Thursday night

There’s no air conditioner here in the guest room/office, so tonight I’ve been just spraying myself with fancy water from one of these little Evian Brumisateur cans. I love these damn things: half the label is in French; the English part says that this product is particularly recommended “for infants and for babies.” Sometimes I put my Evian Brumisateur in the fridge to make it extra awesome. It is hot as all get-out but now I am well misted, like a fern. Or a lettuce.

And, speaking of produce, maybe you have been wondering how the farm share thing is going. For awhile we’d been just cruising along and we’d found a way to fix whatever turnip or mystery green the hippies tossed our way, and all of it—even the tetragonia, which sounds like some dipshit kingdom in a Star Wars prequel—turned out pretty well. Then recently we got a head of radicchio, a big purple fist lurking in the corner of our box, so I spent a day looking up recipes to see how I could use it.

Okay, apparently you can grill radicchio, but that seemed like a lot of trouble, so I picked a simple pasta recipe that involved sauteeing the stuff in olive oil with some garlic. While the penne boiled, I chopped up the radicchio and put it in the oil to wilt. After a couple minutes it began to look like wet leaf compost and I sadly pushed it around and around the pan hoping that it would stop looking like the stuff in rain gutters. And then I picked a shred off the spoon and tried it: it tasted like coffee grounds and desolation and like when you spray Deep Woods Off! on yourself and accidentally get some of it on your tongue. I’d heard radicchio is supposed to be “bitter” but it was beyond bitter; I swear it tasted like it could key my car. I read that the red parts of the leaves aren’t as bitter as the white parts, so I tried the red parts. The red parts were only slightly less spiteful. I finally called in Chris to try it. I watched his face as he took a bite. I couldn’t read his expression.

“Wow,” he said. “Can we please not eat this?”

“Oh my God, thank you,” I said. We scraped it into the trash and I made a primavera sauce instead. Maybe there was just something wrong with the recipe, something that put the “dick” in “radicchio,” but next time one of those things turns up in our box, I’m trading it for something else. But that’s really been the only snag so far.

Tomorrow morning Chris and I are headed up to Michigan for the weekend. After all this working and BlogHerniating, it’ll be good to get away.


  1. Sol says

    I got two pumpkins and a squash in my share once. At the same time. I ended up roasting them all (at the same time) with curry and eating them over…anything I could find, really, for weeks.

  2. Sol says

    But yeah, at least I got to eat it. Beets are good though, especially when you grate it over pasta with some fresh parmesan – then it looks like you’re eating brains, which is always a plus at my house.

  3. SP says

    Radicchio is good, in small amounts, raw, in salad. A little bite of bitterness among the mache and spinach and romaine and whatnot makes the salad more interesting. I have no idea what I would do with an entire head of radicchio, though. (Well, I do. I would throw most of it away, is what I would do.)

  4. says

    This reminds me of an old George Carlin routine. He says that when you first put leftovers away, you feel really intelligent–“I’m saving food!” But then after a month, when hair is growing out of them and you throw them away, you feel really intelligent–“I’m saving my life!”

    I’d say you made the intelligent choice with that radicchio!

    And by the way, hi! It was a pleasure to meet you at BlogHer, and I really got a lot out of your panel. As someone who almost didn’t come to the conference because I was afraid my appearance doesn’t fit the perception people have of me from my blog, I heard a lot of things I really needed to hear. Seeing women who look perfectly fine expressing such self-loathing made me take a hard look at myself.

    But like you, I’d still like to kick the guy with the No Fat Chicks shirt in the balls. Thanks for that!

  5. corinna says

    Grilling it really does make it sweeter, or I bet you could roast chunks of it, like, under the broiler with olive oil. My boyfriend got a heart of palm in his farm share box. WTF?

  6. Katherine says

    Marcella Hazan has a recipe for risotto with radicchio. I’ve never tried it, since radicchio is so damn expensive here, but Marcella usually knows what she’s talking about. She uses 1 lb. radicchio for 1.5 cups of Arborio rice, and sautes the radicchio with the onion before adding the rice. Here is what she claims: “Radicchio dissolves almost totally to fuse creamily with the rice, and its original bitterness is rephrased by the cooking to emerge with a softer, gentler accent.” Of course, if you’re a supertaster who doesn’t like bitterness, this is probably still not going to be your cup of tea. If you ever try radicchio risotto, I’d be curious to hear what you think.

  7. says

    I’ve never had grilled radicchio, but I remember Meg Ryan’s character ordering it grilled in the movie “When Harry Met Sally”. If you say it’s bitter, then that’s enough for me.

  8. says

    Radicchio is a challenge, I agree. Maybe you could temper it with tons of parmesan, and/or lemon zest?

    I’m still exhausted from BlogHer! Enjoy your recoup time.

  9. Wendy says

    Cinnamon–Ha, I saw that! I just might! If you’ll try my favorite eggplant recipe…

  10. kw says

    And it could be that radicchio might get more bitter as the plant gets older and larger. Most of the ones here in our grocery stores (in NorCal) seem to be pretty small. Perhaps you could trade it for a younger plant next time.

  11. says

    I like radicchio best with something sweet to take the edge off. In the fall, I like it cut thinly, tossed with a shallot vinaigrette and then topped with toasted walnuts, Maytag blue cheese & ripe pears. The bitterness works well with the other flavors.

  12. Tris Greenman says

    Hey, no condiment museums up here in Michigan. We are all about the tourists. The little berg I live in, Grand Junction, has “Big Chair Festival”. Seriously, one of the residents made a chair of Lily Tomlin proportions out of trees so now we have a parade and spaghetti dinner to pay homage to it. Y’all should come up!

  13. says

    Actually…radicchio is really yummy. If you saute it with good quality extra virgin olive oil and salt (notice how I did not say “evoo” like a certain someone on the Food Channel does). Salt downplays the bitterness of the radicchio. Then again, perhaps it is an aquired taste. :)

  14. just say no says

    We don’t need a farm share/box thingy at our house, as we are our own hippies/farmers. Currently, we are up to our asses in fresh basil: anyone have any great recipes for a lower-fat pesto sauce? BTW, Wendy, I wouldn’t even bother to grow radicchio, as it seems to just show up, uninvited, in bags of salad greens purchased during the winter.