When I stood in the aisle at Home Depot back in February, spinning the display of seeds, snow coming down in blankets over rental trucks and weekend warriors in the parking lot, I felt like a day of success in the garden was a lofty dream. I felt as I do every other Winter, as if it would never end.
I spent a majority of those frozen days cursing my cold toes and remarking at the beauty of crisp white landscapes in nearly the same breath. I was conflicted. I have a love – hate (more love than hate) kind of relationship with Winter. Judging from the posts from some of the blogs I follow from those out in the middle of the country, our Spring thaw came far sooner and judging by the sun burn on my chest from a few hours basking on the deck yesterday afternoon, it seems as though we may be on a fast track to Summer. Or maybe not.
How I love you Northeastern weather, your ability to change at the blink of an eye, or rather, at the turn of a breeze.
In love – hate situations I often try to let optimism overrule, canceling out some of the hate, minimizing it to a a mere speck of what once was ungratefulness or ignorance. Another subject that falls victim to this scenario of conflict is that of radishes. I plucked a packet of radish seeds from the display, tucked it into my basket and justified this selection with thoughts of a quick harvest. I would be able to tell early on whether or not my garden was going to produce anything worthy of consumption. I didn’t realize just how quick and mighty these little bulbs of magenta were. There fuzzy leaves were the first to climb up towards the topaz sky of early Spring. And soon, splashes of deep pink and red flashed from under clumps of dirt. The radishes are ready for harvest.
A wave of anxiety came up through the collar of my shirt, I had no idea what to with these marvels except stare, slice and add a whole lot of salt to mask the bitter bite of misconception I was holding on to.
I munched on a small sliver, anticipation bitterness and disappointment. Ready to hand the whole plate over to my radish-loving mother. Instead I savored every bit of home grown goodness (before handing off the plate to someone who looked like I was about to provide them with fine chocolate). And quickly got to thinking about the best way to add these to something elegant.
Enter Radish Quinoa Salad.
Adapted from A Couple Cooks
1 bunch radishes, greens removed
3 chives, chopped
2 tsp capers, drained
1 cup cooked quinoa
Handful of baby spinach, sliced into thin strips
2 TBSP toasted walnuts
1 cup white beans, rinsed and drained if canned
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar
squeeze of fresh lemon
salt and pepper
Cook quinoa according to package directions, allow to cool. For quick cooling, spread cooked Quinoa onto a baking dish in an even layer and allow to sit out on the counter for several minutes.
Thinly slice radishes and place them in a medium sized bowl with chives, capers, and spinach. Add ingredients for dressing, toss to coat evenly.
Mix vegetable mixture with quinoa and beans. Split onto two plates for serving, Sprinkle with toasted walnuts.