Sometimes I just want my life to be prettier.
Not that I want it to be a continuous Martha Stewart tea party where everyone stands around, looking just-so, with their sun-kissed cheeks and breezy hair, crisp button-up shirts and slouchy khakis, admiring the centerpiece and the color scheme and the details, like the charming DIY slipcovers the hostess whipped up in an afternoon between tending to the prize-winning peonies, putting up a winter’s worth of pickles and preserves, reorganizing the linen closet – which now smells of the homemade lavender sachets she made yesterday – and transforming the old outhouse into a conservatory and gift-wrapping center, complete with handmade paper recycled from organic coffee filters from Oregon and antique twine from the Medóc…
Might be nice, but no, that kind of lifestyle would probably drive me to drink more than I already do and of course the drinks would have to be much fancier and therefore take longer to get to than unscrewing the top of a bottle of humble plonk from Westbury Liquors…
No, the full-on Martha thing is not my thing at the moment.
But still. Sometimes I just want things to be prettier.
Thus, this very simple treatment of radishes and cucumbers that I put together with radishes from the garden and cucumbers from who knows which hothouse somewhere far less virtuous. The sharpness of the radish is tempered by the cool of the cucumber and the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar, and a bit of good salt completes the palate panorama. It looks sweet and beautiful and presentation tells the eater that someone cares, even if the only eater is you.
Thinly slice equivalent amounts of radishes and cucumbers. Put a layer of cucumbers on a serving plate. Top with a layer of radishes. Drizzle with olive oil and dot with balsamic vinegar. Finish with a pinch of flaky sea salt, and serve.
Note: We eat it with our fingers over here, so forget keeping the crisp button-up shirt clean. But this is about pleasure, and pleasure is not always tidy. And tidiness is not always desirable.However, should you decide to be more formal, make separate appetizer portions for each person and hand them a fork and a napkin. Preferably cloth