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Pickled Beets

16 May
Beets, in a pickle.

Beets, in a pickle.

Pickled beets for breakfast.  Why yes, I am a Russian.

Pickled beets for breakfast. Why yes, I am a Russian.

After I made pickled beets, I realized how versatile they are.  How did I ever live without them??

Breakfast: Pickled beets on cream cheese on Russian toast with green onions.

Lunch: Pickled beets in just about any sandwich.  Roast beef, falafel, or some garlicky hummus.

Dinner: Pickled beets with roasted chicken and couscous.

Drinks: Pickled beets are the world’s most perfect chaser for vodka.  And I’m thinking there’s probably a bloody martini in my future, with pickled beet juice and vodka.  There should be a better name for it, though….Blood Transfusion?

Pickled Beets:

1lb red beets

1/2 of a large red onion

1 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

3 teaspoons salt

4 bay leaves

1 tsp oregano or tarragon….or whatever dried or fresh herbs you have on hand.

If your beets are huge, cut them down to approximately golf-ball sized chunks.  Leave the skin on.  Boil them for about 30 minutes, until fork tender.  Drain, wait until they’re cool enough to handle, and rub off the skins.

While you’re waiting for the beets to cook, heat up the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, bay leaves, and other herbs in a pan until the salt and sugar are dissolved.  Let it cool a bit.

When your beets are done, slice them into thin, translucent pieces.  Thinly slice your red onion.  Layer the beets and the red onion in a jar or container with a lid.  Fill the rest of the jar with that liquid you just made that makes your kitchen smell like vinegar.  Take a knife and poke it down the sides of the jar to poke out any air bubbles.

Sooooo that’s it.  Put on the lid, throw the container in the fridge for a few days.  I didn’t want mine to be super-salty/sour so I just pickled them for about 2 days.  Breakfast was RAD!

Parsnip Curry Turmeric Soup

14 Apr

Oh, hello daunting Bag-o-Parsnips.  I can barely figure out what to do with one of you, never mind a pile of you.  Another roast?  Another mash? Too boring, too….beige.

Is it possible that the parsnips are making everything around the beiger?  Are they boring-ifying my world??

Is it possible that the parsnips are making everything around the beiger? Are they boring-ifying my world??

Fortunately I discovered a sunny yellow box of turmeric in the back of my cupboard.  And next to it, some damn spicy curry powder.  To the Soup Machine!!  On y va, mes amies!!

Here’s the soup:

1 bag of parsnips.  Probably 6 parsnips, or like a pound or something.  Cut them into 1-inchish pieces.

1 glug of olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped but don’t try too hard cuz we’re gonna blitz them with the immersion blender anyway.

4 teeth of garlick, squashed and diced.

1 bay leaf, or more if they’re dried out and decrepit like mine

2 teaspoons of turmeric

1 tablespoon curry powder

3 cups of veg stock (or whatever stock is on hand)

salt & pepper

Sautee down your onion and garlick a bit, add bay leaf, turmeric and curry until everything’s yellow.  Then add parsnips and stock.  Burble away for like 40 minutes. Add salt & pepper, adjust curry/turmeric as needed, and remove the bay leaf.  Then throw everything in a blender and marvel at how awesome your kitchen smells.

Starting to feel spicy....there should be a parsnip make-over montage here...

Starting to feel spicy....there should be a parsnip make-over montage here...

Bzzzzzz....

Bzzzzzz....

Ta-da!  It's soup!

Ta-da! It's soup!

Black Radish beer snack

8 Apr

I was cruising Chowhound.com, where someone else had asked a question of what to do with black radishes.  Amateur chefs all over the eastern seaboard offered many very sophisticated recipes and techniques.  But one commenter, whose Boston accent was so thick I could hear it through the interwebz, got it right in like two sentences.  Grate the radish, add green onion and a little olive oil (and salt&pepper), and eat it with crackers and beer.  Done!

