Radish, Spinach, Onion & Garlic

SANDPOINT, Idaho: With Spring just starting to show its green buds, us locally minded eaters are getting to the bottoms of our root cellars. Here are some ideas for meals using what I have dubbed the cold weather fabulous four, radish, spinach, onion and garlic. These four ingredients are pretty much available locally throughout the year with the simple inventions of cold frames and good storage techniques. The possibilities are endless, but here’s a few I documented this winter in the hopes of inspiring some local grubage:

BAKED POTATO:

This one is easy, and so fast. Chop up some garlic and onion and throw it in a fry pan with a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Get a big old hunkin’ baking potato (Idaho grown please! depending where you are, duh.) and slice it once the long way about half way through and then three or four times the short way. Microwave for 4 minutes. Meanwhile stir your onion and garlic, wash your spinach, chop up some radish and shred a whole bunch of sharp cheddar cheese. Spread the pieces of the potato carefully apart with a fork – it will be very hot! – and sprinkle on the cheese. Micro for one more minute, and then dump on the fixin’s. I love the crunch the raw radish adds.

SOUPED UP MISO:

Start boiling 3 cups water. Meanwhile, chop onion and garlic and start the sauteing with a lil salt and pepper (you know how i do.) Meanwhile chop half a block of firm tofu into tiny cubes, as small as you can without completely crumbling it, see photo. Next dissolve 1/3 cup miso paste into 1 cup of cold water. Dump the tofu into the onions if the onions are to your likeness  firmness wise, I for some reason like mine nice and limp. Browned even. Add the spinach to the fry pan, things might get wet. Is the water boiling yet? Is the miso dissolved? You may want to wait a hot minute for the tofu to catch up, but add the miso liquid to the boiling water and turn down to medium. Dump all that spinach-onion-garlic-tofu mess into the now simmering miso. Stir it around. Marvel at the marbling miso. Add the radishes last, right before serving. Again, I love the crunch!

FRIED LENTILS:

Do you know how to make lentils? It’s similar to rice. I made mine with 1/2 milk and 1/2 water because I had some milk I needed to use before it went bad. I don’t know if it was a good idea or not because they say not to add salt to lentils while cooking, since it will make them a poor consistency , but it tasted ok to me and I felt more nourished because of it. Nevertheless, start the lentils asap, they take a while. Read the package and time accordingly.

Probably twenty plus minutes later, start the onions and garlic same as always. Did I mention I let the onions get a head start before throwing in the garlic?

In this case I also made a crappy box of mac and cheese because lentils feel so damn healthy and to be honest with you, I was afraid of being alone with them. I am proud to say this particular box of mac and cheese cost me $.23 on sale at the grocery store and let me tell you, a great way to jazz up a box of the cheap stuff is to add a little shredded cheddar and a dash of parm. Tabasco is always a good idea too.

So let’s recap, your lentils are cooked, your pasta is boiling and your garlic and onion and sizzling in a bath of olive oil, salt and pepper. Well done. Add the lentils to the fry pan. Add the spinach. Chop a radish and cheese your noodles. Viola.

MOD PIZZA:

Make some mozzarella from the milk you just hand squeezed outta that cow in your backyard, and rise some pizza dough or just go buy a frozen pizza at the store (I know! I know! This is all technically about locality, but it’s hard sometimes!) Cook up in a fry pan three of the four things I’ve been talking about this whole time and remember, onion first, then garlic, then spinach just a little later. Throw it all on that pizza, however acquired, and sprinkle with cheese. bake. Add the radishes right before serving, raw. Still love that crunch! Yes indeed.

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