Counting Our Veggies

Please join us as we focus on learning about and trying one vegetable each week.


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Week Four: Roasted Radish, Pepper and Carrot

Radish week is coming to a close. Our final recipe is Roasted Radish, Pepper and Carrot that we found at Sarah’s Cucina Bella. This recipe uses the daikon type of radish that we made into radish cakes a few days ago. I had high hopes for this recipe, since I liked the radish cakes and like all the other veggies in this recipe. The idea of roasting them sounded appealing, as well as the idea of adding balsamic vinegar.

First we gathered our veggies.

Veggies for Roasting

The recipe calls for specific amounts daikon radish, carrot, red bell pepper and shallot. We just chopped up what we had without measuring and used an onion instead of a shallot, because that is all we had.

Pan of Veggies

I think Lucie is too young to use a sharp knife, but she was still interested in learning about what I was doing and had fun stealing a few peppers and carrots to munch on while I cut the veggies for roasting.

Veggie Stealer

We drizzled the veggies with olive oil, added salt and pepper and put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, we drizzled them with a bit of balsamic vinegar and put them back in the oven for about ten more minutes.

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The veggies looked good and smelled good at this point. I could not wait to taste them and neither could Lucie and Dave.

Tasting Daikon Radish

The verdict…

Two Thumbs Down for Roasted Radish

Two thumbs down! I had to agree with her. I thought the rest of the veggies tasted fine, but the radish was just not for me. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but I really did not like it. Josie and Theo are smart kids. They watch Lucie very closely and they trust her judgement. They were not going near these radishes.

Dave, on the other hand, LOVED these roasted veggies, especially the roasted daikon radishes. He ate them with a baked chicken breast and had a second serving of veggies. He says he would gladly eat this dish again.

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Overall, I feel that we learned a lot during radish week. I had never even heard of a daikon radish before last Sunday and I ended up using them twice this week. I thought that learning about tillage radishes and the Night of the Radishes festival was interesting. I was proud of how excited Lucie was about incorporating the veggies into a math lesson. (Lucie’s radish calculations were Dave’s favorite part of our blog so far.) I also felt that the kids were very interested in what we were doing in the kitchen and enjoyed being involved in preparing and tasting our recipes. What was your favorite part of radish week? We would love to hear from you!

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

We tried a cooked daikon radish recipe. I thought it looked like a veggie salad before we put it in the oven. I gave it two thumbs down. I did not like it. I really liked radish week because I like the spicy taste of radishes. In fact, I just ate a bowl of crunchy, red radishes with salt and butter.


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Week Four: Daikon Radish Cakes

On our Sunday radish shopping trip we purchased this:

Daikon Radish

As we left the grocery store, I wondered to myself, “What in the world am I going to do with a giant radish?”

I searched Pinterest. One of the recipes I found was for daikon radish cakes from Naturally Local. My kids love pancakes and potato pancakes, so this seemed like a reasonable thing to try.

Except that they were made from a giant radish… I had my doubts. Serious doubts.

Late this morning, I could put it off no longer. I prepared to shred the giant radish. I considered using my Cuisinart food processor, but instead decided on the Pampered Chef Ultimate Mandoline. After scrubbing the giant radish, I cut the top off and cut it into sections that would fit on the shredder. Shred, shred, shred….

Shredding Daikon Radish

And we ended up with an odd smelling pile of shredded daikon radish.

Shredded Daikon

It was a whole lot watery, so we decided to squeeze out the liquid using a mesh strainer.

Straining Daikon Radish

I would say that we ended up with one and a half to two cups of shredded radish.  We added one beaten egg, 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, 1/8 tsp. chili pepper, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/8 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper to the shredded radish and mixed it well with a fork.

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I’m not going to lie. It looked a little weird and smelled even weirder.

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After brushing the grilling surface with a bit of peanut oil, we scooped the mixture into small piles on our Cuisinart Griddler, using the grill-panini setting on high heat and then closed the griddler lid for about five minutes, which gave us crispy, golden-brown radish cakes. They started to smell much better as they cooked. Instead of using a griddler or panini-press, you could also cook these in a skillet or on a pancake griddle, turning them with a spatula to make both sides crispy.

Crispy Radish Cakes

The Naturally Local recipe suggested topping these cakes with sour cream and chives. I have a “no-sour-cream-on-anything-ever” policy, so we mixed some chopped chives into some softened butter and topped the cakes with that instead. They looked pretty appetizing.

Daikon Radish Cakes with Chive Butter

But how would they taste?

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Initial reports were quite negative…

Two Thumbs Up for Radish Cakes

Lucie loved them. She ate three! I had to talk her into saving two for Dave to try. He also liked them.

I thought they were pretty good. My guess is that they would taste better fried in some bacon grease, but I would definitely make them again. They were similar to potato pancakes, with a slightly different flavor.