Actually, I also added a splash of red wine vinegar.  And the next time I made it, I added black sesame seeds because they look cool.  We ate these with tortilla chips and the requisite beer.

Black radishes are radical.

Black radishes are radical.

Peel'd!

Peel'd!

Black radish, grated to smithereens.  If there's too much water, just squish it out over the sink with your hands.

Black radish, grated to smithereens. If there's too much water, just squish it out over the sink with your hands.

Take THAT, tortilla chips!

Take THAT, tortilla chips!

Watermelon Radishes

7 Mar

These things are really crazy.  Pale green/white on the outside, bright pink on the inside, and very juicy and a little sweet.  Nowhere near as bitey as the little red radishes at the taco bar.

 

If you close your eyes (and you're completely insane), these radishes are just like a bite of summertime.  Not really.

If you close your eyes (and you're completely insane), these radishes are just like a bite of summertime. Not really.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another day, another salad with radishes, greens, and lemon/olive oil.  Oh!  And also very fancy salt from Maya.  It was freaking delicious.

yaaaay for salad!

yaaaay for salad!

 

How to clean organic greens, um, organically

7 Mar

So here’s a trick I learned in Brazil.  It’s how to clean organic greens.  Because sometimes, when you get organic greens, you get some homies in there that accidentally came along for the ride.  And maybe you don’t want to eat said homies.

Put your greens in a big bowl, fill with cold water.  Add a few shakes of vinegar, stir, and leave it alone for 15 minutes.  Any inadvertent stowaways will float to the top.

No homies here.  But look how greeeeen!!  zOMG!!1!! First greens of the season!  I shriek with girlish delight!

No homies here. But look how greeeeen!! zOMG!!1!! First greens of the season! I shriek with girlish delight!

Post rinse and salad-spin, I added some of those amazing leftover watermelon radishes, some blood oranges, a little fennel, and a squeeze of lemon and olive oil.  Salad ensued.

Salad-tastic.

Salad-tastic.

Summary Post

2 Mar

Here’s everything I made with my produce box in the past two weeks.  New box coming tomorrow!

1 lbs Empire Apples (VT) – Ate ’em naked.  Just like that.
1 lbs Mutsu Apples (VT) – Ditto.
1 Butternut Squash (MA) – Butternut Squash Bacon Soup, Roasted Butternut Squash Seeds
1 lbs Carrots (MA) – Carrot Fennel Ginger Sesame Salad ,
2 lbs Red Potatoes (MA) – Bacon Rosemary Potatoes
1 lbs Scarlet Turnips (MA) – Tunisian Turnips with Harissa
0.75 lbs Sunchokes (Quebec) – Sunchoke Truffle Soup
2 lbs Sweet Potatoes (MA) – Sweet Potato Curry Fries
1 lbs Watermelon Radishes (MA) – Tunisian Radishes with Harissa,  although truthfully, I’m hanging on to most of these guys because I know I have some salad greens coming tomorrow.  Squeee!!!

Oh and of course, Le Stock! Always Le Stock!

Here’s what I have leftover:

1/2 a butternut squash

1 lb sweet potatoes

3/4 lb watermelon radishes.

But I have plans for all of those….DEVIOUS plans….mwahahahaha

Scarlet Turnips and Watermelon Radishes: The Harissa Treatment

21 Feb

My friend Maya’s family is of Tunisian origin, and dinners at their house include a glorious parade of vegetables slathered in harissa and served with couscous.  She recommended I try the harissa treatment on my scarlet turnips and watermelon radishes this week, and the result was freaking delicious.

First I had to find harissa, which is a chili-tomato paste that comes in tiny, adorable cans.  I posted a question to Chowhound about where to find this stuff around these parts, and the Chowhounders located every harissa retailer in New England.  Amazing.

That radish has Whiskers of Doom

That radish has Whiskers of Doom. But look how tiny the can of harissa is! Kawaiiii!

