Storyboard: Radish

Radish StoryBoard (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

We’ve Been Taking You For Granted, Radish

The name “radish” comes from the Latin word for root, it’s actually part of the mustard family. Given the radish’s spicy flavor, it’s easy to see the family resemblance. Radishes are a cool season vegetable. In the hot temperatures and long sunny days of summer they become pithy and aggressively spicy. Though radishes can be found in markets year-round, their peak season is early spring and late fall. I think we take radishes for granted because mediocre specimens are found so easily throughout the year. We forget the joy of this early season vegetable harvested when it’s too cold for other vegetables and fruits. In the cool, wet days of early spring, pulling a bright red radish from the soil is enough to make me giddy. It feels like finding gold.

I encourage you to grow your own, or at least get them from a local farmer. Radishes are a great confidence builder for beginning gardeners. They grow quickly, maturing in about 4 weeks, and tolerate frost well. Enjoy the radishes with butter and make a salad or soup from the green tops.

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Cook in the Moment: Radishes & Peas

 

Bonjour radish! Meet Monsieur pea- you two look great together!

My recipe for ‘Spring Radish & Pea Salad’ was inspired by vibrant color and the delicious combination of spicy and sweet. Peppery radishes and sweet peas are a celebration of spring when plated together. Crème fraîche binds the salad and balances the crisp vegetables with creamy tanginess. Lemon zest adds color and lemony aroma without acidity. Finish the salad with a sprinkling of dill, the happy go lucky spring herb. Though the recipe below serves 2 people generously, you can easily increase the ingredients to serve more people. The crème fraîche dressing is meant to lightly coat the vegetables, so don’t overdo it when increasing the recipe quantities.

 

Spring Radish & Pea Salad

 

1 small shallot

a splash of white wine vinegar

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10 Ways Tuesdays: Radish

I’ve come up with 10 ways to use radishes in your spring pantry:

 

1.  Just as they are

It’s a bit painful to suggest anything more than enjoying radishes just as they are. A bowl of radishes on the table with best quality butter and sea salt is simply perfect. In his book, The Whole Beast Nose to Tail Eating, Fergus Henderson suggests enjoying the radishes with butter and serving the radish greens on the side dressed in Dijon vinaigrette.

2.  Salad

The internet is full of recipes for radish salads, but all you need to think about is ingredients that would best compliment the spicy flavor and crisp texture of radishes. Rich, creamy avocado, citrus, and fresh herbs like chive, cilantro, or mint combine beautifully with radishes.

3.  Potato Salad

I came across a recipe in the Blackberry Farm cookbook for potato salad with creamy green goddess dressing and radishes. Spinach, tarragon, and basil contribute color and bright, herbal flavor to the dish. Soft boiled potatoes are a nice foil to the raw crunchy radish.

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Ingredient of the Week: Radish

Ingredient Of The Week : Radish (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

I must say I’m sorry. I know the “pantry” generally refers to a place for storing ingredients that are not fresh but dry or preserved and will keep for awhile. Here at LaDomestique, I choose to take a more liberal approach to the pantry. It’s just that I am feeling intense passion for my radishes right now and I need to share it with you. Is that ok? I hope so.

You see, we had a full week of rain in Colorado (very unusual).  When I visited my garden yesterday the radishes were ready to harvest. I just can’t believe how lovely these little darlings are. Just seven weeks ago I planted the tiny, ambiguous radish seeds in my community garden plot. “Will these little seeds grow?” I thought. It’s hard to believe such a minute speck could grow into a radish. Gardening is like being a child again, observing the power of nature with hope and wonder. It’s a reminder that as adults we are not masters of the universe. Growing vegetables is faith and hope and waiting. Yesterday, as I gently pulled my radishes from the soil I felt giddy- the radishes are here!  Those little seeds really grew! I felt the pride and joy of a new mother, “Isn’t it beautiful? My little radish. You are the cutest most wonderful radish that ever lived! You will grow up and do great things, radish!” Ok, I’m totally losing control here.

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Friday: Pairing Cheese & Drinks, Colorado style

Today at LaDomestique, I’ve got a couple of cheese and drink pairings for you. In the spirit of a week spent on Colorado goat cheese, I stayed local and chose beer and wine made in Colorado. I hope this encourages you to go out and discover pairings to go with your favorite cheeses. Despite what others may say, there are no rules to perfect pairings. One of my great passions is the magic that happens when I discover a beautiful food and wine (or beer) pairing. A Chef I worked with once said, “A good pairing is when you can’t tell where the food ends and the wine begins”. A few suggestions to help you on your journey:

  • What grows together goes together
    Food and drink produced in the same area share the same terroir, or sense of place. The Loire Valley in France is home to crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc wines that pair beautifully with the local goat cheese. Look for opportunities to pair ingredients in your local area.
  • Balance
    Being well balanced is a revered quality in food and wine. No one component is overwhelming and all flavors can be appreciated by the palate. Kind of like people- it’s generally easier to be friends with someone who is well balanced. In the world of flavor creaminess is balanced by acidity, saltiness is balanced by sweetness, etc. Seek balance in your cheese and wine pairings.
  • Opposites Attract
    This is similar to balance. If the cheese is pungent, try a fortified, sweet wine. A rich, buttery cheese can pair well with a crisp, acidic white.
  • Samesies
    You can seek out a complimentary pairing where there is harmony between the cheese and wine. The  lemony flavor of chèvre is enhanced by an acidic white wine. Each ingredient gets along well. Today I paired a strong, pungent cheese with a full bodied, intensely hoppy beer. It works.

That’s all you need to know to go forth and start pairing. Try new things and develop your palate. Bon appetit!

 

Mojo India Pale Ale with Haystack Mountain Red Cloud

The Cheese

Haystack Mountain Red Cloud

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