Tag Archives: Beets

Spicy Pickled Beets

Sometimes I have moments in which I realize that I am rapidly turning into an 89-year old obstinate Hungarian grandmother.

These moments happen more often than I like to admit.

For instance, I sometimes dream of owning chickens in my own backyard.  This is weird, because we actually had chickens in my backyard when I was a kid, and they are disgusting.  They stink, they peck each other to death, and they lay delicious brown eggs every day.  I want them.

I also sometimes wish I could wrap a giant scarf around my head instead of doing my hair.  Not in the movie star, big sunglasses kind of way, but in the gingham, burlap sack dress, and bare feet kind of way.

The clincher was when I woke up this morning craving pickled beets.  What self-respecting 20-something year old with a closet full of pretty dresses and high heels craves beets, much less of the pickled variety?  My complete transformation appears inevitable.

You can just call me nagyanya (“grandmother” in Hungarian).

Spicy Pickled Beets (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 1/2 lb beets (I actually had just a smidgen over a lb)
  • 1 large onion (though I used 1 large and an old baby one)
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C white vinegar (feel free to experiment with types of vinegar or just use 1/2 C of one variety)
  • 1/4 t black peppercorns
  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • 1 t dill seeds
  • 1 t salt

First, wash and roast the beets.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, wrap the beets tightly in foil, and roast until they are soft (a good test is if they can easily be pierced with a wooden skewer).  This should take about an hour.

Meanwhile, chop the onions (I made half rings, about 1/8-1/4″ thick), and cover with boiling water.  Let it sit for ten minutes, then drain and allow to cool.  This should take out some of the bite of the onions without having to cook the whole mixture together.

Combine 3/4 C boiling water with the sugar and stir until dissolved.  Add the vinegars and remaining seasonings: salt, peppercorns, allspice, cloves, and dill.  Set aside.

Once the beets are roasted, peel them (an easy trick is to use a dry paper towel to slip the skins off) and slice them.  Layer them with the onions in a large enough jar, and pour the vinegar mixture over the top.

Place the jar in the fridge and allow it to sit for at least a day until eating.

I hate when my pickled beet cravings have to wait a day to be realized.  And no, I’m not pregnant–just weird. 

The original recipe says that this can most likely be stored “forever”, but I wouldn’t try that.  With the sugary, salty brine, though, it’ll probably come pretty close.

I’m excited to try these on sandwiches, in salads, and probably just plain.  Remember?  I’m weird.

Plus, how can you not love the sweet and sour taste of pickled beets?

Pickling things (especially without the trouble of canning them, since I’m just making one jar and keeping it refrigerated) is a perfect way to keep items from my CSA box from going bad.  Expect to see a lot more pickled goodies in the future.  And possibly some jams.  Jellies.  Compotes.

14 Comments

Filed under Side Dishes

Beets (the right way); Frozen Yogurt

In case you were wondering (admit it–you were), I recently got a new babysitting job watching a child who is most likely the cutest nine month old of all time.  He has the sweetest disposition and humongous eyes,  but more importantly he makes this growly Chewbacca sound when he’s playing contentedly and it kills me.  Yes, that’s cute, but what does this mean to you, you ask?

It means that I don’t have a long Friday afternoon anymore to make a complex and blog-worthy dinner, so instead you get to see the side dishes I made the day before to go with the chicken drumsticks I asked Fritz to grill for me.  But don’t worry, because I plan on making a work-intensive loaf of pumpernickel bread tomorrow, and I promise at least 10 steps and many photos.

My parents grew beets in their garden this year, and a few posts ago I showed a picture of how beautiful they were when I boiled them.  Even though they were pretty, boiling beets takes out some of their intense flavor and color, and when you try roasting them you’ll understand the difference.

Roasted Beets

  • as many large beets as desired, scrubbed but not peeled
  • foil squares for wrapping
  • 1 C water
  • metal or glass baking dish that is at least 1″ deep

This is easy: pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees, wrap the beets in foil (trim those ugly ends first), and place in a baking dish.  Add the water to the bottom of the dish to prevent burning.

