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- 3 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 2 small fresh fennel bulbs, trimmed of tough outer leaves, bulbs thinly sliced lengthwise with core intact, small fronds reserved for garnish
- 2 small turnips, peeled, each cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
Stir fennel seeds in small dry skillet over medium heat until very fragrant and slightly darker in color, about 3 minutes. Add coarse salt; stir to blend. Remove from heat; cool. Transfer fennel seed mixture to spice mill; grind until fennel seeds are just coarsely chopped (do not grind to powder). DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Arrange fennel slices and turnip wedges on platter; garnish with fennel fronds.
Serve vegetables with fennel salt.
Perfect finger foods for a Wine Country picnic
The endless summer has arrived in Wine Country, with steady, warm days and cool evenings coaxing all the local vegetables, fruits and berries to ripen upon a perfect wave of weather.
At the same time, the long, light-filled evenings are luring many Wine Country denizens outdoors. where almost every night of the week, they can pick from a raft of artistic events - a pop culture movie or a concert or a Shakespearean play - performed outdoors in local parks and town greens.
That means it’s time to dust off those baskets and insulated backpacks, blankets and low-slung chairs and throw together a delicious summertime picnic that highlights the sweet tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers, luscious stone fruit and silky melons of the season.
To inspire your outdoor plans, we asked chef Tracey Shepos Cenami of La Crema Estate to put together a simple but delicious menu that she would make for her own family and friends to enjoy while picnicking on the Windsor Town Green or one of the many other outdoor concert venues in Sonoma County.
To make it even more casual, Cenami devised a menu of mostly finger food, so you can enjoy your food even if you’ve forgotten your utensils. After all, it’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy.
“I like a lot of nibbly stuff, and I like to dip a lot of things,” she said. “The Green Goddess dip, made with avocado and herbs and mayonnaise, goes with everything.”
Of course, she often includes olives for popping into your mouth as a briny appetizer. As a main course, Cenami likes to serve some pan-fried chicken tenders like her mom used to make, which are crispy and crunchy and taste great even after cooling down to room temperature.
“I do that when we go to a concert or a picnic,” she said. “You make them right before you go, and they never hit the fridge. They are the perfect texture, and they’re very easy.”
As an appetizer, she will often prepare an assortment of crispy, crunchy crudités like carrots, cucumbers and peppers to dip into the Green Goddess dip along with the chicken.
“They are so abundant now,” she said of the summer veggies. “If I’m lucky enough to snag something from the Kendall-Jackson garden, I like the celtuce. It looks like Romaine lettuce, but you eat the root. It’s so cool and crisp.”
For a salad course, she likes to cut some tomatoes, nectarines and lemon cucumbers into chunks, then throw on some olive oil and fresh herbs. For ease, she packs them up in individual Mason jars so that each person gets their own serving.
“There’s no real dressing, because you don’t want it to get soggy,” she said. “And when you are ready, you shake some Tajin on it.”
Tajin Clásico is a dry Mexican seasoning blend made with chiles and lime that perks up everything from raw vegetables to fruit.
“I think it’s the next Sriracha,” she said. “My kid will devour a cucumber if I put that on it … it adds a really great pop of heat and acid and salt. It’s all those things you want.”
Cenami also likest to bring along a bag of her favorite potato chips, as a small indulgence that pays tribute to the saltiness of summer’s past.
“I don’t eat them every day, but if I’m going on a picnic, I will eat the Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles,” she said. “It’s not the time to do the low salt or low fat.”
She also likes to sprinkle the Tajin spice on some melon for dessert, or simply pick up some fresh berries from a roadside stand.
“Those are easy to pop into your mouth,” she said. “Take a trip down Highway 12 to pick up your favorite strawberries. I get into the car and eat half of them by the time I get home.”
It’s always a good idea to have a few refreshing bottles of white or rosé wine on hand for your picnic.
“Make sure your wine is chilled if you’re outside,” she said. “And of course, make sure you have a wine opener.”
The following recipes are from Chef Tracey Shepos Cenami of La Crema Estate. You can find the Tajin Clásico seasoning at Latin markets.
Green Goddess Dip ?with Crudités
1 scallion, both white and green parts, chopped
2 tablespoons Champagne or tarragon vinegar
1/4 cup Castelvetrano olives
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a blender, add all ingredients and puree until smooth. Season to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 days.
Serve with assorted baby vegetables, such as carrot, fennel, radish, turnip and peppers.
