A radish by any other name would taste as sweet

Introducing the new radish – a “Watermelon Radish”, one of many within the cultivated radish genus: Raphanus sativus, well anyway. It is also known as “Roseheart Radish” or “Red Meat Radish”….. I like watermelon better. Radishes were domesticated from their wild cousins in pre-Roman times and have become as varied a family as the colors in the rainbow; some grow to huge proportions – Sakurajima radish. There is a special Noche de Rabanos (night of the radishes) in Oaxaca, Mexico when fabulous carved radish creations are made the night of December 23!

I think the watermelon radish is the sweetest cousin and makes for oohs and aahs since it is such a surprise to see the red interior. It is wonderful in a salad with a vinaigrette dressing which highlights its flavor, or it can be cooked in a soup, stir-fried or roasted. Choose the recipe wisely; we don’t have many to share with you this season.

Our chickens are soon to roost indoors in their new abode that Steve is making for them. There will be a chicken-sized door cut out of the barn for their outdoor winter promenades in the asparagus patch. Farmer Lynn saved the life of Ugly Chickling, the crowing Brahma, by taking him to her farm to entertain her children and all the hens….

Our hens are laying about 3 eggs a day, which means we have eggs for sale!  These chickens have been playing hide-and-seek in a covercrop of oats, which has been munched down and made into fertilizer. They love all kinds of Chinese cabbage, any insect that has not frozen and high bush cranberries. Their eggs should have lots of anti-oxidants and other good things from the eclectic diet they have enjoyed.

Farm shares should include: Tops – a choice of green cabbage or Pac choi and Brussels sprouts, 2 head lettuces and Napa cabbage. Bottoms – radishes, potatoes and rutabagas. Fruit of the vine – winter squash. Oh, and then onions – bulbs, I guess. Spinach, leeks and carrots will be for sale. I plan to bake butternut bread for us to enjoy on the morrow.

Stinging in the rain

I felt like a princess trying to save the world while out harvesting nettles in the rain. The fairy tale, “The Wild Swans” written by Hans Christian Anderson is about a princess who has to weave 11 jackets out of nettles to rescue her brothers from an evil witch’s spells. Their sister was condemned to die at the stake for her strange actions and her inability to talk about it. I often think about her courage and fortitude sitting in a nettle patch.

Some good recipes to experience the flavor of nettles and to keep bad spells at bay  -

Garlicky Nettle Pesto  1/2 lb nettles, 4 smashed garlic cloves, 1/2 C roasted pine nuts, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 1/4 C olive oil, 1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese.  Simmer the nettles in boiling water to denature their sting for 2 minutes. Drain and wrap them in a clean dishtowel to remove the moisture. Whirl the garlic, pine nuts, nettles, lemon juice in a food processor until finely chopped. Drizzle in the oil and process until smooth. Add cheese and season to taste.

Nettle soup  1 lb chopped fresh nettles, 1/2 lb potatoes, 3-4 green onions, 3 tsp oil, 1 3/4 C water, 1/3 C cream. In a saucepan, saute the onions. Add the potato and water and cook until soft. Add in the nettles and cook for a couple of minutes. Puree and return to the saucepan and add in cream. Season.

Spinach and Nettles Spanakopita (crustless) 2 lb spinach, 2 C nettles, 3 C water, 1/4 C olive oil, 1 diced onion, 1 1/2 tsp dill, 1 tsp salt, 30 grinds of pepper, 8 oz feta cheese, 2 happy eggs, 1 Tb butter for greasing baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash and stem greens, Add greens and nettles to boiling water for about 10 minutes, until tender. Drain, saving water for later use as soup stock. Chop greens and set aside. Heat oil and saute onions.  In medium bowl, whisk eggs, dill and other seasonings. Add greens, onion and feta cheese – stir again. Spoon into a buttered dish and bake for 40 minutes. Yummers!

Some of you still are not impressed and that is just TOO bad. That means Steve and I will have Spanakopita with the greens remaining after market!

