Posts Tagged ‘west end’

Best Ever Roasted Turnip Thanksgiving Side Dish

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Well if you’re reading this, my shameless headline ploy must have worked. In a world of Thanksgiving dinner-in-a-cake, deep-fried turkeys and enough stuffing recipes to fill a thousand (free-range, please) turkeys, I was worried the lowly turnip might be overlooked.

Truthfully, we’re a little fed up with turnips here at the Foodie Tots house. Victims of an apparent turnip glut at our CSA farm, we’ve gotten gobs and gobs of these bland root vegetables week after week. Now, they’re not all bad. They have just one-third the calories of potatoes, and a generous dose of calcium, iron, vitamin C and even folate. (And be sure to eat the greens, too!) They also have that slightly bitter taste that gives them away should you try to pass them off as mashed potatoes. (Though a 75/25 potato/turnip blend might be more palatable.) I’ve found roasting these, with fresh thyme and a hint of honey, to be the best way to sweeten them up a little. Adding bright carrots and earthy mushrooms further helps balance the flavors, while making a simple and attractive side dish for Thanksgiving or just alongside your weekend roast.

Recipe: Honey-Thyme Roasted Turnips, Carrots and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium sized turnips, scrubbed clean
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup thickly-sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop turnips and carrots into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large bowl, toss turnip and carrot pieces with 1/4 cup olive oil, making sure to evenly coat vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, and pour into a rimmed baking sheet or shallow roasting pan. Tuck thyme in between the vegetables. Roast for 20 minutes, until bottom sides are beginning to brown. Remove from oven, add honey and balsamic vinegar and stir. Sprinkle mushrooms across top, and drizzle with additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add a little more sea salt, return to oven and roast an additional 20-25 minutes. Turnips should be easily pierced with a fork when it’s done. Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!

{Round out your meal with green beans almondine (instead of that goopy green bean casserole), homemade cider & maple-syrup sweetened cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie (from a real pumpkin).}

Winter Farmers Markets: Looking for turnips? If your CSA’s not delivering (ours ended this week), you can still find turnips at local farmers markets. Many Northern Virginia markets closed for the season at the end of October, but the West End Alexandria market, in Ben Brenman Park (at Cameron Station), is open this Sunday, Nov. 21, from 9am-1pm. (Papa’s Orchard has a great selection of pears and apples for your Thanksgiving baking!) The Falls Church, Arlington/Courthouse, Columbia Pike, Del Ray and Old Town Alexandria markets are open year-round.

I know I’ve been slacking in sharing new meals with you, meatless and otherwise. Would a cute baby picture make it up to you? I mean, can you fault me for not writing with this cute tot around?

foodie bebe november

At Market: Simple Tomato Gazpacho

Monday, September 14th, 2009

grapes at marketAt the Alexandria Markets: We’ve returned to our Alexandria farmers markets after our recent travels, and witnessed that unequivocal sign of seasons changing from summer to fall in the peaches and tomatoes being nudged out by apples, pears, and early winter squash. Now I don’t know if there’s some sort of zucchini shortage in Northern Virginia, but we’ve received none from our CSA this year and I only spotted a few giant ones at the West End market. Has there been some sort of run on zucchini by crazed zucchini bread addicts? (By the way, if you haven’t been to West End lately, you’re missing out on some wonderful authentic Mexican tamales from Alma at Westmoreland Berry Farm.)

At any rate, we received word from our CSA that their tomatoes have begun to show signs of early blight (not the late blight you’ve heard so much about), so I set about to make sure we enjoyed the ones we got to the fullest. After our tomato jam experience (kudos to Jennifer for winning the food52 best preserves contest with her recipe!), the boy comes running to get his knife whenever he sees me dicing tomatoes. He even overcame his fear of the blender to help me make this super simple gazpacho. With all due to respect to José Andrés, who makes the best restaurant gazpacho in town, this recipe is even simpler with just six ingredients, tasting pretty much like, well, a pulverized tomato. Ironically the boy liked it even though he refuses to eat fresh tomatoes. Be sure to use good quality extra virgin olive oil — preferably from Spain, of course.

tomato gazpacho

Recipe: Simple Tomato Gazpacho (kid-friendly instructions)

Ingredients:

  • About 2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 slices white/Italian bread, crusts removed and cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • generous pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

1. Using a kid-safe knife, assist child in cutting tomato and bread into pieces.

2. Place tomatoes, bread, garlic, vinegar, salt and 1/4 cup oil in blender. Cover and blend for 1 minute.

3. Add additional olive oil as needed, blending after each addition, to reach a smooth consistency. Chill for at least 30 minutes, then serve with an extra drizzle of oil to garnish. (Use basil oil for extra oomph.)

