Saturday, June 23, 2018

Roasted Radishes


It is Summer, and all of the Farmers' Markets are in full swing. Our Town market opened just last Wednesday. It's always such a treat to be able to obtain really fresh, organic produce and know that you are also supporting a local business. 

So, one of the first crops to emerge is radishes.

Radishes. Whenever I see red radishes, I think of my mom. She loved fresh radishes and spoke fondly of her childhood on the farm, plucking tiny young radishes from the earth, rubbing them briefly on her sleeve to remove the dirt, and eating them warm from the ground. 

In our home, there was never a green salad on our table without slices of radish. They always appeared in her potato salad. And a "special occasion" dinner was never without a plate of carrots, celery, and radish "roses".


Honestly, I never cared for them. Too hot and peppery. 

At our Market last week, local farmers were displaying ripe berries, rhubarb, spinach, peas...and radishes. But not the red-hot veggies of my childhood. These were enticing little pastel globes--light and dark pink, white and bluish-purple. And, they called to me, they lured me, and before I could come to my senses I found myself walking home with a plastic bag of these lovely little roots.

I washed one and took a bite--it was wonderfully crisp and sweet, but still had the peppery bite I remembered. I know that one way to tame the heat of garlic is to cook it slowly--either roasting or with a brief saute. So I wondered if the same could be done with radishes. Here's what I did:


Ingredients

  • 1 bunch (about 1 pound) assorted small radishes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Wash the radishes. Cut off the root ends and the tops, leaving about 1/2 inch of the stem. Dry and then place in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle oil and melted butter on top, and then sprinkle with sea salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  3. Bake in preheated oven 10-15 minutes.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Perfect Rhubarb Crumble Pie


I love rhubarb--tart, tangy ruby-red rhubarb. It's one of the first plants to pop up in my Springtime garden. Actually, it's the only food crop that appears in my garden at any time of year. I live in "deer country".



Bambi and company don't just wander through occasionally. They live here. In the morning they munch on the salal, at noon they frolic through the flower beds after a short nap on the back lawn, and in the evening they bed down under the cedars.
Nothing is off-limits to our four-hooved friends....nothing, that is, except for the rhubarb.


Spring in our part of the world is cool and rainy. I'm thankful that we are not blanketed with snow, but the days can seem rather dreary; at times the gray skies are a bit depressing. However those cool rains reward us with a fresh new crop of rhubarb just begging to be picked, so today I gathered a few plump stalks and decided to prepare one of my family's favorites -- rhubarb crumble pie.

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour 15 min
Cook time: 50 min
Ready in: 2 hours 5 min
Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tsp. cornstarch
  • 4 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a large mixing bowl. Add rhubarb slices and toss until all slices are covered with sugar-cornstarch mixture. Set aside for about 10 minutes or until sugar appears moist.
  2. Place rhubarb-sugar-cornstarch mixture in unbaked pastry shell.
  3. Place flour, butter or margarine, and brown sugar in another mixing bowl. Cut butter into flour and sugar with a pastry blender until mixture has the appearance of coarse crumbs. Place this crumble mixture atop rhubarb in the pastry shell, spreading to evenly cover rhubarb.
  4. Chill prepared pie in refrigerator for one hour. (This resting time will allow the cornstarch to begin to thicken the pie filling).
  5. After one hour, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake pie in preheated oven for 50 minutes or until crumble topping and pastry edges appear golden brown.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Each of Us Matters

I was going to write about baking a rhubarb pie, but not today. Two hours before I sat down to write this post, I heard the news that Anthony Bourdain had died alone in a hotel room in southeast France. Of course, I never met him, but I fell under his spell when I read his breakout tell-all of the food industry "Kitchen Confidential." 



