December 2, 2011

Hard Freeze Coming to the Garden

Box of lettuce of Cimmaron, Grand Rapids and mixed parentage.
Icicle radish.
More gorgeous Icicle radishes.
Looks like Cherry Belle and Icicle have created a mutant radish, there's just a hint of blush on its shoulders.
There is a hard freeze predicted in the next few days so I went ahead and picked a giant box of the self-sowed lettuces and pulled up the rest of the radishes from the garden. The Icicle radishes had gotten huge with the longest at 12 inches and being that they were volunteer plants I was deeply pleased with their success. The green shoulders of the radishes were the parts growing above the soil. I remember reading a wonderful little gardening book of a man who had gardened in many regions of the United States. He had a photograph of radishes 3 foot long hanging off his fence in Alaska where daylight never ends in their long cool summers. He said the radishes would just grow and grow always sweetly tender and mild. I got the impression that the gardener turned writer was a straightforward military fellow who had a deep love for the earth and enjoyed experimenting with growing methods. I imagined that it was a nomadic military life that kept him moving while he continually tried to put down roots by planting things. A bit of fanciful thinking I am sure since he gave no reason in his book for the different places he gardened in.

I spent a couple of hours washing each lettuce leaf and drying them in the salad spinner before putting them up in a couple of lidded plastic tubs destined for the refrigerator. I keep the lid of the lettuce container cracked open. All this lettuce in the fridge begs to be paired with banh xeo a crispy Vietnamese crepe filled with meat and shrimp. Hot crispy fried food wrapped in lettuce with herbs and dipped in spicy sweet salty lime sauce also known as nuoc mam cham is a little bit of hot heaven. When I mentioned cooking banh xeo to my husband, his eyes got big and he said in a quiet voice how I should cook a large batch so we could freeze some for later. Heh heh. Good thinking.

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