Radish & Party = Impossible? You decide

 

 

 

 

 

Fathers day, German style … Serious radish party/FEST. Really.

Seems like in late spring any reason is a good reason for a party. Bikes were leaned everywhere, strollers wedged in available spaces in between and everyone clamored for a seat at some orange table.

I was surprised by the hoards of enthusiastic party goers who made it up the hillside to sit on orange benches at orange tables and eat long radishes, drink either beer or wine and have a good time.

Did I mention the reason for the party surprised me? I believe I did. But then again, I also made my way up the hillside to check out the craziness.

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Radish lovers or party likers or both

 

The sun blessed the goings on with shine and for 2.20Euros your plate looked like the ones below.

Long lines at the drinks/eats ticket booths, long lines at the radish tables, longer lines at the drinks tables, long lines at the sausage grill table and lines at the two porta potties way in the back.

gour·mand [goor-mahnd, goor-muhnd] 1. a person who is fond of good eating, often indiscriminatingly and to excess.

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Gourmands radish perspective: salted radish with a piece of ‘Bauernbrot’ (farmer bread) with butter

Eat your radishes. They’re good for you.

Radishes and their greens  provide an excellent source of vitamin C.  Radish leaves contain almost six times the vitamin C content of their root and are also a good source of calcium.  Red Globes also offer a very good source of the trace mineral molybdenum and are a good source of potassium and folic acid.   Daikons provide a very good source of potassium and copper.   

Radishes, like other member of the cruciferous family (cabbage,kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts), contain cancer-protective properties.  Throughout history radishes have been effective when used as a medicinal food for liver disorders.  They contain a variety of sulfur-based chemicals that increase the flow of bile.  Therefore, they help to maintain a healthy gallbladder and liver, and improve digestion.  Fresh radish roots contain a larger amount of vitamin C than cooked radish roots.  Radish greens, contain far more vitamin C, calcium, and protein than the roots.  

Sources:

Murray , Michael N.D.. The Encyclopedia Of Healing Foods.
New York: Atria Books, 2005.

Centers For Disease Control And Prevention-5 A Day.

National Agricultural Library-USDA. usda.gov.

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia

 

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Spoons Are For the Mouth

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Spoon on Spoons

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Neatly Arranged

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Arranged Another Way

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Spoons at Angles

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Spoon Shapes

Quote for this Day

When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no “I’ll start tomorrow.”  Tomorrow is disease.
Terri Guillemets – U.S. quotation anthologist (1973-) – via quotegarden

Improv Recipe Modification

So, the last time I was in Germany; well the time before the last time too, I was turned on to a particularly delightful summery dish. Boiled potatoes with Ziger, a kind of ‘white cheese’ called Quark. It is creamy with a slightly sour flavor and here in Canada I have not yet found anything similar. Not enough Germans here perhaps? or I’ve possibly not yet found the place to buy it.

What delighted me so when I first tasted it was that simple garden herbs like chives, parsley and onions, a bit of garlic, salt and pepper to taste are mixed with this simple creamy white cheese and then served with lovely German boilded potatoes (perhaps you know what I mean) that are also dusted with sprinkles of parsley. A piece of potato on your fork, a generous dab of Ziger applied with your knife and pop that into your mouth. You won’t be sorry.

That is until you try to repeat that by making it yourself here on the North American side of the big Atlantic pond. Ok, you might be on of those smart asses who makes the stuff yourself. I’ve not attempted that yet, but I won’t shy away from it when the urge strikes next time.

Since my last trip to Germany I’ve recreated this dish improv style twice, the last time last night. My dinner guest and outspoken food critic (my daughter) blew my mind when she declared it to be the best tasting potato salad she’d ever tried. I was all smiles, and on to something good.

I had a craving for garden greens, potatoes and something cool on a warm summers evening and so I set to work. Knowing I couldn’t find Quark in my local shopping hangouts I decided to ‘make do’ with what I could find. That consisted of plain yogurt, cottage cheese and sour creme. I plopped those ingredients into a bowl and then got to chopping green onions, shallots, cilantro, a few basil leaves and a bunch of radishes, which I diced. I stopped short of throwing a cucumber into the mix although that mini Japanese variety would be a delightful adition. But enough with the evolving mutation.

