Currently viewing the category: "Brassicas"

imageThis colorful, flavorful salad features 100% Kauai grown fruits and vegetables:  cucumbers, carrots, fennel, radishes, oranges, lime juice, ginger, tarragon, mint and cilantro!

Recipe
1 lb cucumber
2 carrots
1 bunch radishes
1 fennel bulb
3 oranges
2 limes
2 tablespoons each cilantro, mint, tarragon
1 inch ginger
salt

I used a zester to make the decorative design on the cucumber and a mandolin to shave the cucumber to 1/4″ thickness.   Shave carrots as thin as possible with vegetable peeler or mandolin.  Shave or slice radishes to 1/4″ thickness.   Slice or shave fennel to 1/4″.   Section 1 orange and juice the other two.  Juice limes.  Chop herbs.  Fine mince ginger until it’s almost a paste.  Combine orange juice, lime juice, ginger and salt.  Add to vegetables and orange sections and let marinate 1 hour before serving.  The longer the salad marinates the better it is!
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Cucumbers are challenging to grow on Kauai so I leave this one to the pros.  Dylan Strong of Growing Strong Farms grows beautiful organic cucumbers and sells them  at the Wednesday Kapa’a farmers market.   He covers each cucumber in a protective sleeve so it does not get stung by the fruit fly which damages most squash on Kauai.  Kauai Fresh Farms grows their cucumbers hydroponically in a greenhouse which also protects them from being stung.  Their cucumbers can be found at most health food stores and at Banana Joe’s, an old school fruit stand in Kilauea that sells local fruit, produce and a plethora of Kauai made goodies! image
Radishes are an easy grow here.  They germinate quickly and mature in 30 days or less.  They are so refreshing and wonderful to balance salads that need a loud, spicy quality or crunchy texture.  Pickled radishes are also great to have on hand as a condiment to savory, fatty, salty foods. Radishes are in the Brassica family.  I plant them in a composted, raised bed after a non-Brassica for crop rotation.  They are a light feeder so I don’t use a fertilizer.  I direct sow the seeds 1/2 inch below surface.  When the radish sprouts are 2 inches I thin them to 1 inch spacing.  Not thinning will cause the radishes to grow vertically instead of nice and round.  After I thin, I dress sprouts with Hawaiian spirulina tea.  Any kelp, seaweed or compost tea will do.  This helps with any shock the roots experience due to thinning.  Save the sprouts and add to a salad or as a garnish for a hint of heat. image
Shaved carrots gave me a greater appreciation for the humble carrot.  Slicing them paper thin and marinating them in lemon juice and orange juice makes them tender, delicate and bursting with flavors.   They become a versatile vehicle for many herbs and marinades.  They can be sliced on a mandolin or vegetable peeler.  I like the mandolin however, because it’s fast and makes a more consistent peel. Some exciting news about carrots for Kauai is that a couple of farmers have been http://laparkan.com/buy-tadalafil/ growing carrots for seed which is a considerably long process and takes an ample amount of space.   The seeds are not yet available commercially but will be soon.  Robin, of Heaven on Earth Starts will be the first to have them.  Her starts are available at the Kilauea Farmers Market on Saturday’s from 9-1 and at Hoku Whole Foods in Kapa’a. I have the best luck with my carrots in the fall, winter and spring.  I try to plant as many seeds  as I can during this time because the summer may be too warm for them to germinate.  Some summers I have been able to grow them others not. I always dig a deep fluffy bed for carrots so the roots will have plenty of space to grow vertically.  I usually plant after a light feeder such as arugula, beans or herbs.  I add compost and Hendrikus complete fertilzer.  Carrots take  7-14 days to germinate.  After they get to be 4 inches I thin them to 2-3 inches apart.  I then feed with compost tea or Hawaiian spirulina to support the seedlings after thinning.  Once a month until maturity, I feed them with more compost tea or spirulina tea. fenneluse
Words cannot express how happy I am that I have a beautiful row of fennel right now.  It is a consolation for the shorter winter days and 2 weeks of straight rain we just had!  I am also very excited that after many years of cooking I finally figured out a use for the stalks other than using them for tea and stock.  Fennel pesto!  That is most likely my next post! For this salad I use only the bulb and shave it thinly on the mandolin.  It’s crunchy, celery like texture and licorice flavor are a perfect compliment to the flavors and feels of the other ingredients.  Growing tips for fennel can be found on my post for the Lilikoi Tarragon Chevre Salad.

