Friday, September 30, 2011

Fun with Fennel, Revisited

At Daisy Mae's Market, we contend that food is fun. We enjoy talking about food, learning about new varieties of fruits and vegetables, and experimenting with different recipes. A year or so ago, I wrote a post about fennel, and I got several comments from friends about the title of that post. Since then, my silly little "Fun with Fennel" phrase has been repeated more than a few times.
If you're unfamiliar with fennel, it is a hardy root vegetable that consists of a white or pale green bulb with stalks. Even though the stalk, leaves, and seeds are all edible, we tend to use the bulb most commonly. The bulb may be sauteed, stewed, braised, grilled, or even eaten raw.
Last week Mr. Daisy Mae stumbled on a new (fun) combination of ingredients that made a terrific side dish. He chopped the bulb of some fennel, a few carrots, and some fingerling potatoes and tossed them with olive oil. He then added a little salt and pepper and sprinkled with rosemary. After roasting for 25 minutes or so in a 350 oven, all the flavors had blended together beautifully. The fennel adds a very subtle, distinctive taste that takes the potatoes and carrots and makes them special. And the rosemary seems to tie it all together...and adds to the fun!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

When MLB Gives You Lemons...

You've probably heard that Major League Baseball released the 2012 schedule that includes Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds on Friday, April 6. If you've spent any time in Cincinnati at all, you know that Opening Day here is special...It's different than any other Opening Day in any other major league city, and it includes a huge parade sponsored by the merchants of Findlay Market.
However, this year's Opening Day date of April 6 presents several conflicts. Not only is April 6, 2012, Good Friday in the Christian calendar, but Passover begins at sunset on that date in 2012 as well. For the merchants at Findlay Market, the Friday before Easter is traditionally one of the biggest sales days of the year. The thought of trying to organize the Opening Day Parade in the midst of this popular shopping day seems impossible. The conflicts are numerous and even though Major League Baseball has stated that the dates are "tentative," the potential for disrupting the long-standing tradition of the Findlay Market Opening Day parade exists.
Scott Sloan and Tracy Jones spent the better part of their 700WLW radio show today discussing the conflicts. They suggested a solution that would include a split-squad exhibition game a few days before the actual Opening Day with proceeds going to the Reds Community Fund. I'd love to see it happen...But I'd take it a bit further. Wouldn't it be great to have the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade include real Reds players? Not one or two...but the whole team just as it was done originally in the late 1890's. I'm sure thousands of Cincinnatians would turn out to support the team and to celebrate the official start of the baseball season. Fans would line the streets for the parade and then fill the stadium, and the children of the Tri-State would benefit through the Reds Community Fund. The national spotlight would definitely be on Cincinnati, and we could show the rest of the league that we love our Reds' traditions. What a boost such a gigantic pep rally could give the team! And maybe with a little luck, the enthusiasm could carry over throughout the season, and we could all celebrate a World Series Championship with another parade to Fountain Square in the fall.
Let's put our heads together and figure out how we can turn this conflict into a winning situation for all of Cincinnati...After all, when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

See You at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati!

Oktoberfest season has arrived in Cincinnati. It seems each fall weekend a different German Society or parish is hosting a festival featuring German food, beer, and gem├╝tlichkeit. This weekend is the granddaddy of them all: Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. This annual event brings thousands of people to the streets around Fountain Square to share a beer, listen to a German band, or munch on sausage and sauerkraut.
In honor of Oktoberfest season, I'd like to introduce you to the Daikon radish. The Daikon is fast becoming a favorite on our Findlay Market stand. Yes, I know the Daikon radish is among the most popular vegetables in Japan...and yes, I realize that the name itself is taken from the Japanese "dai" meaning "large" and "kon" meaning "root." And, yes, many Asian recipes recommend using a Daikon radish. But did you know the Germans love the Daikon as well? Especially in Bavaria, this root vegetable has taken on a special role and goes by the name of "Radi."
To the Germans, radi is "a thinly-sliced white radish." Now here's the best part...The radi is lightly salted and eaten raw--as a snack while drinking German beer!
So here's to our German friends for finding a great way to enjoy a Japanese favorite...Prost!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Sandwich By Any Other Name...

