Monday, May 31, 2010

Water(less) World



(This one is for you, Almost Mrs Average!)

The heatwave has finally come and gone from Montreal! It's hard to believe it's still May, when the mercury is hitting 30 (86'F) daily, and there is nary a cloud in the sky. It was so hot and dry, that there is an on-going ban on open pit campfires in effect for all of Quebec; there are close to 60 fires raging across the territory, 15 of which are considered out of control; current water levels of lakes and river are where they usually are in August. Yet, we are still in May. 

If the weather stays this dry for much longer, it will spell disaster for farmers, forest rangers, and water tables. I was speaking with a vegetable producer at the market the other day,  and she mentioned that they've had to have water helicopter-ed in to water their fields: they rely on a well for themselves and their animals, so they cannot risk drying up their ground water for their fields.

Although the early and mild spring translated into advanced harvests for many crops, this heat wave might mean that those same produces will be cut short: asparagus, currently in full swing, are easy-going plants, but hot weather usually spells the end of the season; peas (my precious lovelies!) require cool, damp weather in order to thrive. While summer vegetables are definitely loving the early warmth, they too need regular sprinklings of rain. Wildlife is also suffering: birds are beheading whatever greenery is still standing in the hopes of getting some water. I've even found ladybugs in my bathroom, sipping at puddles in the sink!

While there isn't much we consumers can do about the drought, we can do our part to conserve water. We Canadians are extremely lucky to have (normally) abundant sources of water, and in most regions, our tap water is clean and cheap. However, not everyone has access to safe water (remember Walkerton?), a fact most urbanites forget. We often consider water as a free resource, since most Canadian cities have ridiculously low water taxes. Yet, it costs money to monitor the public water, and to manage the waste from the sanitization process.

So, when you think about it, it seems rather wasteful to use perfectly good drinking water to wash a car or water the lawn (reminds you  of a certain someone who requests cases of Evian for her bath, doesn't it?). While one can forgo washing the car and watering a silly lawn, one's garden is another kettle of fish entirely! If you plant it (for food, or free bouquets of flower), you want it to thrive; but you wouldn't go out and buy bottled water for your window boxes, so why would you use pristine tap water for them? Especially when you know that the chlorine and fluoride found in most city waters are not that great for your plants.

The best water for your garden is rain water. Unfortunately, the skies do not shower down on demand (they most certainly are not right now!), and even if you were experiencing a downpour at the moment, chances are some of your plants are sheltered from the rain. You need a rain barrel. If you own your dwelling, then you can install as many barrels as you have downspouts. The above video is one of many videos I found on youtube on how to build your own rain butt.

If you, like me, are a renter, you will need to ask your landlord for permission to usurp the downspout. If your dwelling has no gutter (and no possibility of ever having any eaves-troughs), yet you have access to the yard/open space, you can place an open barrel in the most exposed spot you have -as long as it isn't in anybody's way. You will need to place some form of netting on top of your barrel to keep mosquitoes and other critters out. You will not collect much rain water this way (but you will get some). However, this barrel's main purpose will be to collect your grey water. Any used, yet passably clean water can be considered grey water (waste water is said to be brown): dish washing water; vegetable washing water; water from your laundry's rinse cycle; bath water (seriously! When I lived in France, our apartment only had a bathtub, and I felt really bad about using so much water daily, so my boyfriend and I would collect all our bath water during the summer to use in the garden!); cooking water, as long as it is salt-free... Any water is fine as long as you use biodegradable soap and non-toxic cleansers; and try to avoid bits and pieces of foods in the water, since they can turn the water into smelly sludge (though it will still be quite fine for the garden, if a little gross).

There have been articles casting doubt on the safety of rooftop water for use on edible plants, however studies have shown that most fruiting vegetables grown in backyard gardens do not accumulate toxins within their cellular structure. If you have any doubt about the roofing material used on your house, grow only plants that produce edible fruits (tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers) and stems (rhubarb), and avoid leaf and root vegetables. There is also a long standing belief that garden soils rich in compost and organic matter produce healthier (i.e. pollutant-free) plants: the naturally high concentration of microbial life in organic soil apparently 'cleans' out pollutants, or at the very least, blocks them from being absorbed by the plants. Whether or not you adhere to such beliefs, should you worry about the safety of your soil or rainwater, you can always have it tested.

