Monthly Archives: July 2011

(76) Candied Beets

A few weeks ago, we harvested a few beets from our (Aaron’s) garden.  I remembered my mom serving kind of sweet beets (though they were canned) when I was a little girl, so I asked my dad about how they were made.  Were they candied?  Pickled?  He wasn’t sure, but he thought there was probably cloves in them.  Hm.  At least that was a start, right?

I did a few internet searches and found a wide variety of recipes, so I just made up my own.  As a result, I have no idea what the measurements were of any of the ingredients.  Sorry, Charlie.  You’ll live.

To make these candied/pickled (???) beets, first slice up some beets (There she goes again with the rocket science…).

Marvel at their color, then toss them in a pan with some water, sugar, vinegar (just a splash), and cloves.

Usually recipes call for only one or two cloves.  I don’t understand this (as you can tell from the photograph above).  I like WHAM-O flavor, so I used several cloves.  Several.  You do it how you like it, though.  By all means only use one or two (or zero) cloves.  You could even sprinkle in some cinnamon.  They’re your beets!  Spice ’em how you like ’em!

Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beets are soft (probably upwards of 30 minutes).  I didn’t use very much sugar, just enough to bring out the natural sweetness of the beets.  But again, do it how you like it, girl!  (Or boy!)

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(75) Farina with Apricots and Almonds

Do you eat breakfast?

Me either.

I know.  Bad.  I eat brunch.  Sometimes.  That counts.  Frankly, it counts double if I eat a piece of cake.

Go with it.

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(74) Kohlrabi Salad

Aaron and I harvested our first kohlrabi last week.  Pretty exciting.

To be fair, Aaron harvested Mr. Kohlrabi.  From his garden.

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(73) Angel Food Cake with Triple Sec Rhubarb & Berries

I’m not really a cake girl.  I mean, I’ll eat the cursory wedding or birthday piece, but I don’t typically bake cake, except perhaps a pound cake once or twice a year.

But that’s all about to change, friends.

I (finally) made an angel food cake.  I have been madly in love with angel food cake since my mom first introduced it to me many years ago.  Oh, it was heaven (ha!).  Sweet, but not too sweet.  Light, yet still rich.  Spongy, and a touch melt-in-your-mouth. I became a fan for life.

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(72) Mayonnaise

I used to be a Duke’s girl.

As in Duke’s mayonnaise.  If you don’t live in the South, you’ve never heard of it.  I learned that lesson when I moved to California for graduate school and went grocery shopping for the first time.  I stood in the condiments aisle for a good twenty minutes, scanning the labels, sure that I must be missing the Duke’s.

But I wasn’t.

Because Duke’s is Southern.

Then one day, a couple of years ago, I noticed “NEW!  Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil!”  So I committed a little light treason and purchased the Kraft.  It was good.

This mayonnaise is neither Duke’s nor is it Kraft w/OO.  Although it is made with olive oil.  Go figure.  It tastes like a big ol’ spoonful of… wait for it… olive oil.  Not what you want in a good mayo (or maybe you do).

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(71) Dill Pickles

Happy 4th of July!

You’re planning to grill hamburgers today, right?  Hotdogs?  You know what you need with those ‘burgers and ‘dogs?  Pickles.  And I’m not talkin’ Vlassics here, folks.  I’m talking home. pickled. cucumbers.

So far this year, we have picked about a gazillion cucumbers from our teensy little backyard garden.  I enjoy a good cucumber, but I don’t necessarily care to eat twelve cucumbers a day.  So, pickles it is!

I’m rather choosy about my pickle type.  I don’t bother will sweet pickles.  I don’t jive with bread & butter.  I do devour dill.

I didn’t think I had quite enough cucumbers piled up to justify a full-out canning session, so I looked for a refrigerator pickle recipe.  I made a small batch (two jars) first, to test the taste.  No need to waste bazillions of pickles on a yuck-o recipe, right?

This recipe (after a few tweaks) produced excellence.  Aaron said they were the best pickles he’d ever eaten.  And he’s not just willy-nilly with his “the best ever” statements.  He’s really not.

But he was right.  These are the best.  And they are like, twenty-seven easy.  That’s really easy.  Especially on a scale of one to ten.

So make these!  Pile ’em on your burgers!  Chop ’em up for relish on your hot dogs!  And step outside, take a deep breath, and meditate for a moment on your blessings.  We live in a pretty choice country.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

adapted from recipe in Bon Appétit

1 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Maui), thinly sliced
1 bulb garlic, peeled
2 pounds medium pickling cucumbers, scrubbed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 large bunch dill, coarsely chopped (stems included)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt

Divide sliced onion and garlic cloves between two 1-quart wide-mouth glass jars.

Pack cucumber slices horizontally in jars. Top each jar with dill.

Using mortar and pestle or resealable plastic bag and mallet, crush mustard seeds and peppercorns together. Place crushed spices in medium saucepan. Add vinegar, 1 cup water, sugar, and coarse salt. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Ladle mixture evenly over cucumbers. Leave jars uncovered and chill 24 hours. Cover glass pickle jars tightly with lids. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated.