa For Fish, Vegetables & Eggs

    Baked Salmon With Salsa Verde

    Cauliflower With Olive Sauce

    Castelvetrano Olives In Bowl

    Cerignola Olives

    [1] and [2] Fish and cauliflower with salsa verde (photos courtesy Good Eggs). [3] Castelvetrano olives (photo courtesy Musco Food) and [4] cerignola olives (photo courtesy Miccio), our favorite green olives..

     

    Many Americans think that salsa is a spicy tomato and chile dip for tortilla chips.

    In fact, salsa is the Spanish word for sauce of any kind. Salsa de chocolate, for example, is chocolate sauce.

    The Spanish word salsa derives from the Latin salsa, meaning salty, which itself derives from the Latin sal, salt (most Spanish salsas are not salty, however, but spicy).

    Not all salsas are Mexican in origin; in fact, each Spanish-heritage country has its own variety of salsa (Mexico has dozens, a different specialty in each state).

  • Chimichurri, a spicy vinegar-parsley sauce, is the leading condiment in Argentina and Uruguay.
  • Mojo, in the Caribbean, typically consists of olive oil, garlic and citrus juice, and is used both to marinate meats and as a dipping sauce.
  • Peri peri or piri piri sauce is considered the national condiment of Peru: a base of vinegar and oil, garlic and lemon juice with hot birds eye chiles. As with mojo, it is also used as a cooking sauce.
  •  
    The list goes on. Check out our Salsa Glossary for different types of salsa.

    Today, we’re yet another variety of salsa. This one is a salsa verde* (green sauce) featuring green olives. It can be used over fish, chicken, rice, eggs, and in the recipe below, vegetables.

    RECIPE: SALSA VERDE WITH OLIVES ON FISH & VEGETABLES

    Not your typical salsa verde, this recipe is chunky with olives and almonds. Any leftovers are equally good at room temperature for lunch the next day.

    Ingredients For 2-3 Servings

  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • A handful arugula roughly chopped
  • A handful parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • A handful toasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon capers
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound fish: char, salmon, trout or anything that looks good
  • 4 lemon or lime wedges
  •  
    OLIVE TIPS

  • Use good olives: the type you would be happy to nibble on from the bowl. Pitted olives are preferred, unless you don’t mind removing the pits from your mouth at the table.
  • Type of olive: You only need one variety of olive, but found a pitted green olive mix from an olive bar, which included castelvetrano, cerignola, gordal, manzanilla and picholine. Since we left the olives whole, we could taste the different flavors.
  • Chopped versus whole: We like olives so much that we left them whole (or were we too lazy to chop them?).
  • Substitute: You can substitute black olives if you don’t like green.
  • Olive Glossary: Check out the different types of olives.
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Spread the florets in a single layer on one half of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

    2. PLACE the fish, skin-side down on the other half of the sheet. Run your fingers over the flesh to check for pin bones and remove them with kitchen tweezers. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

    3. BAKE until the florets just start to brown, about 20 to 25 minutes (longer if you prefer a softer texture or more well-done fish). While the food is baking…

    4. MAKE the salsa verde. In a small mixing bowl, combine the chopped greens, olives, almonds, vinegar and enough olive oil to bind without. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

    5. REMOVE the baking sheet from the oven. Plate and spoon the salsa over the cauliflower and the fish and. Serve with a lemon or lime wedge.
    ________________

    *Salsa verde is typically made with green chiles, tomatillos and cilantro. Used primarily as a garnish rather than a dip, it is much thinner than a tomato-based salsa roja/red sauce (this recipe, laden with olives and almonds, is an exception). A salsa verde can be fresh or cooked.

     
      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Radishes, A Valentine Vegetable

    Have you ever roasted radishes? Few of us do; but like other root veggies, roasted vegetables can taste even more glorious than raw ones.

    We liked this particular recipes for “Valentine veggies.” We adapted the recipe from Duda Fresh, using their Dandy Radishes.

    We adapted this recipe from Duda Farm Fresh Foods of Florida, using their quality produce.

