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Rooting Around

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Three underground vegetables take center stage.

Story and photos by Natalie Paramore

Austin is lucky to have a growing season that stretches year-round. However, it’s not all peaches and strawberries. The cooler months bring leafy greens and hearty root vegetables, and the challenge is finding reliable recipes for the oft-overlooked bok choy, turnips and radishes you’ve ambitiously bagged from the local farmers market. Here, we’ve unearthed a soup, a salad and a savory side that will satisfy your seasonal produce supply.

BOK CHOY NOODLE SOUP

Serves two

Ingredients

1 head baby bok choy
4 scallions
4 to 5 cloves garlic
2-inch piece fresh ginger
1 tablespoon olive oil
32 ounces chicken broth
Noodles from one pack of Top Ramen (or substitute any Asian noodle)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions

1. After removing the head, slice the bok choy, separating the white parts from the softer green leaves.
2. Chop the scallions, separating the white and green parts.
3. Mince the garlic and ginger and saute them over medium heat in a medium sauce pan with olive oil for about two minutes, or until fragrant.
4. Add the white part of the scallion, the white part of the bok choy and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a low boil for five minutes.
5. Add the green parts of the bok choy and noodles to the pan and boil for an additional five minutes.
6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the soy sauce. Top with green scallions, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and additional salt to taste.

GOAT CHEESE DIP WITH TURNIPS

Serves four

Ingredients

1 head garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces small turnips
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
8 ounces goat cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon mint leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

Directions

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the top off the garlic and drizzle it with one tablespoon of olive oil. Cover it with foil and roast for 45 minutes. Let the garlic cool.
2. Meanwhile, wash and slice the turnips into 1/2-inch-thick chips. Use a mandoline if you have one.
3. Toss the turnips with red wine vinegar and pepper and set them aside to marinate.
4. Once the garlic is cool enough to touch, squeeze the cloves into a food processor and combine them with the goat cheese, one teaspoon salt and two tablespoons of olive oil, and pulse until smooth.
5. In a separate batch, pulse the oregano, cilantro, mint, thyme leaves and lime zest with the remaining olive oil and salt until a paste forms.
6. Place the goat cheese into a serving dish. Drizzle it with the herb paste and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve alongside the marinated turnips.

WATERMELON AND BLACK RADISH SALAD WITH AVOCADO

Serves four

Ingredients

1 shallot
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 watermelon radish
1 black radish
1 head romaine lettuce
1 avocado
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

1. Mince the shallot and toss it with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, thinly slice the radishes and chop the lettuce.
3. Dice the avocado and gently toss it with the dressing mixture.
4. Transfer the lettuce to a serving dish and top it with the dressing, radish slices and chopped cilantro leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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