Mr. Daisy Mae is famous, at least at our house, for his "Big Sandwich." Some people would call it a sub or submarine sandwich. Others might call it a hoagie, hero, grinder, poor boy, blimpie, or even a torpedo. But at our house, we've settled on the ultra-descriptive term--BIG SANDWICH.
I can't remember exactly when the Big Sandwich came into being, but when the kids were teenagers, the Big Sandwich made a regular appearance on our table. Maybe it was because once the kids could drive and had part-time jobs, they seemed to be making trips to the nearby Subway restaurant fairly often. As any smart parent figures out, the key to continuing your relationship with your growing children is to feed them well, feed them often and most importantly, feed them for free!
Well, those of you who know Mr. Daisy Mae know that he's quite a competitive guy. I suspect Mr. Daisy Mae got tired of hearing the kids say they'd stopped at Subway. He begin to tinker with making his own version, complete with homemade bread, to prove that he could make a sandwich better than any restaurant. Before long, he had all of us requesting the Big Sandwich. Accompanied by sweet potato fries or pasta salad, the Big Sandwich became more than a meal. It became a conversation piece...Who likes what on it? Should we toast it? How about if we grill the bread? Let's kick it up a notch. Let's try a different sauce...
With the help of the Big Sandwich, we got to spend a few more evenings at the table with our kids, and we found something we could enjoy together. Call it what you may but a sandwich by any other name is still as sweet...

Mr. Daisy Mae's Big Sandwich
Yield: 4-6 sandwiches Prep Time: 20 min. Total Time: 20 min. Peppes
1 loaf Italian or French bread, unsliced 
3⁄4 lb. roasted turkey, sliced 
1⁄4 lb. hard salami, sliced 
6 slices of crisp bacon
2 slices Provolone, American, or other cheese 
Several pieces of Iceberg lettuce, shredded 
1 cucumber, sliced 
1 tomato, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced 
1 red onion, sliced 
2 Jalapeno peppers, sliced (optional) 
Mustard and/or mayonnaise, to taste. 
Olive oil and oregano, to taste
1. Preheat broiler. 
2. Slice the loaf of bread lengthwise and place open on baking sheet. 
3. Spread both halves of loaf with mustard and/or mayonnaise. Layer meat
topped with cheese on each half. Place open-faced in broiler just until
cheese melts. 
4. Remove from broiler and add vegetables. Sprinkle with olive oil and
oregano, and close up the sandwich. 
5. Cut big sandwich crosswise into individual portions and serve.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

More Findlay Market Progress

Maybe it's the fresh paint or maybe it's the shiny cooking utensils, but every time a new merchant opens at Findlay Market, it seems to give the rest of us a burst of energy. This week we're getting a double burst as two new businesses are opening their doors. Mama Lo Hizo will offer Mexican fare, and Queen City Cookies will bring cookies and schnecken to Findlay Market.
I'm thinking back to the excitement we felt when we launched Daisy Mae's Market almost 2 years ago. In the midst of doing the million or so things required when you start a new business, we were thrilled to be putting our roots down at Findlay Market. We felt extra pride in knowing that our little business would be a piece of the puzzle that preserves this historic Cincinnati landmark. After years of observing from the outside both the good times and the not-so-good times in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, we were excited to be investing in the area and doing our part to contribute to Findlay Market progress.
Each time a new business opens at Findlay Market, we feel the energy generated by fresh ideas, new foods, creative marketing, and shared goals. As we welcome Mama Lo Hizo and Queen City Cookies to the Findlay Market family, we hope these new merchants are feeling the same sense of excitement and pride we continue to feel.
Findlay Market is a special place, alive with new things and ever-changing, but also with deep historic roots and traditions. If you haven't visited in a while, it's time to come back. And even if you were just here last week, Mama Lo Hizo and Queen City Cookies are two new reasons to come back again.