     
    RECIPE: ROASTED RADISHES WITH ORANGE & ROSEMARY

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound radishes, trimmed and halved—but don’t toss the greens!
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • Salt
  • 1 orange, peel* and pith removed, cut into slices
  • Garnish: rosemary sprigs
  •  
    ________________
    *Save the peel for drink garnishes. You can cut it into strips and freeze it. Alternatively, you can zest the peel and toss with the radishes and olive oil. You can also freeze extra zest.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Line a baking pan with foil and set aside.

    2. TOSS the radishes in a large bowl with the olive oil and rosemary. Place on the baking pan and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 25-30 minutes until tender and lightly browned in spots.

    3. REMOVE from the oven and cool slightly. Serve warm with the orange slices.

     
    MORE WAYS TO COOK RADISHES

    You can cook radishes as you would cook any vegetable, with just about any technique.

  • Here’s how to grill radishes to add smoky flavor.
  • Here’s how to roast radishes for caramelized sweetness.
  • Here’s how to stir-fry radishes.
  • Here’s how to pickle radishes: quick radish pickles.
  •  
    12 MORE WAYS TO SERVE RADISHES

    They’re great at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We haven’t figured out a radish dessert, yet.

    Check ‘em out.

    HOW TO USE RADISH GREENS (RADISH TOPS)

    The green tops of root vegetables are edible—by humans as well as the bunnies and hamsters who love to nibble them.

    We especially like beet, celery root, radish and turnip greens; and like the feathery carrot greens as garnish.

     

    Roasted Radishes

    Fresh Radishes

    Radish Hors D'Oeuvre

    [1] Roasted radishes look like edible valentines (photo courtesy Duda Farm Fresh Foods). [2] Look for the freshest radishes, with green tops—and never buy the sad, peeled versions in cellophane (photo courtesy The Chef’s Garden). [3] Great with Bloody Marys and Martinis: radishes dipped in cultured butter and topped with a few flakes of crunchy sea salt (here’s the recipe; photo courtesy Vermont Creamery).

     
    Just like the bottom globes, the radish greens have a peppery in taste. Even older greens, which can grow more bitter, provide a nice bite to a lettuce salad.

  • Make pesto: Blanch the leaves and blend with garlic, pignola (or other) nuts and Parmesan (here’s a recipe template).
  • Sauté them.
  • Stir-fry them.
  • Wilt them and serve as a side, in pasta and grain dishes, soups and stews.
  •  
    Go rad with new approaches to the radish.

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: More Ways To Enjoy Carrots

    What’s up, Doc?

    The humble carrot, dressed to impress.

    Winter, with its paucity of produce choices, is the best time to enjoy root vegetables. The most familiar—and the easiest to convince family members to eat—is the carrot. Here, some ideas from the familiar to the less so. First…

    A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO ROOT VEGETABLES

    Root vegetables most common in the U.S. include the beet, carrot, celery root (celeriac), Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, kohlrabi, onions (use baby onions), parsnips, potato (use small waxy potatoes), radishes, rutabaga, salsify, and turnip.

    Root vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals, which they absorb from the ground. Many are high in vitamin A, B complex and C; plus antioxidants. Root vegetables are an excellent source of fiber.

    Many of these can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, baked, roasted, stir fried, or fried.

    In the case of carrots, Whether baby, heirloom or standard, carrots and their root kin are waiting at your nearest market.

    COOKING CARROTS

    Beyond boiled carrots, carrot salad and crudités, consider these preparations:

  • Brochette: Parboil and skewer them, then grill them and serve as a fun brochette.
  • Classic: Steam them and toss in butter with fresh dill or parsley.
  • Gratinée: Roast or steam, top with shredded Gruyere or other cheese and broil until melted.
  • Fancy cut: Cooked the carrots shredded, as you wood a slaw; or use mini vegetable cutters to make small flowers and other shapes.
  • Roasted/Grilled: Roast them in garlic butter and garnish with chopped parsley.
  • Pan-fried: We just tried this for the first time. Here’s a recipe.
  • Pickles: Pickle carrots as you would cucumbers or any vegetables. You can quick-pickle in just an hour.
  • Purée: A terrific way to eat most dense vegetables.
  • Raw: as crudites or grated into a slaw/mixed slaw, or mixed into a salad. Just grate them or slice thinly. Beyond carrots, think beets and radishes. Anything sold fresh with the greens attached—kohlrabi, turnips—will be moist, sweet and of course, crunchy, when raw. While not sold with its greens, rutabaga is mild and often sweet. Although drier than turnips or kohlrabi, it contributes a pale yellow color to the mix.*
  • Soup: When was the last time you made soup? Carrot soup is a perennial favorite. Make it chunky—like a thin purée. Garnish with fresh herbs and, as desired, a slice of bacon or sausage.
  • Sandwich:
  • Different choices here: Roasted carrot or mixed roasted vegetable sandwich, with or without goat cheese; or carrot pickles or carrot slaw on a ham, turkey or other sandwich.