Cilantro grows best in the winter and spring.  It likes the cool weather and ample rainfall.  I plant cilantro similar to radishes.  Direct sow to 1/4″ in a composted raised bed.  I feed with spirulina or compost tea when seedlings are 4 inches.  When harvesting I select the outer leaves only, not the entire plant.  It will continue to grow until it goes to seed.  When it begins to go to seed, I harvest the whole plant or let it continue to seed.  The seeds can be harvested and used fresh in salads or left to dry on the plant.  If left to dry they can be collected and replanted or used to make coriander powder.

Check out my previous posts for information on ginger, mint and tarragon.
As spring approaches citrus is beginning to dwindle.  I stock up from the farmers markets and juice oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits and freeze them.  Perfect for defrosting and adding to salads and marinades! Lucky we live Kauai!

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Turnips grow very well and quickly in our garden.  They reach maturity in 30 days from the initial sowing.  After 14 days or so they need to be thinned.   I began transplanting the the thinned babies into a different row as an experiment.  I placed them 2 inches apart and gave them spirulina tea so the roots would be less susceptible to shock.  The tops  appeared to be dying for the first 2 days but on the third day the crowns appeared bright and green pushing through the soil.  In 2-3 weeks the transplants had flourished and produced an additional bed of beautiful healthy turnips.

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Turnips are surprisingly versatile adding a few different qualities to a meal.  Sometimes I julienne them and throw them in salads raw.  This adds a little texture, flavor and mild heat.  I also pickle them in vinegar with ginger, garlic and Hawaiian chile.  Similar to the pickled daikon recipe I posted earlier.  This is my favorite use for these.  They are hot, tangy, a little sweet, and super zesty. I love them on salads, in wraps or as a condiment on fish, lamb or chicken.

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With 40-50 turnips after our final harvest I knew soup would be the best route.  I pickled some and still had quite an abundance remaining.  The soup was quite simple and wonderfully thick and creamy.

Turnip Soup Recipe

3 Green Onion chopped

10 Turnips cubed

4 cloves garlic minced

4-6 cups stock

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Saute green onion in la large stock pot until soft.  Add turnips and saute another 7 minutes, until tender.  Add garlic and cook another few minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add stock, enough to just cover the turnips.  Simmer on low for 30 minutes.  When turnips are cooked all the way through, transfer soup to a vitamix or blender and blend until creamy.  Transfer blended soup back to stockpot and continue process until all ingredients are blended smooth and creamy.

I didn’t have any stock so I added 2 cups of fennel and eggplant tapenade I had made previously to the turnips, along with 2 or so cups of water.  This worked beautifully.  The tapenade added body and  flavor.  This is my favorite way of preparing food.  Improvising and experimenting.  If you don’t have green onions it’s perfectly fine to use white, red or yellow.  If you have leftover roasted vegetables, throw them in the food processor and make a quick stock with them.

For a garnish, I grated a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese on slipmat and sprinkled fresh herbs on the cheese.  I baked it for 10 minutes at 350 and let it cool 10 minutes.  I then topped the soup with the cheese crisps.  My favorite herb in the crisps that matched the soup well was marjoram.  I made others with lemon basil and tarragon but the marjoram added another layer of flavor that was quite nice.  Roasted nuts or sunflower or pumpkin seeds with a dash of pesto would be a nice garnish for this soup also.

