Monday, April 11, 2011

A Cornucopia of Spring Time Goodness! Grilled Buffalo, Daikon and Watercress Salad with Goat Cheese and Apple Cider Vinegarette, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips

This week was a local food roller-coaster!  On Saturday I had to teach Tamarind's Saturday class at 10, so I got up extra early to go to the winter farmer's market - only to find there was almost NOTHING there.  Meat, yes; but no vegetables!  In my mind, starting this project on the first of spring meant that things would be rough at first, but that each week would get easier.  That has not been the case so far.  I ended up leaving the market with two dozen eggs and a pound of mixed mushrooms.  

So I stopped at the Outpost on the way home.  Their local selection, while more than nothing, was also not promising:  Red and green cabbage, rutabagas, celery root, daikon radishes, parsnips, watercress, and salad greens.  Sounds like a vegetarian episode of chopped!  So, I got a few parsnips, a daikon radish, a rutabaga, and a package of watercress.  I have made parsnips before, but had no idea what to do with the rest of it.

Saturday I also had an all day performance at the Domes, which is one of my favorite shows that Tamarind does every year, but since it's all day in costume and in the heat of the tropical dome, there is no cooking (or real moving of any kind) afterward.  Dinner was the last of the spaghetti in my freezer, along with leftover homemade pasta from earlier in the week.  I had frozen some, and it cooked up nicely so I was quite pleased.

Sunday, though, it was gorgeous out.  I believe we hit a high of 84, which is almost unheard of in April in Wisconsin.  A perfect day to cook out on the grill, and then have a fire in the chimnea at night.

 The buffalo was awesome!  I've never had a buffalo steak before, and it was so much leaner than beef - but not chewy or tough.  I grilled them medium rare, which I would recomend.  I think overcooking them would quickly turn them into a shoe!  The parsnips and sweet potatoes were sweet and creamy - but not so much smooth.  I actually prefer a chunky mashed potato, but if you like yours whipped I think you'd have to do something more to these.

But my biggest surprise came from the salad.  The daikon/carrot/onion combination was tangy and spicy, the watercress was crunchy and peppery, the dressing was sweet, and the goat cheese was smooth and creamy.  I don't know that I've never had a daikon radish outside of garnishes at Japanese restaurants, I had no idea what I was going to do with it when I bought it, and I am so, so, SO pleased with how it turned out.  It was the perfect spring salad!

Daikon and Watercress Salad with Goat Cheese

  • 1 daikon radish, julienned (local)
  • 3-4 carrots, julienned (or enough to be about the same amount as the daikon) (local)
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly (local)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  •  1 cup washed watercress (local)
  • 1 cup washed mixed spring greens (local)
  • crumbled goat cheese (local)
Mix daikon, carrots, and onion in a small bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine.

Combine watercress and mixed greens, and portion out.  Top each portion with a small handful of daikon, carrots, and onions, then top that with the goat cheese.  Dress with...

Apple Cider Vinaigrette
(modified from
  • 1 cup apple cider (local)
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar (not local, but already in my house)
  • 2 tbsp honey (local)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Combine all items in a tightly closing jar.  Shake jar to combine.  This tastes even better on day two!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips
  • 2 medium parsnips (local)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (not local, but in my pantry)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter (local)
  • Milk (local)
  • Honey (local) (optional)
Wash and peel parsnips and sweet potatoes, and cut into approximately 1/2 inch slices.  Add to a large pot and cover with cold water.  Add salt to the pot, and bring to a boil.  Cook until parsnips and potatoes are soft when pricked with a fork.  Drain water, and mash with butter and milk.  Taste, and add salt and pepper.  I thought that they needed to be just a little sweeter, so I added about a tbsp of honey.

Grilled Buffalo New York Strip Steaks

  • 2 Buffalo New York Strip Steaks (local)
  • Minced Garlic (local)
  • Minced Chives (coming up in the garden!  Go Spring!!)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • A generous drizzle of olive oil
Season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper.  Drizzle olive oil over the bottom of a glass baking pan large enough to hold both steaks.  Add garlic and chives to the olive oil, and whisk.  Add steaks to the oil and turn so they are well coated.  Allow steaks to rest in the oil at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, turning occasionally to coat.  Grill over medium high heat for approximately 5 minutes a side, or until medium rare.  Allow steaks to rest at least 5 minutes before cutting into.

1 comment:

  1. I am spoiled because I work with Kate and she brought the Watercress Salad with Goat Cheese to work and she let me try some. It truly is the perfect spring salad! I highly recommend it!