Thursday, June 26, 2014

Recipes for foods I never eat

How'd you like the photo of that guy in last night's post? Mmmmm. Yeah. That's why I don't date.

Moving on. Those of you who don't cook or who hate vegetables won't give a shit about this post. Feel free to jack off to last night's photo or make a late-night run to Taco Bell.

Remember earlier in the month I wrote about buying into my first CSA this summer? I knew I was going to get some produce in my weekly orders that I would never buy at the grocery store, and every week I've gotten at least a couple of things I've never even eaten -- mustard greens and flowers, sunflower micro-greens, garlic scapes, collard greens -- along with vegetables I don't usually buy like radishes and turnips, and the things I do buy, like beets, salad mix, carrots, and summer squash. I'm excited to see what I get each week, and it's a challenge to eat all of it by the time Monday rolls around again.

One thing that helps me is the weekly newsletter where they tell me what everything is. Hey, I would have had no idea what the collard leaves were. They also include a recipe for one of the vegetables. I thought I'd share their recipes for radishes and collard greens, as well as the modifications I made to them. (Seems I can't make any recipe, even for something I know nothing about, without changing it.)

The first one is for roasted radishes. I really don't like radishes the way I've always eaten them, which is raw and salted. I don't like spicy foods so .... radishes. Yuck. They taste like hot dirt.

However, I did find out I love them roasted, which means I've eaten my little bundle of multicolored radishes all three weeks all by myself. Here's their recipe for 

Baked Lemon Radishes

1 bunch of radishes (cleaned, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise)
1.25 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat to 375. Place ingredients in a bowl and toss. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until almost fork tender. Finish with lemon zest and more salt if desired.

My notes: This recipe didn't have enough dimension for me as it is, so I chopped up some fresh rosemary and added that to the mix. Earlier in the season when the leaves were nice (not holey and bug-eaten), I experimented with eating them too. So I cut them into 2" pieces, and after the radish roots were done, I sauteed all of them together in some garlic-infused olive oil. Believe it or not, radish leaves taste good, if you like other cooked greens. I felt pretty bad-ass eating the entire plant, especially one I never liked before.

Also, the radishes shrink as they roast, so I made a serving for just me from 6-7 large radishes. I think roasting would work even for late -season radishes that are too hot and kind of pithy.

The second recipe I just tried tonight. I changed it pretty radically. Here's the original.

Kickin' Collard Greens

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound fresh collard greens cut into 2" pieces

Heat oil in a large pot. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble, and return to the pan. Add onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant. Add collard greens and fry until they start to wilt. Pour in chicken broth, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until greens are tender.

My notes: You could make it that way, but don't use a teaspoon of black pepper. Way too much. Use your own judgement. I didn't put in the red pepper flakes, because I don't like spicy food. For people who do, I'm sure they add one more dimension that's pleasurable. You could finish this recipe off with hot sauce if you really like a kick.

I doubled the bacon. I don't think I need to explain why. I also used a lean, center-cut bacon so it was meaty. The bacon simmers for 45 minutes, so fatty bacon won't hold up as well.  A ham bone would work too, and add more smoke and meat.

I also threw in a bunch of blue curly kale, just because I had it. I think you could add any cooking greens you want, even radish leaves.

Finally, I didn't use straight chicken broth, and that's what made mine so amazing. I didn't have 3 cups of chicken broth here, but I did have some revved up soup stock I'd made a few months ago for a chicken and wild rice soup (like Panera's). I made too much stock, so I froze a bag of it and hoped it would be useful some day.

So what I used in place of chicken broth was a rich homemade chicken stock thickened with half-and-half. When I dumped the thawed stock into the greens, the half-and-half had separated out and it looked like a curdled mess. As it heated up though, it smoothed back out and took on its original creamy texture.

And, OMG, this stuff was delicious. I'll probably never recreate this recipe, but it was super rich and nourishing. It's definitely soupy, to be eaten with a spoon in a bowl, unless you decide to drain off the broth. Next time I try it -- if I get collard greens in my order again -- I'll probably add some whole raw milk to the broth and maybe some butter. I can imagine adding some carrots too, for a little sweetness. You could put in anything you like in a soup and it will taste fine.

It's no wonder I need to lose weight.

You can make both of these recipes with produce from your local farmer's market or vegetable stand or grocery store. If you try them, let me know how you like them.


  1. Sounds absolutely amazing. I'm totally with you on raw radishes. The roasting really mellows them out.

    1. I can't believe I'd never heard of roasting radishes. Or for that matter, thought if it myself. My dad loved radishes, and one summer I grew some for him that were so hot they made his eyes waters. He ate them anyway. I wish I could share this recipe with him.