The Kitchen Sink

For the love of food, life and everything in between.

Category: Gardening

Radish Quinoa Salad

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.

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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.

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How I love you Northeastern weather, your ability to change at the blink of an eye, or rather, at the turn of a breeze.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Enter Radish Quinoa Salad.

Adapted from A Couple Cooks

Serves 2

Ingredients

For Salad

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

For Dressing

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp white wine vinegar

squeeze of fresh lemon

salt and pepper

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Directions

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.

SFG {Square Foot Garden} Update + We Have Radishes!

I feel that too often I start off my posts with a confession. It quickly brings on a fear that someone will think that I am so pretentious and self-touting that I need lay it all out there in this little corner of the internet that I reside in. There you go folks, I did it again, I confessed as a start to my post.

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I can’t say what imaginary rule led me to believe this confession nonsense wasn’t necessarily the most appropriate way to start off a post. So while I’m at it, here’s another confession for you, in case you haven’t already figured this out, when it comes to blogging, I really have no idea what I’m doing. I think that’s part of the reason I gain so much satisfaction from it. It’s a project and a challenge and after each post a mysterious wave of belonging, creativity and satisfaction comes over me.

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Sometimes I get to wandering from blog to blog, attempting to measure myself up to those that do this for a living, or those that have been so fortunate to have a professional design the layout of their blog, or those that just seem have the most beautiful pictures and words tied together with copious amounts of creativity. I fight off the urge to say, what am I doing here creating my own food blog? But the truth is (ah, another confession), I feel comforted by the fact that for once in my life, I am okay with not being “the best” at something and rather I am one of many, many fish in this large, crowded pond of food bloggers. To feel so small while being a part of something larger than yourself can be quite nice sometimes.

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Two years ago was the first year I really got into gardening. Sure, I’d always attempted a few potted plants, adopted a pansy or two in need from the wilted black thumb of my mother. This year I decided to “do it right.” For heaven’s sake, I bought a book. I knew I needed a book after last year’s exquisitely small broccoli florets turned wild yellow flowering bush – yikes we missed the harvest, debacle.

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So while there is no recipe to share today, I thought I’d just take the time to share a few pictures from the garden. I love the beauty in such small details.

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And I love that I was so excited to rip the first ripe radishes from the ground and get to slicing and munching that I completely forgot to have my camera ready and so instead I must share a snap shot courtesy of my iPhone.

 

Square Foot Garden Update

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Regretfully, today wasn’t the kind of day that I spent all day outside, appreciating Mother Earth. Soaking up rays and Vitamin D, basking in the blooms of spring or even walking barefoot in grass in need of a trim wasn’t on my agenda. The gusts off the river kicked up white caps and my ears rang when I retreated indoors. While it’s not as if we have snow on the ground or anything, it wasn’t exactly the most balmy of spring days.

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In honor of this day I thought I would share a little square foot garden (SFG) update.

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The last two nights have brought temps that dipped into the lower thirties/upper twenties. This of course was not something I anticipated as I planted my seeds in shorts and a tee just about two weeks ago. The frost advisory had us quickly turning to Google for the quickest way to save our sprouts. Hay wasn’t an option as the sun set over the back stonewall, casting a deep shadow on the garden. A layer of leaves were feasible but sounded messy and a bit time consuming. Plastic bottles with the tops sliced off to cover the seedlings sounded nice, except we had only a few bottles and many sprouted tufts of beginner radishes and kale. An old comforter from a Macy’s Bed in a Bag circa 1998 and a tarp pulled from the garage seemed to be our best option.

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I would be lying if the scene from Gilmore Girls didn’t cross my mind. You know the one were Jackson, Sookie, Michael, and Lorelai sleep atop/beside the beloved zucchini monitoring for frost for the sake of an unscathed crop?


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(Photo courtesy of FanPop.com)

Though tonight may bring another evening of “tucking the garden into bed” so to speak, the comforter/tarp method appears to be saving the young leaves and for that I am thankful.


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Seeds planted so far include kale, lettuce, beets, carrots, radishes and sugar snap peas.

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Peppers have not been transplanted yet, as they are still snuggled up under the artificial warm glow in the living room.


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May will bring the opportunity to plant winter squash, cucumbers and miniature pumpkins for a fall harvest.

Sunday Square Foot Garden Start Up


On a Friday not so long ago (let’s say early March), we awoke to a ground covered in fresh white powder, with several inches still to fall in the midday hours. It didn’t seem like the greatest day to head to the garden center, but it was the plan for our day off. The 4’ x 4’ frame had been built and we’d picked up our own copy of Mel Bartholomew’s second edition of All New Square Foot Gardening.

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The green house at the garden center was eerily vacant with piles of pots and beginnings of spring showcases yet to be built. With list in hand we lugged cubic foot after cubic foot of soil components to the counter top and then, with the Jeep in four wheel drive, we sauntered back to the house in search of warmth and shelter.

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The bags of peat moss and vermiculite and soil would sit in the basement untouched for several weeks.

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Today, the temperature just barely made it to fifty degrees and with the wind a bit gusty it felt more like it should have back in early March. Chilly air aside, it was time to fill the frame and lay the groundwork for the square foot garden.

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The most challenging part so far has been finding compost. We did our best though, finding three varieties as well as a potting soil mix that supposedly tries to accomplish the mixture we were creating of equal parts peat moss, vermiculite and compost.

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This little sprout was hitching a ride in there.

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After mixing the soil ingredients with the help of a large tarp and some adequate watering to settle the dust, we headed indoors with flushed cheeks to sort seeds and plan out our square foot plots.

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Here’s the first draft.

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As I admired the excel spreadsheet I thought, if even one seedling sprouts I will be happy. After all, this is only my second attempt at gardening.

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May the bright and sunny disposition of these daffodils bring you happiness and hope as you embark on another Monday!