If you live in an area where mushrooms are cultivated I would add mushrooms to this soup.  They could be blended in with all ingredients or sauteed separately and added at the end for texture.

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Seared Ahi on Sauteed Stick Cabbage with Basil Roasted Green Beans and Turnips. Topped with Ginger Pickled Beets and Miso http://laparkan.com/buy-vardenafil/ Dressing. All vegetables harvested from our garden. Ahi caught near Kauai by local fisherman.

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Daikon have become an acquired taste for me. I grew my first crop as an experiment to see how well they would do and whether or not I would enjoy eating them.  They reached maturity in 30 days and they all reached maturity at the same time.  Some were developing a  bacterial wilt that can be common in brassicas however,  so we harvested them all at the same time.  Twenty daikon is a bit much for two people to eat within a reasonable time frame.  I decided to take the preservation route.  I’m thrilled to say that pickled daikon is now one of my very favorite condiments. The aromatics and vinegar cause the radish to burst with flavor and the chile adds the perfect amount of heat. I use them as a garnish for salads, fish, wraps, or even as a light snack.  Daikon is a good source of Vitamin C, minerals and beneficial digestive enzymes.

Did I mention they are easy to grow?  They also go to seed here which means the seed can be saved and replanted without being purchased from the mainland.

Ginger Pickled Daikon

4 large daikon radish julienned

2 cups rice wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon salt

1/4 c tamari

2 inches minced  ginger

8 cloves garlic

2 hawaiian hot chiles (more or less according to your preference)

Mix all ingredients together and store in a glass jar with a non reactive lid.  Let sit 24 hours before serving.  Flavor intensifies the longer it sits.  Can last several months in refrigerator.

 

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I would like to add that ginger is a highly medicinal and wonderful aromatic used world wide.  Ginger is reported to be a digestive aid, alleviates highblood pressure, treats nausea and morning sickness, and lowers LDL cholesterol. The two cultivars grown in Hawaii, much of it in Hilo and Puna on the Big Island, are Japanese and Chinese.  The predominant cultivar grown and sold in Hawaii is the Chinese variety.  It has larger rhizomes, lighter colored flesh and considered not as pungent as the Japanese.   Buy organic ginger! Conventional ginger is treated with many fungicides and pesticides.

My favorite Kauai ginger farmer is Ben Ferris, owner of Kolo Kai Farms in Kilauea. He is certified organic and his ginger is beautiful.  He also sells sweet potatoes, avocado and a variety of fruits and vegetables.  His goods are available at the Thursday farmer’s market in Kilauea and the Tuesday farmer’s market just passed Hanalei in Waipa.

My favorite ginger/farming website…..Seriously….go to this website for ginger entertainment in Puna!

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Hawaii Grown Hot Chiles

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Pretty Purple Pepper Variety Regenerations Botanical Garden

 

Sweet peppers are not a highly successful crop on Kauai due to the Solanaceae Fruit Fly.  This pest can destroy most varieties in the Solanaceae family .  This particular fruit fly has 33 hosts it can lay its larvae within thereby making the fruit inedible.  Luckily, Hawaiian hot peppers remain largely unaffected by this fly.   And they are HOT!  I usually use 1-2 peppers for seasoning and this is plenty heat for me.  The pepper plants are high producing and easy to grow.  I just feed it compost at the roots and spirulina tea once a month and it produces dozens of  small 1-1 1/2 inch peppers.  I use them for hot sauce, pickling, chile powder and any dish needing a punch.  One Kauai farmer that grows beautiful sweet peppers, cucumbers, watermelon and a variety of other foods is Dylan Strong of Growing Strong Farms.  He shelters his crops with hand made protective coverings and gives them lots of TLC!  Visit him at the Kapa’a farmer’s market Wednesday’s at 3 pm.  Get there early!

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This Pretty Purple Hot Pepper is growing at the Regenerations Botanical Garden and Food Forest.

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Hawaiian Hot Chile

 

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Thai Chile Pepper