Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Refrigerator Pickled Beets

So we all know that a "food desert" is a place without ready access to fresh vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods. But does the "calendar place" that is March ever feel like a food desert to you too? It's not really winter any more, at least not here in eastern Missouri, even if the forecast is for snow. And it's not really spring either, even if daffodils are blooming on the south-facing exposures. Likewise, our tastebuds are so ready for the lightness that is spring, even as our bodies still crave the cozy sweaters of wintry comfort foods.

My answer? Bridge foods, the foods that help us cross from one season to the next, especially the long climb from winter to spring. And – please don't shoot me on this one – I turn to canned beets. They're cheap, they're easy and frankly, I think they're good, at least when submerged in pickling brine for at least a day.

And I'm surprised by how much people like them! For the last two Easters, I served Refrigerator Pickled Beets, cut into pieces and chopped with fresh herbs, they disappeared in a flash, "seconds" were known to happen!

Happy First Day of Spring, northern hemisphere folk!
And First Day of Fall, southern hemisphere visitors!

Refrigerator Pickled Beets ♥ KitchenParade.com, with canned or fresh beets, no canning required, keeps for weeks in the fridge. Vegan. Low Carb. WW1.


COMPLIMENTS!
"I made mine with roasted beets ... wonderful!" ~ Lorraine


Call me a suck-a for beets, there’s good reason for bearing a Beet Queen crown. Roasted or raw, sandwiched or scalloped, souped or salad-ed, beet beauties are "da best".

In the veritable garden of beet recipes, my first pick just might be homemade pickled beets – but truth be told, I’ve made real pickled beets exactly once and that was ten, make that eleven, years ago.

Instead, each year I make one batch after another of Refrigerator Pickled Beets. They’re quick, they’re good, they’re handy to have on hand to add to a quick salad.

They even – get this – make a really good summer smoothie. Take that for breakfast, all you Beet Princesses.

ALANNA’s TIPS Refrigerator Pickled Beets are "refrigerator pickles" – this means that they’re not preserved in a traditional canning process for long-term unrefrigerated storage. Look for small canned beets. My local grocer (for St. Louisans, that’s Schnucks) sells a house-brand of canned beets about an inch and a half in diameter, they’re perfect. There are cans of sliced beets too but I don't recommend them – the slices stick together, that means the beets don’t pickle evenly. That said, I have great luck cutting the small whole beets into halves or quarters. The irregular shapes leaves space in between for the pickling juices. Beet juice stains so that’s why glass is important. My eight-cup glass jar holds a full five cans of whole or halved small beets. That might sound like a lot – and it is – but Refrigerator Pickled Beets keep for weeks and weeks so it’s easy to eat a few bites every few days. For parties, toss drained Refrigerator Pickled Beets with a few fresh herbs, they’re surprisingly popular! Or in summer, toss the beets with fresh herbs and blueberries. Ooo-la-la!

BEAUTIFUL BEET RECIPES My friend Pille from the Estonian food blog Nami-Nami hosts a board on Pinterest for beautiful beet recipes. Check out a few of hers, she, I think, is ripping the beet-queen crown from my head! :-)))

REFRIGERATOR PICKLED BEETS

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: at least 24 hours
Makes about 14 (small batch) or 70 (large batch) small pickled beets
    SMALL BATCH
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can beets, preferably small beets (see TIPS)
    LARGE BATCH
  • 1 cup (220g) water
  • 1 cup (230g) apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of cloves, optional
  • 4 or 5 15-ounce cans of beets, preferably small beets

In a saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and cloves to a boil.

While the pickling liquid heats, drain the beets. If the beets are large, cut into bite-size pieces, irregular chunks are better than even slices (see TIPS). Place the beets in a large glass container with a lid (see TIPS). Pour the hot liquid over the beets. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving, up-ending every so often if the beets aren’t completely submersed.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per small beet/per 3.5 beets (assumes half the pickling liquid is absorbed by the beets): 10/36 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 58/205mg Sodium; 2/8g Carb; 0/1g Fiber; 2/7g Sugar; 0/1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS WW Old Points 0/.5, WW PointsPlus 0/1 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving, 10 beets; 50-calorie serving, 5 beets.
Adapted from a 1964 issue of House & Garden, as published on Epicurious as Swedish Pickled Beets. Since 2005, Swedish Pickled Beets have been a top-visited recipe on my food blog about vegetables, A Veggie Venture.

