In your share this week will be:
Roselle Hibiscus: These are the calyxes of our Roselle Hibiscus plant. Also known as Sorrel or Florida Cranberry, these fruits are primary used to make a semi-tart tea that can be consumed hot or cold. You can bring the calyxes in 1/2 gallon water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let steep for 20-40 minutes, depending on desired strength. Sweeten to taste with honey, sugar or agave.
Here’s an alternative Thanksgiving recipe presented in Marian Van Atta’s 1991 “Growing and Using Exotic Foods”:
2 cups roselle calyxes, seed pods removed and coarsely chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped
½ cup honey
½ cup olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup stock
2 quarts soft bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Combine roselle, pecans, and honey. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add in onion and celery and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add in the salt and herbs, and then the stock. Bring to a simmer and then add in the bread crumbs and roselle-pecan-honey mixture. Place in an oiled baking dish and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes, or until the top becomes browned and crusty. Serve hot.
Watermelon Radishes: Our first major pick of these for the season, just in time for Thanksgiving! Watermelon Radishes pair well with fennel, apple, cheeses such as feta and chèvre, butter, creamy based dressings, vinaigrettes, bacon, white fish, cucumbers, mild salad greens, cooked eggs, and stir-fry noodles. Thinly slice them over a salad bed for an colorful plate that won’t fail to impress your friends! You can also pickle these guys with our jalapenos or green beans!
Jalapeno Peppers: Try stuffing and grilling these guys for Thanksgiving! Here is a recipe from Taste of Home detailing the process, using cheese and your preferred seasonings. Be sure to wear gloves when working with these peppers, as the oil can cause a stinging sensation of your skin. Be wary of touching your eyes or face and keep away from small children. The seeds are hotter than the skin of the pepper itself, so definitely remove these first.
Romaine Lettuce: The hardiest of our lettuces, crisp, semi-sweet Romaine hold very well and are amazingly mineral and vitamin rich, proteinaceous, and replete in Omega 3s. If you are a fan of green smoothies, our Green Romaine is an awesome candidate for getting all of that nutritional benefit without an overwhelming “green” or bitter flavor! We all know Romaine is a staple in a great Caesar salad, but if you’re wondering what other applications for lettuce there could be, Serious Eats offers four alternatives that are tantalizing enough to drop the salad, at least for one meal!
Mustard Greens: A southern staple vegetable. Don’t try to eat them raw unless you like the sensation of your sinuses becoming very clear. This curly variety is wonderful braised and seasoned with raisins, or sautéed with a dash of apple cider vinegar, which helps to neutralize the spicy flavor. Mustards are incredibly vitamin and mineral dense!
French Breakfast Radishes: Crisp with a mildly spicy flavor and stunning color display, these guys can be sauteed, pickled, steamed or sliced raw into a salad. I’ve got to share with you my personal favorite preparation of these guys: a breakfast dish that calls for thinly sliced butter (ghee if you clarify butter yourself) sauteed radishes atop a poached egg with green onions and thyme. Here’s the recipe:
- 2 bunches (12 to 14) French Breakfast Radishes
- 2 tablespoons good unsalted butter
- 6 scallions, diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 pieces of bread, toasted
- Prep the radishes by removing tops and roots. Slice in half lengthwise and set aside.
- In a skillet, heat butter over medium low heat. Add in scallions and let cook until beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add the radishes, thyme, and salt to the scallions. Cover and let cook, stirring once or twice, until radishes are tender but still have a bit of crispness to them, 5-6 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- While radishes cook, poach eggs. I find I have the best luck with this technique. If you don’t like runny eggs, this would also be great with scrambled or hardboiled.
- To serve, place toast on two plates, divide radish mixture, and top each with a poached egg
Sweet Potato Fingerlings: To my mind, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be what it is without sweet potatoes prepared in some form or fashion on the table. Grilled, baked, roasted, mashed, or in a soup, you’d be hard pressed to make a mistake. I recently rediscovered this recipe from Southern Living describing a Sweet Potato Bread! Recipe below:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Toss together sweet potatoes, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until sweet potatoes are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.
2. Meanwhile, cook bacon, in batches, in a large skillet over medium until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.
3. Remove potatoes from oven, and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
4. Cook onion in hot drippings over medium until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach, and cook until spinach begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Add bread cubes and crumbled bacon to spinach mixture, stirring to completely incorporate.
5. Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, Parmesan, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Stir in bread cube mixture, stirring gently to completely incorporate. Gently stir in roasted potatoes. Lightly coat a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray; spoon mixture into prepared dish.
6. Bake at 350°F until golden brown and set in the middle, 45 to 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Green Beans: Several options with these. Try blanching (plunge into boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then shock in ice water and drain) and adding to salads, or freezing for later use. This recipe for Nicoise Salad uses lettuce, green beans, eggs, radishes, potatoes and olives and is a hearty and satisfying meal. You can substitute the Romaine for the butter lettuce called for in the recipe.