Anthony was more than a bit rough around the edges; he told it like it is with no hesitation. One who did know him was  Sam Sifton, the Food Editor for the New York Times. Sam wrote this when he heard the sad news:


Anthony Bourdain is dead at 61, and it's hardly a good morning at all. He was a toweringly good reporter and interviewer, a brilliant, caustic, funny writer, and Exhibit A in the argument that food and travel journalism is above all else journalism about culture. Bourdain knew that going places and eating things, asking questions all the while, would always be the best way to start telling the stories of the world. 
Those stories were empathetic. Bourdain often spoke and wrote for those who had no voice and against those whose voices silenced others. It's a shame this one ends the way it does, alone in a hotel room. 
Be kind to others today and always. And please, if you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
 “As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.” --Anthony Bourdain

Saturday, June 2, 2018

How To Create a Knock-out Planter



I have a good friend who was employed at a local greenhouse. He told me that there is a recipe that will insure a standout planter. He told me "use a thriller, some fillers, and some spillers".
  • Thrillers are usually vertical, such as phormium, canna, calla pennisetum or upright fuchsia (Fuchsia triphylla 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt')
  • Fillers tend to be horizontal or weaving, such as heliotrope, osteospermum, petunia, coleus or impatiens
  • Spillers are cascading, such as helichrysum, ipomea or callibrachoa.
Here are some suggestions:

dahlia
THRILLERS
  • Agave
  • Angelonia
  • Bamboo
  • Banana
  • Canna
  • Corydalis
  • Dahlia (upright varieties)
  • Dracena
  • Elephant ear (taro)
  • Fuchsia (upright varieties)
  • Grasses
  • Hibiscus
  • Millet
  • Papyrus
  • Phormium (New Zealand flax)
begoia
FILLERS
  • Argyranthemum (Marguerite daisy)
  • Begonia
  • Caladium
  • Coleus
  • Diascia (twinspur)
  • Euphorbia (especially Diamond Frost)
  • Impatiens
  • Nasturtium (mounding types)
  • Nemesia
  • Osteospermum (African daisy osteospermum)
  • Pelargonium (geranium)
  • Petunia
  • Salvia (small-flowered types)
  • Verbena

callibrachoa

SPILLERS
  • Callibrachoa
  • Dichondra
  • Helichrysum (licorice plant)
  • Ipomoea (sweet potato vine)
  • Lobelia
  • Torenia (wishbone flower)
Plan for the future - Those cute little seedlings in 4- or 6-inch pots might be 3 feet tall by end of the season. Consider ultimate growth, shape, and whether the plant will remain upright, grow bushy, or be a trailer that tumbles over the edge.

Will they play together well? – Combining sun-lovers with “stay-in-the-shaders”, or thirsty annuals with drought tolerant succulents is a sure recipe for disaster. Pay attention to the growing conditions of your plants.

Appreciate the differences – Have you ever noticed a planter that just knocked your socks off? What was so appealing? A pot of yellow pansies is lovely, but consider how much more attractive it could be by adding a few plants that have different textures, leaf shapes, heights?

Go bold – Play with color. I would never wear purple and orange together, but somehow in the world of flowers I’ve never met a “bad” combination.  Or for an equally stunning (but exact opposite) arrangement, select one color, but see how many different plants, with variety of texture and height, you can find at your local nursery.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Memorial Day

The focus for many people this weekend will be on barbecues, store sales, and the unofficial beginning of Summer. But what does Memorial Day mean to you? 

Observed on the last Monday of May, you're probably aware that the holiday honors the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military. But how much do you actually know about the holiday and its origins?

This observance began in the late 1860's, following the American Civil War, and was deemed "Decoration Day." Union General John A. Logan called for an official nationwide day of remembrance on May 30, 1868, a date chosen because it wasn't the anniversary of a particular battle.
“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” - James A. Garfield, May 30, 1868 Arlington National Cemetery
It wasn't until 1950 that Congress passed a resolution requesting that the President issue a proclamation calling on Americans to observe Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace.






