In the Garden: Radishes, Roasted Onions and Cold Cucumber Soup

Recipe Notes (by Alexia Moyer)

Summer has arrived, and with it a plethora of potential literary recipes, most of which can ‒ and should ‒ be enjoyed al fresco. This season, we’re eating seaside with Audrey Thomas, lakeside with Margaret Atwood and hillside with Alice Munro. We’re hosting picnic luncheons and backyard barbecues. Socks are optional. Sandals are not.

This week, we’re gardening with Lorna Crozier, from “The Sex Life of Vegetables” series.

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And with a mini harvest of radishes, onions and cucumbers ‒ watch the cucumbers, they’re . . . tricky ‒ we propose the following menu:

  • Radishes with butter and sel de Guérande
  • Roasted onions with herb vinaigrette
  • Cold cucumber soup

These have become summer staples in my house, such that the recipes are loose and can be adjusted to suit your preferences and/or supplies.

Radishes with butter and sel de Guérande:

Use French breakfast radishes when you can find them. Remove their skirts (greenery) or leave them if you prefer. Rinse thoroughly. Serve with a pat of butter – the butter mellows the “fire” to which Crozier refers – and coarse sea salt. I use grey salt from Guérande, but if you’re feeling festive or flush, by all means use the fleur de sel.

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Roasted onions with herb vinaigrette:

Remove the skins from a handful of onions. Cut each in half (or leave them whole. Crozier would, I suspect) and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in oven at 350⁰ for one hour. If you’d prefer not to use your oven, by all means barbecue them (in little foil packets). To make vinaigrette: combine one part red wine vinegar (say, 2 tablespoons?) with three parts olive oil (6 tablespoons), 1 tablespoon of mustard, a handful of fresh finely chopped herbs (chives, basil, parsley) and one minced garlic clove.

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Cold cucumber soup:

One English cucumber and 2 avocados, roughly chopped. 1 tub plain yoghurt (750g). Place all three ingredients in food processor. Blend. Add water to achieve desired thickness. Season with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Refrigerate for four to six hours.

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I added barbecued chicken to this menu. Homemade banana ice cream (banana, cream and sugar in a 1:1:1 ratio and freeze) with brownies would not be an unwelcome either.

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Crozier, Lorna. The Garden Going on Without Us. Toronto: McCelland and Stewart, 1985. Print.

Photo Credit: Alexia Moyer

 

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