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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

RECIPE: Strawberry Salsa

How about something special for National Strawberry Day (February 27th): strawberry salsa.

In addition to serving with tortilla chips, strawberry salsa is delicious over grilled chicken, fish or pork.

This recipes was adapted from TasteOfHome.com. You can customize it by adding other fruits to the strawberries. Mango, grapes, pineapple, pomegranate arils and stone fruits are a few options.

TIP: Wear disposable gloves when cutting and seeding hot chiles; then clean the cutting board and knife, wash your gloved hands and dispose of the gloves. Accidentally touching your eye with the most minute amount of capsaicin fom the chile is an experience you never want to have.

RECIPE: STRAWBERRY SALSA

Ingredients

  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (do not substitute)
  • Optional: green, orange, red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  •  

    strawberry-salsa-tasteofhome-230

    Strawberry salsa made with optional bell pepper. Photo courtesy Taste Of Home.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all the ingredients. Refrigerate and let the flavors meld for an hour or more.

    2. SERVE with chips or as a protein garnish.

     
    Variations

  • Chunky Strawberry Salsa With Quartered Cherry Tomatoes Recipe
  • Strawberry Mango Salsa Recipe
  • Strawberry Salsa With Grape Tomatoes & Corn Kernels Recipe
  • Strawberry Salsa With Plum Tomatoes Recipe
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Kumquats

    kumquat-whiteflowerfarm-230

    Kumquats are the size of large olives. Photo courtesy White Flower Farm.

     

    How can it be that we’ve never published a piece about the kumquat? Today’s tip remedies that oversight.

    Native to China and now grown throughout Southeast Asia (plus the U.S. and elsewhere), the kumquat is a tiny citrus fruit that is entirely edible, skin and all. The orange flesh is juicy, acidic and tart (some varieties have are more tart than others). The skin is fragrant and sweet.

    Kumquats grow on small trees or bushes. They looking like wee, oval oranges, the size and shape of a large olive.

    The word “kumquat” comes from the Cantonese kin kü, meaning golden orange. The earliest historical reference appears in China in the 12th century.

    The tiny fruits were introduced to Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortune, a collector for the London Horticultural Society. Not long after, they arrived in North America, and found a happy growing ground in Florida.

     
    HOW TO SERVE KUMQUATS

    People who have never tried kumquats may look at them in the produce aisle, wondering what to do with them. As a citrus fruit, they work wherever other citrus fruits are employed. You don’t peel them or juice them, but serve them halved, sliced or whole. Some opportunities:

  • Braised, with fish or poultry
  • Breakfast breads and muffins
  • Cakes, cookies, pies, frostings
  • Candied
  • Dressing/stuffings
  • Fruit salads (sliced)
  • Garnishes/decorations, including cocktail garnishes
  • Green salads (sliced)
  • Ice cubes, whole, haved or sliced
  • Jelly/marmalade/preserves
  • Liqueur
  • Tea, hot or iced (sliced)
  •  

    Here are dozens of kumquat recipes from Kumquat Growers of Florida—from kumquat ice cream to kumquat tea to kumquat cranberry relish.
     
    Kumquat recipes from THE NIBBLE:

  • Field Salad With Kumquats And Strawberries (recipe)
  • Limoncello-Kumquat Cocktail (recipe)
  • Pernod Fruit Salad (recipe)
  •  
    A final idea: halved kumquats, topped with cream cheese and pepper jelly, as an hors d’oeuvre or tea time snack.
     
    BUYING & STORING KUMQUATS

    Look for firm, blemish-free fruit with a fresh scent. Avoid kumquats with green skins—they aren’t ripe and won’t ripen off the vine.

    You can refrigerate kumquats whole for up to one month, in a plastic storage bag. Freezing is not recommended.

