Don’t Toss those Radish Greens.


It’s now June, the sun is warm and the garden is in. I thought I had the itch last year, ripping out spaces in the yard to add more life, but it must have been the tomatoes that inspired this year’s dig.

I live on your typical, smallish urban yard with a street out front and a patch of grass for sinking my toes into and a bit of Joneses decor. The house is west facing so I wake with the sun and enjoy the cool shade the houseprint leaves in the backyard during the afternoons. The only thing was the tomatoes weren’t loving the dark, temperate breezes. For those of you who have had the luck to enjoy a warm summer tomato, you will understand my next move.

As a late birthday gift to myself this spring, I shocked the next door neighbour and ordered a few loads of soil. With it’s blazing sunshine and ample room for my tomatoes, the front yard just had to go. As I poked and turned the earth, I found a new plot for my tomatoes and I was left with the cool spaces in the back garden. Room now for things I hadn’t grown before. Direct from Monticello, are the heirloom peas, a few rows red carrots, spinach, rocket and White Hailstone Radishes.

I’m not infatuated with radishes, especially the spicy, red and mealy grocery store variety I grew up on, but when they’re fresh, topping buttered bread with a little salt? Yum. With this little space and reading that radishes can grow from seed to harvest in about three weeks, I couldn’t resist to try. After a few days of rain, the row billowed and I could see the hail sized spheres pushing from the ground. I didn’t think I’d be able to eat that many tea sandwiches in one sitting, so after a nibble I snipped the tops and pickled the bottoms in a drowning of rice wine vinegar, salt and sugar. But, don’t any of you dare think that I’m going get my hands dirty, poke seeds into the ground, water and baby these tiny vegetables just to toss the tops. No, no.

I’d once read that, although most greens are discarded, they are mostly all edible. Radishes are no exception. Blessed with the spiciness of their in-ground counterparts, I figured they would be tasty in a quick sauté or a soup.

Unbelievably simple, this soup was amazingly tempting.

RADISH GREENS SOUP

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Shallot, finely chopped
2 Cups Radish Greens, roughly chopped, packed
2 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
Sea Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Fresh Chives for serving

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; add finely diced shallots.
Sauté, stirring often, until shallots are soft and translucent.
Add the radish greens and wilt, then add the stock.
Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the chopped parsley and mint. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Remove from heat; purée with an immersion blender or in blender, in batches.
Top with with freshly chopped chives just prior to serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Waste Not.


Have a kid who won’t eat crusts? I do. So instead of having it continuously irritate me, I’ve decided to please both parties.

I was inspired after reading this New York Times article about wasted food. Where I’m really happy I live in an area which makes us separate so they can collect our organic waste, I was still annoyed at the pile of crusts at the end of most every lunch.
Determined to end the fight but win the battle, I started cutting the crusts from my Darling’s cucumber sandwiches. This little princess must have thought she’d died and gone to heaven, but dare she know that I was storing the crusts in the freezer and watching them accumulate.

Knowing they wouldn’t go bad in the freezer, like the brown bananas, and vegetable scraps before them, they were ready and on hand for anything I might be ready for like, crumbs, croutons or bread pudding.

Bread pudding that her highness had little trouble polishing off for dessert.

Now I just have to plan for those cherry pits.
For other great grocery money saving tips, check out the article put together over at Everyday Food.

CHERRY CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING

4oz Semi Sweet Chocolate, roughly chopped
2 Cups Bread (Crusts), any kind, whole wheat, flax, oat, just be sure it’s at least a day old and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
1 Cup Soy Milk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Brandy
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Arrowroot Powder, cornstarch will work as a substitute
Pinch of Salt
1 Cup Fresh Cherries, pitted & roughly chopped – dried may be substituted when out of season
3 Tablespoons Cocoa Nibs, very optional but quite delicious

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Cube the bread and set aside in a large bowl.
Melt chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water (or in a double boiler), stirring occasionally until smooth.
Measure milk in a pourable measuring cup.
Add the vanilla, brandy, sugar, salt and arrowroot powder, stirring well to incorporate and dissolve the arrowroot powder.
Pit the cherries, I used the flat side of my chef’s knife to pop the cherry open and the pit little more than a flick from your fingertips.
Roughly chop the cherries, reserving as much of the juice as possible.
Pour the milk mixture over the cubed bread, then add the cherries and their juice along with the cocoa nibs, if using.
Toss well to coat the bread and to soak up the liquid.
Drizzle over the melted chocolate, stirring well to combine.
Pour mixture into a short baking dish or divide between 4 – 1 cup ramekins.
Bake for 15 minutes.

Best served warm and with just about any ice cream you like.