2 pounds heirloom tomatos, large dice
1/2 pound nectarines (about 2) large dice
1/2 pound lemon cucumbers, medium dice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
In a large bowl, gently toss first five ingredients. Season with Tajin to taste. Transport in glass jars.
15 (2 1/2 pounds) chicken tenders
4 cups Panko bread crumbs
3 ounces Fiscalini cheddar or Romano cheese, finely grated
Season the chicken tenders with 2 teaspoons salt.
In two separate, shallow continaers, place the flour in one and the eggs and milk in another.
In another shallow container, combine panko, garlic, onion, parsley, salt, black pepper and half of the cheese.
Dredge each of the tenders in flour, then in the egg mixture, followed by the panko mixture. Be sure to coat the chicken completely with each.
Heat 2 1/2 cups over medium heat in a 10-inch shallow pan. Working in batches, carefully add enough tenders to the hot oil to fill the pan, but don’t overcrowd.
Adjust temperature to slowly brown the tenders, pan frying 3 minutes per side or until just cooked through. Remove chicken and place on paper-towel lined platter.
Immediately sprinkle with the extra cheese. Add additional oil to the pan as necessary between batches. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Staff writer Diane Peterson can be reached at 521-5287 or [email protected] On Twitter @dianepete56.
Features, The Press Democrat
I’m interested in the home kitchen, from sheet-pan suppers to the latest food trends. Food encompasses the world, its many cultures, languages and history. It is both essential and sensual. I also have my fingers on the pulse of classical music in Sonoma County, from student mariachi bands to jazz crossover and symphonic sounds. It’s all a rich gumbo, redolent of the many cultures that make up our country and the world.
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Browned Butter + Sage + Squash/Pumpkin/Yams
Side: Cube squash, pumpkin, or yams. Season with salt, pepper, and oil, and roast until caramelized. Melt butter in a small pot over medium heat, add sage, and cook until butter is golden brown and smelling nutty. Immediately pour brown butter and crispy sage over roasted vegetables.
Salad: Take the side from above and combine it with equal parts quinoa or farro, half as much arugula, and some chopped pecans. For a fresh pop of flavor, add pomegranate seeds.
Soup: In a large pot, sauté chopped onion, carrot, and celery in a touch of oil until onion is golden brown at the edges. Add squash (prepared as in the side above), cover with stock, and simmer for 20 minutes. Purée thoroughly, adding a scoop of Greek yogurt for a bit of richness and bite. Garnish with browned butter and sage.
Pizza: Preheat oven at top temperature with a pizza stone in the center for at least 1 hour. Roll out dough, rub with olive oil, and top with taleggio or another gooey, slightly strong cheese. Top with squash, prepared as in the side above. Bake for about 3 minutes, crack an egg on top, and bake for another 7 minutes until pizza is bubbly on top and dark on bottom, and egg is cooked medium. Drizzle with brown butter and sage, and pile fresh arugula on top.
Daikon Serving Suggestions
- Daikon can be served raw or cooked.
- Serve slivered, diced, sliced and added to relishes, salads, or crudités.
- Serve thinly sliced with carrots and sesame.
- Grate and serve with raw fish dishes such as sashimi—mix with lemon juice and vinegar.
- Grate and sprinkle with vinaigrette or with vinegar or lemon juice.
- Cook like a turnip and serve.
- Cook briefly with other root vegetables such as potatoes, then purée for light-bodied soup.
- Grate or slice and add to stews and stir-fries.
- Cut into large slices or strips and braise with other vegetables to serve a mixed vegetable dish.
- Sprinkle with salt to reduce the peppery tang.
Turnips and potatoes roasted with thyme(Sheryl Julian)
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|3||medium turnips, cut into 1/2-inch dice|
|2||medium Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled or unpeeled), cut into 1/2-inch dice|
|Olive oil (for sprinkling)|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|2||teaspoons chopped fresh thyme|
|2||sprigs fresh thyme (for garnish)|
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees.
2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, spread the turnips and potatoes. Sprinkle with oil and use your hands to toss them. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme. Toss again.
3. Roast the vegetables for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning several times, or until they are cooked through and the potatoes are beginning to brown. Arrange in a serving dish and garnish with thyme.
Kitchen Tips March 4th
If you make a recipe you found here, post a photo of it on instagram and tag us at #tastehautelife or post it on our new facebook page which is being designed as a recipe exchange.
