From time to time, someone, somewhere random, will come over and say, “Hi, Ms. Baer!” and, embarrassingly, sometimes I don’t recognize them at all. To be fair, for many of them, when they were my students, they were much younger and looked much different. I really have no idea how many kids have passed through my classroom, and I certainly cannot name them all, though I do keep all my class lists.
On the other hand, there have been some students over the years who have kept in touch, who have reached out for advice or a letter of recommendation, and I get to hear what they are doing, and to be proud that, perhaps, I had a little something to do with their successes.
The family of one such student, whom I helped with post-high school applications, owns a blueberry orchard that is somewhat hidden away. Over the years, she and I have made it a tradition to pick blueberries together once or twice a summer, catching up on everything that’s been going on in our lives. We have truly moved beyond the teacher-student relationship — although, often it’s hard for her to break the habit of calling me Ms. Baer.
Last year, she posted about picking strawberries (though not on her family property). When I commented on how beautiful and bountiful they were, she suggested we meet to pick strawberries, the first in the parade of berries through the summer months.
One of the dishes I made last year with these strawberries was a fantastic salad with radishes from our CSA. However, it was almost at the end of strawberry season, and so I have been sitting on this recipe for almost a year. So here it is, saved to publish a bit ahead of strawberry season, and you can be sure I will be enjoying this as soon as I can get out in the fields to pick ripe, red berries!
Serves 2, can be doubled
2 medium purple radishes, trimmed, sliced and, if large, cut into half moons
1/2 - 3/4 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup diced European or Persian cucumber (with or without skin)
1/2 roasted red pepper, diced
1-2 garlic scapes or scallions, chopped; if using scapes, save the tops for presentation
1 avocado, cubed
1/4 cup cilantro leaves removed from the stem, optional
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt, or more to taste
A few grinds of fresh ground pepper, or more to taste
Pinch of Aleppo pepper, or paprika, optional, to taste
Place radishes, strawberries, cucumber, red pepper, garlic scapes or scallions, avocado, and cilantro, if using, in a large bowl and toss gently to combine.
Combine lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and Aleppo pepper, if using, and whisk to mix well. Dress the salad and toss again gently. Arrange in a serving bowl or plate, placing the tops of the garlic scapes, if using, as garnish.