Included in the market boxes this week should also be Mizuna, spinach, lettuce, radishes, asparagus & Solomon’s seal, pea shoots and some other choices to fill out the order. And did I mention radishes? Now is the time to eat them good and sweet.

Search under tags “recipes” or “radishes” etc. to find what has been mentioned in the past. Mizuna might be new to some folks but we harvest it each year in spring and fall. I like it best in scrambled eggs, happy ones, of course.

Committed to sharing

Steve and I returned from a 2-day visit with my family in Lancaster, PA. My carry-on was stuffed with kale, pac choi, salad greens and mizuna. I had wanted to take out a lot of jams but read they are on the “List” of potential explosives so I opted not to cause a rucus. The night we arrived, I purchased a large cheese squash to sample. For those two days I cooked up a storm in order to eat everything I brought!

I attended the first sessions of the medical conference with Steve in Philadelphia or Philly, as it is commonly called. Friends from Mountain Lake have a restaurant, the Erawan, located a couple blocks from the conference center just inside Chinatown. They serve marvelous Thai food! We didn’t let anyone know we were coming since the last time they served us up a buffet on the house!

My sister and I have a goal each time we are home, to help our father “share” his stuff or downsize. It has been a long time coming but a car can now drive into the garage and the occupants can exit their own doors accordingly – whew! To celebrate the accomplishment we invited more family and I butchered the cheese squash and made a curried squash soup, whole-wheat squash yeast bread, and a grated squash cake. We also had the crustless kale quiche and a fresh salad to round out the meal. The parting of earthly belongings was lost in the wonderful flavors shared around the table and the hilarity of the moment. Such memories!

Each trip I return with more family momentos – pictures of relations 3-5 generations ago. Their faces surround me from the walls of my kitchen; their stories give me the courage and faith to walk the less traveled way.

What is to be your share this week? It is amazing but there are new things to be added to the list. Leeks weathered the drought well so there will be some this week and maybe two more times. Fall broccoli is far more chipper than the summer crop – hip hip! There should be a head for each member. Are you ready for more kale? I hope so – there are so many good recipes! Tomatoes have ripened lying around on their newspaper pads and are reasonably tasty. Radishes are coming in by the droves! Herbs, potatoes, winter squash, onions, Asian greens, head lettuce and a small bunch of salad mix should fill up your boxes.

On Wednesday, we hope to move the high tunnel off of the raspberries and onto the leeks and carrots to protect them. Most of the harvesting will be done today!

Radishes are wonderful

Do you remember singing the song about sandwiches? My middle son would ONLY eat sandwiches when we lived in Oradara, Burkina Faso; the vegetables were limited to onions, eggplant and tomato with an occasional carrot or bean. We became frutarians due to supply and demand!

Now, we live in heaven with such an abundant supply of vegetables. I’m always experimenting with new recipes and would like to pass on another one to you! First, you need to sing the sandwich song with these words: Radishes are beautiful, radishes are fine, I like radishes, I eat them all the time. I eat them for my supper and I eat them for my lunch. If I had a hundred radishes I’d eat them all at once! Haha.

We have hundreds of radishes since the heat ratcheted up to 90 degrees last week. I got on my bike and delivered extra radishes to friends! The recipe takes a twist from Martha Stewart’s Cabbage and Radish Slaw with Peanut Dressing.

In a blender: 1 inch of fresh ginger
3-4 green onions
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 rice wine vinegar ( I used tamarine juice )
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons brown sugar or sweeten to taste with honey, etc
up to 1/4 cup oil
Pour sauce over 3-4 cups sliced radishes or more and toss

We will be harvesting radishes fast and furious. Their green tops will be clipped in order for them to keep fresher for pickup. You can buy a dozen rosy radishes for a friend and then sing them the song!

The rest of the harvest should include: Dark Lollo Rossa head lettuce, salad mix, pac choi, mizuna, carrots, green onions, and herbs.

I made a most delicious nettle soup with the remaining nettles that folks opted not to take. Oh my goodness! It was wonderful. I should probably make some for tasting so that the timid folks could take the plunge!