A friend of mine went away for spring break and let me have her CSA share in her absence. A CSA, Community Supported Agriculture: a system whereby you sign up for a box of vegetables from local farmers and growers, has been around for a while especially around Baristaville.
I love the surprise of opening the box and figuring exactly what fresh produce is in there and then planning what to cook with it. It’s a bit like the “quickfire” round in Top Chef: “you have 25 minutes to make something with these four ingredients…”
While I always know what to do with predictable produce such as kale, broccoli, squash or potatoes, I’m occasionally flummoxed by the sometimes random contents that you find in a veggie box. In this particular case it was a daikon, a long white radish. At first I thought it was a squash or a parsnip but it turned out to be a daikon. I know—I’d never heard of one either.
So last week’s challenge was figuring out how to get the kids to eat said daikons so they would not end up in the compost bin.
As it happens, these large radishes have a mild flavor and a good, solid, crunch and they are full of vitamin C. Of course, as Mother Nature always conspires against Suburban Mothers, none of those things are an easy sell to six-year olds. Especially once they’d seen both the daikon come out of the box and the puzzled look on this suburban mother’s face. Thanks for the sisterhood, Mother Nature.
Luckily, inspiration hit and I came up with two ways of serving it:
- Daikon Chips: very simple and was a huge hit.
- a refreshing Daikon an Carrot Salad: also easy to make.
Both work well as a side dish (the salad pairs very well with grilled chicken or salmon) and the kids loved munching on the chips as an appetizer.
The main inspiration came from a relatively recent revelation: if I oven roast a vegetable and call it a chip, my children will usually eat it no questions asked. This technique also works with kale and with parsnips to name but two, and employs a similar Mom-approved sleight-of-hand as seen in rebranding other foods in order to get on the early grades radar. (See also adding the the prefix “Rainbow” to all fish and / or calling Minestrone Soup “Pasta Soup”. Trust me, they both work).
So, here’s a really simple and tasty way to use those radishes -Daikon Chips.
- Peeled and thinly sliced radish
- A good glug of olive oil
- A pinch of salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 385°F. Toss the radish in olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 10 – 15 minutes. Halfway through turn over the daikon pieces so that they are golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle with a little salt and enjoy while still hot.
Daikon and Carrot Salad
serves 4 as a side
The ginger gives this salad a bit of a kick so you can dial up or down according to taste.
- 1 large daikon, peeled and grated
- 2 carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
- A handful of fresh parsley or cilantro, finely chopped
In a serving bowl, mix the daikon, carrot and ginger together. Make the dressing by pouring the rice vinegar into a small bowl and add the oil to it by whisking it in with a fork. Pour this dressing over the daikon, carrot mixture and toss well. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and herbs over and serve.
So, to help you avoid flummoxing veggies going to waste, we will be featuring recipes over the next few weeks that bring life to the unusual before they end up in the compost.
What are the veggies that fill you with dread and leave you scratching your head?
Share your veggie challenges with us at Barista Kids!