Quickly blend all of the ingredients in a large enough bowl to hold the mass comfortably and let it chill in the fridge. I find that the flavor the next morning/day is much richer and enjoyable, so if you can let the mixture stand overnight.

Serve your potatoes warm arranged around the edge of a large plate with a generous dollop of the dairy/garden greens combination. It makes for a  simple, satisfying and lovely summery dish. Mine just happened to turn into a potato salad because I tossed them with the dairy/greens mixture. Soooo good and I can’t wait to do it again this summer some time.

Photo? No, so sorry I ate the subject/prop 😉 you’ll have to use your imaginations. Next time, hehe

Here are a few other recipes using Ziger: http://www.kaeserei-neudorf.ch/de/kaese/ziger/rezepte.html

From Wikipedia:

The cheese is also known simply as “white cheese” (Polish: ser biały, Lithuaninan: Baltas sūris, southern Germany: Weißkäse or weißer Käs, Hebrew: Gvina Levana גבינה לבנה, Serbian: beli sir), as opposed to any rennet-set “yellow cheese”.

The name comes from the Late Middle High Geman Quark, which in turn is derived through twarcquarczwarg from the Lower Sorbian Slavic tvarog, (Polish twaróg, Belarusian тварог, Russian творог, and Czech and Slovak tvaroh, which means “curd”. In Austria, the name Topfen (pot cheese) is used. In Flanders, it is called plattekaas (flat cheese), while the Dutch use the name kwark. In Norway, Denmark and Sweden, it is called kvark.

In Germany, quark is sold in small plastic tubs and usually comes in three different varieties, Magerquark (lean quark, virtually fat-free), “regular” quark (20% fat) and Sahnequark (creamy quark, 40% fat) with added cream. While Magerquark is often used for baking and as health food, e.g. as a breakfast spread, Sahnequark also forms the basis of a large number of quark desserts. Much like yoghurts in some parts of the world, these treats mostly come with fruit flavouring (Früchtequark, fruit quark), and are often also simply referred to as quark. As the large popularity of quark desserts is limited to mainly the German-speaking and central European countries, confusion might arise when talking about quark with people unfamiliar with cuisine from this area.

The name comes from the Late Middle High Geman Quark, which in turn is derived through twarcquarczwarg from the Lower Sorbian Slavic tvarog, (Polish twaróg, Belarusian тварог, Russian творог, and Czech and Slovak tvaroh, which means “curd”. In Austria, the name Topfen (pot cheese) is used. In Flanders, it is called plattekaas (flat cheese), while the Dutch use the name kwark. In Norway, Denmark and Sweden, it is called kvark.

In Finnish it is known as rahka, while in Estonian as kohupiim (foamy milk). In Latvian it is called biezpiens (thick milk). The French-language word for it is seré, but it is most commonly called fromage blanc.

Quark is possibly described by Tacitus in his book Germania as lac concretum (thick milk), eaten by Germanic peoples.

In the US quark is called simply farmer’s cheese in the midwest.

In southern Germany it is known as: Weißkäse or weißer Käs (White Cheese)

Feast Days and the Holidays, no not the Vacation kind

Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, you  know, celebratory days like those. Observed or not by those who do or don’t are still times during the year when you hang out with friends & family. Those are also the typical feast days when tri-annual big dish productions are assembled and served up on stylish purpose set tables. The enjoyment is immense, even the little green veggie balls from Brussels (I love’m).

Image iStockphoto

Typical holiday turkey treatment - iStophoto image

Sometimes it is a total blast, other times not so much, depending on how the familial relationships are holding up or not at the time of whatever particular feast day is being feted; also dependent on how loose ones tongue gets.

I’m divorced. I’m in a wonderful but long distance relationship and cooking a big bird for myself would be silly and  just does not have the same ‘feel’ you get when you’re putting your entire kitchen and all of your cooking tricks to mouth-watering good use. It’s more of an envious feeling, not a lonely feeling, no. It’s not even a hungry feeling. And perhaps it just rises to the surface when I find that I still crave the taste of carved bird.