We are in-between seasons and while the weather can’t quite make up its mind, here are some recipes to make your choices this week a little easier as well!
Finally fennel is in season locally! Bet you didn’t know this…fennel is a member of the carrot family however it is not a root vegetable. The base of its long stalks weave together to form a thick, crisp bulb that grows above ground. Above the bulb, at the tip of the stalks, it has light, feathery leaves that resemble dill. When it goes to seed, fennel also produces small yellow flowers among the leaves. Every part of it is edible, from the bulb to the flowers, and it can be eaten raw or cooked.
It’s low in calories, but high in nutrients like dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, and contains health-protective antioxidants and valuable antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Thank you loveandlemons.com for these tips:
When eaten raw, the bulb has a crisp texture similar to celery and a fresh licorice flavor. It caramelizes as it cooks, taking on a sweeter flavor and tender, melt-in-your mouth texture.
I usually eat fennel raw and I shave it thinly with a mandoline (watch those fingers!). Easy marinade is lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Dress it up with herbs, nuts and shaved Parmesan cheese if you have it, or add in some greens for a more complete salad.
Shaving fennel is also a great move if you want to sauté it as the thin slices will melt and brown in the pan.
If you plan to roast fennel, slice it 1/2-inch wedges. Spread them cut-side-down on a baking sheet with a little space between each one. Toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until the wedges are tender and caramelized around the edges. Serve the wedges as a side dish with a squeeze of lemon or add them to a salad. You could also remove the tough core pieces and toss the roasted fennel with pasta.
Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family, and has a signature sweet-but-peppery flavor profile even if also reminiscent of broccoli stalks. You usually eat the bulbous bottom, but the entire kohlrabi plant is actually edible. The skin has the rubbery texture of broccoli stems and can be white, light green, or bright purple. The insides are usually a creamy white. It is also known as a German turnip or cabbage turnip and is used frequently in Indian food.
I mentioned this before but it’s a good go-to: 5 Tasty Ways to Eat Kohlrabi from thekitchn.com.
½ cup grapeseed or vegetable oil (enough for ¼-inch depth in a large skillet)
Peel the bulb. Peel 1 carrot. Shred the vegetables in a food processor, or by hand using a grater. Squeeze the shredded vegetables in a tea cloth (or with your hands) to remove moisture, then add to a medium bowl with the egg, kosher salt, and cayenne. Mix to combine.
Place the oil in a large skillet (enough for 1/4-inch depth). Heat the oil over medium high heat, then place small patties of the fritter mixture into the oil. Fry on one side until browned, then fry on the other side. Remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil.
For the dipping sauce: Remove the avocado pit and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. In a small bowl, mix the avocado, plain yogurt, lemon juice, and kosher salt to make the avocado cream (or blend the ingredients together in a food processor).
To serve, slice the green onions. Serve fritters with avocado cream and green onions. Note: These fritters are best eaten warm the day of making they don’t save well. Like anything made with avocado, the avocado cream sauce will become brown after exposure to air. Make sure to cover the surface with plastic wrap when storing.
Cherry Belle Radishes
Move over oranges! Radishes are packed with Vitamins E, A, C, B6, and K. Plus they are high on antioxidants, fiber, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, calcium, iron and manganese. And each of these is known to keep our body in good working condition.
Round, smooth, scarlet ¾" roots with tangy, white flesh are perfect candidates for crudités, salads, or soups. Outstanding roasted, mingled with lemon and brown butter. My daughter is a huge fan of these cooked--15 minutes cubed and thrown in the air fryer! The perfect after school snack!
Last week, the win-win choy was much larger. This week we feature the regular bok choy and here’s a little refresher on its background.
Bok choy, also known as pak choy or pok choi, is a type of Chinese cabbage. Baby bok choy is harvested earlier, producing smaller, more tender leaves and is sweeter.
High in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and beta-carotene, this popular green is also an excellent source of folate, calcium, and vitamin B6.
It has a mild, peppery flavor that makes it suitable for many dishes or salads. Chop or grate it raw for salads or slaw, or, keep it simple and cut in half, brush with oil and grill. The great thing about this vegetable is that it retains its crunchiness, even when cooked.
Please note, wash well! The stalks can often have dirt or grit at the base of the stem so be sure to remove them and rinse it well. I often slice the entire plant down the middle and spread out the leaves from the base as I wash them.
