More than Rad-ish!

Oh sweet and sharp radishes – they just smile, don’t you think? There is just something about the little things. You just want to squeeze their pink cheeks, give them a penny and say “now don’t spend it all in one place.” They provide something a tad different, beautiful color and a nice snappy, spicy crunch . Little, yet mighty. Maybe that’s the root of my affection.

The variety I’m growing this year is called French Breakfast radish. For those folks who like to still use the fodder of years past, you may also refer to them as Freedom Breakfast radishes. This particular variety has a pleasant amount of spice that adds without over powering. This characteristic makes is lovely for raw snacking!

Radishes usually find their way to the dinner table folded into the leaves of lettuce and other veggie delights in a salad. Things are not always as they appear; the unassuming radish can wear many hats. Try something new. They’re great in potato salad & tuna salad or try with arugula on warm pasta. Here are some recipes for thought –

Radish Curry Saute –

-Radishes don’t have much bulk to them, so the volume in this recipe isn’t high, but it makes a great small side dish or served on top of rice. Jonathan and I gave it a thumbs up! Serves 2 – takes 15 minutes

A bunch of radishes with leaves                          

One small onion, sliced

Garlic- 2 or 3 small cloves crushed

Turmeric powder- a pinch

Mustard seeds – a pinch

Curry powder- a pinch

Salt and pepper to taste

In a pan, add some oil. When it is hot, add the mustard seeds, curry and onions. Saute until onions turn slightly brown.

Add the garlic and turmeric powder, mix up well.

Add the radishes – Cook covered for about 3-4 mins. It’s nice to have the radishes soft, yet crunchy.

After you remove the radishes onto a plate, in the same pan quickly you can saute the leaves for a few seconds and add it to the top of the radishes. Great served over rice.

Radish Top Soup – 

– I’ve made this recipe twice this week, it’s lovely. It comes out nice and hardy, like a super food soup. Ironically we’re actually experiencing bona fide soup weather, so this is June in Siskiyou County- humm? Serves 2-3

One bunch of radish greens (and or any other greens you may have)

One small onion, chopped (I made it a top – top soup and used the green tops of an onion as a substitute) 

Few cloves garlic, chopped

One medium potato, cubed

Chicken/Vegetable broth – 3 cups

Milk or Creme – 1/4 cup

Salt and Pepper to taste

Radishes, sliced for garnish * a little lemon squeezed on top was quite nice as well!

Add oil or butter to a soup pot and saute onions and garlic until aromatic.

Add potatoes and greens. Add broth and bring to boil until potatoes are tender.

Allow soup to cool slightly. Ladle into a blender and blend until smooth. Add milk and transfer back to pot to reheat.

Let The Bounty Begin –

Yes, the season is in earnest taking a shift to harvest mode. How nice to cradle green goodies in my arms as I come home. The last grocery store stop was last week; it’s solely the soul of Homeward Bounty harvest from now on. Just as rewarding, if not more, sharing with those I love. Some of the members of this year’s CSA have known me before I could eat uncooked carrots. They are family and having the privilege to provide food for their households makes me speechless. I was grinning from ear to ear, around my head and back (proceeded by another grin), when distributing the first CSA share to south Siskiyou County on Monday.

And well, you can’t have a CSA with out the quintessential CSA basket. I had been brainstorming for a while on which route to take when my sis asked if I would have use for wire baskets. Her boyfriend’s family has been farmers in Yuba City for many generations. For a while they were harvesting hundreds of acres of millet and these baskets were part of the process, now they’re just hanging out in the barn. A little doctoring up, a cloth liner to keep things clean and cool a sign (just incase you forget why a basket of food has arrived at your door) and voila – beautiful, bountiful, basket bearing buku bunches of bright ….vegetables.

It was quite the crafting process. Ahh, the marriage of crafts and farming, it can’t be paralleled by many other matches.

There will be more flirtation between craft and farm as the season continues. A project I’m very excited to develop is the seed facet of this year’s farming endeavors. I have a packet design in mind and am overjoyed to collaborate with a very very talented and dear friend Ashely Mersereau. Her sketches are like none other and will be stunning as illustrations on seed packets. Ashely visited Siskiyou on her way home to Oregon from a creative traveling adventure on the California coast. She was the inspiration for Homeward Bounty the blog, as she keeps her own blog that allowes her to share her journey with nears and dears. A recient post on her blog describes her travels to Homeward Bounty, it is accompanied by energy capturing photographs.      

We’ve always been ones to share those venerable dreams with each other and here we are manifesting and expressing. She has also migrated back to the geography that raised her and is transitioning into being a small business owner herself with her hand crafted jewelry, photographs and pen and ink drawings. Her are some moments that she captured –

Kale Yeah!

The first harvest has come and gone; the flood gate has opened and harvest knives, rubber bands, washing tables and packing tubs are floating in on it’s waves. It’s finally the time in the season where harvesting will start taking front and center, that is along with distributing produce, weeding, trellising, watering as well as sewing and prepping beds for fall crops. A mile-stone, baby farm and farmer’s first harvest composed of bunches of kale and bags of loose leaf spinach.

It was in 2005 when I first ‘ate the kale,’ something analogous to ‘drinking the koolaid.’ Of corse that was the year that I moved to Arcata. Kale may be the mascot food for the coast. On those costal farms they can grow it year round. Kale is such a beautiful and hardy green. I truly find that my body craves it. I’ve sense exposed my family and friends to this frilly leaf  wonder, the cult is growing! Kale is extremely versatile and packed with nutrients. You can steam kale, saute kale, bake kale, make an egg dish, rice dish, pasta dish,casserole, soup, lasagna, salad…you get the point; it’s as multifaceted as shrimp. There are many varieties of kale. Two common types, the types being grown on Homeward Bounty, are Red Russian and Lacinato, which is sometimes called Dinosaur kale.

Lacinato Kale

Lacinato Kale

Red Russian

Red Russian

I know that kale may be new to many, so to help you get hooked (because I know of a good source), I have compiled some of my favorite ways of preparing the one and only, extremely yummy Brassica Oleracea.

Massaged Kale Salad

1 bunch Kale

olive oil

dash salt

1/2 Tbs lemon juice (optional)

This is an Arcata classic! Tear the kale leaves from the stalks and into bite size pieces. Place kale pieces into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and lemon juice if available. Dig in with clean hands and proceed to massage your meal, this is where the Arcata bit comes into the picture! Don’t forget to give it love, thanks and positive energy. It’s probably most therapeutic for the chef, the oil even acts as a moisturizer. Massage the kale until it’s wilted and glossy, a thorough minute will do. I find that this method almost gives the kale a seaweed texture. It comes out divine! I recommend adding pumpkin seeds, grated beets and carrots, avocado and your favorite dressing.

Kale Chips –

Kale Chips

Kale Chips

1 bunch Kale

olive oil

dash salt

parchment paper (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove kale from the stem. A good technique of doing this is by grabbing the stem from the bottom and running your hand across the rib instantly separating the leaves. Break the kale up into chip size pieces. Toss kale in a bowl with olive oil and salt until thoroughly coated. Place kale on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper if you like for easy clean. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until crisp.  *Grind kale chips into flakes and add to popcorn..oooh-la-la!

Kale can be dressed up or kept simple. I’m sure it can be found on the menus of some of the nicest city restaurants. At the same time it packs light, stays crisp and makes a lovely addition to any camping adventure. Here are some of kales most recent adventures, a snowy hike up to Beautiful Porcupine Lake – yumm!

Now that’s fine dining!