Abate Fetel, Bullet, and More

April 16, 2011

Four food-related topics today.  Let’s see what’s on the docket…

1) Abate Fetel Pear.  Remember this guy, that followed me home from Whole Foods the other day?

It’s an abate fetel pear, which is a pear variety that was developed in Italy hundreds of years ago by monks.  I had never heard of it or seen one before, and this morning, I ate it for the first time.  Well, first I cored it:

And then I cut it up:

And then I ate it.  It was fan-freakin’-tastic!

I followed the advice that I found on this blog post, and ate it while it was still a little bit firm.  My mom, who’s in town visiting right now, also had some of it, and we agreed: that is one tasty pear.  I’m not a good enough writer to describe how it differs from other pears, and I’m not even sure I could differentiate between pear varieties in a blind taste test anyway, but if you see one, try it.  You’ll enjoy it!

2) Bullet Radish.  Last week, I shared a new radish discovery: French radishes, which are more cylindrical than regular radishes.  They reminded me of bullets, so I snapped this pic:

Here’s one of the comments from that post, from my sister Laura:

Love the radish-bullet comparison photo! Maybe you could trim one end of the radishes to a little bit of a point to really hammer that comparison home?

I enjoy a good challenge, and have never really whittled before, so I pulled out my paring knife, stuck a piece of straw between my teeth, and went and sat under a tree by the swimmin’ hole to gave it a whirl.  After playing around with a couple practice radishes (and promptly eating them), I took a particularly bullet-esque radish, and did what I think is a nice little carving job on it.  What do you think?  Does it look even more like a bullet now?

I should try carving zucchini into little pistols, and create targets with concentric onion slices, and create a whole firearm-themed salad.  It’s kinda dorky, but anyone that knows me will confirm that I’m a dork and that’s exactly the sort of thing I’d spend my time doing!  At the very least, I could start carving soap or something – you know, so I already have a hobby I can focus on when I get sent to prison for being too handsome.

Wow.  I can’t believe I just typed that.

3) Lunch at Hugo’s.  My mom and I went to one of my favorite restaurants, Hugo’s, for lunch, where we met up with a couple of my friends from high school.  I love Hugo’s because they have a huge, varied menu, with a ton of healthy options, and lots of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free stuff too.

They have a section of their menu that I don’t think I’ve ever ordered from before – the Create-A-Bowl page.  Basically, you pick 3 to 5 items from a list, and they throw them together in a bowl, and you can add a protein and a sauce if you’d like.  There’s literally thousands of variations, so you can switch it up every time and never ever get the same dish twice.  Here’s the menu page:

I created a bowl.  I ordered steamed veggies (which was broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini), cooked beets (which were roasted), and sauteed leafy greens (which was kale and chard).  I asked them to add sliced turkey breast, and the Honey Chipotle sauce.  Here’s my lunch:

It was delicious.  Filling, loaded with veggies and protein, and a lot of flavors and textures.  And pretty healthy to boot!

4) Squash.  A couple of you asked, in the comments section, to share what I did with the butternut and delicata squash I peeled when I was experimenting with my new vegetable peeler.

The answer is quite boring.  I chopped up the delicata in chunks, and put it in a Tupperware.  Then I chopped the butternut into chunks, and that went into another Tupperware.  The next day, I brought the delicata Tupperware to work, and for lunch, I nuked it for about 5 minutes (I added about 1/4 cup of water, and covered it with paper towel, so it would steam).  Then I ate it.  The day after that, I did the same thing with the butternut.  If I had planned my lunches this week a little more than I did, I might have thought to throw in some herbs and/or spices, or maybe a touch of brown sugar or honey, but I didn’t, and I didn’t mind.  Most of the time, I eat pretty simply, and most of the time, my simple meals satisfy me completely.  Oh! I didn’t eat the butternut plain – I ended up using a packet of soy sauce to gussy it up.

Keep it up, David!


Oddly-Colored Veggies, Part Four

April 5, 2011

I’m such a dope.  I’ve spent 32 years on this planet thinking there’s a thing called a radish, and it’s a radish, and it tastes like radish, and if you want a radish, get a radish, because it’s a radish.

Turns out, there are varieties of radishes.  Who knew? I learned this not from a book or a website or a vegetable guru who holds court in a temple atop a mountain, but from strolling the produce section at Whole Foods.

A few weeks ago, my eyeballs grew 20 times their size and burst forth from their sockets, cartoon-style, when I saw Easter Egg Radishes at the store.  Holy crap, I thought, radishes come in other colors? My radish worldview instantly expanded from quite narrow to wide open in a matter of seconds (and just weeks after finding other oddly-colored veggies, like orange cauliflower and purple and white carrots).

Little did I know that the radish world wasn’t finished surprising me just yet.  I’ve now had the regular red radishes, as well as pink radishes, purple radishes, and white radishes… and now there’s a new color to add to the list, because the last time I was at Whole Foods, I bought…

BLACK RADISHES!

They are the blackest vegetable I’ve ever seen.  They’re slightly bigger than red radishes.  I gave them a wash and cut off the ends, like I do with every radish.  I was extremely curious what color the flesh was… any guesses?

Ta-da…. It’s white!

I trimmed off a slice so I could sample it:

I put it in my mouth, chewed twice, and promptly spit in out into the sink.  Gross.  While it has the unmistakable radish flavor, it’s woody and gritty and disgusting.  A quick search on the interwebs turned up a few websites that say you should treat black radishes like you would turnips (so, um, they have to be cooked), although I did stumble upon a few recipes that call for it raw and grated, along with carrots and cucumbers, in a slaw-type dish.  Have any of you cooked with black radishes before?  What did you make?

More online research is definitely needed before I figure out the fate of my black radishes, but I don’t have time for it right now, because…

…I found yet another radish variety.  This time, it’s not the color that’s different, it’s the shape.  These guys are called FRENCH RADISHES!

I found them at Whole Foods too, and each French radish was wearing its own little beret, and enjoying a mime performance over by the croissants.

They’re the same red color as standard radishes, but they’re more cylindrical than bulb-like – they remind me of bullets.  So after I separated them from the greens, I pulled out the leftover bullets from my February firing range excursion, so I could illustrate the comparison:

I can’t tell which are the bullets, and which are the radishes, can you?

Once I trimmed off the ends, I realized that French radishes are easily stackable:

FIVE HIGH!  Just remember, ladies and gentlemen, when you see a radish-stacking challenge on Minute to Win It, that you saw it here first.

I popped an entire radish in my mouth, and it tasted just like a standard radish, although perhaps with slightly less radish flavor – which isn’t a bad thing, because a radish is a potent little sucker.

Before I go, I have one more picture to share.  My friend Alix, knowing my interest in oddly-colored vegetables, sent me this picture today while she was grocery shopping: purple, green and orange baby cauliflowers, all available for purchase at the Ralph’s near her house:

Have you seen any oddly-colored vegetables in your neighborhood supermarket?  Email me pictures at keepitupdavid@gmail.com!

Keep it up, David!