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J is For Jalapeno

Vegetables from A to Z

By Hannah Marcotti

I was inspired by my amazing farmer’s market finds to write this recipe using a lovely jalapeno and other fresh, beautiful vegetables. We are lucky to have access to multiple winter markets in Rhode Island.

I brought $100 to the market and I bought ground lamb, stew meat, a roasting chicken, five dozen eggs, grapefruit, apples, Italian cauliflower, carrots, fingerling potatoes, mixed greens, cilantro, bok choy, ginger, a chocolate chip cookie, a gingerbread cake (kids in tow), dark green jalapenos and “breakfast” radishes with the freshest greens on top. I already have a mantel full of squash of different colors so I didn’t need those, but they were there for the taking. If my pantry was lacking oats or tortillas, cheese or tea, chocolate or fresh pasta…they were all to be found as well.

Shopping locally means meal planning after the shop. Fill in the gaps at the grocery store once you inventory your market finds. You have to be willing to experiment and substitute. Prioritizing also becomes important. Use the fresh delicate greens first and then work your way to the dark greens and root vegetables. Let the kids help you unpack your market finds and talk about how each vegetable grows. Explain that if the green peppers are left on the vine they turn red and how you dig up potatoes from deep within the dirt almost like a treasure hunt. Make the connection for them early as the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy eating.

Jalapenos are such a nice way to add a little heat or quite a kick, depending on how much of the ribs and seeds you leave in. In this recipe there is a lovely background note of spice without making you chug a glass of milk to tame the heat. The story behind the name “breakfast” radish gave me the idea for the recipe. In France, when the radishes are in season, they are sliced and dipped in warm butter for breakfast, served with some crusty French bread of course! I ate my sauté over eggs and put the rest over pasta for the kids who aren’t afraid of greens.

Spicy Breakfast Radish Sauté with Toasted Nuts

Tops of breakfast radish, washed and chopped
2 breakfast radishes, grated (or cut into coins for a denser bite)
½ jalapeno finely diced, seeds removed if you prefer
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Toasted pine nuts or cashews
Optional flavors to add:
Tamari soy, umeboshi vinegar, balsamic vinegar, honey or agave, lemon juice

Heat olive oil in pan, add garlic and jalapeno for about 30 seconds, add in radish and greens and lightly sauté until just wilted. Add salt and pepper and any other add-ins. Top with chopped nuts and serve over scrambled eggs, rice or pasta. This makes a wonderful side dish for salmon! My 14-month-old gobbled this up over pasta and didn’t seem to notice the spicy element. Oh, 14-month-olds are so much easier to feed then 4-year-olds, yes?

Hannah Marcotti is a holistic health counselor who helps women achieve and maintain their ideal weight, find more energy, figure out the food that works for their body type and ease family meal-time chaos! For more health tips and recipes, sign up for her free e-newsletter at  Hannah’s Harvest, (www.hannahsharvest.com). To find additional recipes and stories of life with three children, visit her blog, Hannah’s Harvest Thoughts (www.hannahs-harvest.blogspot.com).

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