The Butcher Babe

By Minda Honey  | Tastes

Chef Loreal Gavin aka “The Butcher Babe” was the May speaker at Connecting Things, a small monthly gathering for creatives. She was kind enough to bring along some of her delicious pastries and several copies of her new cookbook, “The Butcher Babe Cookbook: Comfort Food Hacked by a Classically Trained Chef.” Her book is available on Amazon and at other major retailers.

As a chef, Gavin, a former “Food Network Star” contestant, believes it’s her responsibility to tell the stories of the farmers she partners with: “I source everything locally as much as possible. And I really strive to tell those stories at the dinner table because I think that’s really important. It’s rather old fashioned too.”

The other stories she holds in high regard are the stories a family tells through their fridge and pantries. “Every family has their own story; every family has their own recipes,” she says.

Chef Gavin’s top choice for comfort food is her apple dumpling, which is featured in her new cookbook and is what landed her on the Food Network. She used to make the dish with her grandmother and encourages rounding up your children to make this recipe together. “Pie dough is one of those safe things you can do in the kitchen with your children.” She says it’s not that different than “encouraging them to play in clay and make something artistic. There’s a lot of kid-friendly recipes in this book.”

Another dessert featured in her cookbook is a spin on a Southern classic, an ambrosia ice cream bar. In her book, Gavin writes, “Ambrosia is famous for being light and fluffy while being subtly sweet. So, I figured why not make it into a popsicle.” Undoubtedly with the sumer heat, you’ll find yourself putting this recipe to use right away.

Follow all of Gavin’s culinary adventures on Instagram @thebutcherbabe. But for now, enjoy this delightful recipe – one of Gavin’s favorite side dishes and, like many dishes in her book, one inspired by her grandmother.

Buttered French Radishes

(reprinted with permission from The Butcher Babe Cookbook by Loreal Gavin, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017)

1 large bunch pristine radishes (must have healthy green leaves)

8 oz. (228 g) butter

1 tbsp. (15 g) fancy salt, such as Maldon, smoked sea salt (something visually appealing)

1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

1 tbsp. (3 g) fresh dill

Picking out the right bunch of radishes is the most difficult part of this whole recipe. You are looking for those beautiful, healthy bunches of radishes with bold green leafy tops. The leafy tops, as you will discover, are pretty fragile. If I happen to accidentally separate the leafy greens from the radish, it’s no big deal. I’ll just have it as a little snack.

Gently wash the radishes under cool running water to remove any excess dirt. I like to use a paper towel also. With a paring knife, remove any not-so-beautiful leaves and discard them. Lay out the cleaned, pristine radishes on a few pieces of clean paper towel close to a cutting board. With a sharp knife, remove a minimal amount of radish near the root end. The goal is to create a smooth surface the radish can “sit” on.

In a small metal mixing bowl over low heat on the stovetop, gently melt the butter. I use a small whisk to bring the butter from completely cold to the perfect dipping texture. There shouldn’t be any chunks of butter floating around. Once the butter has been tempered over the heat, gently place a radish into the butter while carefully holding its stems. Coat the radish about three-quarters of the way up. Shake off any excess butter and also swipe the bottom of the radish on the butter bowl.

Lightly sprinkle the radishes with salt, pepper and dill and place them in a serving dish. Serve immediately. VT