Just to put things in perspective: gardeners in the UK have used rain butts for decades, and no gardening club has ever cast a shadow over the use of rooftop water in the vegetable patch. Australia has had severe water restrictions for over a decade due to an ongoing drought: rain barrels and grey water collection are the only way one can garden -or even flush the toilet, in some states.

If you are already on the lookout for a rain barrel, you probably noticed how unbelievably expensive they are (upwards of 200$ in most big box store!!!). Ideally, you would build your own from re-purposed material: the plastic barrels seen in most how-to videos can be purchased from marine shops and some reno-centres (DIYers use them for building pontoons and other flotation devices). You can also try the recycling depot. Or you can recycle a discarded garbage bin: I had a useless wheelie bin hanging about, so it was transformed into a rain butt (and now it is no longer useless!)

If you really are not handy with the drill and a tube of epoxy glue, here is one of the better (read less expensive and made from recycled material!) options I saw: Mon Jardin Vert, made in Quebec from re-purposed, food-grade, plastic barrels. This little company is full of promises, and might eventually be available in Montreal's Eco-Quartiers. Lee Valley Tools also has a handy, collapsible barrel for a little over 100$ - but do try to remember the 4 Rs: Reduce (the use of new material); Re-use (anything still in good condition); Re-purpose (whatever not in good enough condition to use for its original intent); and Recycle (if it cannot be composted).

Happy gardening (and bon app'!)


Friday, May 28, 2010

Look who's back!


Yes indeed! The first Quebec strawberries have hit the farmers' stands! Quebec's soil and climate are particularly well-suited to this most popular of berries, and we are really spoiled by an extra-long season (early June -in a normal year- to mid-October). Lower British Colombia and Southern Ontario just might rival Quebec for earliness, but the rest of Canada will have to wait a tad longer for their local berries to start blushing.

While these early strawbs are field-grown, they are not left out to the elements. If you recall the beginning of May, most of Ontario and Quebec got a hefty dose of snow, while BC got lashings of rain: these jewels are most likely grown under plastic tunnels. In fact, an increasing number of Quebec farmers are switching to large-scale poly-tunnels: semi-permanent 'greenhouses' that protect crops from the elements, which can extend the growing season by a good two months.

The first strawberries of the season are always pure delight -what better sign that summer is just around the corner? However, they are still on the tart side, so do buy a punnet or two for tonight's dessert, but wait before you gorge yourself silly on them.

Bon app'!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My lips are the desert...


Oh! this heat is killing me! I know I shouldn't complain (wouldn't want to jinx summer), but it's May and it feels like July in Montreal! In fact, most of Quebec is under a veil of sweltering heat, and I am sticky and grumpy. Spring has been lovely on the whole, but I -and my garden- can use some rain: my peas and I are wilting faster than the bunch of radishes on my kitchen counter.

It's times like these when a devout non-fan of lettuce begins to crave rabbit food: lettuce is definitely growing on me (literally). When the mercury hits 30'C (85'F), I lose my appetite, and all I can ingest is water in all its forms (depending on the variety, lettuce can contain up to 95% water!) It's an easy crop to grow, not at all demanding; all it needs is a little sun, preferably in the morning, some shelter from the afternoon heat, and some water. Growing your own lettuce is economical: a head of lettuce at the supermarket averages 2.50$; at the market, 1$ to 2$ depending on the type; a flat of a dozen lettuces costs around 4$ (that comes out to 33¢ a piece); and a packet of seeds is more or less 2.50$, which can supply you with a month's worth of salads, barring the murderous squirrels...
I've had to cheat this year: the squirrels would not leave my window boxes alone, so I had to go out and buy two flats of lettuce and a flat of pansies (11$ for 30 plants). I've been eating salads every other day for the past two weeks, and my planters are still filled to the brink. Should you choose to grow your own salad bar, be aware that there are several ways to grow your own. You can go the cut-and-come-again route, or you can space out your plants so that you get distinctly individual heads of lettuce. While romantic images of harvesting whole heads of lettuce abound, the best way to pick lettuce is leaf by leaf: unless you are feeding an army, chances are you will not consume an entire head in one sitting, even if you are two. By picking only the leaves you need, you can stretch out the plant's productivity by at least threefold, so those 4$ will be very well spent indeed.

