09 Jan2012

Along with a delivery of veggies that I ordered last week came a couple of unusual items that Gejo Jimenez thought (knew) I would be thrilled to see and try… first up, these “Chinese Red Meat Radishes” that taste like other sharp radishes, but have a stunning red/pink center. He only sent two just so I could see them, a first look at an experimental batch he planted from seeds given by a mutual friend… They would be beautiful in a salad if harvested like these ones, small in size, or if you are inclined to try this, a classic pairing of a generously buttered slice of bread topped with radishes and salt. According to the link above, the radishes can grow up to four inches in diameter, in which case I suspect they would be best for pickling or sliced and added to cooked dishes…

Next up, something I have NEVER laid eyes on before. Called Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumbers, they are the most visually amusing things… about 3/4 inch in length, the mini-watermelon cukes are about as wide as the end of your pinky or little finger (unless you have really fat fingers…) :) I haven’t tasted one yet, but the link suggests they have a citrusy twist, and are great in salads. I think they would be amusing as a quick pickle as well.

The two produce items above are not often seen marketed, and are perhaps part of that ever-growing desire for more variety in the produce that we not only eat and which nourishes us, but also adds texture, color and interest to our dishes. I am all for variety, so I am most grateful when farmers try planting new things. I have to remember to get Gejo some unusual seeds so he can experiment some more…

Along with the unusual produce, I managed to order a half kilo of young broccoli rabe. They don’t quite look like the broccoli rabe in the west (perhaps a weather driven thing), but they tasted great. Dark leafy greens are generally good for you, and I like these sauteed in olive oil, with a bit of red pepper and lemon juice. It’s relatively unusual to find this green in Manila, but Gejo has grown it a couple of times before. It’s definitely something I would love to see regularly available in the weekend markets. Chefs and restaurant owners out there, take note, broccoli rabe is possible, so start ordering it so more folks will grow it!

Finally, Gejo recommended some young spinach, and I ordered a half kilo as well. It was the FRESHEST and most vibrant young spinach I have ever seen locally. Of course it helps that it was delivered to me just hours after it was picked, but I was so excited upon receiving it that I cooked the spinach for a simple lunch just 1 hour later… it was delicious (post on that up soon). Many thanks to Gejo and other farmers who are expanding the produce choices and taking risks on consumers behalf…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Betchay says:

    Thanks MM for introducing us to these unusual great produce.Are they affordable?

    Jan 9, 2012 | 6:51 am

     
  2. betty q. says:

    Hey Gejo…have you received the seeds? Do you have fresh dill heads? I will send you my recipe of the dill cukes I was telling you about. Every year I go to a U-Pick farm and pick about 30 pounds of tiny dill cukes! Best if made with really tiny cukes like cornichon!

    If you plan on pickling the cukes, MM…make sure you remove the blossom and lightly scrape the end, too…it contains the enzyme that would make the cukes soft when pickling.

    Jan 9, 2012 | 6:57 am

     
  3. PITS, MANILA says:

    looks good, MM! the radishes would look great when pickled (same bad scent as well?). the gherkins may be sliced for sandwiches as sidings (too ordinary and not that amusing anymore?), the rest for cooking …

    Jan 9, 2012 | 10:00 am

     
  4. bearhug0127 says:

    MM, your posts are always a pleasant surprise and discovery! Thanks!!!

    Jan 9, 2012 | 10:47 am

     
  5. betty q. says:

    MM…spinach…DIET food! Blanch quickly in hot water…squeeze….then using only the largest leaves…then spray muffin tins with Pam and line the muffin tins with it…make a fish mousse and pack it in the spinach lined muffin tins. Fold the excess leaves over the fish mousse and steam. Make a tomato coulis (another use for Ms. Hazan’s tomato sauce …just puree using immersion blender)

    For those not a diet…modified spanakopita filling…blanched sauteed spinach with lots of caramelized onions and roasted red peppers with smoked chicken (preferably home smoked chicken thighs), feta or mixture of cheeses…then wrapped in phyllo.