Bonus Foodie Tot Video! This was a totally unscripted, impromptu video shot by the husband so please disregard the messy counter and, uh, my lack of make-up. (And no, Seventh Generation did not provide compensation for the product placement, but clearly we should buy stock or something. ;-) ) Anyway, enjoy!

Foodie Tot cooks gazpacho from Colleen Levine on Vimeo.

At Market: Cantaloupe Soup with Ham and Basil

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

(Don’t forget, it’s National Farmers Market Week and the Foodie Tots <3 Farmers Markets photo contest is now open!)

For a good portion of my life, I hated cantaloupe. I would eat honeydew and watermelon without a second thought, but carefully, obsessively, pick out any orange-fleshed melon pieces from fruit salads. When the foodietot and melonFoodie Tot was born, the husband and I agreed to introduce him to foods we hated without prejudice and let him form his own opinions. (That meant bananas and canteloupe for me, and many green vegetables for the husband.) I’ve learned to cope with bananas ripening on the counter, despite my continued abhorrence of the sight and smell of brown spots, but was surprised to discover last summer that sweet, locally-grown cantaloupe is actually enjoyable. People often assume that melon is less nutritious because of its high water contents, but in fact cantaloupe is loaded with beta-carotene and vitamins A and C, potassium, folate and fiber, making it a nutrition power house. It’s peak melon season now locally, and most produce stands at local farmers markets offer an array of melons in shades of orange, yellow, green and red. Pick one that is still firm to the touch but smell the stem end to test for ripeness — the sweeter the better.

Of course my Italian heritage demands that I serve melon draped in prosciutto, and the Southern Maryland/Virginia melons found at our local farmers markets are perfectly suited for the task. Inspired by tomatoes melonsthat classic sweet-salty pairing, I decided to try my hand at a cantaloupe soup. We ventured out in the rain to the West End Alexandria market Sunday — because Foodie Tots are not fair weather market fans — and the dark, gloomy day put me in the mood for soup. This simple soup could be served warm or chilled. It’s topped with crispy prosciutto-style ham and fried basil leaves. I can’t call this toddler-approved as the foodie tot spit it out in a fussy refusing to eat rebellion, but if your kid is in a less finicky mood I suspect they might at least be slightly intrigued by this sweet, orange soup.

Recipe: Cantaloupe Soup with Ham and Basil

cantaloupe soup recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 good sized cantaloupe (4 cups, cubed)
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 slices prosciutto-style ham
  • several small basil leaves

Instructions: Heat oil over medium heat in stock pot. Cook onions until soft and translucent (but not browned). Add melon and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, until melon falls apart when prodded with a spoon. Season with just a tiny pinch of salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cool before blending in blender in small batches, or in pot with a stick blender. Serve warm or chill for several hours to serve cold.

Before serving, thinly slice and chop ham into small pieces. Fry over medium high heat until browned and crispy. Remove from heat and pat with paper towel to remove excess oil. Cook basil leaves in the ham’s drippings until translucent and crisp (do not stir), remove carefully. Sprinkle ham bits and basil leaves in center of soup before serving. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

one local summer 2009This, along with a Cibola Farms buffalo steak and sauteed Swiss chard from our CSA, is our featured One Local Summer meal of the week. Our squash blossom succotash crepes earlier in the week were also all-local. We’re now celebrating National Farmers Market Week with a market menu every night — stay tuned for the highlights. And be sure to grab your camera when you head to the market this week to enter the Foodie Tots <3 Farmers Market photo contest! Just upload a picture to the Flickr pool by Sunday, August 9.

At Market: Squash Blossom Succotash (and get ready for Farmers Market Week!)

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

July at the Markets: Summer harvest is in full stride now at the Alexandria/DC markets, with sweet corn, summer squash, and the first heirloom tomatoes making their debut. Blueberries and raspberries will soon be gone, and early varieties of apples are already turning up.

I intended to make Oyamel’s squash blossom soup with my recent market bounty, but instead decided to make a succotash to fill some buckwheat crepes. Sort of a repeat of last summer’s Chesapeake Crepes, with the addition of okra and the blossoms. I picked up okra and multicolored jalapeños at Sunday’s West End Alexandria Market, and the squash blossoms I scored two-for-one from Westmoreland Berry Farm as it was getting close to closing time. The bicolor sweet corn came from Long Meadow Farm at last Wednesday’s King Street Market.

