This morning I went to my community garden plot around the corner before I got ready to head into Georgetown to volunteer at The Lantern Bookshop.
I ws delghted to find enough snowpeas for a good-sized stir-fry and several zucchini almost ready to be picked (I only get zucchini at the very beginning of the season before the squash borers invade, but if I start early enough, I can get a few pounts of squash and a couple of meals worth of blossoms before I surrender and plant something else).
The tomatoes were flourishing (no sign of blight. If you have your own plants, keep an eye close for blight; it’s aleady been seen in Maryland. Cherry tomatoes are more resistant, so I’ve concentrated on those).
I should have the first cucumbers big enough to pick next week, and I have plenty of lettuce.
The radishes, though, had exploded. “Should I have a radish-themed dinner party?” I thought. “What am I going to do with all of them?” I am not especially fond of radishes. I plant them because they mature very early, they thrive on benign neglect, I have friends who like them, and they give the same crunch I’d prefer from a cucumber weeks earlier.
I’ve also discovered I like them cooked. Just as you can prepare turnips and their greens together, it also works well with radishes.
As I was walking home with a bunch of radishes that I could hardly get my hands around, I bumped into a neighbor. I don’t know her well, just recognize her face. “Do you want some radishes?” I asked, hoping I did not sound like I was begging. She hesitated, but then seemed to realize that she would be doing me a great service by accepting them. “You can cook the greens,” I said as I handed her a nice-sized bunch, “and also the radishes themselves if they are too strong.”
“I’ve never done that,” she said.
Here’s the recipe I gave her on the street (with a little more detail here):
Wash radishes and their greens well. Cut radishes into thick coins (this works best with oblong radishes sich as French Breakfast). Cut off the white part of stem nearest radish. Then cut the bunch horizontally so that you have half inch wide shreds. Mince some garlic, onion, and ginger. Stir-fry aromatics in peanut, safflower, or canola oil until translucent. Add the radish coins and stir until well-coated with oil. Add greens, stirring continuously until all the greens are wilted. Add some rice wine vinegegar and cook until absorbed and the grrens are just tender. Take off heat and sprinkle with soy sauce or Bragg’s Amino Liquid and toasted sesame oil to taste.
“What a nice morning,” my neighbor said, “fresh radishes from the garden and a recipe.