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This article was written on 07 Nov 2011, and is filled under Bake, Preserve.

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Things That Are Red

I had a ton of beets languishing in cold storage (a.k.a. packed in paper bags taking up my entire vegetable drawer) for ages. I love roasted beets, but never remember to buy chevre, my favorite add in. I also managed to forget, for an entire summer, my love of borscht.

Anyway, languishing beets.

Before joining a CSA, I never knew beets could look like this.

Any space not taken up by the beets were filled with radishes, which I also love to eat with bread, butter and salt. However, I never keep good bread around, since I can eat an entire loaf in one 24 hour period. It just isn’t the same on supermarket, whole wheat sliced.

All I can think of is, “delicious radish relish.” Calef Brown is awesome.

This is a problem that only pickling can solve. Especially while I wait a couple more weeks until I can play mad scientist with the various extracts on my kitchen shelf, soon to become customize bitters and holiday gifts (coming soon).

Already sampling. I couldn’t wait.

Look at those mustard seeds!

I managed to dirty almost every bowl and half the pots in my kitchen, but now I have some gorgeous red jewel filled jars with spicy and pungent beets and radishes for my next falafel feast. (I mean, dinner last night).

It reminded me of being 19 and eating falafel off the cart in Tel Aviv. YUM.

Feasting. And, that’s me cutting up pickled beet for the Blackbird. She LOVED them. High praise.

Other Sides:

  • Cabbage tossed with salt and lemon juice, marinated for a bit. Way more than the sum, etc. Thanks to Caroline and David for that one.
  • Avocado. Diced. Period.
  • 2:1 Yogurt Tahini sauce with a bit of lemon juice, garlic, cumin
  • Israeli salad of diced tomato, cucumber and onion with salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar
  • The co-op was OUT of pita, I kid you not. Okay, they had nasty looking, brown, pocketless pita. It did not look appetizing. We bought onion naan instead and it made things awesome, as naan usually does. Sometimes you need to buck tradition.

The Falafel:

Inspired by the Baked Falafel at Chow Vegan.

I tossed a drained can of chickpeas, 1/3 cup of lemon juice, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1-1/2 tbl of cumin, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and coriander, a melted ice cube of chopped parsley, 1 cup of ripped up, soaked bread into the food processor. Blend blend blend. Formed into little balls, fried in a bit of oil, finished off in a 400 degree oven until they dry and crisp up a bit… 15, 20 minutes.

This whole meal was inspired by the beets and very haphazard. Don’t think too much. Things sometimes taste better that way.

Pickled Beets

Yield: three pints

  • 2 Tbsp pickling spice
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill (fresh or dill seed would be better)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp bay leaf
  • 1 tsp whole clove
  • 1 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 cups of roasted, peeled and sliced beets

Mix the spices, vinegar, sugar and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for 5 minutes.

Add the sliced beets and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Fill prepared jars with beets first, filling the jars with liquid, leaving 1/2″ headspace.

Process for 30 minutes. (seriously?!?)

These are good. And beautiful.

The scary and gorgeous peeling process.

Pickled Radishes

Please read the disclaimer(s), below!

Yield: 2 pints

  • 2 Tbsp mustard seed
  • 2 Tbsp pickling spice
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 6 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sugar
  • 1 1/2 white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • some peeled garlic cloves
  • a few pearl onions (I had a few little teeny onions lying around, so I tossed them in.)
  • 3 cups of radishes, scrubbed, trimmed and halved

Mix the spices, vinegar, and sugar in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for 5 minutes.
Add the radishes and simmer for 5 minutes.

Toss the garlic and onions in the jars. Fill prepared jars with radishes first, filling the jars with liquid, leaving 1/2″ headspace.

Disclaimer 1: I processed for 20 minutes. I am going to tell you that this is not safe(!) GASP. Most pickled radish recipes are refrigerator pickles. I have seen recipes that water bath process for anywhere from 5-25 minutes. I made some mixed veg pickles a few months ago and tossed in a good many radishes. They sat for a month before I ate them. I’m okay. Water bath at your own risk.

Disclaimer 2: Pickling radishes is smelly business. I didn’t even notice it until I left the house to pick up the kid form daycare. Coming back, I swear the house smelled like feet. YUCK. We aired things out a bit and it dissipated. I searched the interwebs and discovered that dealing with radishes is smelly business. One site even suggested leaving the room for a few minutes after you open your jar. I left mine on the porch for a few minutes. The smell seemed to go away. Clearly, this condiment is not for the faint of heart. You might want to stick with the beets.

 

 

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