"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, 
give him power."- Abraham Lincoln (Civil War)

“The old men were still running the country. The politicians who had caused millions of deaths were now celebrating, as if they had done something wonderful.” ― Ken FollettFall of Giants (World War I)

“This is no war of chieftains or of princes, of dynasties or national ambition; it is a war of peoples and of causes. There are vast numbers, not only in this Island but in every land, who will render faithful service in this war, but whose names will never be known, whose deeds will never be recorded. This is a War of the Unknown Warriors” ― Winston S. Churchill (World War II)

“There is an old saying that goes 'Start by plucking a hair, end by killing a man'. It is also said, 'Two hands must meet to make a sound'. The atrocities that happened here weren't carried out by strangers - it was us, the people who'd once lived together harmoniously in the same village."

"They say it was the superstitious freaks who did it.""No, it was Satan who did it.""Come now, what sort of a ghost is that?" Ryu Yosop replied, "It is the black thing that lives in the heart of every man.” ― Hwang Sok-yongThe Guest (Korea)

“There are days when I almost forget that I fought in that war. It was such a long time ago. I was young, so young. And all that's left of my youth is in my head. You know, the head, it's like a map. Not a map that gives you directions, but a map with names on it–names of guys who were killed in the war, names of the people you left behind, names of countries and villages and cities. Names. After all these years, that's all that's left. Names. But no directions. And no way to reach them, no way to get back what you lost.”― Benjamin Alire SáenzNames on a Map (Vietnam)



Saturday, May 19, 2018

Retro Recipe to Remember Mom

Today is my mom's birthday and to celebrate, I think I'll bake a batch of these rolls that were her specialty. 

She started baking these sweet rolls when they appeared in a Pillsbury bake-off cookbook as a 1955 Grand Prize Winner. Pillsbury has updated the recipe, and the link for that is here. However, I'm going to share the original with you below.



Ingredients

  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup hot scalded milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 unbeaten eggs
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • nut filling (below)
Instructions
  1. Soften yeast in warm water; set aside.
  2. Combine butter and scalded milk in large mixing bowl. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. Add sugar, salt and eggs.
  4. Stir in flour to form a stiff dough. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
  5. Prepare nut filling
  6. Roll out dough on floured surface to a 22x12-inch rectangle. Spread half of dough along long side with filling. Fold uncovered dough over filling.
  7. Cut crosswise into 1-inch strips. Twist each strip 4 or 5 times. Then hold one end down on greased baking sheet for center of roll. Curl remaining strip around center on baking sheet as for a pinwheel, tucking other end under. Cover.
  8. Let rise in warm place until light and doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.
  9. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. 
Nut filling - Cream 1/3 cup butter. Blend in 1 cup sifted confectioners sugar. Add 1 cup walnuts, ground or chopped very fine.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Other Side of Mother's Day


I created an entry on this blog for Mother's Day, a message of love and happiness. I was ready to publish it this weekend, and then I saw a post from a dear friend on Facebook. She has suffered miscarriage after miscarriage; late last year there was an ectopic pregnancy. Mother's Day is a day of loss for her--grief, anger, overwhelming sadness and feelings of failure mark this day for she and countless others

Here are the words from that Facebook posting:


To the mother with an aching heart on Mothers’ Day.

Some days it feels like your pain is invisible.

It feels like this is too heavy to bear. 
It feels like the grief wants to swallow you whole. 
We see you.

Maybe you only knew their heartbeat. 
Maybe you held them in your arms. 
Maybe it happened yesterday or 30 years ago. 
We know you don’t forget. 
We want you to know that neither do we.

We see your pain, and we see your tremendous, unbreakable, never-ending love . 
A love that is stronger than pain, 
stronger than disappointment, 
even stronger than death.

Even though you might not feel like it 
Mothers’ Day belongs to you too. 
Today especially, we want you to know; 
you are seen.

You matter.

You are still their mom.

You are never alone.

From one mother to another, you are loved.