     

    limonce-kumquat-cocktail-230

    Use kumquats in cocktails or as a garnish. Photo courtesy Limonce Limoncello.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPES: Vegan, Delicious Tempeh

    asian_noodle_bowl_with_seared_tempeh_lightlife-230

    Make this delicious Asian Noodle Bowl for lunch or dinner. Photo courtesy Lightlife.

     

    You may have read last week that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released its 2015 report. The Committee urges Americans to eat less processed meat and turn to plant-based diets for a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.

    Remember Meatless Mondays? If you’re not already observing them, here’s a nudge via a delicious recipe for net Monday. It uses tempeh, a meat substitute made from soybeans.

     
    TEMPEH VS. TOFU: THE DIFFERENCES

    Tempeh is a soy-based product that originated in Indonesia, where it is a staple protein. It is made by a natural culturing and a controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty.

    Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but it is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. It has a higher content of protein, dietary fiber and vitamins.

    Tempeh has a firm texture and an earthy flavor, and is used worldwide as a meat substitute.

     

    TOFU VS. TEMPEH

  • Production: Tofu, also known as been curd, is made by curdling fresh, hot soy milk* with a coagulant. Tempeh is made by fermenting cooked soybeans with a mold. Because it is fermented, it is easier to digest than tofu among people with a sensitivity to beans.
  • Format: Tofu is sold in pillowy blocks packed in water, in five different degrees of softnes from silken to extra firm. Tempeh is sold in flat, rectangular pieces, about eight inches long, with a chewy consistency like meat.
  • Color: Tofu is white, smooth and moist. Tempeh is brownish, rough (you can see the whole soybeans ) and dry.
  • Consistency: Tofu is soft, smooth and spongy. Tempeh is firm and chewy.
  • Flavor: Tofu has hardly any flavor; it takes on the taste of other ingredients. Tempeh has a slight earthy/nutty, sweet flavor. You can find versions mixed with brown rice, flax or other grains.
  •  
    How Do they Differ From Seitan?

    Seitan is made from wheat gluten. Like tempeh, it is high in protein with a texture similar to meat,

     
    *Soy milk in turn is made from dried, ground, filtered and boiled soybeans.

     

    RECIPE: ASIAN NOODLE BOWL WITH SEARED TEMPEH

    This delicious recipe can be served as a main course or a first course. It makes two main courses or four first courses or wraps.

    The recipe is courtesy of Lightlife, which used its organic soy tempeh.

    Ingredients

    For The Sweet & Sour Sauce

  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (optional)
  •  
    For The Tempeh Noodles

  • 1 package (8 ounces) soy tempeh
  • 6 ounces thin rice noodles (vermicelli style)
  • 1/8 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  •  

    lightlife-organic-tempeh-230

    Look for tempeh in any natural foods market, including Whole Foods. Photo courtesy Lightlife.

  • 2/3 cup matchstick-cut red bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrot, cut into 1 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/2 cup snow peas, thin diagonally sliced
  • 2 large green onions, diagonally sliced
  • Optional garnish: fresh basil leaves chiffonade, cilantro sprig, 1-1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE sauce; set aside.

    2. PLACE the noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles to cover. Let stand about 10 minutes or until softened. Rinse with cold water; squeeze to drain well.

    3. CUT the noodles in half or thirds; return noodles to the bowl. Add the sesame oil; toss until evenly coated. Set the noodles aside. Meanwhile…

    4. HEAT 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in medium-heavy skillet. Add half of the tempeh in a single layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until golden and crisp, turning the pieces over halfway during cooking. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with another tablespoon of the oil and the remaining tempeh. Pour half of the sauce over the tempeh; toss to coat and set the tempeh aside.

    5. ADD the remaining teaspoon of oil to the hot skillet, along with the bell pepper, carrot, green onions and snow peas. Cook and stir about 1 minute or until crisp-tender. Transfer to the bowl with the noodles. Add the tempeh mixture; gently toss until combined.

    6. SERVE: Spoon the noodle mixture into individual bowls and drizzle with the remaining sauce. Garnish with basil, cilantro or sesame seeds.
     
