Food Concepts, Ideas, and Flavors: Today we are talking about BITTER.

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe update from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

When I take a step back and look at our own American cuisine, we do tend to be a melting pot of delicious flavors, customs, and recipes from all who came before us. We are in fact very diverse! We have Taco Tuesday, St Patrick's Day feasts, Beer Gardens with German-style foods, Chinese Festivals, and so much more. Largely because we all eat, we all have recipes, and we are all quite proud of our heritage. 

But we don't eat a lot of bitter in standard American cuisine. And yet bitters of many kinds were part of our earliest remedies and our food. Hops were grown in turn of the century gardens for medicinal as well as brewing needs. Tonics were concocted to aid digestion. And sadly many of the stronger root vegetables that were regularly served are rarely seen in this day and age. Who else has a bottle of Angostura Bitters in their kitchen? Did you know they were invented as a stomach tincture for digestion trouble back in 1824?

Food52 shares that there are five tastes, along with information to cook with those five different tastes, sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and umami. 

I believe that to eat a more balanced share of all five tastes, we will enjoy our food more and it will be better for our gut processes and overall health. Yes, I am not a healthcare professional, anymore. But I do have years of experience observing food and health (or the lack of...) from close to 20 years of working with seniors and now most recently with my own gut health. 

In American cooking have two of the five perfected, sweet and salty. I too was overdoing it on the sweets when I first started blogging almost 14 years ago. I always started with desserts first....and this went on for many years until it finally came to me that we should be eating more vegetables. At that point, I changed the planning of my beloved Sunday dinners and created a new category titled, "Let's eat more vegetables." I won't lie, it took a while for the change from one vegetable and four desserts to three vegetables and two desserts to be accepted, but in time it was...

Here recently we joined a CSA for the winter. We have enjoyed many new to us vegetables. Some I thought, "dear Lord whatever will I do with that!" But you see, I am frugal to the bone, if you are uncertain you can ask my family...they will not disagree! So here I was with bags of radishes that I had never seen much less knew about, and coupled with my frugality, compelled to prepare and consume. Long red German radishes. Cute but bitter Watermelon radishes. And repeated the next week, for Pete's sake! 

The long red German radishes we cut into bite-sized pieces and roasted in the oven similar to the small red globe radishes you will find here

Roasted radishes.

They were not quite as tender or as mellowed from the roasting process, but we ate them with an appreciation for the farmer and enjoyment as part of our dinner. The Watermelon radishes presented a bigger challenge because of the sheer volume, three bags in only two weeks! Yikes, we were up to our eyeballs in Watermelon radishes. The first two bags I sliced and made two jars of quick-pickled radish slices. And they are good, we have eaten one of the jars, the other jar continues to rest in our root cellar....bur when the third bag came along in the second week, I knew another jar of radish pickles was not the answer...

Right now I am working with a bit of a handicap, with my left hand bandaged up from a fall on an icy trail. But there was still that bag of Watermelon radishes to work with. Simple is always better when asking for help! My husband who is always a good sport to help out completed a simple preparation by cutting them into small dice, then they were tossed with a bit of olive oil, spread out on a flat baking pan, sprinkled with some garlic salt and placed into a preheated oven at 450 degrees. Once I closed the oven door, I turned the oven off, The radish pieces were left in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes. They were enjoyed cold like a salad. And they were the most delightful bitter taste I have enjoyed since making roasted bitter greens!

Roasted Bitter Greens.

But the best part? My overall feeling of good gut health. 

If you would like to explore a few ideas for bitter in your own meals, you might consider the following:

and as noted above, Roasted Bitter Greens.

Have a great day, and thanks for dropping by! It is always appreciated...

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