Flavor Starters

Cilantro-Lime Flavor Starter

Flavor Starter Cube by somethingwewhippedup.com

What’s for dinner tonight? Or breakfast tomorrow for that matter? I’ve always got an answer in my back pocket when I’ve got a stash of flavor starter cubes in my freezer. My most recent batch came together after I found myself with an abundance of cilantro. Instead of letting it wilt away, I blended the leaves up with some garlic, salt, pepper, lime juice and olive oil and filled an ice cube tray with the mixture.

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Cilantro-Lime Flavor Starter Cubes (somethingwewhippedup.com)

The frozen cubes are a great way to get a quick meal started. Around our house, we use them most often to whip up a delicious batch of scrambled eggs that are anything but ordinary. Simply put the frozen cube in your skillet, heat and let melt. Once it’s melted, swish the herb and olive oil mixture around your pan and add eggs. Cook your eggs as you normally would and you’ll enjoy a refreshing flavor that goes way beyond just seasoning your pan with a bit of butter or oil.

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Adding a frozen flavor starter cube to a skillet (somethingwewhippedup.com)

In addition to eggs, you can use flavor starter cubes to season a pan before searing chicken or cooking up some vegetables. I’ve even used one to add a little something extra to a classic grilled cheese.

Cilantro-Lime Flavor Starter Cubes

Makes about 12

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 large bunch cilantro (about 3 to 4 cups)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the garlic in a blender or food processor. Pulse until well chopped. Add the cilantro, lime juice and olive oil. Blend until well combined, adding more olive oil if necessary to get a liquid consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Pour herb mixture into an ice cube tray. Freeze then transfer cubes to a zip-top bag for extended storage.

SWWU Tip 1: I don’t always fill the each well of the ice cube tray to the top. Smaller cubes are great when you’re making something for one person. Experiment making your cubes different sizes and see what works well for you.

SWWU Tip 2: Have other herbs on hand? This recipe works equally as well if you substitute parsley, basil or more. The lime juice can be substituted with lemon juice or left out entirely.

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Summer Side Show

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but Brian was making this refreshing summer salad long before I came into the picture. It regularly makes an appearance at family get-togethers and a slimmed-down version sometimes pops up as a weeknight dinner side. If you time it just right (usually sometime in July or August) you can get all of the ingredients while they’re at their peak for freshness and flavor.

Brian's Summer Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

Brian’s Summer Salad by somethingwewhippedup.com

We recently whipped up a big batch and it was gone in less than 48 hours. Yes, it’s that good. Go ahead, make some and see for yourself.

Brian’s Summer Salad

Makes about 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 ears corn, cooked and cooled
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, diced
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process, drain and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and sugar. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and set aside.

3. Cut the corn from the cobs and place in a large bowl. Add the sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Top with dressing and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well to combine. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to develop.

SWWU Tip 1: We’ve also prepared this salad with string beans instead of sugar snap peas. Both are equally delicious. Just choose whichever one looks the freshest. 

SWWU Tip 2: This salad also makes a lovely topping for mixed greens. 

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Relishing the Radish

It wasn’t until last year that we started to appreciate radishes. Sure, they’re pretty, but we didn’t have too much experience with them beyond the kitschy carved flower garnishes that were popular platter adornments in the 80’s. Our love affair started out simply, with a quick appetizer, and now we’re using the peppery vegetable in everything from side dishes to main entrées. We’re hooked! Here are three delicious ways we’ve recently featured this surprisingly versatile veggie:

Radish Bites by somethingwewhippedup.com

Radish Bites by somethingwewhippedup.com

Radish Bites

This appetizer couldn’t be easier to put together (or a better value), especially when last-minute guests show up. Simply cut a baguette into thin pieces, top each with a thin coat of good-quality, room-temperature butter (this is where you should splurge a bit), then sprinkle with sea salt. Top each with 1 to 3 pieces of radish (cut very thin) and serve.

Roasted Radishes by somethingwewhippedup.com

Roasted Radishes by somethingwewhippedup.com

Roasted Radishes

We served this slightly sweet side dish at our Easter dinner this year. It’s a quick one that you can easily make while multitasking on other projects. Just slice radishes down the middle and add olive oil, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast in a 375°F oven for 15 minutes, turn and cook 15 minutes more or until tender. Remove from the oven and drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and toss with roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

Caramelized Shallot, Radish and Arugula Pizza by somethingwewhippedup.com

Caramelized Shallot, Radish and Arugula Pizza by somethingwewhippedup.com

Caramelized Shallot, Radish and Arugula Pizza

We whipped up this last dish after a long day of farm projects. We got a little help from some time-saving store-bought dough, but feel free to make your own. Roll out prepared dough onto a pan and brush with olive oil. Cook in a 475°F oven for 6 minutes or until lightly browned (pop any bubbles that form with a fork). Remove from oven and top with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, thin radish slices and caramelized shallots. Cook for 4  to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted, then top with arugula and a few thin slices of Manchego cheese. Heat for 1 to 2 minutes more or until the arugula has wilted and the cheese has melted. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

SWWU Tip 1: Flavor does matter with this veg. We’ve noticed that grocery-store finds tend to be a bit bitter and less sweet than the ones available at the farmers’ market. Buy radishes with the greens still on for the best flavor. And don’t toss them out! You can add a few to a salad or cook them down like you would spinach greens.

SWWU Tip 2: You’re likely to see a few different colors and varieties of radishes at your farmers’ market. Try them all out and see which one suits your own tastes. We’re especially liking the mild flavor of the French breakfast variety these days.

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