Cooking with squash blossoms: Sure squash blossoms look pretty and have a heady sweet fragrance that screams summer, but are you wondering what to actually do with them? They have a mild flavor that benefits from a simple preparation – stuffed with goat cheese or ricotta and quickly fried is a classic Italian dish, but you can also use them in soups or other dishes more like an herb. The blossoms are very delicate and are best used the day of purchase. If you don’t get to them that day, be sure to put them in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook them, pull the flower open gently to avoid ripping and be on the lookout for little, uh, critters (the downside of buying organic) while you pinch and gently remove the stamen. Then carefully fill and fry or bake for stuffed blossoms, or slice them up for this recipe.

Recipe: Squash Blossom Succotash

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 ears corn, kernels removed
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 pint okra, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 4 squash blossoms, thinly sliced
  • 4 leaves basil, torn
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Instructions: Heat oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add corn and jalapeño and cook several minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add okra. Cook 3-4 minutes until corn is beginning to brown and okra is just tender. Stir in tomato, squash blossoms and basil and cook 1 additional minute, then remove from heat. Sprinkle with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

To make crepes: prepare buckwheat crepe batter and cook crepes on one side. Flip and sprinkle cooked side with grated cheddar cheese and a large spoonful of succotash. Cook about a minute and fold, then remove from heat. I folded the toddler’s in half like a quesadilla. He doesn’t usually eat tomatoes and had never eaten okra, but he devoured this and asked for more. I have to give credit to Mr. Tom’s cheese, it makes everything go down easier. Enjoy!

More squash blossom recipes:

Farmers Market Week is coming! National Farmers Market Week begins Sunday, August 2. Visit a farmers market near you and let me know what’s new! See something unusual? Ask here and I’ll tell you what to do with it.

At Market: Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

no pets at marketAlexandria Farmers Market Watch: The weather was gorgeous in Alexandria this weekend, but my farmers market visits were brief due to visiting in-laws and a packed toddler-centric schedule of activities. (Three years in, I’m realizing that Mother’s Day is really not so much about me…)  At the Del Ray Farmers Market, Three Way Farms had strawberries galore as promised, though they were rapidly selling out. At the West End Farmers Market, Westmoreland Berry Farm was out of strawberries well before noon, though they were still selling strawberry shortcake for Mother’s Day. Most of the fresh stuff (strawberries, asparagus, Papa’s Orchard’s apples) did sell out early thanks to the great weather bringing hungry shoppers out in droves. Two familiar vendors, J & W Valley View Farm (VA, strawberries and greens) and Fresh Joseph’s (fresh-squeezed orange juice, scones & mozzarella — odd combination, isn’t it?) returned to West End this week. I snagged my Mother’s Day gift to myself — soft shell crabs from the On the Gourmet truck. (Check out the great write-up of the On the Gourmet crew in May’s Northern Virginia magazine.)

If there was rhubarb at the Alexandria markets, it sold out before I got there, so the ingredients for this market fresh dinner came from the Oakton market last week. Rhubarb season is just beginning though, so there will be plenty more rhubarb inspiration to come. (And rhubarb collins! Stay tuned.) The toddler loved the rhubarb sauce (it does have a slight resemblance to ketchup, after all) and dipped both his pork and asparagus in it. I love the tart, fresh taste of rhubarb with just about anything — I imagine this sauce would also go well with chicken or even fish.

Recipe: Roast Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

rhubarb barbecue sauce pork tenderloinIngredients:

Pork:

  • 1 3-pound pork tenderloin*
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano

Sauce:

  • 1.5 cups rhubarb*, sliced
  • 1 spring onion*, white bulb portion (reserve green stalks for garnish/salad), finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey*
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions: Mix together pork seasonings and rub into pork tenderloin, coating evenly. Cover and place in refrigerator while preparing rhubarb sauce. (Bring out 10-15 minutes prior to cooking to bring to room temperature.)

Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook until rhubarb is falling apart, about 20 minutes. Cool and blend with stickblender or food processor until smooth.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Sear pork for 3 minutes on each side, until browned. Brush with a generous amount of rhubarb sauce and transfer to over. Cook 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with foil. Allow to stand 10 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve with additional barbecue sauce. Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!

* Farms of origin:

  • Valentine’s Country Meat, Va. (pork)
  • Westmoreland Berry Farm, Va. (spring onion)
  • Kuhn Orchards, Pa. (rhubarb)

What’d you find at the markets this weekend? Cook for mom? (Or yourself?)