    Variation: Asian Noodle Wraps with Seared Tempeh

    Serve the tempeh in lettuce leaf wraps.

    1. PREPARE the noodle mixture as directed above.

    2. SPOON about 1/2 cup of the noodle mixture onto each of 12 large leaf or iceberg lettuce leaves; fold or roll up. Serve with remaining sauce for dipping. Makes about 12 wraps or 4 servings.

    For more delicious tempeh recipes, head to Lightlife.com.

      

    Comments

    FRUIT: Ugly And Uniq

    ugli-whole-half-melissas-230

    The Ugli fruit has inner beauty, and snappy citrus flavor. Photo courtesy Uglifruit.org.

     

    Our recent daily tips have included vegetables to cure the winter doldrums. That goes for fruits, too.

    Take the Uniq fruit, wrinkled and rough with splotchy coloring and surface scarring. Its skin is wrapped very loosely over the pulp. It’s the shar-pei of fruits.

    But Uniq tastes delicious: a cross of grapefruit and tangelo, a refreshing citrus taste that’s very juicy. It looks like a grapefruit’s great-grandfather (no disrespect, great-granddad). It has been sold under the brand name Ugli fruit since 1934.

    And its thick, loose skin makes it much easier to peel than other citrus fruit.

    It’s now in season. You can find the fruits ranging in size from a large orange to a large grapefruit, the color ranging from yellow mottled with lime green to darker green to light orange. You can smell the fragrance through the peel.

     
    The Uniq/Ugli fruit was discovered as an accidental hybrid seedling in Jamaica. is a variety of tangelo, a citrus fruit created by hybridizing a grapefruit (or pomelo, the parent of the grapefruit, another accidental hybrid).

    Store the fruit at room temperature for up to one week or two weeks in the fridge, and enjoy it as you would any citrus.

    If you can’t find it locally, you can order the fruit from Melissas.com.
     
    MORE FRUIT IN SEASON

    Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Kumquats
  • Starfruit (carambola)
  •  
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Eggplant Caponata

    Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant relish or eggplant salad, made from capers, eggplant, onion, pine nuts and tomatoes, usually served as a side dish or relish, part of an antipasto. In Sicily it’s called capunata.

    As with any recipe, there are numerous variations, including the addition of carrots, celery, green bell peppers, olives, potatoes, or raisins.

    According to food writer Clifford A. Wright, the famed Italian dish may be of Spanish origin. He quotes the Sicilian food authority Pino Correnti, that the dish is derived from the Catalan word caponada, a similar type of relish

    Th Catalan word means “something tied together like vines.” In Sicily, it first appears in 1709. Another contender is the word capón; capón de galera is a gazpacho or a caponata-like dish.

    A Sicilian cuisine scholar, Giuseppe Coria, suggests that the word derives from the Latin caupo, tavern, which served cauponae, a tavern food for travelers.

    Wright notes: “The earliest recipe I am familiar with of … a kind of caponata is the cappone di galera alla siciliana in Francesco Leonardi’s L’Apicio Moderno (The Modern Apicius), published in 1790. Here is his recipe:

       

    salmon-on-caponata-olionyc-230

    Caponata moves from appetizer dip or spread to a sauce for fish or poultry. You can place the caponata on top of the protein or use it as a bed, as shown in this photo. Photo courtesy Olio e Piú | New York City.

     

    “Dip a few fresh new beans [freselle maiorchine, an esteemed bean from Majorca] in Malaga wine, then arrange them on a serving platter, and put over them a garnish of anchovy fillets and thin slices of tuna salami, rinsed of its salt, capers, pieces of citron zest, stoned olives, fried shrimp and squid, oysters poached slightly in their own liquid and several fillets of fried linguattola [Citharus linguatula, a kind of flatfish] until the platter is well garnished and full. At the moment of serving pour over it a sauce made as follows: in a mortar pound two ounces of peeled green pistachios soaked in olive oil, vinegar, and tarragon or vinegar, salt, and ground pepper.”