To cut Bok Choy, cut the greens off and keep them separate from the whites part since they need less time to cook. For sauteing, slice into 1-inch pieces diagonally.
This side dish makes an excellent pairing with fish or shrimp. You can throw it into a chicken teriyaki or chicken stir fry and it will cook down in minutes
Need a little more inspiration? Here’s 11 easy to make Bok Choy recipes courtesy of thespruceeats.com
Hydroponic Red Salad Tomatoes
I included these a few weeks ago and I hope you liked them. They are local and were grown hydroponically, as were the lettuce. Hydroponic farms are becoming more popular and given changes in our climate, are very much a trend you can expect to see more of in the future. As the name implies, they are the ultimate slicing and salad tomato, so throw it in a sandwich, a salad, or simply chop, add thinly sliced red onion, salt and pepper, olive oil and red wine vinegar and a smattering of chopped basil. I might slice mine and use it on a pizza this weekend and pray to the weather gods that I can eat it outside with a fennel salad! Enjoy!
What Are Hakurei Turnips?
The snowy white hakurei turnip is a late fall specialty at Michael Docter’s farm in Hadley, MA.
Like a giant pearl pried from the grasp of an underground oyster, these beautiful root vegetables are harvested just after the first frost falls on Winter Moon Farm.
There’s no need to peel the smooth, iridescent skin of a hakurei turnip. In fact, they can even be eaten raw. Uncooked, hakurei turnips are crisper than an apple. They have a bit of a bite, but they’re far milder than a radish.
Thinly sliced raw hakureis make surprisingly good crudités when sprinkled with a little salt, or you can shave them into a salad along with a spritz of citrus.
Just a few minutes in the oven brings out the buttery undertones and natural sweetness in this hybrid turnip, which was invented in Japan during a food shortage in the 1950s. You can roast, glaze, braise, boil or steam these pearly globes as you would any other root vegetable, but be warned that their high water content may cause them to get mushy if cooked on a low of a temperature for too long.
We suggest you throw sliced hakurei turnips into a stir-fry as a flavorful substitute for water chestnuts, and as you might imagine, these turnips make wicked good pickles.
Cider-Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Quick gourmet meals in the middle of the week are my favorite! This one is done in as little as 35 minutes. Excited? I'll get you more excited! These vegetables are not only off the hook delicious, they also help to pack in 7g of fiber, and make the meal look pretty, wouldn't you say? At 500 calories, this won't break your calorie bank either.
Recipe credits go to Curtis Stone, but I did make a few adjustments in oil and the portion of the meat to bring the calories down from 650 per serving. I was also more realistic with the cooking time, because I'm nice like that.
The wild turnip, B. rapa, is native to Europe, specifically indigenous to the Alps. The oldest wild turnip seeds were found at an archeological site in Switzerland. Wild turnips are still found growing as a weed in the same area it was discovered. The domesticated origins of the turnip date back to the Hellenistic period of Greek civilization (approximately 300 BCE). The turnip may be the single most historically important vegetable of Europe as food for both humans and animals. One of the primary reason's for the turnips agricultural success is how easily it is cultivated. The turnip is a cool season crop, selected for cultivation for centuries in long, cold winters in mountain chains throughout Europe. Europe remains the center of diversity of turnip varieties as well as the center of production and use.
Fennel And Turnip Crudites With Fennel Salt - Recipes
We exclusively grow 'salad turnips'--these are not meant for long term storage, and are sweeter and crisper, like a mix between a turnip and a radish. They can be eaten raw or cooked, and are not as starchy as storage turnips.
Remove greens and place in a separate, sealed plastic bag for later use. The greens are delicious--my favorite cooking green! Store turnips in a sealed plastic bag in your fridge's crisper. Without plastic, the fridge will dehydrate the roots and make them soft. The condensation trapped in the plastic bag prevents this. Storage life: 21-40+ days.
Roasted at high heat
Sliced or chopped raw in salads
Raw in crudités with dip or dressing
Alongside roast chicken, pot roast or meatloaf
Steamed and mixed with butter and salt, or other seasonings
Mixed root roast (sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsnips, turnips, beets, fennel etc.)
Sauteed or glazed with soy sauce, ginger, fish sauce
Pairs well with:
Butter, cream, cheese, roast chicken, beef, pork, root veggies, salad greens, apple, pear, onions, garlic, shallots, vinegar (rice wine, sherry, balsamic), mustard, fish sauce, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, honey, herbs