 

Place dish into a middle rack in the oven and roast until a wooden skewer can easily pierce through the center of the beet, about an hour.  Be careful opening up that foil, it’s steamy!  Use a paper towel to rub off the tough outer layer.  It should come off easily and stain the towel instead of your hands.

Slice beets and serve either warm (delicious with just a sprinkle of salt), or cold with balsamic vinaigrette.  Yum!

Now is also a good time to roast some sweet potatoes!  I poke some holes in them with a fork and then microwave them for six minutes.  Place in a baking dish and bake until soft.  Sprinkle some freshly grated nutmeg over the top and savor that natural sweetness.

Since we’ve been trying to eat healthily, ice cream has been completely cut out of our diet, and it definitely needed to be replaced with a better alternative for our movie-watching nights.  My friend Cait told me about a blog she likes called Oh She Glows (it’s pretty and vegan), and while browsing it I found a vegan ice cream idea that I liked and quickly adapted to our non-veganness.  If you are vegan and want to try it, process some frozen bananas and peanut butter together.  Done!
 
However, I changed it up a little bit.  This was seriously so good that we declared it better than real ice cream.  Yes.  Silky smooth and full of goodness.
 
Good For Ya Frozen Yogurt (serves two…or one if you eat like we do!)
  •  1 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1 t honey
  • 1 T peanut butter (opt)

Blend all ingredients (don’t bother freezing the banana beforehand unless you plan on eating it immediately), pour into a bowl, and stick in the freezer for an hour or two until hardened.  We couldn’t wait more than an hour to eat it, but you could freeze it like regular ice cream–it gets very frozen, though!

 

Tomorrow is take 29488420086 of our search for a car.  Now that I have a babysitting job and Fritz wants to start shadowing an orthodontist, we really really need a second car.  It’s been fun (not) sharing a car for over a year, but I think we are ready for a new phase of our lives to begin: Independence.

Wish us luck!

1 Comment

Filed under Desserts, Side Dishes

Basic Pesto

Since fall is here and therefore it will be winter in a few days, I decided it’s time to start going through the herb garden to save whatever I can.  I have plans to dry the thyme, lavender, sage, and maybe some chives, and on Sunday I made tons of pesto to freeze.  Mom gave me a little hint to freeze the pesto in ice-cube trays for individual serving sized portions for easy defrosting (thanks Mom!)

For all of you out there who either just want pesto (understandably…it’s delicious) or have a lot of basil you don’t want to go to waste, here’s an easy recipe for you to try!

Basic Pesto

  • 1-3 cloves garlic, depending on your preference (I used one)
  • 2 C packed basil
  • 1/2 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

This is super easy: put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Done!

 

Like I said, for easy freezing you can pour the pesto into ice-cube trays and when they are frozen solid, toss them into a freezer bag and use them as you need ’em!  The pesto keeps for about three months in the freezer. I made three batches, so I may have to give a few cubes away to friends and family or we’ll never finish it all!  If you don’t want to risk having your ice-cube trays smell like garlic for the next few years, you can freeze whole batches in sandwich bags and it’ll take up barely any room in your freezer.

While I was picking the basil from the garden, I stumbled across a really disgusting but weirdly awesome infestation of giant caterpillars in my parsley (which I will never, ever, be able to eat again).  I googled them and they are black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars and love to eat parsley and fennel.  While they look gross now, I’m actually willing to share my parsley with the butterflies–some people plant it solely to attract the butterflies.  So here’s a warning: close your eyes if you don’t like bugs!

 

I’ll take more pictures once I have crowds of butterflies flitting about my yard.  Hopefully they’ll be much more beautiful and a lot less nauseating.

To leave on a more appetizing note, I made some quick boiled beets the other day.  I was in a rush, because normally I’d wrap the beets in foil and roast them for a stronger and sweeter beet flavor, but I only had half an hour so boiling it was.  Regardless, I had to take a picture because my parents grew these beets and they look awesome!  I have some left so I’ll roast them the right way next week and take some more pictures, but you can feast your eyes upon these beauties for now.

8 Comments

Filed under Sauces