    Jan 9, 2012 | 1:51 pm

     
  6. Junb says:

    Ahhh Betty Q! You’re like a walking recipe book :)

    Jan 9, 2012 | 4:49 pm

     
  7. joey says:

    Gorgeous veg! And love those cucumbers! Does he sell these retail to regular consumers as well? :)

    Jan 9, 2012 | 9:36 pm

     
  8. gezel says:

    I love gherkins in sweet vinegar ( it is being sold here as a pickle) nice to eat with savoury pies.

    Jan 9, 2012 | 11:47 pm

     
  9. Natie says:

    Drooling over vegies…lovely pictures!

    Jan 10, 2012 | 2:13 am

     
  10. Botchok says:

    I remember back when I still live there, my Grandpa planted those small cucumbers in our backyard. We just wash it after picking and eat it straight with some salt but it is very good too when pickled. Too bad one of my relatives killed that plant, i guess she hates veggies.

    Jan 10, 2012 | 2:51 am

     
  11. millet says:

    love the cukes!

    Jan 10, 2012 | 9:07 am

     
  12. Marketman says:

    joey, I think these are just in experimental stage… but eventually I hope some of these experiments will go commercial. bettyq, thanks for that recipe!

    Jan 10, 2012 | 5:41 pm

     
  13. Mimi says:

    BettyQ: Spanakopita, first thing that came to my mind when I read spinach! I’ve been wanting to DIY this recipe and found a link to even make your own phyllo! Here it is: http://www.kalofagas.ca/2008/02/09/spanakopita-2/ . This will be my next project.

    Jan 10, 2012 | 5:54 pm

     
  14. krizteene says:

    Mr. MM, this may be out of line with your post but i thought of this when i read about the radish that you mentioned in your post. have you or anyone here tried the radish cake sold in chinese restaurants like hap chan? Do you know how to make it? Thanks!

    Jan 11, 2012 | 2:28 am

     
  15. betty q. says:

    Kristeene> maybe I can help! I have already share the radish cake or taro recipe before. However, I cannot recall where or which post it was in. Maybe someone copied it? I know that Wisdom Tooth has a file. I prefer to make my own for I can control the texture of the finished product the way I want it to be. I even have used grated rutabagas in place of the radish which I much prefer for it has that hint of sweetness.

    You’re welcome, MM! I hope you get to try it…here is a tip…use a piping bag if you have to make lots of this spinach lined fish mousse in filling the muffin tins or ramekins….less messy!

    Jan 11, 2012 | 6:12 am

     
  16. Gej says:

    Betty Q! Just got the seeds! They’re fantastic1 Can’t wait to try them out. Maraming salamat! Hope the “Bahay Kubo” seeds push through.

    Jan 11, 2012 | 8:50 am

     
  17. krizteene says:

    thanks Betty Q! I’ll try to search for it. Calling Wisdom Tooth…hehehe. i miss too much of our food in the phils. that’s why my project here in kuwait is to try to make the most out of the available resources and tweak them to come up with similar filipino dishes.

    Jan 11, 2012 | 2:07 pm

     
  18. Nacho says:

    MM, Gej, I have a similar radish I dabble with, but it is round and is called watermelon radish. The seeds are from the US, so supply is not easy to come by. It looks and tastes great, but scaling it up to commercial quantity becomes a problem.

    Jan 12, 2012 | 2:05 pm

     
  19. MinQ says:

    HI MM! I saw these tiny cucumbers in the Sidcor Centris Sunday Market. The vendor said they were called Wild Cordillera Cucumbers and sold PHP10.00 per takal (the size of a styrofoam coffee cup). They’re quite crunchy and refreshing and a nice addition to salads. I managed to eat them like peanuts since it’s so easy to pop them in your mouth and munch away. A bit of a hassle to remove the thin stalks specially since they’re so tiny, you can’t just pull them out. Snipping the stalks with a pair of scissors worked better!

    Feb 1, 2012 | 7:34 am

     
 

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