Comfort Cooking Abroad

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Archive for the tag “beets”

Pickled Beets and Eggs

Some lovely purple pickles.

Some lovely purple pickles.

I’ve recently gotten very interested in pickling. Pickling is a fantastic way to preserve vegetables so that you can eat them out of season. Making them yourself also means that you can cut sown the amount of sodium to make them even healthier. Pickled vegetables retain their fiber and vitamins, and properly fermented vegetables boost healthy gut bacteria for better digestion. I started my pickling adventures with pickled beets because I’ve had, and enjoyed, them before. Turns out their quite easy to make at home.

Ingredients for 1 quart

3 eggs – hard boiled, peeled and quartered

3 medium beets – roasted, peeled and sliced

1 small onion – thinly sliced

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Once you have all of your vegetables ready, it should only take about 15 minutes to make your pickles. Just combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a pan and put over medium heat on the stove. You don’t need to bring the mixture to a full boil, just dissolve the sugar and salt. You can omit the sugar and salt if you like, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving those out if kids will be eating the pickles. Also, remember to avoid standing over the pot due to the vinegar fumes.

While the pickle is heating, layer all of your prepared vegetables and eggs in a 1 quart jar. You might want to wear gloves while you work with the beets or your hands will end up stained. You might have to press the vegetables down slightly to pack them in.

Once the sugar and salt in the pickling liquid has dissolved, let it cool slightly so that you will be able to handle the glass jar as you fill it. After it is cool enough, just pour it slowly over the vegetables. It is important to go slowly so that the liquid can get down between the vegetables and fill all of the spaces. You will probably have some liquid leftover. Let the jar rest for a few moments before you put the lid on because sometimes there are little air pockets or the vegetables will absorb some of the liquid and you will need to add more liquid. This is totally normal. When you feel like you’ve added as much liquid as you can, put the lid on and put it in the fridge. Leave it alone for at least three days before you eat the pickles.

Pickled beets and eggs with tuna noodle casserole.

Pickled beets and eggs with tuna noodle casserole.

Roasted Beet Salad

ImageThis salad is simple and delicious. If you’ve never used beets before, this recipe is a good introduction to them. This beautiful root vegetable stays good for a long time, but it can have a powerful earthy flavor that doesn’t suit everyone. Roasting gives them a mellower taste and pairing them with sweet pears creates a healthy, flavor-balanced salad. It makes a fantastic side dish or light lunch.

The following recipe makes 4 side salad portions or 2 meal-sized portions.

1 beet: red or golden

oil or melted butter to taste (optional)

dash salt (optional)

1/2 pear

1/4 cup pecans or walnuts

1 bag mixed salad greens if you can find it or 1 small head chopped lettuce

Beets have a thin skin that can be difficult to remove before they are cooked. After roasting, the skin can easily be slipped off by rubbing with your fingers under a bit of running water. In some countries you might not want to use tap water, so you can use a small ball of foil instead of your fingers to eliminate the need for running water. Keep in mind that you might end up with red fingers by the time you’re finished. To roast the beet, simply cut it into eights or smaller. Remember that you will have to remove the skin after cooking, so you might not want to cut them as small as I did.

Next, just toss them with a little oil or melted butter and sprinkle lightly with salt. The oil and salt help develop flavor and texture on the beet, but they can easily be skipped without taking much from the dish. 

Line your toaster oven sheet pan with foil (you can use this to remove the skins after roasting) and spread your beet pieces out evenly. Cook them in you toaster oven on 300 F or with both bulbs for 10 – 30 minutes. I know, that’s not a very definite span. Your individual cooking time will vary depending on your toaster oven and the size of pieces you used. You will know they are done when they have developed a deeper color, but not begun to brown, and a fork can easily pierce the largest piece.

Image

While your beet is cooking, put the salad mix or chopped lettuce in a bowl. Cut the pear into 1 inch (2 1/2 cm) cubes and roughly chop the nuts. Add both to your salad along with the beets after they have been roasted and skinned. Toss and serve.

If you can find them, craisins or feta cheese would make this salad even better!

 

 

 

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