Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What the heck is that stuff?

I just finished breakfast yesterday morning out the backyard.  It's a peaceful spot, before the heat of the day.  Sip my tea and linger with the paper.  I looked up at the garden plot and noticed an enormous stand of green leaves where the cucumbers and eggplant are supposed to be.  "What the heck is that stuff?"   
A few sad radishes with a spectacular head of leaves. 
Plus and early tomato, the first of the snap peas,
and some mustard greens

Radishes.  I'd planted some radishes.  They were supposed to be long white radishes.  But the problem with radishes is that they grow underground, so how are you supposed to know when they're ready?  In the past, when I'd grown globular red radishes, they pushed their shoulders out of the ground when they were ready, so you knew. These hadn't done that.

We had a good rain last week, and it's been sunny and hot all weekend.  What had been a five foot row of struggling radishes turned into a forest of radish greens.  But were any actual radishes underneath?  One had pretty yellow flowers, so I figured those were long gone.

I pulled them all up and found six that looked like they could qualify as real radishes, but they were only a few inches long rather than the five inches promised on the seed packet.  And many more were just little scraggly radish wannabees. 

But while the radishes were disappointing, the radish greens had promise  Now, "what the heck do I do with this stuff"?   I was pretty sure I could eat them. 

The Internet to the rescue, especially, where I discovered that the leaves are a bit prickly, but once they're cooked the prickliness goes away, they're tasty, and they're not as bitter or peppery as you might imagine.  Comparisons were made to turnip greens.  And I like those.

I gave them a good wash in the sink to remove any dirt, pulled off the really thick stalks, put them still wet in a large sauteuse pan, covered, and steamed for a few minutes until they wilted.  Just like spinach.

And they tasted just like spinach.  No bite at all. Silky smooth, no prickles.  And the stems weren't tough at all.

Radish greens, leftover smoked pork, onions and garlic, with a touch
of passion fruit vinegar to brighten.
It was way too much for one meal.  So I took about a third of it to add to some of the leftover smoked pork from the weekend, a sliced onion, and a little garlic.  A meal for a hot day!  A little passion fruit vinegar brightened it up just  a bit.

The rest went into a ziplock bag, into the freezer for another day.

The garden's really coming in.  The Swiss chard has finally taken hold. The Portuguese kale and the collards are heading for their third pruning, and the single zucchini plant is going to produce plenty for the two of us.  More to follow.

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