the taste space

Bahn Mi Collard Wraps with Star Anise Pickled Daikon and Carrots

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on April 29, 2014

We traded hills for wind this weekend.

Blustery wind. Gusty winds.

It was kind of humbling to cycle 100-km hilly routes outside Houston, and then find ourselves so pooped we could barely finish our rides.

Even though we’re aiming for 160 km, our odometers have been stuck at 100-km for a while. This weekend, we decided to shun the hills (and the 2-hour commute to get to them) and opt for distance. The wind was a pleasant (or unpleasant), unplanned surprise. A flat tire was also a surprise and likely cost us an hour of cycling time. We pushed through 127 km of city-riding on Saturday.

On Sunday, we aimed to add hills to our windy resistance. We did an “urban hill” loop where we tried to climb as many highway overpasses as possible. The wind was relentless. If we thought Saturday was windy, it was even windier on Sunday. Southeast winds of 30km/h with gusts over 50 km/h. Rob rerouted it to include a stopover at Mi Tienda #2, our favourite Mexican grocer. We weren’t going to skip out on our aguas fresca ritual! This week they had mamey, which was a hard choice over the guanabana.

Even though we were out and about on our bikes most of the weekend, we actually had more energy. I guess we’re better at tackling wind than hills.

We ended up (ok, just me) stockpiling veggies when we finally ended up at an Asian market for our weekly grocery run. We put them to great use in this vegan spin on bahn mi sandwiches. Banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich, which I associate with the pickled vegetables and cilantro. Here, tofu and mushrooms are scrambled as the base. The veggies, with Terry’s spin of adding star anise, make this a nice and bright wrap.

Rob thought it was his best sandwich ever. I thought it nice, too, and opted to eat it in a collard wrap.

Maybe everything tastes better after biking 180 km?

I am sharing this with Souper Sundays. (more…)

Braised Daikon

Posted in Sides by janet @ the taste space on November 16, 2011

If you compare meat and vegetables, which are more expensive? Meat, right?

I hear people complaining how costly fresh vegetables are, but really it isn’t that bad. The problem is that they are perishable and don’t necessarily keep that long.  I suppose the same is true with meat, but it can easily be frozen without adverse effects.

Now tell me what the cheapest vegetable is….

Courtesy of Sunny-rrific sales:

Carrots: $1 for 4 lb is pretty good. 25c/lb.

I’ve bought a head of cabbage for 50c. That’s like 20c/lb.

Kohlrabi is cheap, too. I’ve bought it on sale for 19c/lb at Sunny’s. Probably because no one has a clue what to do with it.

When I see butternut squash on sale for 19c/lb, I stock up!

But no, I’ve seen fresh veggies even cheaper than 19c/lb.

Daikon! For 9c/lb!

Daikon is also known as a white radish and is relatively mild but still has a peppery punch.  While I have cooked with daikon in my Japanese Winter Stew, I don’t have that many daikon recipes. I couldn’t help myself, though, and grabbed a handful of daikon for the road. As a root vegetable, they keep extremely well in the refrigerator.

A quick search led me to Miss Figgy’s daikon braised in mirin and tamari, which she adapted from The Kind Diet (original recipe posted here). The long braise was supposed to turn the normally pungent white radish into sea scallops. Not that I really know what sea scallops taste like, but I can imagine the texture.

Let me tell you, I would not have even guessed this was daikon. After the long braise in mirin, tamari and kombu, you create a subtly sweet and salty treat. There was no trace of spicy radish here. The radish was just a vehicle for the sauce. These are great warm, fresh from their long braise, but also chilled as leftovers.

Now please tell me how you prepare daikon. I think I have one left. :)

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Christina from La Cucina di Cristina.

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Japanese Winter Stew

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Soups by janet @ the taste space on March 29, 2011

Last week was a bit of a tease. Just two weeks earlierI was lamenting how it would be months before I could take my bike out.  I was shocked when the weather turned around completely, with a few gorgeous spring days with highs around 15C. I quickly brought my bike into the shop to get its annual tune up, and was commuting to work earlier this week. Only to have snow come again the following day. It was such a slap in the face to have spring yanked out from under my bicycle tires!

No use sulking, as there are still lots of great things winter provides, like hearty soups and stews. There are many dishes to warm up the soul when outside is so cold.

Like this Japanese Stew. While I am usually leery of making Japanese recipes from a non-Japanese cookbook, I still ventured to make a Japanese Winter Stew I found in Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. I swapped the veggies around, though, for a more authentic feel (power to random purchases from Chinatown!), but really, you could throw in any seasonal vegetable. I kept the sweet potato and tofu, but I substituted daikon for the turnip, added in 100g of chopped enoki mushrooms and used 4 oz baby spinach instead of mustard greens. I then topped each serving with chopped green onions and drizzled with a touch of toasted sesame oil. This is a powerhouse of a winter stew, overflowing with vegetables, yet with the comforting miso taste but zippy from the chili flakes and ginger. It balances out so nicely, which is what Japanese cuisine is all about.


This is my submission to this month’s Veggie/Fruit a Month, featuring radishes (including daikon), and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

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