Radicchi-oh?

Radicchio. The only encounters I’ve ever had with this vegetable have been in those prewashed, prepackaged salad mixes that you buy when you’re too lazy to hack up a head of lettuce, or simply because it’s convenient. I recall that it tasted crunchier, but much more bitter.

Thus, I was a bit perplexed when it arrived, green & purple, in my CSA box this past week. I began searching the Internet & Pinterest, to get inspired. Immediately, a recipe popped up that seemed somewhat doable, and bearable – and would also use the snap peas still lurking in my fridge. I had to give it a try.

Snap Pea & Radicchio Slaw – adapted from Real Simple

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (not pictured)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • sugar snap peas, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 small head radicchio, washed and sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp bacon bits (not pictured)

In a medium bowl, combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and a dash of salt & pepper. Add peas, radicchio, and bacon bits; toss to combine.

You can see when comparing the two recipes that mine is slightly different. When making this recipe originally, I thought that the dressing was much too sour (this is coming from a girl who loves her dill pickles and salt&vinegar anything!) and was missing ‘something’. I added the lemon juice and it seemed to mellow out the vinegar while sweetening the greens. The bacon bits were also added to give a sort of pseudo-smoky flavor to the slaw. Both additions I feel really rounded out the dish.

I enjoy the contrast of colors ! Very summery.

Before coming across this recipe, I would never think that snap peas and radicchio would be a good combination. But it works, it’s tasty, and a pretty good dish for this time of year – very light and crisp. I hope that this will help someone out there feel a little less intimidated by the head they find in their weekly CSA box!

Italian Potato Salad

This recipe is one that I grew up with (thanks, Mom!). It’s simple, really, and is one of those dishes that reminds me of summer. I served this the other night with some baked chicken, though it goes with pretty much anything.

For this, I used the red potatoes that came with this week’s CSA.

Italian Potato Salad – adapted from my mom 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-2 lbs small red potatoes
  • 2-4 scallions
  • 2-4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano

* Please note: my measurements are a little vague, simply because up until blogging I never really measured when making this dish. Rather, I relied on my own personal taste. This time around, I measured a bit and included what I thought would be the best crowd-pleaser.

  1. Cut potatoes into halves, if needed. Boil in a large saucepan until cooked. Drain & put into large bowl.
  2. Slice scallions & add to bowl. Add remaining ingredients & mix to combine.
  3. Do a taste test to determine if you need anymore vinegar, oil or spices.
  4. Chill for at least a 1/2 hour.

I almost forgot to snap a picture before eating it! There’s a few spoonfuls on my dinner plate, set aside.

This salad is good warm, or chilled (I prefer a slight chill to it). Enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts: The New Frontier

Growing up, I loathed fruits and vegetables. Fruits moreso than vegetables, but that’s a whole other blog post. My parents were successful in getting me to eat the basic veggies that any kid would eat, but given the choice between carrot sticks or a bag of chips, I’d go for the chips and wouldn’t look back. So needless to say, any strange vegetable at my dinner table was scary, and gross!

I had to be about nine years old (mid-1990s) when my mom had cooked brussels sprouts as another vegetable on our dinner table one night. I could smell them all the way from my bedroom; when overcooked, the sprouts give off almost a rotten-egg smell, due to the sulphur content they have. Just by the smell of them alone, I swore that I was never, ever  going to eat brussels sprouts. Scary, gross, and stinky! And truthfully – until today I had not touched, nor eaten one brussels sprout.

Fast-forward to 2012. Married for almost four years to a man who is no stranger to his fruits & veggies. Over Easter, we got to discussing food with my family, and brussels sprouts were mentioned. My mom stated that she really enjoys them-thus prompting the flashback to the stinky sprouts – and Mike also chimed in that he liked them as well.

This week I was challenged to try a new fruit or vegetable that I had never tried before.  To some, this may seem like an exciting adventure, and they’d be willing to jump right in and try something exotic. I, however, knew that this would be a bit intimidating. Then I thought back to my mom, and my husband, and decided to take on the brussels sprout.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts – adapted from Ina Garten

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 lbs brussels sprouts
  • olive oil (eyeball about 3 tbsp)
  • salt & pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400*. Wash brussels sprouts, then cut off the brown ends, as well as any discolored exterior leaves.

2. In a bowl, toss sprouts & olive oil. Add salt & pepper.

3. Place sprouts, cut side down, on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Roast in oven for 35 minutes, periodically shaking the pan evenly so that the sprouts brown evenly. Serve immediately.

Ready to eat!

The Verdict: I liked them!

Looks can be deceiving. While preparing this dish, I was skeptical as to how the end result would actually taste. While trimming the sprouts, the child in me suggested that they looked like mini-brains – almost preparing myself to hate them already. After a few minutes in the oven, however, I was taken aback by the savory smell in my kitchen from not only the pork chops in my oven, but the brussels sprouts. A fresh, healthy, roasted-veggie smell that got my mouth watering.

I was impressed, mostly because they did not smell like rotten eggs this time around. Maybe it was the slow roasting, maybe it was the maturity. The flavor was very simple, and I found that the smaller sprouts tasted a bit sweeter than the larger ones.

So, I suppose that I can officially say that brussels sprouts will be making their way into our home another time soon for dinner…I am impressed that the challenge was successful, and even more impressed that I didn’t hate them. Eh…live and learn, I suppose 🙂