  • Stew: For Meatless Mondays, try this hearty Carrot-Mushroom-Barley Stew from Food Network.
  •  
    WAYS TO TREAT ANY CARROT PREPARATION

  • Blended: Combine with other root vegetables†: beet, celery root (celeriac), Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, kohlrabi, onions (use baby onions), parsnips, potato (use small waxy potatoes), radishes, rutabaga, salsify, turnip, etc.
  • Garnishes: Beyond herbs, consider toasted breadcrumbs, pecans, raisins, seeds or a mix. For color, try dried cranberries, dice red bell pepper or pomegranate arils. Rings of red jalapeño with the seeds and pith remove also work. Those who don’t like heat can set them aside.
  • Heat: Add your choice of heat—cayenne, chile flakes, hot sauce, etc.—to the dish.
  • Herbs: Basil, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme are naturals with carrots.
  • International: From Indian to Moroccan, French to Japanese, your favorite international flavors work with carrots.
  • Spices: “Fall” spices such as allspice, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg are delicious with carrots. Also try coriander.
  • Sweet: Add a bit of brown sugar, honey or maple syrup.
  •  
    Do you have a favorite carrot preparation?

    If it’s not listed here, please let us know!

    CARROT HISTORY

    The original wild carrots were white, like parsnips. According to Colorful Harvest, marketer of rainbow carrots, the cultivated purple and yellow carrots—mutations—were eaten more than 1,000 years ago in what is now Afghanistan.

    Other colors are the product of generations of traditional plant breeding. Orange carrots were first successfully bred in Holland from an orange mutation by Dutch farmers. Here’s the history of carrots.

    FROM WHERE DO CARROTS GET THEIR COLOR?

     

    Shredded Cooked Carrots

    Grilled Carrots & Radishes

    Pan-Fried Carrots

    Glazed Carrots With Pomegranate

    Grilled Carrot Sandwich

    Colored Carrots

    [1] “Cooked” carrot salad. Here’s the recipe from Walnut Frog. [2] Carrots with other root vegetables (here, radishes and baby onions). Here’s the recipe, with a maple-honey glaze, from Kalamazoo Gourmet. [3] Pan-fried carrots with parsley. Not the red skin: It’s an heirloom variety. Here’s the recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet. [4]. These glazed carrots are accented with sesame seeds and pomegranate arils for more color. Here’s the recipe from The Café Sucre Farine. [5] Grilled carrot sandwich on crusty bread with goat cheese, apricot jam and toasted pine nuts, at The Wayfarer | NYC. [6] This picture is not Photoshopped: These are natural mutations. See how it happens, below (photo courtesy The Wayfarer).

     
    Deeply colored produce are rich in nutrients, including antioxidants. Different antioxidants produce the different colors or carrots:

  • Red carrots get their color from lycopene, an antioxidant that may promote healthy eyes and a healthy prostate.
  • Orange and tangerine carrots get their color comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant and precursor of vitamin A.
  • Purple carrots get their color from anthocyanins, the same potent phytonutrients (antioxidants) that makes blueberries blue,. Anthocyanins are flavonoids that may help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood and may help maintain good brain function.
  • Yellow and white carrots get their color from lutein, which studies suggest may promote good eye health.
  •  
    ________________
    *Tenderness, moistness and delicacy depend in part on how and where a vegetable is grown. Those grown in a hot, dry climate without sufficient irrigation can turn out to be pretty hot and spicy. If you end up with that character, you can reduce the spiciness by blanching the cut pieces in salted, boiling water. (Source)

    †Other common root vegetables, that don’t necessarily lend themselves to these preparations, include include daikon, ginger, horseradish, jicama and turmeric.

      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2016 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.