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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Double duty

I'm enamored with things that serve more than one purpose. I don't know if it comes from spending my first adult decade-plus in space-starved Manhattan apartments, but I still get excited over sofas that double as beds and tables that fold into bigger tables. Part of the reason I have so many big scarves is that they can spread out into picnic blankets or wrap into cozy swaddles for a baby or tie into shopping bags. My bike is equipped to function as a child-carrying, grocery-getting, quadriceps-building machine. I hunt for shoulder bags that covert to backpacks. I wear jewelry that works as toys for Kamal. All my favorite stuff multitasks. 

So it stands to reason that I love beets and radishes in the garden. These little jewels do double duty by growing both delicious root vegetables and luscious, flavorful greens.

I planted this row of French Breakfast radishes a few weeks ago, and today they were bursting out of the ground, nestled thickly together under their bright leaves.

Ombre is soooo two years ago. But these guys are bringing it back, am I right?

I sliced off the greens and sauteed them in coconut oil with a lovely egg fresh from our chickens. Then I sliced the radishes and left them raw, fanned out over the top of my bai zhou

I  know not everyone thinks of radish greens as palatable, or even as edible. They're kind of fuzzy, after all, and it's easy to get used to just seeing radishes as the uninspiring little pink-and-white  circles parked on the sidelines of the salad bar. But radish greens are fantastic--fresh, succulent, a little bit peppery. Fresh radishes are crisp, spicy perfection. 

Traditionally, French breakfast radishes are halved, spread with butter, and sprinkled with sea salt. This is a pretty heavenly dish, an ideal example of the simplest food often being the best. For today's congee, I analogized a bit and used a dash of soy sauce in place of the sea salt, and a few drops of sesame oil stood in for the butter. 

That yellow! That fuschia! That green!

After a four-mile run, dropping Kamal off at daycare and then heading home, it was the perfect, happiest breakfast. So good, in fact, that I just might have it for dinner, too. 

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