The plan was to cut up raw turnips and radishes, slather with harissa, lemon, and olive oil, and eat it with couscous.  I doctored the couscous by cooking it in my Proprietary CSA Veg Scraps Stock and adding a little minced red onion, and some marinated olives on the side.

Watermelon radish and scarlet turnip - EXPOSED!!

Watermelon radish and scarlet turnip - EXPOSED!!

So here’s what they look like inside.  Pretty!!  The watermelon radish has pale green skin and a ring of fuchsia on the inside.  It has that pleasant sinus-clearing effect, but is pretty mild as far as radishes go.

The turnip is purple on the outside and white with purple flecks on the inside.  I was surprised by how sweet it tasted. Nobody told me turnips were kinda sweet!

Oh and I put those whiskery roots in my Future Proprietary CSA Veg Scraps Stock container in the freezer.

Turnip chunks

Turnip chunks

I used just one large turnip, and cut it into approx inch-long chunks.  The watermelon radishes were too pretty to cut into chunks, so I sliced them instead.  Then I combined them, which was maybe not the best aesthetic choice.

Looks like a psychedelic kiwi, tastes like a radish.

Looks like a psychedelic kiwi, tastes like a radish.

After the slicing, chunking, and couscous cooking, I tossed the radishes and turnips with about 2 tablespoons of harissa, juice of 1/2 lemon, and a table spoon of olive oil. You can dial up or down the harissa according to your spiciness preferences.

Radishes, turnips, harissa, couscous

Finished product. Could have been prettier, but not tastier.

Ta-da! Here, you’re looking at couscous, radishes & turnips in harissa with lemon, some olives, and some leftover roasted chicken.  Dinner was rad.  Can’t wait to make the radishes and turnips again, but next time I’ll make them separately.

Sunchokes

19 Feb

What?? Sunchokes?  Sunchokes Quebecois, no less?  What’s a girl to do with French-speaking sunchokes?  I posed this question to my Facebook homies, and here were some preliminary ideas:

  • Sunchokes sliced into 1/2 inch pieces, sauteed with garlick & olive oil.  Um, drool.
  • Sunchokes & pasta. I can see how that water-chestnut texture would be interesting against pasta.
  • Sunchoke soup with a lil cream and truffle oil.  Mmmmm cream & truffle oil. That’s a language both Franco-Canadians and I can share.  (well, and English)
zOMG sunchokes!!1!

zOMG sunchokes!!1!

Sunchokes reclining after a bath

Sunchokes reclining after a bath

So I took my 0.75lbs of sunchokes, washed them and chopped them into 1/2 inch pieces but did not peel, chopped one sweet onion, and sauteed them both in my faithful Le Creuset soup pot with some olive oil and salt & pepper.

Does this count as primordial soup?

Does this count as primordial soup?

Aaaaaand once things got soft (around 15 min), I added some of my proprietary CSA-Scraps Vegetable Broth, which I’ll post next time I make it.  I was goin to add a picture of it, but, like, it’s just broth.  Whatever.

Sunchokes & onions, co-existing peacefully in vegetable broth.  Got that, Middle East?

Sunchokes & onions, co-existing peacefully in vegetable broth. Got that, Middle East?

I added about 1.5 cups of broth and simmered for another 15 minutes.

The next step was adding a little cream (or half and half in my case), and in retrospect I’m not sure I did it right.  But it came it out great, so no complaints.  I put  about 1/4 cup of half and half in an immersion-blender-friendly container (which just means it’s tall), and slowly ladled the hot soup in there.  Nothing scalded.  I just wonder if I should have blended the soup first, then added the cream.

My love for the immersion blender knows no bounds.

My love for the immersion blender knows no bounds.

Soooo after pureeing this delicious mess into smithereens, I added a decidedly unartistic swirl of truffle oil on top.  And it was grand.  Great flavors – the sunchokes really got to sing, and their water-chestnut texture was surprisingly not lost in the puree.  Win!