Posted in Recipes

Minted Zucchini and Mushrooms

Minted Zucchini and Mushrooms 1

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… Continue reading “Minted Zucchini and Mushrooms”

Posted in Recipes

Simple Roast Cauliflower

Simple Roast Cauliflower 1

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… Continue reading “Simple Roast Cauliflower”

Posted in Foodstuffs

Foodstuff: Sichuan Preserved Vegetable

Sichuan Preserved Vegetable 1

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… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Sichuan Preserved Vegetable”

Posted in Recipes

Bok Choy with Braised Mushrooms

Braised Bok Choy with Mushrooms 1

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…  Continue reading “Bok Choy with Braised Mushrooms”

Posted in Foodstuffs

Foodstuff: Mizuna

Mizuna 01

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 …  Continue reading “Foodstuff: Mizuna”

Posted in Foodstuffs

Foodstuff: Broccoli Stems

Broccoli Stems 1

I have noticed that many people who go to the bother of using fresh rather than frozen broccoli only use the florets and then throw the rest of the stem away. This is a bit of a shame really as this part of the plant is not only quite versatile, it is also tender and delicious as well. Indeed, I think I would have to say that I actually prefer it to the florets…  Continue reading “Foodstuff: Broccoli Stems”

Posted in Experiments

Roast Radishes

Roast Radish 01

This isn’t much of a post today… just a little note about something I tried recently.

I have posted about Roast Vegetables before and, indeed, I love all sorts of produce done this way as it develops flavors that just don’t come out with other cooking methods. The other day, I wanted to roast potatoes and a few other things to go with steak and did a search of the fridge to see what I could add. I would have like to include some carrots but my wife is really not a fan and so I hit on the idea of throwing in a few red radishes to the blend. Basically, on the assumption that radishes would take the same roasting time as potatoes, carrots or other root vegetables, I just tossed them in the same herbed and seasoned oil as my potatoes, and popped them into a 400 degree oven (the orange bell pepper you can see in the mix was added a bit later).

Now I should point out here that, after trying it, I ‘googled’ the idea and discovered I wasn’t the first to come up with the idea by any means. Still, I thought that it might turn out nicely and it definitely was a treat. The normal sharpness of fresh radishes mellows into a real sweetness and adds a component to the typical roast vegetable dish that is unique. If you would like to try this yourself, I recommend using fresh rosemary sprigs in the mix as I did. Enjoy…

Posted in Foodstuffs

Foodstuff: Kale

Kale 1

I am something of a latecomer when it comes to using this particular vegetable. It wasn’t something that I ever recall being serve at home as a kid, and it is only within the last year or so that it has been appearing in our grocery stores with any frequency. Still, I have been remedying that situation over the last several months and, if you haven’t experienced this tasty green vegetable yet, you may wish to give it a try… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Kale”

Posted in Foodstuffs

Foodstuff: Japanese Giant Red Mustard Greens

Giant Red Japanese Mustard 01

There are dozens of varieties of Mustard greens used for culinary purposes. The descriptive appellation ‘greens’ is sometimes not entirely accurate, however, as the range of coloring varies from  very pale light green to a deep purplish-red, with all sorts of simple and variegated gradations in between. The variety you see above is one of the Brassica juncea sub-types which, although it is actually native to China, is most commonly known as Japanese Giant Red Mustard. These plants, pictured here, were grown by my wife as part of her current greenhouse projectContinue reading “Foodstuff: Japanese Giant Red Mustard Greens”