September 20, 2012

Radish Top Soup

This recipe came to me as a way to use up radish tops. The technique and flavors work equally well with turnip tops, beet greens or other flavorful greens like water cress, but I especially like it as a way to use up radish tops and I am always pleasantly surprised by their fresh flavor. It is readily vegetarian, soy-free and gluten free, depending on what liquid you use for cooking the potatoes (water is fine).

Radish Top Soup

4-6 Tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onions or leeks
8 cups loosely packed radish leaves (or as many as you have if you don't have that many)
2 cups diced potatoes
6 cups liquid (we use water, beef broth or veggie broth)
1/2 cup cream (optional)
Freshly ground pepper

In pan one: Saute the onions. Stir in the greens and cook covered over low heat until they are wilted (8 - 10 minutes).

In (larger) pan two: Cook potatoes in your liquid until soft. Add in the radish tops and cook for about 5 more minutes. Puree finely using a food processor or immersion blender. Add cream and pepper if desired.

Note: we almost never add the optional cream since we don't keep it around the house and I don't need the extra fat in my food. It's perfectly tasty without the cream.


Quick Daikon Salad

This fresh salad offers a gentle blend of sweet and tangy and is very easy to make with a food processor. A simple summer dish great for barbeques. It is also a nice counter point to heavier dishes at the Thanksgiving table.

Daikon Salad with Apple and Carrots

1 daikon
1 apple
1 large carrot or 2 small ones
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

Grate the daikon. Toss it in a colander with a teaspoon of salt. Let sit.
Grate the apple and carrot and put them in the salad bowl.
Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar.
Toss the sweetened vinegar over the apple and carrot.
Squeeze excess liquid from daikon, rinse and drain. Add to apple and carrot.
Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes and then serve.

Eggless Brownies from a Box

Baking without egg does not necessarily require baking from scratch.

These are my favorite two ways to make eggless brownies from a boxed brownie mix.

(1) Take a can of black beans. Drain and rinse the beans. Return the beans to the can and fill the can to the top with water. Puree the beans and water in a food processor until very smooth. Add the bean puree to the brownie mix and stir to combine well. Bake according to package directions. You may need to add just a couple of minutes if your oven is fussy like mine. This version is dense enough to stand up to some mix-ins like chocolate chips, orange zest, chopped cystallized ginger or nuts.

(2) Instead of bean puree use 1 Cup of sour cream and an extra teaspoon of baking powder. This makes a slightly more delicate brownie that doesn't stand up quite as well to mix-ins, but my spouse prefers the texture and flavor over the bean version. Maybe I am just a hog for chocolate, but I like them equally well.

Mocha Brownies

This recipe is based on the Espresso Fudge Brownies recipe in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. The brownies really are fudge-y. They can stand up to some mix ins like orange zest or chocolate chips or pieces of walnut. But they don't need it. They are good on their own.

Rich Mocha Brownies

3 ounces of semi sweet chocolate chips (or chop up a bar of baking chocolate)
5 Tablespoons butter 
2/3 Cup sugar
1/3 C milk
1 Tablespoon corn starch
3 teaspoons espresso powder (use decaf if you want to share with children)
1 teaspoon vanilla
just over 3/4 Cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

Before you begin: Preheat your over. Line a baking pan with foil and spritz with oil.

Microwave the chocolate and butter in a large bowl at low power for 2 minutes or until you can stir the chocolate into the butter. Stir until smooth. Add sugar. Stir again.

Use a large measuring cup to whisk together the milk, cornstarch, espresso powder and vanilla. It will get a little foamy. Stir that liquid into the chocolate and combine well.

Sift in the rest of the dry ingredients. Pouring them in through a fine seive and tapping the dry ingredients through works well. Mix until it's all moist and a few small lumps are OK.

Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth it as much as you can. It will be thick.

Bake 22 - 24 minutes. You don't need it to be crumbless, just not gooey any more.
Cool on a wire rack. You can break into it after 30 minutes, but it is better if you wait.