    Whatever the origin and ingredients, today’s caponata easily moves from antipasto relish (our grandmother favored it with crackers or toasted baguette slices) to the main plate.

    This delicious and healthful garnish adds bright color to pale proteins. It works well on grilled, poached or sautéed fish, poultry or tofu.
     
    RECIPE: EGGPLANT CAPONATA

    Use fresh tomatoes in season. In the off season, use diced, canned tomatoes.

    Caponata tastes best the day after it is made, once the flavors have had a chance to blend and mellow. The recipe can be made two days in advance and refrigerated, covered. It can also be frozen.

    You can serve caponata warm, chilled or at room temperature, or cold.

     

    eggplant-caponata-black-bass-davidburkefromagerie-230

    Grilled bass with eggplant caponata. Photo courtesy David Burke Fromagerie.

     

    Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 eggplant (about 1-1/2-pounds), unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, cubed
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can (14-1/2-ounces) diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings, including the juice
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Pine nuts, toasted
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in heavy pot over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion and garlic. Sauté until the eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes.

     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in heavy pot over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion and garlic. Sauté until the eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes.

    2. ADD the diced tomatoes, vinegar and drained capers. Cover and simmer until the eggplant and onion are very tender, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    3. SEASON the caponata to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the basil. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

    This recipe was adapted from Epicurious.com.

     
    MORE WAYS TO USE CAPONATA

  • On bruschetta or crostini (the difference).
  • On omelets (or as a filling), or other egg preparations.
  • In a grilled cheese sandwich or panini.
  • Atop pasta, rice or other grain.
  • In a baked potato.
  • In crêpes.
  • In tartlets or phyllo pockets.
  • In lettuce cups.
  •   

    Comments

    TREND: Sriracha, The New “It” Flavor

    Each year, we notice a hot new food trend. Often it’s a new flavor, blasting through everything from salad dressing to popcorn. Notable past flavor explosions like chipotle, jalapeño and wasabi introduced new kinds of heat to the American palate.

    The current “it” flavor seems to be sriracha.
     
    WHAT IS SRIRACHA?

    Sriracha, pronounced see-RAH-jah, is a Thai hot chili sauce. It’s made from red chiles, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt; and is aged for three months or longer.

    Unlike American hot sauces such as Tabasco, which are vinegar sauces that are infused with hot chiles, sriracha is primarily puréed chiles, making it a much thicker sauce.

    The sauce is named after the coastal city of Si Racha in eastern Thailand, where it was first made and marketed. Different brands can be found in the Asian aisle of many supermarkets and in Asian groceries.

    The most popular brand is Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. It looks imported but it’s made by a California manufacturer (it was created in 1980 by Chinese-Vietnamese Californian). It has a large rooster logo in the center of the bottle. The rooster has been knocked off by Red Rooster Louisiana Hot Sauce, a product of Louisiana-based Bruce Foods.

    The History Of Sriracha Sauce

       

    fiery-sriracha-background-230

    Tribe adds Asian-style hot sauce to Middle Eastern hummus. Photo of new Fiery Sriracha Hummus courtesy Tribe.

     
    According to multiple sources, including an article in Bon Appétit, the sauce was made more than 80 years ago in by a local woman, Thanom Chakkapak. She initially made the condiment for her family, and then for friends, to enjoy with the local seafood (think of it as a much hotter counterpart to American cocktail sauce).

    As is a common story in the specialty food business, they encouraged her to sell it commercially—and it became the best-selling chile sauce in Thailand. In 1984, Ms. Chakkapak sold her business to a major food company, Thai Theparos Food Products.

    What’s the correct spelling: sriraja, si-racha, sriracha or siracha?

    According to Andrea Nguyen, who wrote the article for Bon Appétit: Since Thailand does not adhere to one romanization system for Thai words, many variants have emerged, chosen by manufacturers who have created their own version of the original sauce.

