Daikon radish, that is. In fact, get all your root vegetables on, because in Austin, they are just now filling up the stands at the farmer’s markets. Turnips and beets, radishes, potatoes, yams.
“Not my favorite,” said hubby E.I. Ho, when I came home bearing a bag of turnips and baby radishes from Boggy Creek farm. When we first started dating, we made a list of each other’s food aversions. Among his most-hated were beets, sweet potatoes, and any kind of “sweets with meats,” (e.g. pork chops and applesauce, a yummy rack of lamb and raspberry sauce I’ve been dying to cook).
It’s not that I was trying to gross him out, or that I bear some kind of hostility toward my husband that I choose to express through cuisine. Not to overshare, but we get all that out through frequent wrestling matches. It’s just…they were so damn attractive. Also, I wanted to see if he really hated beets, or just the mushy canned kind. “You don’t have to eat them,” I said. “I bought some salad greens for backup.”
I found out something about root veggies while at the farmer’s market. Apparently, the greens are edible too. I know a lot of foodies out there have probably known this for quite some time, but it had never occured to me to eat beet greens or turnip greens. I guess you can eat broccoli leaves, too. By the way, turnip greens are excellent with scrambled eggs, and beet greens are effing delicious.
So for dinner I roasted the beets in the oven. It’s incredibly simple: Cut the greens off about an inch from the beet itself, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in foil, twisting the foil at the ends. Roast for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees, or until a fork slides in easily. Make sure you roast them unpeeled, because the skin is much easier to take off after the beets have been roasted.
Guess what hubby thought? Yummers. “What did you do to them?” he asked. “These don’t taste anything like the ones I had before.”
“I’ll bet the ones you had before were canned.”
“Hm. Well, I guess we can cross beets off the list. The greens are really good, too.”
You know what else is yummy? Radishes! I like to put them in salads. On Saturday we got a black Spanish radish. Like Butter Bitch, I can’t help buying weird things. My husband eyed it suspiciously. “I’ll just buy one and put it in a salad,” I promised.
“Or you could just eat it,” he suggested brightly. Which I did, and it packed waaaayyy more of a punch than red radishes. It tasted like burning.
Another odd find: Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes. Bearing a striking resistance to gingerroot, they are actually the roots of sunflowers. Does this mean you can dig up the roots of sunflowers and eat them? Um, I don’t actually know. Googling was inconclusive. I’ll have to go back to Animal Farm (from the downtown farmer’s market) and ask. High in potassium, iron, and thiamine, the sunchoke is also a low-starch vegetable.
I sliced some up and roasted them with potatoes. They were a bit gritty (must remember to buy a vegetable brush), and perhaps too strong for the potatoes. They had kind of a radishy taste to them. I think they would be very good as a soup, or sliced up and chunked into a stirfry.
I have to admit that I feel rather guilty for subjecting my hubby to all these root veggies. I think I might be able to make up for it by buying several Green’s organic chocolate bars. Wait, I guess I’m really doing that for me. Maybe a back massage by candlelight. Or maybe I’ll just let him win at wrestling.
You know what else winter is good for, besides root veggies? Cuddling.