Pansies are ubiquitous spring flowers. Their cheery faces often show up in tiny window boxes and otherwise sterile, suburban 'gardens', but they are so much more than just pretty pates: planted amongst lettuces and radishes, they invite bees and other pollinating insects to your neck of the woods; they embellish your salad bar, and they add zing to your dinner. If you have some chives nearby, they are probably blooming right about now, and will also be a nice, nippy addition to any leaf mix. 

Radishes are simply lovely sliced in a salad; they add zing and pizazz, juicy crunch and a touch of heat. The incredibly dry weather we've been having in Southern Quebec has resulted in fiery radishes; if you shy away from the burning globes, you can diminish their heat by soaking them in some ice-cold water for a couple of hours (if the radishes still have too much bite for your liking, try sautéeing them in some butter: they mellow out completely and are still pleasantly crunchy.) Whatever you do, do not throw out the radish leaves: they are lovely added to your lettuce, or cooked like spinach. Or you can feed them to a pet rabbit, or a travelling groundhog...

Although spicy radishes are always nice with mayo, heavy weather calls for the lightest of salad dressings: a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar; some sesame oil, lemon juice and soy sauce; or just a squeeze of lemon with salt and pepper.

I am sated.

Bon app'!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Salty cravings


'Tis the season for West Coast samphires! If you've ever eaten salt-marsh lamb, and wondered how it got its salty flavour: these are the answer. The pine-needle-shaped plant grows in coastal marshes, where its feet are constantly bathed in seawater. In fact, when eaten raw, samphire taste just like the sea: mouth-dryingly salty with a final note of bitterness. The briefest cooking will rid this seaside weed of any bitter traces, and some of its salt.

As a vegetable, samphire are of little interest since they are too salty to eat on their own. However, their brininess makes them an ideal candidate for instant pickles, and can serve as a seasonal replacement for imported capers. Trimmed of their woody ends, samphire should be briefly blanched (5-10 seconds in boiling water) before being marinated in a simple vinegar or lemon dressing (half and half vinegar/lemon juice and oil). They will keep for at least a week in the dressing. Roughly chop, and use in any recipe calling for capers.

Samphire (salicornes in French, which sounds like 'salty horns', but apparently is of Arabic origin) are also known as sea asparagus: their textures are very similar, and they happen to make an ideal match. Sauté some trimmed asparagus in butter; when they are almost done (or use leftover spears), throw in a small handful of cleaned, fresh samphire (or pickled). Stir until heated through. Season with pepper (but no salt!), and add a splash of lemon juice.

Being a coastal vegetable, sea bean (another of its many monikers, along with glasswort) is often paired with sea creatures. Chopped into a butter sauce, it is lovely over any grilled fish, but it is truly divine with lobster (which happens to be in season!) Some oyster bars use samphire as a garnish on their seafood platter; if you ever happen to luck out, do not treat this wild food like any old piece of curly parsley: snap off a bit, spritz some lemon and eat it with your oyster. It will greatly enhance the marine intensity of the shellfish.

Samphire are most often found fresh, when in season or pickled in jars, at fishmongers, or at the market, if yours happens to have a forager's stand. East coasters will have their own harvest from the end of June up until September.

Bon app'!



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Window Farms


windowfarm_wsignage
Originally uploaded by Windowfarms
How cool is this? Now there really is no excuse for not planting a few green things to nibble on! I heard about this initiative on the CBC's show Spark, of all places.

If you, or someone you know, are still in the habit of drinking bottled water, then you too can have your very own windowsill-hydroponic garden. All you need to do is download the instructions from windowfarms.org, and you are good to go.

The project is a nifty idea in and of itself, and you get to be part of the window farmer community: the site is interactive, anyone and everyone can contribute their ideas to innovate and improve the system.They call it R&DIY (Research & Do It Yourself), I call it cool.

Happy gardening and bon app'!



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Money can grow in trees

Spring Pasta


There's nothing like a nice plate of pasta primavera to satisfy one's craving for all of spring's delights.  (Primavera means springtime in Italian, after all.) The combination of al dente spaghettini or linguini, and crisp-fresh vegetables is both divine and comforting, in an "all's well with the world" kind of way.