Not me - image curtesy of http://www.menshealth.co.uk

It is almost embarrassing to admit but I’ve nearly forgotten what a big brown juicy turkey actually tastes like. Really. It has been nearly a decade now and I still have a tough ‘food‘ time around the feast day celebrations because I don’t have someone close by whom I can cook for. It’s been that long since I’ve built my special turkey stuffing and then lovingly pushed the trussed bird into the hot oven, that long since I’ve whipped up tasty potatoes dishes and experimented with various vegetable dishes and gravies to die for.

Point is, these meals are simply more enjoyable when shared with others. Being single is a drawback that way; after years of traditional feast days, belt loosening meals and all that make the days table time memorable.

wild turkeys

three wild birds - image curtesy of http://www.outdoorlife.com

I’m not complaining nor crying in my soup. I just want me some succulent and crispy skinned turkey, mashed potatoes, delectable gravy, home made cranberry sauce, creamy brussel sprouts, honey thyme carrots, a wonderful salad and perhaps some desert.

Oh wait, this weekend it’s slabs of ham, legs of lamb or rabbit bits …

bon appetite

Quote for this Day

“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.”
Voltaire (1694 – 1778), French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher

On a Little Known Sausage

Oh sure, people know about sausage. You probably have your very own favorite or favorite varieties you love to eat and cook with various dishes.

The word sausage that we use today evolved from the old French word saussiche (from the Latin salsus, meaning salted).

But not many know about Mennonite Farmer sausage, some people in the know yes, not many outside of the ‘know’. This sausage is not as mainstream as many of its tube meat cousins. It’s more like a cultural heritage thing, something that belongs to a particular group of people. Not at all like say … hot dogs, known and enjoyed far and wide, nor is it as well known like traditional sausages that  have history and are acclaimed like the German Bratwurst, the Spanish Chorizo or the Polish Kielbasa (which simplistically means Polish Sausage).

Perogies and Mennonite Farmer Sausage

Perogies with sour cream and Mennonite Farmer Sausage. Image curtesy of Michelle Furbacher - www.michellemeals.com

Farmer’s Sausage. I imagine you thinking “What? I know what farmer sausage is” and that probably is correct. However I suggest that you might not know about the Mennonite Farmer Sausage. That is unless you are from Mennonite stock or have friends or acquaintances who run, or know people in those circles. Its legendary appeal is said to have its origins in the province of Manitoba (Canada) where many Mennonites settled many moons ago.

It is a raw pork smoked sausage. It’s simple really, combine raw ground pork with salt and pepper, stuff it into casings and hang it in the smoke house. Recipes vary, smoking times vary, taste may vary but that’s it in a nutshell. Simple and oh so tasty. Of course various makers have their own little secrets and ways of making it and some taste better than others, much better than others. And I know of a butcher/sausage maker close to where I live who makes what a good friend of mine, upon tasting it for the first time fell to his knees and proclaimed it  to be ‘sacred sausage’. I couldn’t agree more and I believe the secret of it’s flavor hangs in the smokehouse.

I have bought and tasted various kinds of farmer sausage when I come across them and I am always disappointed in the flavor. IMHO a real Mennonite farmer’s sausage  has a very distinct slightly peppery, salty smoked taste.

©Keithbergen.com

Links of Mennonite Farmer Sausage on a rack- photo curtesy of www.keithbergen.com

It is usually sold in links and one of my favorite preparation is to cut it into roughly three inch lengths, slicing those lengths in half so they open like book and frying them in a pan until the open sides begin to brown a bit, flip them onto the casing side and heat through from that side a bit until you’re satisfied that they are done. Giving off a near feeding frenzy inducing aroma, it is at times difficult to wait until they are done but it is worth it. Serve them with mashed potatoes, your favorite gravy flavored with the sausage drippings, creamed corn and apple sauce and you have yourself a notable and hearty meal you won’t soon forget. The only difficulty would be finding the sausage it seems.

Sacred Sausage“, a hedonistically wicked but absolutely fitting compliment for something produced by a very low key, pacifist ethno-religious group.