Wednesday, November 11, 2009

CSA: What Do I Do with All These...What Are These Things, Anyway?
Last week kind of threw me for a loop, veggie-wise--for complicated reasons, I didn't get their regular box, which comes with an explanation. Instead, I got a special box, which contained some perfectly standard veggies plus a mysterious bunch of dark green things with crinkly leaf margins, some attractive white globes with bushy leaves, and some romano beans, which I was at least able to identify, even if I'd never had them before.

I figure (a) all leafy greens are various degrees of unpleasant, and (b) they all improve considerably when exposed to bacon and sauteed onions. So, devoutly hoping that they weren't poke salad, I dropped them in a pan with bacon and chopped leeks and let them cook down. They tasted fine, although it turns out that I should have done some more aggressive pre-rinsing and removed the midribs. Otherwise, not a problem. As we're still alive to tell the tale, they obviously weren't poke salad. (Turns out they were mustard greens.)

Then there were these nice white root veggies--very smooth and unblemished. Could they be a very large white radish? In addition to the regular red ones also in the box? This seemed like a lot of radish to dispose of in one week, so I decided to sliced up the whites and eat them for breakfast, as they purportedly do in France. They had a surprisingly tangy, horseradishy smell to them, but they were quite pleasant with a sour cream+sea salt+green onion dressing--not too overwhelming or harsh, but zesty, and with a pleasing al dente consistency--a little softer than your average radish. But I liked it well enough to do it for breakfast two days in a row.

I finally emailed the CSA to ask what the heck I'd been eating. Turnips. I'd been eating raw Japanese white turnips (AKA "kabu") for breakfast.

Never would have seen that one coming, especially since I thought I hated turnips. Maybe these little white Japanese ones are different from the big, clumsy-looking pinky ones we usually eat?

But after all, this is one of the reasons I joined a CSA. It would have never occurred to me to buy either turnips or mustard greens under ordinary circumstances. And now I've discovered a new breakfast food! (I'm pleased about the Japanese turnips; the mustard greens--they're okay, but the chard/turnip greens/kale niche in my diet--never a very large niche to begin with--was already adequately filled and then some. So not what I would call a major epiphany.)

Japanese white turnips ("Kabu") from The Omnivore's Solution So cute!

Mel's Surprising Breakfast Turnips
2 Japanese white turnips, in 1/16" slices
1/4-1/3 c sour cream
2 Tbs green onions
sea salt - to taste
freshly ground pepper - to taste

Combine & eat, preferably with a side of crusty, chewy, peasant-style buttered toast.

I braised the romano beans per this popular Italian recipe from the NY Times. The tomato sauce was really good and rich (could use some red pepper flakes, though), but next time I would chop all the beans in half horizontally--they're so big that they can be rather overwhelming and discouraging in their full size--they need to look a little more user-friendly.) I'm not now a passionate fan of RBs, but they make for some interesting variety in the ol' veggie diet every now and again.

Big, burly romano beans--pic from Stacy Snacks Online


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry..........I'm laughing so hard I'm about to fall off my chair. Turnips huh? I LOVE IT! I still have some if you want more breakfast :>)

Elgin_house said...

Hey Ladonna--

Yeah, who'd've thought?

I think I'm covered on the turnip front for a while, but if I run short, I'll be sure and let you know... ;-P

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