The choice of vegetables is completely up to you, but in honour of Spring, may I suggest fiddleheads, asparagus, morels, and ramps? Depending on local availability, you might prefer to add peas, braised lettuce hearts, spring onions and chives or garlic chives. As the growing season advances, you can substitute baby carrots or quartered radishes for any veg no longer available locally.

The following recipe may sound like it's alot of work, but it really isn't. You can always use leftovers from a previous meal. I've written out the recipe so as to use the fewest number of pots as possible. After all, a beautiful meal is always more delightful when there is little clean-up afterwards.

Pasta Primavera
For one, multiply as needed

100g (or one portion as indicated on the package) dried, long pasta of your choice
15g (about 4 or 5) fresh morels, or any other mushroom
1 small shallot, thinly chopped, optional
5 spears green asparagus
1 small handful (10-12) fiddleheads
1 large pinch of baking soda
4 or 5 leaves of wild garlic, or 4 blades of garlic chives
butter
salt and pepper
1 splash of white wine, optional

Bring a big pot of water to the boil. This recipe is greatly simplified if you have a pasta insert for your pot (a giant sieve that fits inside your pot, so that you can remove the pasta from the pot without throwing out all the water), however you can always used thongs and a slotted spoon or spider (a large, mesh slotted spoon).

Meanwhile prep all your vegetables:
Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus, wash if they seem particularly dirty.
Trim and soak fiddleheads, changing the water at least twice.
Trim and soak the morels in salted water, changing the water until there is no more trace of dirt. If the morels are large, you should cut them in half to make sure the hollow is cleaned out.
Wash wild garlic or garlic chives, and chop into thin (½cm/ ¼") slivers.

When the water comes up to the boil, add about a tablespoon of salt. Throw in the asparagus. Cook for about 3 minutes (or more if you prefer softer spears), remove from boiling water, and refresh in cold water. Chop into bite sized pieces.
Throw the pasta in the pot. Cook according to the package, minus 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Remove a mugful of pasta water from the pot, and set aside.
Add baking soda to the pot, throw in the fiddleheads. Cook for 4 minutes. Drain and cool in an ice bath.

In a frying pan, melt the butter on medium heat, and sauté the shallot if using. Add the morels, leave to bubble in the butter for about 5 minutes. Add a splash of white wine, if using, or some pasta water and cook for another 5 minutes.
Check the seasoning. 
Add the asparagus, fiddleheads and wild garlic. Stir about about until the vegetables are warmed through.
Add the pasta and another splash of pasta water.
Mix everything to coat the pasta. Bring up to a gentle boil, and serve when the pasta is nice and hot.
Enjoy with grated Parmesan, or not.

Come spring, I usually stop salting my pasta water. While it does make for very bland noodles, the leftover cooking water can be reused to water my garden. However, since this recipe also calls for fiddleheads (and thus, baking soda) the water cannot be used on plants, so salt to your heart's content!


If you are intrigued by the notion of 'braised lettuce hearts', you really should try it. While the British like their peas with mint, the French enjoy their peas with braised lettuce. It isn't as bizarre as it sounds actually: North Americans are just about the only people who eat lettuce only raw. Classic braised lettuce is made with  butterhead lettuces such as Boston or Bibb, but you can also use chopped Romaine hearts. Here is a quick version, adapted for the pasta dish.

Braised Lettuce
for 2, with pasta

1 head of lettuce, cut in quarters and washed (or chopped in 3cm/ 1" strips if using Romaine)
2 handful peas, fresh or frozen (use the smallest frozen peas you can find)
butter
chives, finely chopped
pasta water
salt and pepper

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat.
Add peas, and roll around in the butter for about 4 minutes.
Throw in the lettuce and enough pasta water to cover the top of the peas.
Bring up to a gentle simmer.
Check the seasoning. Throw in your pasta.
Heat through. Add more pasta water if it seems a little dry.
Sprinkle in the chives and serve.

Bon app'!


P.S. I can't believe I forgot to mention it in my last post, but field rhubarb season is in full swing! Different  varieties have different harvest periods, some regions will have a spring and an autumn harvest, with a well deserved rest in the hot months of summer, while others will keep on giving. Most farmers consider rhubarb to be a bit of an incidental produce: it's there or it isn't, it won't make or break the bank, but it will always sell.  We Montrealers are very lucky in that within a 200km radius, we have a whole slew of micro-climates, combined with varied rhubarbs, we get to enjoy the tart plant straight through to October!


