I read an article in a health magazine a few weeks ago that said one way to really get the most out of the holidays was to keep it simple; do less. I tried to keep that in mind over the past two weeks, and one result has been that I haven't posted to my blog.
Last weekend, D. and I pickled. We pickled a lot. As I suspected, it was a clash of the cultures in my kitchen. We both knew that, so he stayed in the living room prepping his vegetables, while I started with the pickled beets. I got the recipe from my friend's girlfriend who said they used to serve it in the restaurant where she worked. You cook the beets (I roasted half and boiled half just to see if they'd be different), and then put salt, black pepper corns, whole coriander, caraway seeds, mustard seeds, and cumin into a mixture of apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. I got impatient and opened a jar of them just hours after I made them and put a tablespoon of them on top of a wilted arugula salad with feta cheese. They were really good--and they were only half-pickled! I'm thinking of calling them Peace Beets, because she gave me the recipe on the anniversary of John Lennon's murder.
The kitchen was an absolute disaster when I was through and I had to spend quite a bit of time cleaning it up before we could start the major pickling endeavor: 2 dozen quart jars of pickled carrots and pickled roasted veggies.....a mixture we've dubbed "snackles."
D. assembled a mixture of roasted shallots and brussel sprouts, green beans, garlic, and carrots into a dozen quart jars and used my standard dill pickle recipe with a little turmeric. Truth be told, they didn't turn out as good as we had envisioned, I think it's because we used regular distilled white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. He also said that maybe we should have used a really high quality vinegar. Maybe I'll try that with a small batch.
Anyway, they were surprising gifts for people for the holidays....some people loved them immediately, others were a little skeptical. If you were one of the recipients of our pickled carrots or snackles, let us know what you thought.