Winter Radish Salad

Winter Radish Salad

Winter Radish Salad
Feta, Kalamata Olive, Frisée, Baby Celery, Upland Cress
Dressed with Fresh Lime Juice & Olive Oil

It was difficult to resist all those colorful heirloom radishes…and the frilly heads of frisée, hydroponically grown long thin stalks of baby celery and the delicate lime green leaves of upland cress too. While strolling the outdoor aisles of the Torrance Farmers Market – a crunchy, peppery, chromatic winter salad began to take shape.

Watermelon radish – an heirloom Chinese daikon – is a stunner with its white and green shoulders and vibrant fuchsia interior. The taste is mild with almond-sweet notes. Purple radishes – a Korean radish hybrid – are small and plump with a gorgeous violet ring around striated white flesh. They are far more peppery than the watermelon variety. I chose watermelon and purple radishes for their visual appeal and different flavor profiles.

Frisée, baby celery, upland cress, and chives make up the green elements of this winter salad.  With a bittersweet flavor and unique frizzy texture, frisée adds character. Upland cress has pretty leaves with a pungent spicy flavor. The baby celery has an intense celery flavor concentrated in the leaves. Chives bring that mild classic onion flavor.

Winter Radish Salad Recipe

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“Truffle Heaven” Crostini

“Truffle Heaven” Crostini
Fresh French Black Winter Truffle, Italian Truffle Cheese, Truffle Oil
with Shiitake and Frisée

A framed description of our “black diamond” is placed on the buffet.

This one ounce beauty is from Gourmet Attitude, importer of fresh truffles and fine truffle products in New York City. It is a good year for truffles, ours hails from the Village of Grignan in the South of France. The subterranean treasure was located by three female yellow Labrador retrievers with a family in its fourth generation of truffle hunting. I was told that dogs are preferred over pigs to hunt  truffles nowadays, for one reason, it’s difficult to get a pig in and out of the car! Also, apparently the pig’s love for truffles is as ardent as ours, so she simply cannot stop herself from eating the $85/oz. delicacy. Dogs are much more obedient!

The black winter truffle is available December through March. This Fresh Black Winter Truffle (Tuber Melanosporum Vittadini) has in intense perfume with a bouquet of wet forest, humus, chocolate, and a hint of hazelnut. Our guests are surely in for a treat!

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Saint Agur – Cheese of the Month

Saint Agur
Steamed Baby Beets
Candied Walnuts
Frisée and Garlicky Red Wine Vinaigrette
Serve with Crusty Baguette
This delightful salade composée has a wide variety and balance of colors, flavors, and textures. Yet it was very simple and fast to compose! The earthy baby beets and sweet crunchy walnuts were purchased ready to serve. The tangy vinaigrette is made in a jar with minced garlic and shallot, premium red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just shake well and pour the vinaigrette over the beets and frisée. Slice a piece of creamy, buttery St. Agur and serve with crusty French bread. Voilà!

Melissa’s brand peeled baby red beets are grown in France. They are trimmed, peeled, steamed and ready to serve from the vacuum sealed package. For full flavor I like them at room temperature.

St. Agur (pronounced Sant ah-GOOR) is made from pasteurized cow’s milk in the French village of Monts du Velay. It is very buttery, delicately sharp, and not too salty in comparison to other blues. Due to its creaminess, it seems to melt away in the mouth. A very well-balanced cheese, St. Agur is sowed with the penicillium roqueforti, and one, I think, even those who are not bigs fans of blue could enjoy. For more about St. Agur, please visit the Ile de France website here.

Cheese of the Month
Cheese Quote

“How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?”
“Comment voulez-vous gouverner un pays qui a deux cent quarante-six variétés de fromage?”
Charles de Gaulle
Do you have a favorite cheese?

An Extraordinary Dinner with Fellow Bloggers

A Salad of Steamed Baby Beets, Frisée , Cumin-Paprika Fried Organic Garbanzos, Shallots and Greek Feta

The inspiration for this dish came from our dinner at AOC. Here, organic garbanzo beans are fried in olive oil with diced shallot, smashed garlic clove, hot paprika, and ground cumin.

Organic frisée is layered with very thinly sliced shallots, steamed baby beets splashed with good red wine vinegar and sea salt and freshly ground pepper, topped with Greek feta cheese. Warm garbanzo beans with the cumin-paprika olive oil is spooned over the top. The red wine vinegar on the beets plus the fragrant olive oil on the beans makes a great “deconstructed” vinaigrette. (I am excited to submit this dish, too, to “My Legume Love Affair” Event by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook Blog).

Last week, the folks at Foodbuzz invited Featured Publishers to dine at Suzanne Goin’s awesome AOC restaurant in Los Angeles. Ben of Château Petrogasm blog selected the refreshingly esoteric wines to pair with this extraordinary meal including one of the few domaines that make excellent red Sancerre, Domaine Vacheron 2005. Ben’s wine blog of tasting notes through images is pure genius…

We dined together on a fabulous multi-course menu of:

  • chicken liver crostini with pancetta
  • roasted dates, parmesan and bacon
  • marinated beets, olives, fried chickpeas and feta
  • leek and cantal tart with thyme and pancetta
  • smoked trout, persimmon, endive and creme fraiche
  • petrale sole, split peas, ham hock and truffle butter
  • grilled skirt steak with roquefort butter
  • rabbit ragout with dijon, chestnuts and tarragon
  • chanterelles, ricotta gnocchi and sherry cream
  • sweet potatoes with bacon, romesco and spinach
  • sheep’s milk cheescake with cassis compote and almond croustine
  • chocolate and hazelnut dacquoise with gianduja mousse and salted caramel ice cream

  • Strangers just a few hours earlier, we departed after hugs and well wishes.

    Wonderful photos of all these dishes are posted at Foodbuzz Los Angeles by Jen of eating plum blog. If you think these dishes sound delicious, you must see her outstanding photography.
    You absolutely must visit Evie, she is hilarious. In her post on Mushroom Barley Soup, her advice on serving the soup is to “use a bowl, not a plate. These decisions can be so difficult.” Go to Hot Dish! to see what I mean.
    And Kat of Dirt Cake blog is the Pastry Cook at Spago Beverly Hills, lovely and very passionate about her craft…be sure to check out her yummy post on Oatmeal Cream Pie with a crème brûlée center.
    What is Foodbuzz?
    Foodbuzz: the first-ever community site devoted exclusively to food and dining content—an unparalleled resource for searching, surfing and sharing with fellow foodies everywhere.

    Maybe you already know Ryan the Girl, of The Pink Spoon blog and Managing Editor at If the future of Foodbuzz is determined by the quality of the people involved, it cannot help but be a smashing success.
    Before leaving AOC, I bought Suzanne Goin’s cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques in which she penned, “Don’t wait til Sunday.” In addition to her fabulous recipes, she tells many charming personal stories. Her cooking style is pure and fresh and the book is an inspiration to cook local, organic, seasonal dishes using all the senses.

    A heartfelt thank you to the folks at Foodbuzz for hosting this event and especially for fostering a unique camaraderie among strangers with a like passion for all things food related.