Alot more than ladies that lunch…

For the last two years Harrison has gone to a school that he did not choose to go to. He has trudged off dutifully every morning at 7:30 to a waiting school bus for a 40-minute ride to a school that Tad and I chose for him. In his new school, he has had fabulous academics and he has made new friends; but he has consistently pined for his old school and classmates. So, for the last two years, at 3 pm every school day afternoon, I have picked him up and raced him home to his after school activities here with his buddies. And, for two years, he has lobbied at every turn to return to our neighborhood school. So, next year, Harrison will return to our local school. And, while I believe it is the right decision for him, there is a piece of me that is heartbroken. I will miss the amazing academics that have challenged him so; and most of all I will miss a lovely group of incredible moms that I have just really begun to get to know.

Last Wednesday three of these fabulous and talented moms joined me for lunch in my kitchen. It was rainy, dreary day-but not inside where we laughed and talked about our various issues. Our conversations ran the gamut: everything from how a Californian WASP found herself planning a New York City Bat Mitzvah to a husband’s new job, a child’s allergies, new schools, old schools, boarding schools, and of course, food- it was all fair game! All the while I cooked- testing a recipe and trying a new technique for cooking my steaks.

As we tucked into a delicious lunch of radish crostini and my version of Steak Florentine, the support, comfort and refuge that I felt sitting around my kitchen island with these incredible and strong women was palpable. It was a perfect afternoon, rain included. As lunch ended, everyone concurred that both dishes were keepers. Funny thing, I was feeling the same way about the company! Harrison may leave the school, but to all my girlfriends from there-you can’t get rid of me that easily!

One note: Even if you are not a radish person, this dish will surprise you. The cooking of the radishes mellows them and sweetens them. They loose a great deal of their bitterness and bite. What you are left with is a succulent vegetable with a bit of tang. It was enchanting and very unexpected- at least we thought so!

Seared Radish Crostini– serves 4-6
Adapted from The New York Times

1 bunch radishes
9 T extra virgin olive oil
½ sea salt/pepper
4 T butter
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
8 thin slices of crusty bread, toasted
4 t parsley, chopped

1. Remove the leaves and stems from the radishes; trim the tails. Cut the larger radishes into lengthwise into sixths and the smaller radishes lengthwise into quarters.
2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add 1 T of oil, radishes in a single layer-do not crowd-and salt and pepper. Cook the radishes, without moving them, until they are lightly colored on the underside-about 3 minutes. Shake the pan and continue cooking until tender, about 3 more minutes.
3. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Stir in anchovies, garlic, red pepper and remaining oil. Reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes.
4. Brush each slice of toast with sauce and top with several radish wedges. Spoon additional sauce on top and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

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