I have fairly good list of reasons why I've been away, but I'd much rather talk about why I'm back.
Spring finally brought the sun and, with that, Saša and I decided to take on the task of reviving the disappearing garden. We (ok, he) went to work with leveling the tragically overgrown patch, turning the soil and placing perfect rows of bricks to create a masterpiece mosaic of beautiful beds for our future bounty of fresh. As an 'experimental' year (a term that will soften the blow for anything less than successful), we planted everything we could get our hands on. From arugula to zucchini, if we found seeds we sowed them. We watered. We weeded. We waited.
|a beautiful bouquet|
Now really, what could possibly be better than a bunch of long stemmed red roses from your lover? Why, a bouquet of fresh ruby radishes of course! After a few jumps for joy and a celebratory kiss, I immediately whisked them away for a cold water bath, gently rubbing away their soil suits to fully expose their tasty roots.
|cold water bath|
Radishes (and other root vegetables) gather nutrients through water in the soil and feed their leaves which gather sunlight for energy to create sugars to feed back to the roots so they can grow up and become big, tasty edibles. Naturally, bigger leaves capture more sun so, to do the best job they can for the team, the roots continue to give as much moisture as they possibly can to their above ground counterparts. Wait. What? You already know all about photosynthesis? Settle down. This is more than a science lesson; its a kitchen tip (so keep paying attention). If you remove the greens from your root vegetables as soon as you pull them from the ground you will stop the growing process; the roots retain their liquids (and nutrients) and you won't be disappointed by sadly soft radishes (or carrots... or beets...). That makes such good sense, right? I know! You're welcome. Thanks for staying with me.
As I performed the mandatory buzz cuts on my little batch of rad, my thoughts drifted toward the salads of our summer to come. Suddenly I was struck by a thought that pulled me right back to the present. If we can eat radishes, we must be able to eat radish greens. Can I make a salad today? I paused for a quick conference with Google (please excuse my intuitive ignorance, but I wouldn't be able to cope with reading '...radish roots are lovely edibles; but stay away from the leaves, which are lethally poisonous..." after the fact) To make a long story longer, the answer is yes. The greens are absolutely fine to eat.
Radish greens were washed. Radish roots were sliced. Carrots were shredded. Onions were diced. Wanting to keep it simple, I added the salad dressing equivalent of 'the little black dress' - a decent drizzle of (local homemade) olive oil, a double splash of balsamic, a (small) sprinkle of salt and a dash of fresh ground pepper. Classic beauty. Always fresh. Delicious.
|radish green salad|
Two things. First, if you are running outside to your radish patch right now to tear off a leaf and taste for yourself, you'll probably come back later to tell me that I need to realign my taste buds. Yes, the greens are bitter (and perhaps a wee bit prickly). Remember the little black dress - it changes everything. Second, if you do decide to try the radish green thing, I can't vouch for those which are bought at the store, but seriously doubt they'd be anything close to fresh (if I were buying radishes I'd just grab some lettuce too). In all honesty, while radish greens work well for salad, the flavour is not at all so radically exciting. The real thrill comes from planting a few tiny seeds, relying on nothing but earth, sun and rain, and filling a whole salad bowl three weeks later. Nothing tastes better than that.
Want to see more Radish Green Salad? Feast your eyes at flickr