Day 23 – Recipe: M Café’s Umeboshi-Pickled Red Radishes

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I love pickles. Always have, always will. When I worked at M Café de Chaya in Los Angeles, I became obsessed with their Umeboshi-Pickled Radishes. I remember asking Chef Lee Gross how he made them and he told me they were oven-baked. I went home and drowned some radishes in umeboshi vinegar and baked them like he said. They didn’t turn out right, they were shriveled, not glossy and plump like the ones in the restaurant.

During my online search for M Café recipes, I found one for the M Chopped, which included the correct recipe for the radishes. They are braised, not baked. To this day, I have no idea why he told me bake them…. maybe he said braised and I heard baked? I really don’t know. At least now I have the right recipe!

The original recipe calls for 1/2 bunch radishes, I decided to double everything and the radishes turned out too salty. So even with a whole bunch of radishes, you should only use 1 tablespoon of vinegar.

Umeboshi-Pickled Red Radishes

  • 1 bunch red radishes
  • 1 Tbsp ume plum vinegar (Eden Foods brand is the best)
  • Filtered water, as needed

METHOD

  • Trim, wash and dry radishes. Cut into quarters, or eighths, depending on size. Place radishes, cut-side down in a cold skillet.
  • Place skillet over medium heat. Continue to heat until radishes begin to release their moisture, and you can hear them sizzle and see them beginning to dance in the pan.
  • Add the umeboshi vinegar and about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water, or enough to just cover the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and cover the pan.
  • Turn heat to medium-low, and cook for two to three minutes, or until pan is almost dry.
  • Remove lid, and test a radish for doneness by inserting the tip of a knife. The radish should be almost crisp-tender. If it is not, continue to cook for another minute or so. If the pan seems dry, add a splash or two of water.
  • When the radishes are just cooked, remove the lid, turn the heat to high to concentrate and reduce the remaining liquid to one or two tablespoons. Toss the radishes in the ruby red juices to glaze them slightly. Remove radishes from the pan and let cool.

cut radishes in pan:

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cooking radishes:

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finished radishes:

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These radish pickles are a delicious addition to salads, or eaten on their own as a salty, crunchy snack. They are also delicious with the Scarlet Quinoa recipe I posted yesterday.


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Day 22 – Recipe: M Café’s Scarlet Quinoa Salad

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After I found M Café’s Kale Salad recipe, I wanted to see if I could find any of their other recipes online. To my surprise I found quite a few! Their Scarlet Quinoa Salad is another one of my favorites. I remember trying to copy it years ago and it didn’t turn out anything like the real thing. This time, it was perfect! And thankfully it didn’t take as long to make as the Kale Salad, it was pretty quick and easy.

The pink color comes from cooking the quinoa with diced beets. Above I served it with Umeboshi Radishes (I’ll have that recipe tomorrow), the flavor went perfectly with the Umeboshi-lemon dressing on the salad. I found the recipe on the LA Times website.

M Café’s Scarlet Quinoa Salad

Umeboshi-Lemon Dressing

  • 2 teaspoons umeboshi (ume plum) vinegar (I used Eden Foods brand)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons dill pickle juice
  • 1 Tablespoon best-quality olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, pickle juice and olive oil. Cover and refrigerate until needed. This makes one-fourth cup dressing.

Scarlet Quinoa Salad and Assembly

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red beets
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup diced seedless or Persian cucumber
  • 2 teaspoons chopped scallions or chives
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • Umeboshi-lemon dressing
  • Sea Salt

1. Wash the quinoa under cold running water in a fine strainer. Drain well.

2. In a 2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the beets, vegetable broth, olive oil and lemon juice. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the quinoa, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook the quinoa until the grains are translucent and tender and the germ has spiraled out from the grain, about 15 minutes (be careful not to overcook). Turn off burner and keep the pot on hot burner for 10 more minutes to finish cooking.

3. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate the grains, uncovered, until cool.

4. Fluff the cooled grains and place them in a large bowl. Gently stir in the cucumber, scallions, dill and lemon zest. Stir in half of the dressing, then taste the salad and add additional dressing or salt as desired.

Serves 8 as a side dish.

Fluffed Quinoa:

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Cooling Quinoa:

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Chopped cucumber, scallions, dill and lemon zest:

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Finished Salad:

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I ended using all of the finished dressing on the salad.

You don’t have to use a baking sheet to cool the quinoa, but I found that using one cooled it much faster than if I had just left it in the pot.

Eat cold or room temperature and enjoy!!