From the Land 1.16

Beginning this Saturday, a winter farmers market will be held in front of Northpoint Expeditionary Learning School from 10am-2pm. Please stop by and support some of our favorite local vendors!

food for thought

full share: sweet potatoes, Red Russian kale, watermelon radishes, tangelos, wheatberries, carrots, hakurei turnips, and cilantro!

partial share: sweet potatoes, Red Russian kale, tangelos, watermelon radishes

veg of the week

watermelon radishes: Raphanus sativus

This heirloom Chinese Daikon radish is a member of the Brassica family, along with broccoli, turnips and arugula. They are creamy white with pale green “shoulders”, with striations of pink and magenta inside. They are mild in flavor, slightly peppery and with a slight almond taste. Fall’s cold temperatures produce milder-tasting radishes, so they are most often found in the fall and winter.

Uses: According to specialtyproduce.com, “watermelon radishes can be served fresh or cooked, hot or cold. They 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, noodles such as soba and udon, citrus, cilantro, mint and tarragon.” Slice raw into a salad or onto buttered bread (sprinkle with salt: radish sandwich = yum!), or saute or roast with olive oil and sea salt.

Nutrition: These radishes are a great source of antioxidants – perfect for this time of year! They are extremely low in calories and high in water content, as well as being rich in vitamins C and A, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and folate.

To store: Remove the greens (you can save these to saute or make radish top soup) and store in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s produce drawer, where they will last up to five days. Rinse and trim the root ends before eating.

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The Benefits and Risks of Raw Milk

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized, the process through which the liquid is heated to a temperature that destroys “potentially harmful bacteria”. The young, old, pregnant, and those with weak immune systems are said to be particularly protected by pasteurization, a practice that has been the standard since the 1930’s. But the raw milk debate has become so heated between the advocates and adversaries of raw dairy, that it is illegal to sell raw milk in most states, and those that do allow it heavily regulate the quantity sold, marketing of the product, and marketplace of the raw milk.

As the Canadian Consumer Raw Milk Advocacy Group states, there is an inherent risk to any food. But the comparative risk of raw dairy is extremely low; in fact, there have been only two raw milk-related deaths since 1997, out of over 10 million consumers of the stuff (data from 2006). Between 1994 and 2008, there were 85 disease outbreaks related to raw milk, compared to 639 related to produce, poultry 541, beef 467, and seafood 984. This means that raw dairy has a lower risk than even produce!

Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation says that pasteurization, rather than being the “best public health initiative we’ve ever had”, is actually the most disastrous public health initiative. She points out that the pasteurization process destroys the vitamins and enzymes necessary for proper health and digestion. In addition to killing the “bad” bacteria, the beneficial bacteria that actually kill harmful microbes are also destroyed by the heating process (this is denied by the FDA). Further, many people have found that they are intolerant of pasteurized milk but not of raw milk. Fallon believes that the dairy industry’s strong lobbying power keeps regulation high because they don’t want the public to have access to (or knowledge about) this “other” type of dairy.

As with any food, each consumer must decide for themselves what is right for his or her body. But high government regulation has limited this choice for many consumers. Rand Paul is currently introducing a bill to limit the FDA’s ability to regulate interstate shipment of raw milk and allows for each state to write and enforce their own raw dairy legislation, putting more of the choice back in each consumer’s hands.

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kale salad with quick-pickled watermelon radish
adapted from the kitchn
serves 4
  • 1/2 C white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • kosher salt
  • 1 large watermelon radish
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T toasted pumpkin seed oil (or your favorite nut oil)
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1 t fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 C pumpkin seeds, toasted

Do ahead: In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Thinly slice the radish using a mandoline or chef’s knife, add to the bowl, and stir to combine, making sure the slices are well coated. Let stand at least 30 minutes or refrigerate up to a day before serving.

Wash the kale and pat off excess water. If the center stems are tender enough to eat, simply trim the bottom inch or two. If the center stems are thick or tough, cut or tear them out and discard or save for another dish. Slice the leaves crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.

In a large bowl, combine olive oil, pumpkin seed or nut

oil, lemon juice, thyme, a generous grind of black pepper, and a little salt. Add the kale and use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves until they soften and wilt.

Drain the radishes. Toss with the kale (or lay the radishes on a bed of kale), garnish with pumpkin seeds and serve.

watermelon radish chips with cumin salt
adapted from jane spice
serves 4-6
  • 4-6 watermelon radishes
  • 1 t coarse salt
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 2 C oil for frying

Peel the watermelon radish and thinly slice.

To make cumin salt—add one teaspoon salt and half teaspoon cumin and mix in a small bowl.

Heat two cups of vegetable oil in small pot. When hot, toss a handful of radish, making sure that you don’t crowd the pot.

Fry for approximately 8-10 minutes until really brown. You’ll be tempted to take them out earlier, but you need them to crisp up. They do take longer to crisp than potato chips.

Place a paper towel on a plate, take fried watermelon chips out and place in a single layer—this helps to dry and crisp up the watermelon radish. Season with cumin salt.

Continue until done. Season each batch separately and set aside.

sweet potato bisque with roasted watermelon radish
adapted from texas monthly
serves 4-6
  • 4 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 watermelon radish, diced
  • 4 T grapeseed oil
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, cut into rounds (or sub an extra onion)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • pinch of turbinato sugar, tumeric, and coriander
  • kosher salt
  • splash of sherry

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until soft and caramelized on a sheet tray. Meanwhile, toss diced radishes with oil, salt, and pepper, then roast separate until crisp on the outside and soft on the inside (keep an eye on these; they roast fast!). Cool and set aside.

In a large pot, sauté the celery, onion, and carrot. Sauté until translucent. Add garlic and shallot. Deglaze the veggies with the stock.  Simmer and add the roasted sweet potatoes, spices, and cream. Blend with an immersion blender (or in batches in a regular blender) and add a splash of sherry. Taste. Garnish with roasted radish.

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