Here is a more organized version of what we did:

Daikon Radish Cakes:

Ingredients:

1 large daikon radish, thoroughly scrubbed (1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded)

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/8 tsp. chili pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 tbsp. peanut oil

1/2 cup butter, softened

handful of fresh chives, chopped

Shred the daikon radish with a food processor or mandoline. Remove excess water from shredded radish with a mesh strainer or by squeezing through cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel. Add egg, panko bread crumbs, chili pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and spoon mixture onto peanut oil coated griddler or skillet on high heat. Cook until both sides are crispy and golden-brown. 

Mix chives into softened butter. Use chive-butter mixture to top radish cakes. Makes 8-10 small cakes.

Lucie and Dave also tried a few bites of the raw daikon radish. They said it had a mild initial taste with a peppery aftertaste.

This recipe and cooking experience really goes along with the purpose of our blog. We tried a vegetable that we normally would never have tried. We had our doubts, but ended up finding a recipe that three of the five of us would like to make again. And, although Josie and Theo did not like this recipe, they willingly took one bite in order to give it a try. I think that is also a victory. (I know that Josie is making unhappy faces in many of her tasting pictures. However, she has never been “made” to try any of the vegetables in our blog and always has the option to opt out of tasting. She just tends to approach the veggies with skepticism as well as curiosity.)

We have plans for at least one more radish recipe and a fun project or two before radish week is over. Stay tuned!

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

Today I used the index in my veggie book to find information about radishes and daikon radish sprouts. I read a little bit about them while we were cooking. I enjoyed helping Mama in the kitchen today. I want to take cooking classes when I get older. I give the radish pancakes two thumbs up and I would like to try them again.

Lucie Using the Index


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Week Four: Radishes

And our week four veggie is ……radishes!!! Lucie and I just returned from an afternoon of radish shopping. I think letting kids shop for veggies is an important way to get them interested in eating veggies. Lucie loves looking at all the unusual produce and planning what she would like to try in the future. Here she is admiring the variety of beets at Whole Foods.

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We did browse a few other veggies and, of course, the toy and electronics section at Target. We checked out the radish supplies and prices at Whole Foods, Hy-Vee and Super Target. We were hoping to find the standard red radish that we know so well, as well as a few other varieties. Although we have seen the small white radishes at Whole Foods before, they did not have any today. We found a very large, white radish variety called the daikon radish at Hy-Vee. We only purchased one, because we really did not know what we would do with it. When we got home, a quick search of Pinterest gave us lots of ideas.

Did you know that there are varieties of the daikon radish that are planted for the purpose of drilling through the soil with their giant roots? These tillage radishes are planted in the late summer and allowed to grow until they are killed by cold weather. Their growing roots diminish soil compaction. They are killed by cold weather and then decompose over the winter, enhancing the nutrient content of the soil. One of the varieties I read about was called “Groundhog“, apparently for its excellent digging ability. One downside to this technique seems to be that the radishes get a bit stinky as they decompose in the field. I had never heard of tillage radishes before today. You can read more about it at TillageRadish.com. Does anyone have any experience with radishes used in this way? I’m curious about just how smelly this really is.

Tillage radish update: I have spoken with someone who has experienced tillage radish decomposition first hand. Apparently, the process is very stinky, lasts several weeks and is reminiscent of sewage. I think I will skip tillage radishes as a means of soil amendment in my garden. I have read that turnips can be used in a similar way and are not stinky. I am interested in any more information you may have on this topic. Please erase any thought you may have of sewage aroma before moving on to the recipe section of this blog post…

Our radish recipes for today are as simple as can be.

Recipe #1: Sliced radishes with salt.

Ingredients:

  • radishes
  • salt

Slice radishes. Sprinkle salt on top of radish slices. Feed to three year old. Tell him they are chips. Watch them disappear.

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Theo gives this recipe two enthusiastic thumbs up. He ate a whole pile of them and asked for seconds.

Recipe #2: Sliced Radishes on Buttered Crackers

Ingredients:

  • crackers
  • butter
  • sliced radishes
  • salt

If you can, try to keep the three year old from eating a few of the sliced radishes from Recipe #1, so you can use them in this recipe. Butter some crackers. Place radish slices on top of butter. Sprinkle salt on top of radish slices. Delicious!

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This is a favorite snack of Lucie’s. She ate the whole plate full.

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This snack gets an easy two thumbs up rating from Lucie. Dave and I love radishes. Josie is not a fan and was not feeling up to trying any radishes today. We eat radishes like this at our house all the time. I think they are a great substitute for potato chips – crunchy and salty, without all the fat and calories. (A half of a cup of sliced radishes only has about ten calories.)

We are planning to try one of the recipes where you roast the radish chips later this week.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

We ate radishes today. I like them best with crackers and butter. I am looking forward to cooking the big white radish that we got at the store today. We will show you a picture of it in our next post. Happy Groundhog Day!