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Saturday, 18 July 2009

Herbed Radish Butter (WHB#192: mint)

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summary: recipe for radish butter with mint, chives and parsley; information about mint and Weekend Herb Blogging; (click on image to see larger view)

Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB)#192
Mint (Mentha arvensis)

radish butter I’ve been so busy raving about radish greens (eggs Fauxrentine, omelette, pizza) that I have neglected the radishes themselves.

Of course, radishes are wonderful just on their own. We love them cut into quarters, placed in a bowl of ice-water to be served cold cold cold along side enchiladas, hamburgers, omelettes, grilled chops, etc. etc. They’re also excellent thinly sliced into coleslaw and potato salad. Not to mention how good they are in a green salad with a simple vinaigrette.

As soon as I read Jude’s (Apple Pie, Patis and Pâté) radish herb butter recipe I knew I had to try it. Foolishly, I put it off too long!! Because mixing finely sliced and julienned radishes into herbed butter and serving it on on French-style bread moves radishes into a whole new dimension.

Jude’s recipe calls for a LOT of butter and a LOT of radishes. And I just wanted to make a little appetizer. Not to mention that we didn’t really have enough mint and chives in the garden to make the full recipe. And our parsley plants are pathetically small still.

So I pared the recipe down drastically to use only one large radish. Here’s what I did:

Herbed Radish Butter
based on Jude’s (Apple Pie, Patis and Pate) radish herb butter; measurements are rather approximate; I just winged it

  • 1 large radish
  • splash fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, soft
  • fresh mint leaves (a large sprig)
  • fresh chives (~8 blades)
  • fresh parsley leaves (a small sprig)
  • seasalt and pepper

preparation

  1. Wash the radish well and trim the ends. Cut it in half and then thinly thinly thinly slice it. Turn the slices a quarter turn and julienne them. Add lemon juice to the radishes and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter with the back of a small wooden spoon.
  3. Chop herbs finely.
  4. Stir herbs, salt and pepper into the butter.
  5. As best you can, without breaking the radish pieces, stir radish into the butter.

Serve immediately with crusty bread. (Of course, it can be kept in the fridge for an hour or so before serving too.)

note

* Don’t worry if the radish isn’t completely encorporated into the butter. As long as there is butter in with the mix when spooning it onto the bread, it tastes fine. More than fine, actually.

I have no idea how Jude managed to completely encorporate the radish into the butter. However, it didn’t really matter. The flavour of this is fabulous! I particularly liked the hints of mint.

It’s probably because I didn’t really measure the ingredients so perhaps I used a little more radish than could be fit into the amount of butter I used. But ignore the fact that it looks a little more like radish salad than radish butter. Just make it. It’s fantastic.

Many thanks, Jude, for this wonderful concoction! (Next time, I’m making more! …even if I have to buy some parsley!! We went through the “one radish” version in no time.)

Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB#192)
Mint (Mentha)

I had a little difficulty deciding which herb to focus on for this week’s WHB: mint, chives or parsley. But as I focussed on the flavour of the radish butter, I tried to think which of the herbs was irreplaceable. Parsley is nice but I’m not sure it HAS to be there. In fact, I used so little that I’m not even sure if it didn’t get lost entirely. Chives could be replaced by a little finely sliced shallots or onion. And mint? There’s nothing like mint.

And suddenly it was clear which herb to feature: Mint. Obviously: mint.

weekend herb blogging - © kalyns kitchenradish butter More mint, please!

Growing with such abandon that they need occasional restraining, some mints are distinctly pushy plants, moving in on neighbours by surface runners or underground rhizomes. A few, however, are worth growing in corners of the garden where they will not menace other things. [...] Mints are the easiest plants to propagate – and, in fact, are more likely to need curbing. [...] Gardeners go to great lengths to confine mints [...] planting in containers of all sorts. Wooden wine-barrel halves are my choice for mints and most other herbs because they are not pourous like clay, so far less watering is required [...] A half-barrel will grow three species of mint comfortably.

