The radish in this particular case is the large variety most commonly known by the Japanese name Daikon. This very versatile vegetable is preserved by a variety of different techniques all across Asia, especially by lactic acid fermentation, but the most basic method is by salt curing the flesh to dehydrate it and prevent microbial spoilage. The Chinese were probably the first to treat the vegetable this way but the technique is widely used elsewhere, especially in Korea and Thailand. Indeed, the product pictured above is of Thai manufacture… Read more
This rather gnarly looking object is not a withered old tree branch, but rather is the root vegetable that is the source of that sharp, pungent white condiment usually only encountered in jars purchased at the supermarket. Most people are well familiar with the commercial product as an especially good accompaniment to roast beef, but it does have other uses as well. It is sometimes used in ‘Bloody Mary’ concoctions, it works well as a sandwich spread for all sorts of creations (and not just those using cold beef), and it is very commonly used to provide the sharp bite of the standard seafood cocktail sauce. Quite a few Cole-slaw sauces also use it too. The purchased varieties are fine to use, as long as you don’t let them age too long, but there are some benefits to using the fresh article that are also worth investigating… Read more
The name for today’s dish is one I came up with and is a contraction of ‘Sauerkraut’ and ‘Rutabaga’. It was inspired by a lovely dish presented by my blogger friend, Stefan, in a recipe post called ‘Zuurkoolstamppot met Rookworst’; a lovely Dutch comfort that translates into English as ‘Sauerkraut and Potato Mash with Smoked Pork Sausage’.
Now, the dish Stefan posted looked delicious, and I would love to try it, but, these days, I am very conscious of my carbohydrate intake and so I decided to try and replicate the basic idea using the yellow turnip variety known as ‘Rutabaga’ or ‘Swede’. This particular vegetable has about one quarter the carbohydrate level of potato, and a low glycemic index so it works very nicely into my diet. I am using pre-cooked Sweet Italian Sausage rather than the smoked sausage used by Stefan, and my method is a bit different, but I get a chance to use some of my Homemade Sauerkraut in the preparation… Read more
The very simplicity of this vegetable dish lends it a sort of elegance and the nature of the seasonings makes it very versatile as well as easy to put together. It would be as well at home as a dish in an Asian meal as it would a vegetable side for western style roasts, steaks, or almost anything else… Read more
Not long before writing this post, I happened to throw together a little vegetable side dish for a steak I was cooking. I used a half zucchini I had left over, along with some tomatoes and herbs, and the result was so tasty I thought I would share. I actually ended up embellishing the original recipe somewhat, notably by including mushrooms this time, but, as you will see, my opinion as to the success of those embellishments was a little mixed… Read more
I love mint as both a sweet and savory flavoring but it struck me recently that I really only use it in a limited number of ways. I decided to remedy that and came up with this vegetable dish as a result. It is a dead simple production, should you want to try it, and it is the sort of thing that would work as a side dish in any number of meals… Read more
Cauliflower is not a widely appreciated vegetable. This is perhaps understandable given that many people’s experience of it is the boiled article, whose bland taste is faintly reminiscent of old cabbage water and not much improved even with lashings of cheese sauce. Steaming is only marginally better, in that some of the original fresh taste is not leached away as it is with boiling, but it still does not curry much favor with a lot of diners, particularly children.
Roasting, on the other hand, produces a cauliflower treat that even confirmed haters can warm to… The subtle notes of the fresh vegetable are enhanced, instead of diminished, and the process gives a rich, in some ways ‘nutty’ depth to the vegetable. Mostly, I have usually only included cauliflower as just one item in a mélange of roast veggies, but I recently put together the following preparation as a ‘cauliflower-only’ side-dish for a steak dinner… Read more
This particular foodstuff is something I have bought and used in a variety of different forms. The name on the can label, ‘Preserved Vegetable’ is further amplified in the Chinese script as being a Sichuan specialty, and one might be excused for thinking that the contents are any sort of vegetable that has been preserved in the style of Sichuan. In fact, any time you encounter the name ‘Sichuan Preserved Vegetable’, you are almost invariably dealing with a specific plant, sometimes known as a ‘Mustard Tuber’, which is fermented with salt and then quite heavily spiced, chiefly with chili paste or powder… Read more
I actually put this little side dish together as a side for a leg of lamb I intended to roast but when I opened up the plastic wrapper it had clearly gone off. As a last minute substitute, I ended up braising a piece of flank steak in a little broth with some lemon juice and capers.
I often pan-fry up bok choy and add some mushrooms, most commonly as part of an Asian meal, but here I have used western seasonings and, in a switch from my usual practice, I gave the mushrooms a long braise in chicken stock with garlic first. The result, much more than simply frying the mushrooms, makes them deliciously tender and meaty… Read more
Mizuna isn’t particularly widely used, or even known, outside Japanese cuisine (although it has thus far managed to attract enough attention in the West to acquire the English name ‘Japanese Mustard’). The most common variety, pictured above, is very similar to the common salad herb known as ‘Arugula’ (across most of North America) or ‘Rocket’ (in the UK)… The appearance is very similar and they both taste quite a bit alike except that the Mizuna is a milder and not quite as sharp. For those who are not familiar with Arugula, the taste of Mizuna is perhaps best described as being like a Bibb lettuce with a more peppery quality … Read more