    However, the most commonly accepted spelling is sriracha.
     
    NEW PRODUCT: TRIBE LIMITED EDITION FIERY SRIRACHA HUMMUS

    Tribe’s latest hummus flavor, Limited Batch Fiery Sriracha, is heatint up the hummus category when it hits grocery store shelves later this month.

    In addition to blending sriracha sauce into the hummus, the flavor is topped with red pepper flakes for an extra splash of heat.

    Is America going flavor-crazy with its hummus? According to Tribe, non-traditional hummus flavors represented nearly half of total hummus sales in 2014! Discover more at TribeHummus.com.

     

    sriracha-lime-230

    Snack Factory has introduced Sriracha Lime
    Pretzel Crisps. Photo by Faith Tomases | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    NEW PRODUCT: PRETZEL CRISPS IN SRIRACHI LIME

    Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps are one of our favorite ways to enjoy pretzels. We like them for dipping, topping and pairing with soups and salads.

    The brand’s bevy of flavors (Original, Buffalo Wing, Everything, Honey Mustard & Onion, Jalapeño Jack, Sesame) have been joined by new Sriracha Lime.

    Discover more at PretzelCrisps.com.
     
    More sriracha to watch for:

  • Rogue Ales has added a sriracha beer to its line-up.
  • UV Vodka has introduced sriracha-flavored vodka.
  • Kettle brands sells sriracha chips.
  • Heinz has just launched Sriracha Tomato Ketchup.
  • Jack Links and other beef jerky brands feature a sriracha flavor.
  • Sugar Plum and other chocolatiers are making sriracha-infused chocolates.
  • Even fast food is taking it on: Pizza Hut is offering a honey sriracha sauce, and Taco Bell has debuted the Sriracha Quesarito.
  •  
    And we wouldn’t be surprised if American mayonnaise manufacturers hop on the sriracha bandwagon, following the mainstream expansion of sriracha mayonnaise beyond Japanese markets. (It’s the mayo used in spicy rolls at sushi bars.)

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Roots & Shoots

    Even when nature isn’t in full bloom, you can add interest to meals by seeking out less ordinary versions of conventional foods.

    All you have to do is look for them—at specialty produce stores, farmers markets and online (check out Melissas.com and OmahaSteaks.com, among others).

    What will you find? The bounty varies by region, but you can find these veggies nationwide:

  • Baby leeks
  • Celery root
  • Microgreens
  • Mixed potatoes
  • Multicolor* beets
  • Multicolor* bell peppers
  • Multicolor* carrots
  • Multicolor* hothouse cherry tomatoes
  • Specialty radishes
  •  
    *Typically, they’re available in orange, purple, red or yellow. You can also find white carrots and brown bell peppers and tomatoes.

       

    celery-root-salad-kaminsky-230

    A double salad: celery root remoulade topped with vinaigrette-dressed baby greens. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    Purple potatoes

    Purple potatoes can be served in any style conducive to waxy potatoes. How about purple mashed potatoes! Photo by Mona Makela | IST.

     

    You may also be able to find:

  • Garlic roots
  • Garlic shoots
  • Micro popcorn shoots†
  • Pea tendrils
  •  
    Whether you use these veggies to make exciting salads, roast them for sides or more complicated vegetable recipes, most of these artisanal veggies will add color splashes to the table during the winter doldrums.

    Proteins and starches tend to be brown or beige. That’s why you need the right veggies to enliven your meals.

    There are countless vegetable recipes online; or treat yourself to a vegetable cookbook. Take a look at Williams-Sonoma’s Vegetable of the Day: 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year.

     
    *Used for many years in European, popcorn shoots are gaining popularity among top chefs in the U.S. The shoots are intensely sweet and attractive. They make a surprise garnish for any dish. Here’s more about them; click the second photo.

