A Radish is Nothing Like a Beet

“Darling – you look radishing!” ~ Unknown

Let’s talk about radishes. The radish is a highly under-rated root vegetable. I was excited when Erin from The Urban Vegetable Garden Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program suggested that the radish be my “CSA Challenge” this week.

Health Benefits of Radishes:Β Radishes are a low-calorie vegetable that is mostly composed of dietary fiber. A serving of radishes is about 1/2 cup and contains 2 grams of carbohydrates (no fat and no protein). Radishes are high in Vitamin C – with one serving providing 14% of your daily needs. In addition, they are high in Vitamins K, B6, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid.

 

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Radishes

Radish Chocolate Cake Recipe: Β I am going to start out this story by telling you it has been a long week and I have been under a lot of stress lately. This might not totally excuse my actions but it is what I am going with… (swallow). I typically get my CSA boxes on Wednesdays. So Thursday morning I was watching Jim Hensen’sΒ Word Party on Netflix with my toddler.

This is a new show for the small child – where he gets to pretend to be the “big kid” and teach the “babies” all kinds of new words. There are many, many repetitive songs that get stuck in your head with this one. Sometimes I wonder if government agencies use toddler shows as torture devices..

So I am watching Word Party and I start googling recipes I can use to turn into my CSA challenge recipe. I thought it might be fun to turn it into some type of dessert and I find this very cool looking chocolate cake recipe on the Martha Stewart website. Small child and I went out for our regular errands and picked up the ingredients. I was excited to make my recipe.

Nap time is when the day started to fall apart. Or should I say lack of napΒ time. If you have ever had a toddler – you know a no-nap toddler is not a pleasant toddler. When you couple that with a stressed out mom trying toΒ make phone calls and two crazy dogs – you have a recipe for disaster. So finally when the small child started to settle down and watch one of his shows, I started to make my recipe. I peeled and boiled the radishes and started to combine the ingredients to make the cake. I was so proud of myself that I even texted Erin about what I was doing.

So a few adjustments later and a Radish Chocolate Cake was born…

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium radishes (peeled)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Martha Stewart chocolate glazeΒ 

Directions

  1. Boil whole radishes until tender – approximately 20 minutes.
  2. Drain and puree radishes in a food processor
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  4. Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl
  5. Slowly add in eggs, water, oil, vanilla and pureed radishes
  6. Coat a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray and add parchment paper to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Pour batter into pan and bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  8. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes
  9. Turn cake from plan and let cool completely – right side up
  10. Add chocolate glaze and decorate as wanted once cake is totally cool

Enjoy!

Happy planting and eating!

~ The Gardening Dietitian

MicroGreens: Sunflowers

“Good things come in small packages.” ~ Unknown

This week’s Urban Vegetable Garden Community Supported Agriculture challenge food was sunflower microgreens. When Erin dropped them off, she compared the microgreens to the veal of vegetables because of their tantalizing flavor and vibrant color (plus they are baby plants).

Microgreens are edible immature greens that are harvested less than a month after germination. Although they have been a staple of fine dining establishments for awhile – microgreens are hot hot hot right now! Perhaps it is because they are super easy and quick for home gardeners to grow (only 1-3 weeks!), it could be the poignant taste of baby greens or most recently the health benefits that have been touted around the web!

IMG_6393Uses: Microgreens are used as edible garnishes, salad ingredients and as a bright and vibrant component in a variety of dishes.

Health benefits: Microgreens are thought to have higher concentrations of phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals than their adult counterparts. Microgreens are not all created equally however, and some have more nutritional benefits than others. Some of the best for phytonutrients and antioxidants according to a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Science include: red cabbage, cilantro, garnet amaranth and green daikon radish.

So I was ready to engage in the challenge. As I looked up potential recipes, I noticed a trend that many people combined sunflower microgreens with cream cheese and avocado into either a dip or a sandwich. I couldn’t find an exact recipe for this tantalizing sounding dip so I decided to create my own – and I am so glad I did!

Ingredients:

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  • 1/4 cup of cream cheese
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 cup of sunflower microgreens
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

 

Directions:

  1. Peel and pit avocado
  2. Combine cream cheese, avocado, sunflower microgeens and lemon juice into food processor
  3. Serve and enjoy!
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Sunflower Sprout Dip!

Happy planting and eating!

~The Gardening Dietitian

Carrots: From Root to Stem

“Going back to aΒ simpler life is not a step backwards” ~ YvonΒ Chouinard

The “root to stem” movement is an extension of the “head to tail” movement that popped up not too long ago. The basic idea is that by utilizing all portions of the plant we can eat in a more sustainable way, reducing food waste and increasing food availability. When using the “root to stem” philosophy you try to utilize waste ingredients you would normally throw out. In the case of the carrot – this would mean cooking with the carrot tops!

