12 July 2015

Radish Salsa

Michael Pollan would have us believe that we are a nation more obsessed with cooking shows than with cooking. And I think he's right to some degree. But I'm proud to report that my hours and hours and hours of watching Chopped is not for naught because it is on that show that I first heard about Radish Salsa.

Radish Salsa!

I jotted that down in my mental notes back in the winter when I was watching that episode. Now that radishes have been abundant and I've had my fill of my all time favorite Radish Sandwich, I decided to try this salsa at last.

I googled it and used the first recipe I found because it was a Mark Bittman one, so I thought it was reliable. Also, It was 6:00 when I was googling and I and my children were hungry so I wasn't about to go researching a bunch of radish salsa recipes and variations. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Mark Bittman's is nice and simple and makes a large portion - I made a much smaller portion, went easy on the crushed chiles in the hopes that the girls would eat it and wouldn't find it too spicy (ps: they did NOT eat it but Julia did tell me, unprompted, that she thought it was beautiful).

This salsa was the perfect high pitch accompaniment to go with the low tones of the Golden Summer Squash soup I made for dinner into which I added beans and lots of smoked salt. The soup was earthy, the salsa was bright. It was such a delicious combination that all my exclamations and exaltations while I was eating it convinced Julia to try the soup, even though she had initially refused it. And even though she never did try the salsa, she happily ate two full helpings of soup. I credit the salsa for that.

from Mark Bittman

Radish Salsa
Makes: About 2 cups
Time: 30 minutes
Radishes are a classic salsa ingredient in Mexico, and the technique—mixing a vegetable (or fruit) with onion, an acid, chiles, and fresh herbs—is downright common. 
2 cups chopped radishes, like daikon, red, or a combination (about 1 pound)
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh chile (like jalapeño or Thai), or to taste, or hot red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Put all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly.
2. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more chile, lemon, or salt as needed. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to a day.

11 July 2015

The Odyssey

I really hope I can convince Sergio that we should name our van "Homer." 

About a week ago we became a two-car family. This is something we've been scheming for a long time. We held out as long as we could, enjoying our one car status for 11 years; especially enjoying our no car payments for 12 years. Having just one car was simple and clean. Well, maybe the car wasn't always clean. But the having of just one car was clean. You know what I mean. Anyway - it was very simple before we had kids. 

It has become increasing more complex with the addition of two children as well as (let's not blame the kids for everything) the addition of a number of extracurricular activities on the part of me and Sergio. In the last two years we would occasionally think, wouldn't it be nice to have two cars. But those moments were few and far between and not worth a car payment to solve when - with a moderate amount of planning ahead and some dependence on friends and public transit - we could get by just fine. 

This year we reached our transportation planning capacity. Not only did we run out of ways to solve our limited transportation hiccups on a regular basis, we also decided we would prefer to be able to travel in large groups on occasion. Whether it's grandparents visiting or cousins (out-of-town ones and in-town ones) - it seems there's often a good reason to seat 8 people in our car. 

Enter: The Honda Odyssey. Ours is a gently used 2013 LX model that still, if I'm honest, feels like a rental. A really nice rental. I still can't quite absorb that it's actually ours. Even though we've already smudged up the clean floor mats and learned how to work all the fancy doors, I'm still adjusting to A) having such a nice car (our other car is a fantastic, but quite minimally appointed Honda Fit) and B) having two cars. 

This morning I took Clara in the van with me one direction and Sergio took Julia with him in the Fit in another direction. These were short trips and we weren't apart that long, but this was perhaps the first time that we've split up like that. Maybe ever. The four of us are together a lot and, what's more, the girls are together a lot. So when Clara climbed into the van she asked where Julia's carseat was and said to me, sort of sad-like, "I can't talk to my sister?" Having two cars will be an adjustment for all of us. 

But a good adjustment. Last week, when I told Julia we were buying a minivan, the very first thing she said was, "you mean my cousins can ride in our car with me?!" She was delighted. 

And that's just what they've been doing as we've been tooling around town together as a family - especially this week - cousins, aunt, and Grandma Joyce visiting from Mexico, Sergio and the girls and me. It's nice to be able to all be together.