-Patrick Lima, Harrowsmith Illustrated Book of Herbs, p.90, 94

I, on the other hand, have done nothing to try to confine our mint. We have regular mint – I think it’s Mentha arvensis – in three different spots of the garden (ginger mint is in two other places) and to our chagrin, the mint just doesn’t seem to want to take over. Certainly not nearly enough for our taste. Because we never have enough mint!

It is a required ingredient for our iced tea as well as being great in chutney, Thai curry, meat patties with mint (how is it possible that I HAVEN’T posted about those?!) to be served with rice and dahl, pesto, as a garnish for Mjdarra, with Fondue Chinoise etc., etc.

Please read more about mint:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This week’s WHB host is Lynne (Cafe Lynnlu). The deadline for entering WHB#192 is Sunday 19 July 2009 at 15:00, Utah time (GMT-7). For complete details on how to participate in Weekend Herb Blogging, please see the following:

 

edit: See the delicious WHB#192 roundup!

 

6 Comments for Herbed Radish Butter (WHB#192: mint)” »

  1. Comment by MyKitchenInHalfCups — 18 July 2009 @ 13:01 EDT

    I printed that recipe too. Hope I can do it soon. Are you happy to know somebody is slower than you.

    Ha! If I didn’t know that it was wrong to be pleased at the misfortunes of others, I would be ecstatic, Tanna. But don’t put it off any longer. Radish butter is too good! -Elizabeth

  2. Comment by maybelles mom — 18 July 2009 @ 13:44 EDT

    Radishes and butter are delicious indeed. WHere are you getting all these radishes? Do you grow them?

    I WISH we had enough sun and large enough garden to grow them, mm! I tried to grow them last year and failed miserably. But luckily for us, the vegetable stalls have had fantastic looking radishes since June. I’m hoping they’ll keep supplying us all summer long. -ejm

  3. Comment by Kalyn — 19 July 2009 @ 14:55 EDT

    This sounds wonderful! I’ve always heard about eating bread, spread with butter, topped with radishes, but this takes it to a whole new level!

    It IS really wonderful, Kalyn. And I suppose one could dispense with making the radish butter by simply making open face radish sandwiches by buttering bread and then putting thinly sliced radishes that have a squeeze of lemon juice on them, chopped mint, chives, parsley, salt and pepper. It would certainly resolve the problem of getting the radishes completely encorporated into the butter. -Elizabeth

  4. Comment by Jude — 21 July 2009 @ 01:02 EDT

    Those “farmers” at the farmers’ markets told me to toss the radish greens. What a waste. Thanks to you, I now know what to do with them.

    The “farmers” at the farmers’ market here were really surprised to hear that I was going to eat the greens too, Jude. And this was at the ORGANIC vegetable market!! You’d think they would be the ones giving us new ideas for how to use the greens! I’ll be really interested to hear what you think of radish greens. -Elizabeth

  5. Comment by MrsBrown — 24 July 2009 @ 11:44 EDT

    We had some radishes growing in our garden but something black and furry whose name begins with Nicky the Black Dog thought it was a good idea to pull them up, eat the radishes and leave the greens neatly on the ground. She seems to think we’ve put the garden there for her personal use. Luckily, she doesn’t seem to like mustard greens or lettuce and she hasn’t discovered the carrots. At least she left the greens in a tidy pile.

    Perhaps we’ll try again just so we can have radish butter.

    Could you rescue the greens to put them in an omelette? (I must say that I’m reeling that a dog would like to eat radishes!) When you do try the radish butter, MrsBrown, don’t imagine that lime juice will work just as well as lemon juice. I made radish butter last night and we didn’t have any lemon juice. Surprisingly, the lime juice is too strong a flavour and competed unfavourably with both the radish AND the mint. -Elizabeth

  6. Comment by MrsBrown — 25 July 2009 @ 11:16 EDT

    Sadly, the greens were too wilted and I’m not sure that I want to eat something that has dog lick on it. This dog will eat anything except greens. She loves carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, blueberries and especially beans–all things we have in our garden. She’s not allowed outside for very long without supervision.

    Radishes are being planted today along with another crop of mustard greens and cilantro.

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