Batter Licker

March 1, 2011

pea shoots, daikon radish and grated sweet potato salad with spicy sesame peanut dressing

On a recent trip to the farmers market, I picked up some pea shoots. I wasn’t really sure what I would end up doing with them, nor did it really matter at the time. It was all part of the fun of picking up as-yet-unexplored-by-me produce, and it’s what I look forward to every Saturday morning when I allow myself this $5 or less, single-item indulgence that often widens my culinary repertoire. And this particular Saturday, I was delighted to find a new bunch of greens to play with.

Although I’m generally not a fan of de-podded peas, I love snap peas in salads and stir fries. After tasting the pea shoots, I found their slightly crunchy texture and mildly sweet flavor more reminiscent of snap peas (thank goodness!). Having also picked up a daikon radish (regular radishes will also do) because the pea shoots cost only half of my $5 limit on indulgent farmers market purchases, I added that crunchy, slightly spicy root to the mix, and soon decided to use these veggies in their freshest, most flavorful form: raw.

Having embarked on this salad adventure, I wanted to add something healthy but with a little more heft, so I grated some raw sweet potato. That may sound weird if you haven’t tried raw sweet potato before, but trust me and the variety of raw root vegetable salads and slaws out there. As someone with major texture issues, I promise this one isn’t weird. But if you truly aren’t ready for that, try carrots instead to preserve the same beautiful orange color and a similarly sweet flavor.

I also added some cucumber and chopped cilantro – and while I find that cucumber contributes a lightness that’s wonderful in most salads and I think you can never go wrong with a small addition of fresh herbs, they are aren’t essential to this pea shoot and root vegetable-centric salad if you don’t have them on hand. (more…)

November 29, 2010

slow-cooked garlic butter and parmesan mashed potato trio

If you hosted Thanksgiving like I did this year, you’re probably over the leftovers by now. And if you didn’t host, you’re probably wishing you had snuck some tupperware in so you could still be enjoying the fruits of several days’ worth of cooking.

But either way, I hope that, like me, you will be making and eating mashed potatoes again this winter. And maybe you’ll want something new – a mashed potato recipe that isn’t just a blob of white fluffy potatoes, but rather is a colorful, festive pile of regular and sweet potatoes mashed together to create a creamy-but-not-gloppy texture and flavored with sweet garlic cooked slowly in butter, a bit of salty nutty parmesan, and some fresh lemony parsley.

I won’t say it will be a hit with everyone, although I have had a 99% success rate over three years’ worth of large multi-family Thanksgivings, multi-friends Fakesgivings, and intimate mashed potato-worthy dinners throughout the rest of the year. (more…)

February 28, 2010

brunch: poached egg with truffle salt, scrambled eggs with pancetta, sweet potato hash with caramelized onions, toast with homemade jam, and citrus slices

Filed under: breakfast, brunch,eggs,potatoes — Tags: , , , , , — Kristen @ 3:19 am

Brunch is without a doubt my favorite meal, not just because it offers an array of delicious food but also because it has a certain ad hoc quality that most meals lack. While I love a complicated recipe that requires exact measurements, there’s something almost magical about a meal that comes together without any real need for measuring spoons and cups and without a specific list of ingredients in mind.

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Growing up, I remember my dad opening the refrigerator door on weekend mornings and peering in with him to see what seemingly random assortment of leftovers could be turned into a magnificent spread for brunch. Frequently, this resulted in some sort of scrambled egg surprise, with scrambled eggs being dressed up with staple items that we always had on hand (e.g., onions and potatoes), random leftover veggies (e.g., broccoli, mushrooms, who knows) and meats (e.g., grilled steak or chicken, maybe even deli ham from the week’s sandwiches), and always loads of salsa. These were my first moments in creative culinary thinking.

All awww’s aside, I’ve never really gotten over a good scramble. But poached eggs? Now, those fluffy little pillows are purely ethereal. (more…)

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