Thursday, August 4, 2011

Eat your greens!

Radish leaves on the verge of bolting

That is not something that my mother ever told me (she would give me “the look” instead), so if she were here to see how I eat now, I know she'd be thoroughly pleased. My 2nd sowing of radish seeds grew nicely despite the fickle weather, but for some reason the roots never developed into round orbs like the last batch. Instead, they were red and thin, and the leaves were the only ones taking off like wild. It might've been too nitrogen-rich where I planted (the sweet peas were there before them), or it could be the couple handfuls of horse manure pellets that I mixed in before sowing. In any case, I pulled them out for the compost and picked the youngest and most tender leaves for cooking. A good amount of the radish tops had already been nailed by cabbage moths and their offspring leaving all that tiny dark poop...

Heats shoots and leaves

From garden to table

Ever tried pumpkin or squash vine shoots? In Italy they're called tenerumi and I believe using them is more common in southern italian cooking. I picked a few off of the sicilian serpent squash to cook along with the radish tops and a hot chile pepper from the garden. The flavor of both the radish tops and pumpkin shoots is mild (no bitterness) and doesn't really stand out, but when cooked in olive oil and garlic, it makes a nice accompanying dish to braised pork shanks with rice or potatoes. We went heavy on the vegetables last night and I made some fava bean puree, a side dish of halved cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced rounds of raw zukes dressed in lemon juice, evoo and s&p - the later two from the garden which really felt like an accomplishment. An article by has great photos and video on edible pumpkin leaves.

Fave and braised greens

About the sicilian serpent squash...

A squash that turns into a snake

This is the first time trying to grow these but already I see that something wicked is at it again in the garden....a couple new holes found in the ground means the poison isn't doing all of them in. A third of the squash vines are dead - damn rodents!


  1. boo to those rodents! and I totally hear you on "the look", my mom used it too :)

  2. Raddishes don't like the soil too rich in manure, so that will have been the reason for the failure. Good idea to eat the tops though. Waste not want not as they say

  3. Kat - it's crazy! This breed of wild country mice are going to be put me in the loonie bin if we don't clear them out. We checked out this electronic stake thing that you put into the ground and it sends out hi-pitched noises, scaring the mice away. We don't know of anyone who can swear that it works and don't wanna throw 30€ down the tube. Arggh!

    Heiko - thank you for your gardening wisdom! And here I thought I was doing a good thing.


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