      

    Comments

    ISSUE: Seafood Fraud

    There’s a reason you may not want to buy grouper or snapper, unless the establishment has purchased the whole fish and done its own filleting.

    Something similar goes for anything touted as wild shrimp or Gulf shrimp: There’s a 30% chance or more that it’s plain old farmed shrimp.

    It’s easy to fall victim to seafood fraud, a costly problem that won’t go away because of unscrupulous suppliers. Restaurants and retailers are victims, and unwittingly sell cheaper, mislabled varieties to consumers.

    The fraud exists when fish distributors deliberately mislable cheaper varieties for more expensive, popular ones. Imported basa and swai (whitefish species you’ve probably never heard of) are substituted for the much-in-demand grouper and snapper.

    Why the bait-and-switch? Because there isn’t enough domestic supply of the desirable varieties. Imported “fakes” are substituted, and the difference only becomes clear only after the fish is cooked. The flavor and texture is simply not as good.

    It’s easy to tell these varieties apart when they come out of the water. But once the fish is filleted, or the shrimp is cleaned, there is no head, scale, or other visual identifier to prove its variety.

    It’s not that you won’t get an edible piece of fish. It has no deleterious effect. But it won’t taste as good as the original, and you’ll the price of the better species.
     
    Studies & Solutions

       

    Fennel-Crusted-Grouper.ashx-230

    Grouper is a very popular fish, but unscrupulous dealers sell cheaper fish and claim it’s grouper. Photo of fennel-crusted grouper courtesy McCormick. Here’s the recipe.

     

    Food Hospitality, a restaurant industry website, reports on new studies conducted separately by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Oceana, the international ocean conservation organization. Both studies found extensive mislabeling problems at the wholesale level, largely focused on the easy-to-substitute species grouper and snapper.

    Last year, Oceana looked at 1,200 fish samples from across the U.S. and found that roughly one-third were mislabeled according to FDA standards. A separate study of shrimp, America’s most-consumed fish or seafood, showed that 31% of restaurants sold misrepresented products, while 41% of retail markets sold misrepresented products.

    Whatever species is being mislabled, retailers and restaurants get duped off as well as the consumer. Everyone overpays for lesser-quality fish and shellfish. Consumers, finding their dish less palatable than they had hoped, can bash the establishment online. Everyone loses.

    The FDA says that slow progress is being made on the mislabeling front. A presidential task force is looking at the problem.

     

    basa-timescolonist-230

    Basa, a type of catfish, is a cheaper fish often sold as grouper. Unfortunately, it lacks grouper’s particular flavor. Photo courtesy TimesColonist.com.

     

    But there is hope around the corner for fans of grouper.

    Checking The RNA Of The Fillet

    Researchers at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science have come up with a solution to the grouper problem. Their new product, GrouperChek, is a handheld sensor capable of sniffing out fish fraud on the fly.

    Wholesalers and others can assay seafood samples using real-time nucleic acid sequence-based amplification. The instrument identifies whether the RNA is a match.

    The researchers say the device is so sensitive, it can detect fake grouper even after the fish has been cooked, breaded and sauced.

    Hopefully, now, the seafood supplier will do this testing before agreeing to buy the fish.

    And hopefully, devices will be developed to test shrimp and other often-misrepresented species. Finally, there may be a cessation of the passing off of inferior species, which causes restaurants and retailers to unwittingly mislead and overcharge customers.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Black Radish

    As part of our Winter Vegetable Doldrums Series, today’s focus is the black radish*, Raphanus sativus niger. It’s a member of the anti-carcinogenic Brassica family of cruciferous† vegetables.

    Available year round, black radishes peak in winter and early spring. Significantly larger than traditional radishes, it average threes to four inches in diameter or length, and can be round or cylindrical and elongated, depending upon the variety.

    The skin is black or dark brown and the flesh is familiarly radishy, crisp, white and slightly bitter with a hot bite. A lot of the bite is int he skin, so the radish can be peeled for a milder flavor.

