Sunday, September 18, 2011

in the kitchen

Sometimes it feels as though I'm swimming in tomatoes, drowning in radishes, up to my ears in greens, and all the other clever ways of saying- there is so much food!   So, I've been finding myself in the kitchen for long stretches of time these days trying to process this food.  Here are some photos and recipes I've used.

We'll start with tomatoes.  I made gazpacho and a roasted tomato sauce- both recipes are from Cook's Illustrated.  I made a few changes...


This recipe makes a large quantity because the leftovers are so good, but it can be halved if you prefer. Traditionally, diners garnish their gazpacho with more of the same diced vegetables that are in the soup, so cut some extra vegetables when you prepare those called for in the recipe. Additional garnish possibilities include simple garlic croutons, chopped pitted black olives, chopped hard-cooked eggs, and finely diced avocados. For a finishing touch, serve in chilled bowls.

  • 3ripe medium beefsteak tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), cored and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 2small red bell peppers (about 1 pound), cored, seeded, and cut into slices (following illustrations below), then into 1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 2small cucumbers (about 1 pound), one peeled and the other with skin on, both seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2small sweet onion (such as Vidalia, Maui, or Walla Walla) or 2 large shallots, peeled and minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2teaspoons table salt
  • 1/3cup sherry vinegar
  • Ground black pepper
  • 5cups tomato juice , preferably Welch's
  • 1teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • 8ice cubes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for serving


  1. 1. Combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, salt, vinegar, and pepper in a large (at least 4-quart) nonreactive bowl. Let stand until the vegetables just begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato juice, hot pepper sauce, if using, and ice cubes. Cover tightly and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.
  2. 2. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and remove and discard any unmelted ice cubes. Serve cold, drizzling each portion with about 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and topping with the desired garnishes, (see top note).

Roasted Tomato Sauce
  • 2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/8teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (9 to 12 medium),  halved pole to pole
  • 6medium cloves garlic , peeled
  • 1small onion , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2tablespoons chopped fresh basil


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Combine 1 tablespoon oil, thyme, pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Toss tomatoes, garlic, and onion with tomato paste mixture until evenly coated. Place 4-inch square of foil in center of wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place garlic cloves and onion rounds on foil and arrange tomatoes, cut side down, around garlic and onion.
  2. 2. Roast until vegetables are soft and tomato skins are well charred, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Transfer garlic and onion to food processor; pulse until finely chopped, about five 1-second pulses. Add tomatoes, vinegar, and remaining tablespoon oil to food processor. Pulse until broken down but still chunky, about five 1-second pulses. Using rubber spatula, scrape down bowl; season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Continue to process sauce until slightly chunky, about five 1-second pulses. Stir in basil.

    Now moving on to radishes.  
    I've talked about the radish kimchi I've made before on this blog- well, here's the recipe from Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz.

    Note- This is the original recipe. You'll notice loads of other ingredients other than radishes.  I actually only use radishes (pink beauty- the variety we grow) and a few beets, mainly because they make it so beautiful. 

    Radish Kimchi
    sea salt
    1-2 daikon radishes
    1 small burdock root
    1-2 turnips
    a few Jerusalem artichokes
    2 carrots
    a few small red radishes
    1 small fresh horseradish root (or a tablespoon of prepared horseradish, without preservatives)
    3 tablespoons (or more!) fresh grated gingerroot
    3-4 cloves garlic (or more!)
    3-4 hot red chilies (or more!), depending on how peppery-hot you like food, or any form of hot pepper, fresh, dried, or in a sauce (without chemical preservatives!)
    1. Mix a brine of about 4 cups water and 3 tablespoons salt.
    2. Slice daikons, burdock, turnip, Jerusalem artichokes, and carrots, and let them soak in the brine. If the roots are fresh and organic, leave the nutritious skins on. Slice the roots thin so the flavors will penetrate. I like to slice roots on a diagonal; you could also cut them into matchsticks. Leave the small red radishes whole, even with their greens attached, and soak them, too. Use a plate or other weight to keep the vegetables submerged until soft, a few hours or overnight.
    3. Prepare the spices: Grate the ginger; chop the garlic and onion; remove seeds from the chilies and chop or crush, or throw them in whole. Kimchi can absorb a lot of spice. Experiment with quantities and don’t worry too much about them. Mix spices into a paste, adding grated horseradish.
    4. Drain brine off vegetables, reserving brine. Taste vegetables for saltiness. You want them to taste decidedly salty, but not unpleasantly so. If they are too salty, rinse them. If you cannot taste salt, sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons of salt and mix.
    5. Mix the vegetables with the spice paste. Mix everything together thoroughly and stuff it into a clean quart jar. Pack it tightly into the jar, pressing down until brine rises. If necessary, add a little of the reserved vegetable-soaking brine to submerge the vegetables. Weight the vegetables down with a smaller jar, or with a zip-lock bag filled with some brine. Every day, use your (clean!) finger to push the vegetables back under the brine. Cover the jar to keep out dust and flies.
    6. Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place. Taste the kimchi every day. After about a week of fermentation, when it tastes ripe, move it to the refrigerator.

    Now for greens!  One never wants to waste beautiful chard, kale or collard greens.  Here are a few tasty treats I made with the greens.
    Kale (well, I used collards) Chips (from but it's straight forward enough that you don't really need a recipe)


    • 1 bunch kale
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt

    • Directions
    1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    2. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
    3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.


    Erbazzone (a chard or spinach filled tart from Reggio Emilia, Italy) 
     Some of you know that I born in Italy which is where I believe that I acquired my passion for food and especially Italian food.  I have such fond delicious memories of this dish from my youth.  I've actually never tried to make it before this past week and I have to be honest that it didn't turn out as quite as I remembered it (the fault is my own- I think I overworked the dough). Anyway, it's really amazing and fairly simple to make.  I used the recipe out of Culinaria Italy, but this recipe looks just as good, if not better.

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