This week while getting my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box, Erin (one of my local farmers) made a comment about cooking carrot tops. At that moment this week’s CSA challenge was born!

Health Benefits of Carrots:

Carrots are full of antioxidants including vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is known for its role in eye health (specifically helping with the mechanism that lets you see well at night) but this fat soluble vitamin also helps you maintain good brain function and have healthy skin. In addition, Vitamin A works with Vitamin C to reduce inflammation in your body which can be a factor in cancer and heart disease incidence. Carrots also have a high fiber content which helps with your digestive system.

Prepping the Carrots: Root to Stem:

So the challenge was to try and prepare the carrot so that we could eat every part of it. As such, I scoured the web and found the most popular way to do this was by roasting the carrot roots and by turning the carrot tops into a carrot top chimichurri sauce. There were several recipes online but I decided to use this one from Love and Lemons as my base – I then made a few tweaks and adjustments from there.

So the carrot roasting part was pretty simple and resulted in DELICIOUS roasted carrots!

While the carrots were roasting, I made the carrot top chimichurri sauce. This is where things got a bit more complicated. So when making chimichurri a lot of the recipe is the addition of different herbs and spices to taste. While I enjoy making recipes like this – because I can be creative – I had never had chimichurri so I wasn’t sure what this Argentinian sauce was supposed to taste like. The chimichurri I made included about 1 1/2 cups of carrot tops, 1/4 cup of fresh basil from my aerogarden, 1/4 cup of cilantro from this week’s CSA, a pinch of dried oregano, 4 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp of red pepper and lime seasoning, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar and 1/2 cup of olive oil. I threw everything in the blender and set it to puree to chop/mix up!

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When the carrots were done – I topped them with the chimichurri sauce and then it was time to taste!

Carrots topped with chimichurri

Recipe Review

First of all, both my husband and I agreed the roasted carrots were amazing! Even the small child liked snacking on the roasted carrots. I included a bit more salt than the recipe called for and they tasted kinda like a tender carrot french fry (which is what I told the small child they were).

As for the chimichurri the reviews were mixed. Part of this might have been the modifications I made on the recipe… The chimichurri sauce had a very earthy taste. You could tell it was made of super fresh ingredients but the vinegar and carrot tops made it a bit sour coupled with the rough texture of the ingredients it was an acquired taste. I kinda liked it and thought it seemed like something you would serve at a fancy dinner party whereas my husband was not a fan (although he did eat it!).

Happy planting and eating!

~The Gardening Dietitian

The Seminole Pumpkin

I joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. As part of a CSA my local farmers bring me a box of vegetables each week – delivered right to my office! CSA programs are a great way to get to know your local farmers, try out fruits and vegetables that you might not have found in your local grocery store and membership has been associated with various health benefits.

In some ways being a part of a CSA is like being on the TV show “Chopped”. You get a box of random vegetables (some of which you have never heard of) and you are challenged to find a way to cook and serve these vegetables to your family. Sadly, there is no cash prize at the end of the week but sometimes you get some cool recipes that you wouldn’t have found otherwise. This week my local farmers challenged me to figure out a way to cook the Seminole Pumpkin.

The Seminole Pumpkin is a common pumpkin variety found in south Florida gardens due to its ability to tolerate the Florida heat. These pumpkins weight between 6-12 pounds and are firmer and have less fibers than a traditional pumpkin you buy on Halloween. According to my web search – one of the best uses for the Seminole pumpkin is a fried pumpkin bread. Read more about my attempt at making this traditional recipe below – including my visit from the local fire department.

Fried Seminole Pumpkin Bread

1. Cook the PumpkinΒ 

So little did I know just cooking the pumpkin involves a TON of steps.

Cook Pumpkin Part 1
Step 1: Take off pumpkin stem
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Step 2: Cut the pumpkin in half
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Step 3: Scoop out pumpkin seeds
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Step 4: Make sure there are no seeds left
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Step 5: Place pumpkin halves face down and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes
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Step 6: Scoop out insides into a bowl

2. Mix in the ingredientsΒ 

Once you get through cooking and prepping your pumpkin – you finally get to start working on the actual recipe.

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Step 7: Mix in all ingredients (1/2 cup white sugar, 3 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp cinnamon)

3. Heat vegetable oil in fry pan (1 inch deep)

Don’t forget to put on the fan above the stove!!!

4. Form patties with pumpkin mixture and lightly fry in oil for 4 seconds each side

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Finished product!!!

SPECIAL TIP: Again make sure you turn on your oven fan BEFORE you start heating the oil or else your house may or may not fill up with smoke and ADT may or may not call the fire department which may or may not be required to come check on your house……

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The fire truck that visited my house this afternoon….

Happy planting and eating!

~The Gardening Dietitian