Seriously, Passover is one of my favorite holidays. Or at least the first 3-4 days. Then all I can think about is pizza, biscuits, and pancakes.
Over the last few years I have come to realize that I know very few people who keep Kosher for Passover. I don’t go hog wild (kosher jokes are the best!) with my prep: I mean, my guy isn’t a member of the tribe, so I try to find a nice middle ground for our home while still raising our daughter in a Jewish environment. However, I clear out a good portion of the kitchen storage and segregate all the Chametz away from my Pesach food. Chris is discrete about his bread eating for the week, which is really considerate of him, since it makes it easier for me to keep the Blackbird Chametz-free. As with any holiday I have my favorite foods that I look forward to every year. I also have foods that I love for reasons I cannot quantify. Gefilte fish is one of them. I don’t know why I love those weird cold balls of ground-up fish. I mean they look gross and don’t really taste like much. But schmear some hothot horseradish on those babies and if I’m not careful, I won’t have room for the matzoh ball soup.
Our food co-op always has horseradish root for sale around the holiday, but I’ve never even thought of making my own… until this year. I’m thinking of “maror” for the seder plate; dressing for the gefilte fish; spicy, potato-vodka Bloody Marys to go along with a matzoh-brei fry-up, a creamy sauce for asparagus. DAMN. I’m getting hungry.
Okay, I read up on the interwebs about this, and the consensus is to either be prepared for chemical warfare and/or make this stuff OUTSIDE. I got some rubber gloves and thanked my lucky stars for the outlet on the porch.
Wash, peel, and coarsely chop the horseradish root. Toss it in a food processor with a few tablespoons to 1/4 cup of water and a teaspoon of salt. Grind, grind, grind. Scrape down the sides a few times to ensure an even grind. WATCH YOUR FACE WHEN YOU TAKE OFF THE LID! (A one pound root gave me about 2 cups of ground horseradish.) Put the root in a bowl and set aside.
Wash, peel, and chop the raw beet with the sugar, 3 teaspoons of vinegar, and a few tablespoons to 1/4 cup of water. Add half of the horseradish back to the processor and pulse a few times until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning or add salt if needed. Toss it in big ole jar. Red as the Nile River during the plagues, baby!
The other half of the ground horseradish, has been exposed to the open air while processing of the beet horseradish, theoretically getting nice and spicy hot. Mix some vinegar, to taste (2-3 teaspoons), into the last cup or so, taste to make sure you like the seasoning, and bottle it up.
This stuff is deliciously potent. It keeps for a while in the fridge (a couple months), but it won’t last that long. Give some to everyone you know, and spice up their week!
Combine V-8, ice, and vodka, in a glass. Add seasonings as listed above, but feel free to adjust to taste. Splash some salt on your celery and remember the tears of the Hebrew slaves before the Exodus!