Friday, May 7, 2010

May Flowers

I can't believe it's already a week into May! Time does fly when one isn't paying attention, doesn't it? They say that April showers bring May flowers. The flowers are indeed glorious, but I cannot say that April was particularly wet. Snowy, maybe...

No worries though! The all-around mild weather we've had here in Eastern Canada has been mostly beneficial for all farmers. Many crops were planted weeks ahead of schedule, and others are hitting market stalls much earlier than in previous years.

In Quebec, the first strawberries (grown under poly-tunnels, and in my mother's garden) have already started flowering, and are excepted to crop in early June. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, May has much to offer to your inner foodie. First of all, the first week-end of May marks the official opening of Montreal's outdoor farmers' markets. Jean-Talon Market was a glorious sight today: the sky was blue, there were some cumulonimbus zipping across the azure, and a light sprinkling rain was falling. It was beautiful!

What to look for in May:

Asparagus
I was rather green with envy in April when I heard that West Coast asparagus were already up, but the word is out: Quebec asparagus are on the market shelves just in time for Mother's Day. I cannot stress enough that the big, fat spears must be consumed the day of harvest for the absolute best flavour. I realise that most people are used to doing groceries for an entire week, but if asparagus are part of the lot, try to eat them first. If you really have to leave them for later, snap off the woody ends, stick them in a glass with about 3cm/ 1" of water, and keep in the fridge door. They can also be kept wrapped in a damp tea/ paper towel in the vegetable crisper.
If you have yet to meet an asparagus you like, may I suggest you wait a bit for the skinny spears. They are usually produced by younger plants or are a plant's final attempt of the season to put out proper growth. Most large producers avoid sending the skinnies to market, but smaller producers often do: so your chances of purchasing a pack of freshly picked asparagus are greater. I swear you will fall in love!
Asparagus can be eaten raw (only if very fresh), boiled or steamed, or grilled on the barbecue. Serve with a vinaigrette, hollandaise sauce or mayonnaise, or simply with some olive or nut oil and some lemon juice. Asparagus also make great omelettes. They go deliciously with lobster, peas, and morels.
Local asparagus season lasts anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. There is a small production of white asparagus in Quebec, and purple asparagus are gaining in popularity due to the novelty factor, but personally, faithful ol' green is my favourite.

Morels
Quebec morels have begun popping up, however there still isn't quite enough for foragers to bother bringing them to market. So your best bet for Mother's Day would be West Coast morels or going into the woods yourself...
Morels are known as the king of mushrooms in France: they open the wild mushroom season; are more accessible than the truffle, both in price and in 'forageability'; are very flavourful; and are a perfect match for all the wonders that spring has to offer, not least of which are the other wild foods one may encounter while on the hunt for the fungi.
Morels, like any other wild mushroom, need to be properly washed. Disregard any old wives' tale stating that fungi cannot be dipped in water: wild (and cultivated) mushrooms are quite dirty, and the only way to remove all that dirt is a good, long soak in salty water. The salt is not absolutely necessary, but it will aid in evacuating any foreign beings... Change the bath water a couple of times, until you do not see any more clods of dirt.
Wild mushrooms also benefit from a thorough cooking. While the humble button mushroom passes quite easily through our system, most wild mushrooms can cause some discomfort if not fully cooked. Parboil them for about 5 minutes, then sauté for another 5, or start with the pan-frying and finish with some stock or wine.

Lobsters, North Atlantic Shrimps
The crustaceans are back, and they are very yummy looking indeed!
The shrimps are always sold cooked, since they are boiled in seawater as soon as the nets are hauled onto the fishing vessels. They are sold either whole or peeled. While peeling the tiny shrimps can be labour intensive, it can be very much worth your time and money: they are less expensive than peeled, and they are guaranteed to be unfrozen stock -whereas peeled Atlantic shrimps may or may not be frozen and defrosted (you need to trust your fishmonger here). Plus: if you compost, the shells will really boosted your compost pile, though be forewarned, it can get stinky if you do not dig them in really deep!
Lobster shells are also a boon for the compost heap, although they do take about a year to break down even in a very hot heap. I am assuming that most of you do not buy lobsters or shrimps with your compost pile in mind... (I must admit though, one of the reasons I find giving up shrimps and lobsters so difficult is because I do have compost on the brain ALOT!)
Both lobsters and shrimps are a delight when smothered in mayonnaise (is there anything that isn't delicious with mayonnaise?), but are also very nice with some lemon juice and olive oil (or melted butter...) In salads, these crustaceans are sumptuously paired with peas, tomatoes, avocados and butterhead lettuces. (And asparagus!!) 