    SERVING IDEAS

    Black radishes can be enjoyed raw or cooked in a variety of different preparations.

  • Sauté or braise them as a side dish.
  • Cook them like turnips, and toss with butter.
  • Dice and add them to soups, stir-fries and stews. They’ll add some bite.
  • Grate or chop them into matchsticks and add to mixed green salads.
  • Slice them and add to the crudité plate.
  • Use slices as the base for canapés.
  •    

    black-radish-thechefsgarden-230

    It’s a black radish. Look for it in better produce sections (we found ours at Whole Foods) and farmers markets. Photo courtesy The Chef’s Garden.

     
    Here’s a general radish tip: If the radish has too much bite, you can tone down the peppery heat. Simply slice, salt and rinse with water.
     
    *Other names include Spanish radish, Gros Noir d’Hiver, Noir Gros de Paris and the Black Mooli.

    †Other Brassica family members include bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale and mustard greens, among others.

     

    black-radish-salad-thechefsgarden-230

    Black radish salad. Photo courtesy The Chef’s
    Garden.

     

    BLACK RADISH RECIPES

  • Baked Black Radish Chips Recipe
  • Blood Orange & Black Radish Salad Recipe
  • Black Radish & Potato Salad Recipe
  • Black Radish & Shrimp Salad Recipe
  • Sauteed Black Radish Recipe
  • Smoked Fish, Horseradish & Black Radish Terrine Recipe
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    BLACK RADISH HISTORY & NUTRITION

    Believed to be a relative of the wild radish, the black radish was first cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean. An ancient vegetable, radishes were grown in Egypt before the pyramids were built.

    Black radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C and also provide iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, E and B. They are known for their ability to fight off infection and promote healthy digestive function. A component, raphanin, has been shown to be beneficial in treatment of thyroid imbalances. The leaves have a liver detoxifying effect.

     

    The black radish has long been used in folk medicine in both Europe and China, to stimulate bile function and improve gall bladder health promoting. In Chinese medicine, the black radish is also used to promote pulmonary and respiratory health.

    To store black radishes, remove the greens and wrap the bulbs in plastic. They will keep crisp if refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Carrots & Peas

    Here’s some food fun that was created at the 2014 Roots Conference held by the Culinary Vegetable Institute.

    In Project Carrot, gifted chefs took a look at the under-utilized yet extremely versatile carrot, creating everything from cocktails to Carrot Rigatoni with Carrot Bolognese.

    While this photo looks like pasta, it is trompe l’oeil: What looks like carrot fettucine is actually made of long strands of blanched carrots. The “English peas” are an emulsion of English peas (a technique that essentially adds oil to pea purée so that it keeps the round shape).

    To create this dish requires some culinary chops. But if your kitchen techniques are less than professional level, you can still make your own version of “Carrots and Peas”—with actual carrot pasta and green peas.

    Start with some Barilla Veggie Pasta, made from puréed carrots and tomatoes (each serving has 20% of your daily requirement of vegetables). Serve it with a green pea pasta sauce an a scattering of green peas (they’re not yet in season, so go for frozen rather than canned).

    If you prefer, you can make a version of the Carrot Bolognese Sauce, adding five chopped carrots to the popular tomato sauce with ground beef. Here’s a recipe.

     

    carrots-and-peas-food-fun-thechefsgarden-230

    A new approach to carrots and peas. Photo courtesy The Chef’s Garden | Culinary Vegetable Institute.

     

    You can also use a classic tomato-based sauce, a carrot sauce (substitute carrots for peas in the green pea sauce recipe) or a simple dressing of butter or olive oil. Just scatter those peas on top!

    The Culinary Vegetable Institute (CVI), located in Milan, Ohio, is devoted to sustainable agriculture and building strong relationship between farmer and chef, is a premier venue for the finest in culinary experiences including dinners, wine tasting, weddings, events and functions. The combination of our commitment to

    Here are the other creations from Project Carrot.

      

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