How Does My Spring Garden Grow

The radishes are ready. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. It’s the small things, I know.

You can hate radishes. That’s OK. I used to hate radishes too. They were either bitter or woody. Or just some sort of afterthought on a salad. Once you grow a vegetable, however, you are invested. I it is no longer the produce department reject. It is YOURS. You  coaxed a seed into a sprout into a radish. In May. When the only thing growing is the grass. The peonies aren’t even open yet.

And yet, there it is. A radish. Perfect in its red, white, and green.

Every year I get excited when I plant a vegetable, it grows, and  I can eat it. Some years, I’ve been so amazed, that I couldn’t bring myself to eat it. It was just so amazingly beautiful.

OK. I’m a vegetable geek. I blame it on 6 months of grey skies, snow, and rain.

Anyway, these little guys are delightful paired with a honeydew melon and cucumber salad.

The cucumbers aren’t mine and neither is the honeydew. The cucumbers are local, however. They are grown at Walker Farms in Edinboro. Honeydew won’t be around here for another couple of months. But the mint and basil are mine.

The recipe is pretty simple. Cut up melon (any kind), cucumber (peeled), and toss with basil and mint. Add radish, if you like. Squeeze some lemon juice on top. Salt and pepper to taste.

My garden currently has cucumbers, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, chard, arugula, kale, eggplant, and beets planted. It will be awhile before anything else is ready. Until then, I make do with whats available.

The recipe I’ve included today has been in my “to try” folder for several months. I finally remembered why I had Tater Tots in the freezer and pulled them out. Essentially, the tots are a shortcut to a thick potato pancake, which can be topped with all kinds of ingredients. I made one with salmon and caviar for my daughter. Mine had prosciutto, brie, mustard, and arugula. We could only eat half – consider that fair warning – but the leftovers worked well the next day for breakfast.

Once potatoes are in season, I’ll be adding a similar recipe (no tots, but sliced potatoes cooked until crisp) to the Meadballs menu for delivery in the fall. Until then … See you at the farm stands soon.

Marnie

Marnie@meadballs.com

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Tater Tot Waffle with Salmon and Caviar
Instructions
  1. This step is the same for either recipe: Heat an 8-inch waffle iron. Coat waffle iron with cooking spray. Spread 2 cups of the tots on it; sprinkle with salt. Close and cook on medium high until nearly crisp, about 5 minutes. Open the waffle iron and fill in any holes in the waffle with more tots, then close and cook until golden and crispy, 2 to 5 minutes.
  2. Cooking time will depend on heat of waffle iron.
  3. Place on a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven to keep warm.
  4. Repeat with the remaining tots.
  5. Salmon: Top each warm waffle with crème fraîche or sour cream, 3 slices smoked salmon, spoonful caviar, a few small sprigs of dill, capers and a squeeze of lemon juice. Surround with cucumber slices, salted. Repeat for each waffle.
  6. Prosciutto: In a small bowl, toss arugula with lemon juice. In a separate small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and mustard. Spread on top of waffle. Top with 1 ounce of cheese (tear it into 4 bits and divide equally on waffle top. Top with 3 slices of prosciutto. Return to waffle iron and press closed until cheese melts. Remove waffle from iron. Place on plate and top with 1/4 of arugula. Repeat for each waffle.
  7. Adapted from Food&WIne
Recipe Notes

You could, of course, add radishes to either one of these 😉

Adapted from http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/tater-tot-waffles-smoked-salmon-and-caviar

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Thanksgiving Salad Days

thanksgiving2There is no right way to celebrate Thanksgiving. Growing up, we had everyone – grandparents, parents, children – all around one or two tables with bottles of Champagne, an overcooked turkey (not when my mother and father were cooking), stuffing, gravy, and my grandmother’s grapefruit and avocado salad.

As our family changed – kids moved, grandparents died, marriages dissolved – so has the celebration. My brothers and sister and their families celebrate in their respective home states. My parents bought a second home on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where the weather is warmer and the beaches are open all year.

That became a sanctuary for Thanksgiving six years ago when liver disease nearly took my life. I was in the hospital until just before Thanksgiving (and again after Thanksgiving, and again in the week leading up to Christmas). I made a small Thanksgiving dinner at home for my then-husband and I  – our daughter had gone south with my parents. I flew down the day after and reveled in the sun, sand, and club soda.

Since then, my daughter and I have been in Florida for five of the past six years. That one year in Erie was because my job demanded being at a desk the day after Thanksgiving. We enjoyed celebrating with friends, but there’s nothing like a walk on the beach without a hat, gloves, and down jacket after the meal.

Other friends have had to change their celebration as family members have aged into nursing homes, children have moved away, or divorces dictate times with children. Then you have to improvise. Last week I celebrated Thanksgiving a week early because circumstances allowed this blended family to be together. A death brought them together, but it allowed them to sit down at a family heirloom dining table. We had vegetarians, picky eaters, and omnivores. The menu reflected this – standing rib of beef along with a butternut and spinach lasagna. And everyone united around a flourless chocolate cake with caramel sauce.

Typically, my contribution to Thanksgiving dinners is a salad since the hosts take care of the main dishes. With pears and chestnuts in season now, it seemed an ideal combination. My pears, a variety called Concorde that are delicious, made the dish quite sweet. I haven’t been able to find them this week, so I used red pear in today’s photos.

Happy Thanksgiving.

XOXOXO

Marnie

marnie@marniemeadmedia.com

Print Recipe
Roasted Pear and Camembert Salad
This salad combines some of the best fall ingredients - pears and chestnuts - into a celebration of flavors. Perfect for vegetarians, too.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. For the relish: Bring the cider, honey, shallot, and raisins to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture thickens, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in the chestnuts, vinegar, rosemary, and salt. Cool the relish to room temperature before serving, or cover and refrigerate up to 1 week.
  3. For pears, if ripe to semi-ripe: Halve and core the pears. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil to a large nonstick skillet. Place pears cut side down and saute over medium-low heat until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes depending on the pear. Flip over and saute about 5 more minutes. Lay a slice of cheese on top of each and remove from heat. It should melt using the residual heat of the pear.
  4. If pears are not ripe (quite firm): Bake cut side down in a baking dish in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes. Turn them over and continue roasting until tender, 5 to 10 minutes more.
  5. To serve, toss the arugula with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of the lemon and divide it among 6 salad plates. Place a warm pear half over each and top with a spoonful of the chestnut relish.
  6. Serve immediately
Recipe Notes

If you don't want to make the chestnut relish, simply top with toasted candied pecans and golden raisins.

 

Adapted from http://usapears.org/recipe/roasted-pears-with-camembert/

 

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