Lettuce
Heads of field lettuces from across the country -the entire continent, actually- have hit the shelves. The long, mild spring has been most favourable to these cool weather veg. My lettuce seedlings even emerged  unscathed from last week's dumping of snow (5cm in Montreal, and it took close to 12 hours to melt away completely)!
Spring lettuces are mild in flavour and tender in the mouth. Although there has been an increasing selection of lettuces available year round, buying locally produced lettuces allows you to try different -and often heirloom- varieties, like deertongue, oakleaf (feuille de chêne in French), and other fragile salads that do not travel very well.

Fiddleheads
Fiddleheads are the quintessential spring wild food. Readily available in the frozen section of supermarkets, they are currently found fresh on grocery shelves. While frozen fiddleheads are already parboiled, and only require reheating and seasoning, fresh fern fronds require some prepping. Like any wild food, a thorough washing is necessary. Trim any brown ends, and rub off all fuzz.
There are two ways to cook fiddleheads: you can either plunge them in boiling salty water for 3 minutes, rinse off, and boil in another pot full of clean, boiling water for another 3 minutes. Or you can cook them in a potful of boiling water with 2 generous pinches of baking soda; this methods takes only about 4 minutes, but you must check the fronds just before the time is up(30 to 50 seconds): while this method is fast and effective, the baking soda will make vegetables go fro firm to limp in the blink of an eye. Do not attempt to eat fiddleheads raw or steamed: they need to be fully immersed in water to rid them of oxalic acid, which can be toxic to the liver (and has a disagreeable mouthfeel).
With either method, the ferns must be drained and rinsed under cold water. Fiddleheads can be eaten cold in a salad or on a crudité platter, however they are at their best sautéed in some butter (or oil) with a chopped shallot or small onion, salt and pepper, and the optional drizzle of lemon juice. Fern fronds are also quite scrumptious in a tempura batter, if you can be bothered to deep-fry in your house.

Other wild treats
Wild garlic (aka ramps or wild leeks) are still available at farmers' markets (Jeant-Talon in Montreal, St-Lawrence in Toronto) and are a real treat if you can get your hands on some. They won't be around for very much longer, so jump on them if you find some.
While ramps can be eaten raw, slivered thinly and mixed into a salad or sprinkled like any chopped herbs adding a mild garlicky nip, they really come into their own when served as a full-on vegetable. Boil briefly, cool down in an ice bath or wait until just cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water and dress with a sweet-tart dressing (this miso dressing is rather tasty), or you can use just like you would spinach.

Trout lily (Erythronium americanum) are a protected species in most areas where it grows, however there are some places where they can still be picked. If your local market has a wild foods stand, you might be able to find some.
The dogtooth lily grows just about everywhere in Southeastern Quebec, while it is a protected plant, some of its territory is threatened by development (most notoriously in Montreal). While I would not advocate anyone to trespass on private property, wooded areas slated for construction are often the perfect place for finding your next dinner... While you're at it, maybe you can dig some bulbs up to plant in your or a friend's garden.
Erythronium can be prepared just like ramps above. In fact, both grow in more or less the same places, and there is a saying the kitchen that goes as follows: if it grows together, it can be eaten together. The first time I ate trout lilies was in Japan with the miso vinaigrette mentioned above. The flowers are so lovely, that one feels almost decadent eating them, making them a true seasonal treat.

Radishes
The peppery roots are back! Crunchy, spicy and sweet, delightful radishes are a great addition to any salad. They really add punch to any dish. If you prefer your food on the less spicy side of things, spring radishes are the thing for you: hot weather makes for hot radishes, whereas cool, wet spring produces milder roots. Radishes are a good foil for a fatty piece of grilled salmon when slivered thinly and doused with some white wine vinegar. They can also be braised in some white wine or water and a generous knob of butter. Serve just like any other braised root vegetable.

Bon app'!



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