At the beginning of April we managed to plant our garden -- two 8x4 raised beds in the backyard. I had a packet of radish seeds left over from last year so I sprinkled a row of them between some tomatoes and beans, hopeful that they'd grow up and be harvested before everything else got too big. And, Voila! They grew. Harvesting those humble radishes was extremely, ridiculously satisfying. I felt such a rush of accomplishment. I planted them. They grew. I harvested them. Success!
And they are beautiful. Vibrant, perfect globes. So simple. But who really loves a radish? I've never heard anyone wax poetic about a juicy garden radish. All the better. It feels right to be starting again with the radish.
I've written many blog posts over the past two years... but they've all been in my head. I've struggled to motivate and do something with my creative energies -- through my pregnancy and the first year of my darling baby girl's life. I love being a mother. I am awestruck by the world of emotions motherhood has opened to me -- the huge aching love and joy right alongside the massive fear.
Trying to do it right, trying to figure it out. Reading my baby's signs to determine what she needs, who she is. Trying to figure out who I am now. What it means to me a mother. Embracing this new identity. Trying to stretch it to include all the parts I want. And then there is the reality that there's not really time for me to be soul searching right now anyway. There's work. And dinner to make. And dishes to wash. And I'm tired.
It's hard. I'm not complaining! It just is.
So when I pull it together to plant some radishes and they grow and they are beautiful, something inside me cracks open to the light a little more. I feel a part of myself lifted. A good part.
Although they are great for those things, my recent discovery is just how delicious (and easy!) they are roasted -- leaves and all.
They mellow out and soften up once they've been roasted. And the leaves become crispy chips. Small radishes can be roasted whole. So can the leaves.
Heat your oven to 375 degrees F. Wash your radishes and separate the leaves from the root. Cut any bigger radishes in half. Toss everything with a tablespoons or two of olive oil on a big baking pan (use more than one pan if they are crowded), sprinkle with a generous pinch of sea salt and a couple twists of fresh pepper. Bake for 25 minutes. The leaves should be crisp and the skin of the roots should be blistered, and starting to brown and caramelize.
There you have it. A simple recipe for a simple vegetable.
Thank you, radish, for reminding me of the surprising places I can find beauty and light.