Thursday, May 31, 2012

I’m still here!

Last weekend I was in eastern Ontario doing a bit of stargazing with friends. This weekend I’m the Master of Ceremonies at the Bloody Words Mystery Conference here in Toronto. In between I have my graphic design work, so really, I’m swamped.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking about food and this blog. There are a couple of exciting developments that I want to tell you about.

First, we will soon have a resident wine expert. I mean what goes better with food than good wine? I can’t tell you more about it at the moment because I want to build up the suspense (I am a crime writer after all), but I will say that this person is an exceptionally experienced wine journalist, and I’m really excited about what he’s going to bring to the table, so to speak.

Second, we will soon have a video component to AMFAS. Some footage has already shot at the St. Lawrence Farmers’ Market, and there are plans to bring you all into the fabled Blechta Test Kitchens here in Toronto. More on this very soon – since the videographer is currently on his honeymoon!

A third thing: Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about my disgust with a Tropicana product I’d bought. I’m sure I had nothing to do with it, but there are now several lawsuits being brought against Tropicana in the US about just what I was bringing to light. You can read about it HERE.

Lastly, I don’t want to leave you without even a tiny recipe. It’s one of our favorite things to enjoy in late spring, and early and late summer when radishes are at their best. We saw a reference to it originally in a Time Life cookbook on Provincial French cuisine many years ago. When we were in Paris in fall 2008 for some book research, we browsed a street market, spotted a beautiful, fresh bunch of French Breakfast radishes (those long ones with the white tips). Since there was also a boulangerie right around the corner and another vendor was selling homemade sweet butter, we grabbed what we needed and went back to the apartment we were renting. It turned out to be a simple, yet sublime culinary moment (we’d also bought a chilled bottle of Chablis for the princely sum of 3.5 euros). Trust me on this.

Open-face Radish Sandwiches
Serves as many as you want

1 bunch of French Breakfast radishes (only these will do – honestly)
Sweet butter (the cultured European version if you can get it)
The best and freshest baguette you can find

1. Slice the baguette. The slices should be at least 3/4 inch thick.
2. Generously butter the baguette slices. The butter should be cool but still reasonably spreadable.
3. Slice the radishes – which should be room temperature – lengthwise in half and put them on the buttered baguette slices.

Serve this with a dry white wine. You will be in heaven.

Food doesn’t get simpler or better than this. The combination of the crunchy, moderately spicy flavor of the radishes with the cool butter and a perfect baguette is unforgettable. I know it sounds weird to most folks, but it really does work – almost as well as doughnuts and bacon. (I’ll blog about this culinary marvel sometime in the future).

That’s why you’ll now always see French Breakfast radishes in our garden. Every spring, as soon as it gets barely warm enough, I’ll be out there planting these little beauties.

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