Radish Butter Crostini is the Perfect Appetizer

radish, radishes, crostini, vegan butter, Miyoko's Kitchen
radish, radish crostini, vegan butter, Miyoko's Kitchen

It's taken me a long time to appreciate radishes. I've never liked the sharp bitter bite of a radish, and unfortunately so, because they look so pretty all sliced up as garnish in salads. I know they are hydrating, detoxifying, great for digestion and skin, full of minerals and all kinds of things that make me want to say yes to them. Then one day, a French friend gave me a taste of fresh radish from their garden. A few slices of radish on top of fresh buttered toast sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt. Since then I've become a radish lover.

Spring is here and everywhere you look there's wildflowers, even covering the medians of main roads. After the heavy rains, hillsides are lush with green growth. Just a drive through the canyons from the Pacific Coast Highway leaving Malibu into Topanga Canyon makes one gasp with its beauty. We took a drive out to see the superbloom of poppies at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve and marveled at the bright orange fields full of poppies in bloom. I wore a poppy-printed sundress for the Instagram photo opportunity, however, the wind. My dress was too revealing and impossible to walk in with the gusty winds, so I changed into a longer dress of coral orange in the back of the car. I'm sure I looked silly hiking in a clingy décollete-revealing Georges Marciano number, but so what. I got one decent photo that captured the epitome of the moment: windblown me, laughing in a field of poppies. I love spring and summer weather.

Of course, springtime weather, flowers and sunshine means backyard parties and gatherings. The farmers' markets are reaping the rewards of the rains as well, and all of the spring produce is out. Have you ever seen so many flowers and fruits? When I'm at the farmers' market I come home with bags overloaded with fresh veggies and bundles of herbs.

The other day I was browsing in a shop and came across a magical cookbook called The Forest Feast Gatherings. As I flipped through the cookbook, my youngest daughter and I marveled over the artistry and photography, then my daughter said: "Mommy! This is a cookbook you would make! Even the handwriting is the same as yours!" And I felt as though I found my doppelgänger. Dear Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, we have the same handwriting down to the swish of the "s" and the flourish of the "f" and I'm just delighted to find this book. The vegetarian recipes, photo style (and even some of the patterned plates) are similar to what I create. Everything was so alike, I felt an enormous sense of inspiration and kinship.

So, on my usual walk through the open markets every Sunday morning, I saw bunches of rainbow radishes and decided to go for it. Since going mostly vegan -- I've been vegetarian for nearly all of my life including childhood -- I've tested out different dairy-free products, made my own almond milk, made coconut milk and creamer for tea, coffee and smoothies. A few good vegan cheeses have come my way, some gourmet coconut and almond yogurts, even an unbelievably good almond milk cream cheese. But not until recently have I come across a vegan butter so convincing that it seriously made me do a double take to the ingredients on the label. Miyoko's Kitchen makes a vegan cultured butter that gives plant-based butter a whole new reason for bread.

This radish recipe from The Forest Feast was so perfect to use with the vegan butter and the fresh rainbow radishes, I had to make them right away. Mainly to get over my dislike of radishes, and also to have an excuse to use Miyoko's Kitchen vegan butter. A classic French combination of simply radishes, butter, sea salt and toast.