Fair warning: if you only want the radish stuff, just scroll way down.
At the Haagse Markt deze week, bunches of radishes were fifty cents, or three for a Euro. Note: this is a significant deviation from traditional Dutch pricing, which would almost always be:
Fifty cents, or two for a Euro.
I am not the biggest lover of radishes, but they looked so fresh I thought I could find a use for them. Home came three bunches. The first night I didn’t use any of them, because I had planned to make a salmon moqueca. If you live here you know how rainy and un-summery it’s been, and that morning at the market I’d gotten all soggy and later in the day had a sore throat, so I made myself some hot water with honey. Our tea kettle doesn’t whistle, so I tend to heat water for wildly varying amounts of time: usually too briefly, because I’m impatient; or way too long, because I go downstairs and forget.
This time I did the latter, and as I took my first sip I thought, “Wow, this water is extremely hot.” And then my hand slipped, somehow, and the mug sloshed all over my computer.
[Moment of silence]
I’ve had a couple near misses in the past, but this was no near miss. This was a direct hit on my battleship. There was even a little fizzy noise as the screen went dark. Thinking Stupid, stupid Meghan! I jumped around the room for a couple seconds and then began logical actions like standing the computer in the tent-shape I saw my friend Lori do once after a Diet Coke incident and mopping up what water I could from the table and elsewhere. After consulting a couple friends and (via another computer) Google, I called the Apple Store in Amsterdam and made an appointment with their “Genius Bar” [Tim is extremely interested to know how people qualify for this] for an assessment after 48 hours of dry-time. We didn’t feel totally confident about the more commando DIY options you could find online; maybe in retrospect we should have figured “What do we have to lose?”. But, thus ensued two days of not knowing how bad the damage was.
So, Monday evening I was feeling pretty low and mad at myself for potentially incurring upon us the cost of a new laptop and potentially losing a few days of work [I back up every 10 days or so to an external hard drive via Time Machine].
Let’s just say I no longer felt like making salmon moqueca, but in an effort to not be Debby Downer I forged ahead. I had seen this recipe online and flagged it because we used to go with friends to a restaurant in Cambridge called Muqueca, and eat these warm spicy bowls of fish stew. Plus, the salmon we get from the market is so, so good; almost anything you do with it is guaranteed to be a success.
In the moqueca recipe, you marinate the salmon for an hour in this blender-mixture involving tomatoes and onion and lots, lots of cilantro. Meanwhile you separately cook some sweet potato and vegetables in a large pan so you can ultimately combine the two components. The result was zingy and perfect for a rainy day. I didn’t eat a lot of it, though, because I wasn’t feeling very hungry. We put two huge dishes of it in the fridge, which turned out to be a fatal mistake, because on Tuesday morning we discovered that the refrigerator had broken.
And everything inside was warm and gross and had to be tossed. Now, our fridge has broken twice since we’ve lived here. Once, a long time ago. And once, just this month; and although it took longer than we hoped, it was “fixed” and good to go again. Except, it turns out, not. And it is really frustrating to dump into the garbage basically an entire meal you spent time and money on the day before—followed, of course, by all the lesser things that were in the fridge.
The first-world injustices were piling up this week.
So what do you do when life gives you radishes?
1. Tuesday night I used nearly one whole bunch of them in a dish that might just be my new favorite thing: a Radish and Pecan Grain Salad from Food52. Wow, was this good. A couple notes: I used couscous because I had some and I like it; and I didn’t wind up using all of the oil/vinegar mixture. I kept it in a measuring cup and poured in the amount that I wanted. Also, I subbed balsamic vinegar because I didn’t have sherry vinegar, and foodsubs.com said I could. Anyway, this was delicious.
I also made brownies from a box that day, which shows how low my spirits had sunk.
2. I tried snacking on the radishes, putting a few in a bag when I went to Amsterdam for my appointment at the Apple Store. Maybe it was just the bitterness of the day, but man, those radishes seemed way less pleasant when I was trying to just eat them whole. There was a bitter flavor that I think is numbed when they’re in a recipe with other things. I ate the ones I brought, but only out of a sense of duty.
Since we got my MacBook Pro in 2009, I have taken it to countless cafes and half a dozen countries, used it nearly every day at home. It was the first piece of technology I ever owned that I felt strongly about. And though its hard drive is intact, the hot water ruined pretty much all its other components.
3. Moving on. Meg’s Marinated Mushrooms, also from Food52, and not named after me.
You had me at capers. I specifically love salt capers. The funny thing is, just recently in How to Cook Italian, I read Giuliano Hazan’s blurb on capers, in which he explained that they come either packed in vinegar, or salt. (He prefers salt.) Then he went on to say that if you use the salt capers you should soak them in a few changes of water before use. What? I’ve just been eating them out of the jar, salt and all.
Well, the mushroom side-dish was pretty good. The radishes played backup to the mushrooms and all the flavors blended well.
4. Roasted Radishes with Soy and Sesame, from the Food Network. This is definitely radishes for people who don’t like radishes. Get enough soy on ’em, and you’re good to go. While these were in the oven, I found myself thinking about ordering Chinese takeout.
5. Simple Summer Salad, from Jamie Oliver. If you search radish recipes, you will get a ton of side-salads. I chose this one because it wasn’t mayo/potato-based. I like mayo, but not as a main ingredient. This salad was, frankly, not that exciting. It used up some radishes and half a cucumber (there are no quantities in the recipe, so apparently it can use up whatever you want), and we snacked on it before dinner. I wouldn’t run to make it again, but it does live up to its name.