I feel like I slept a long time under the winter darkness. Even in the bell-cold mornings under the blustery sky, and working beside the smoky hearth. While I walked I still slept in the quiet.
Slowly – it happened as the days uncounted, stretched beyond the threshold. First things reached out to me through the cobwebs of winter dreams-to-be, reaching to be resolved before they could fall away like painful memories that hurt once again before they are forgotten.
It was a blue-sky day between spells of cold, when the termites were fluttering out of old logs here and there, filling the air and sunshine with their ethereal wings, when I heard it – far away like a little birdsong high up in the budding branches. That little tickle of Spring, greening the pastures, swelling and softening the goats as they make ready for the new lives.
As I looked across the emerald castle of the garden – the barley and the wheat and the einkorn and oats looking tall and green these days, I heard it whisper, and it shook me, like the soft kiss of a hundred years that wakened Briar Rose behind the thorns.
It has been a cold winter, marked by killing frosts and poverty, and we have found ourselves, like churchmice, scraping the bottom of the coffer for what is left. Sometimes winter leaves nothing but the seeds of faith for new potential and the kindling for dreams.
What we mostly have to eat from the garden these days are radishes – not the sweet, crisp, mild radishes of other years and other springs, but radishes of fiery temperament, the moody survivors of heat and ice. They need some creativity to be appealing, and since creativity is the helping sauce of thrift, I have three lovely radish recipes to share, one by one. Here is the first one – which is very, very pretty made with red turnips or watermelon radishes too. I used white daikons for the photos (my prettiest radishes are starting to bolt). I blanched the radishes in salted water to make them more mild, and add a little coconut sugar to the dressing to sweeten them up a little.
TANGY RADISH SALAD
2 cups of sliced radishes
2 teaspoons salt
1 quart water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon coconut sugar, or sucanat or jaggary sugar
- Put the water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the radishes and boil for a few minutes until they are getting tender, but are still a little crisp.
- While the radishes are cooking, whisk together the other ingredients.
- Drain the radishes well, put in a salad bowl, and toss with the dressing. Serve warm or cold. Makes a great side dish with rice.