Monday, July 28, 2014

A Romantically Farm Fresh Breakfast

There are certain times, when I think it's okay to romanticize the farming/gardening lifestyle. 

For instance, on a summer morning, when you realize that you can walk right outside your door, and gather enough food for breakfast, and that it couldn't possibly be any fresher. I don't think it will ever get old. I'll always feel like a garden-harvesting-virgin this time of year...*sigh*... what was I talking about?

Oh yes, it's the stuff fantasies are made of.

 The snap of the crisp scarlet red stem as you harvest some swiss chard... with it's red veins artfully contrasting against the shiny, dew-covered, dark green leaves, it's almost too beautiful to pick.

Snipping off a generous bunch of chives, which you know will taste amazing with those fresh eggs that you just collected, still warm in your hand...

Casually pulling up a recently flowered potato plant to collect those tender new potatoes as your stomach growls for a carb fix...

And tossing into your bowl or basket some nasturtiums, because they're really starting to bloom prolifically now. And who doesn't like flowers with their breakfast?

And then, you just go inside and throw it all into a pan together... with a little cutting and planning first, but not much.

And you know that you have created a meal that could not possibly be any fresher. No nutrients had time to deteriorate. No flavors had a chance to fade. You probably even consumed some dirt. From farm, to table.

What really gets me, and what I wish I had realized about 10 years ago, is that everyone can do this, at least to some degree. All it takes, is a small yard, to grow a garden and raise a few chickens for fresh eggs, vegetables, berries (maybe next year?), etc. Even apartment dwellers can garden in containers. It's not the cultural norm, to garden so intensively... but I think it should be.

Now, lets see how I feel this coming Winter, as I attempt to grow some cool-season crops, and I'm gardening in snow boots and gloves... still romantic? It doesn't hurt to fantasize...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Simply Roasted Radishes

My life has been forever changed.

Since I learned that radishes can be cooked, that is. Really... I only thought people ate them raw until recently. Didn't you? 

I believe it was Megan at Linn Acres Farm who first let me in on this little secret. She's a smart one. I vowed that I would try it this growing season, as in the past, I have quickly grown tired of those prolific, crisp, delicious, yet sometimes overly spicy root vegetables. I even contemplated not growing them this year! I'm so glad that I opened my mind to eating them another way.

It's July in Maine, and the harvest is only just beginning for us, yet those ruby red roots have been making an appearance on my plate for weeks now- and now that I've discovered how good they taste when roasted in the oven, none of them have gone to waste.

When cooked, they magically mellow and lose most of their spiciness. Where I can usually only tolerate a few of them raw, I can eat a whole plate full of them cooked. Their insides take on a melt-in-your-mouth quality, and the flavor resembles that of a turnip, or rutabaga. I first tried them sauteed, which was delicious. But I love to roast vegetables due to the fact that it's as easy as tossing them in some butter or oil, and throwing them in a pan. You don't even have to cut them up, if they're small, as radishes often are. I'm always looking for healthy fast-food, and this fits the description. 

If you're anything like I was, you're slightly perplexed, and wondering how to cook something that you've always enjoyed raw. Well, I'll tell you. My favorite way, is as easy as it gets!

Simply Roasted Radishes

  • Prepare Radishes by washing. If they're large, cut them in halves, or quarters to reduce roasting time.

  • Toss them in a pan, with some butter or oil, and salt and pepper if you want to get fancy.

  • Roast at 425 degrees, turning them a couple of times, so they don't stick, and get a nice, even roast. 

  • Take them out when they're fork-tender, and sizzling beautifully! I always forget to time them... maybe around 30 minutes? There's a reason why this isn't a cooking blog. I have an aversion to timing or measuring anything... sorry... but I swear, you can't mess this up!

Go ahead. Try cooking your radishes. It might just change your life, too!