Pickled Beets + Fresh Blueberries & Mint = Summer Magic!


Pickled Beet Salad with Fresh Blueberries & Mint ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, five minutes to the table. Vegan. Low Carb. WW1.

So yeah, canned beets can help "bridge" the seasons. But y'know what? Refrigerator Pickled Beets are the starting point for one of my favorite quick 'n' easy summer salads in recent memory! Just toss pickled beets with fresh blueberries and ribbons of fresh mint. Tis that easy! But if you need more info, check out Pickled Beet Salad with Fresh Blueberries & Mint at A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables.


Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite beet recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012

Hot Cross Buns (<< this week's family favorite) Armenian Easter Bread (Choereg) Twice-Smoked Ham Ham 101: What to Know Before Buying a Ham Nana's Raisin Sauce for Ham Real-Food Brisket Easy Creamy Scrambled Eggs for a Crowd Five-Minute Fruit Salad

This Week, Elsewhere

Chicken Salad from Six North Cafe
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Cauliflower Hummus
~ more Recent Recipes ~
A Veggie Venture


More Recipes for Refrigerator Pickles

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Cucumber & Pepper Refrigerator Pickles Marinated Brussels Sprouts Refrigerator Pickled Beets (above)
~ more pickle recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade


Wanna Be a Beet Princess? More Beet Recipes!

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Karelian Borscht (Russian Beet Borscht Soup) Those Pink Potatoes Mango & Beet Smoothies
~ more beet recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Beets with Feta ~
~ Beet Pesto ~
~ Beet Salad with Sumac, Yogurt & Pita ~
~ more beet recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





© Copyright 2013, 2014 & 2015 Kitchen Parade



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Irish Spiced Fruitcake

Irish Spiced Fruitcake is definitely NOT your grandma's fruitcake. It's packed with dried fruit and warm spices, I like it simple and plain or with a smear of Brown Sugar Lemon Curd.

Irish Spiced Fruitcake, here with a smear of Brown Sugar Lemon Curd

I just knew I’d love this fruitcake.

It conjures memories of my English-born grandfather’s cousins Lyla and Vic who after six decades of marriage, still giggled about their wedding day.

“Poor pensioners” they called themselves. Their home was a small flat on the outskirts of London with a miniature rose garden and a front room with two chairs, a sofa and the telly. Just that, no more. Morning ablutions were simple, aided by a slip of soap, toothbrushes and a travel-size tube of paste. Vic’s well-worn shaving brush and tarnished razor sat nearby. Just that, no more.

Savers and scrimpers, Vic and Lyla managed long visits to Canada and the U.S. at least twice and made their way to southern Europe too, seeking out holiday sun.

When we published a family cookbook in 2002, Lyla shared her recipe for Dundee Dake, a sort of fruitcake, writing that she made it for Vic every ten days. The same cake, every ten days!

Just imagine, in today’s world of abundance and moment-to-moment status updates, choosing the same cake again and again, ignoring the new and the novel, the fresh and the inventive.

Now this isn't Lyla's Dundee Cake but I just knew I’d love this fruitcake. All this richness cloaked in unassuming simplicity.

ALANNA’s TIPS I have the idea that this is a cake you could make every week, never making the same one twice. Mix up the fruit, maybe soak it in fruit juice or bourbon. Stir in orange zest or lemon zest or candied ginger or even bits of chocolate. Mix up the spices, I loved the blend of ginger, allspice and cardamom but am intrigued by the possibility of adding a little cayenne or even white pepper. The inspiring recipe used regular flour, I substituted whole wheat pastry flour and believe half almond flour would be wonderful. (FYI I do believe that the whole wheat flour causes a slight crumbliness beginning about Day Three.) I substituted almond milk for whole milk. Would I substitute unsweetened cocoa powder for a similar measure of flour? You bet. The inspiring recipe calls for a round cake, I used my favorite loaf pan.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite fruitcake recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

IRISH SPICED COFFEECAKE

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 2-1/2 hours
Makes 1 loaf or 1 round cake, about 16 slices
  • 2 cups (270g) mixed dried fruit – dark raisins, golden raisins, currants, dried tart cherries, dried cranberries, snips of dried apricot
  • 1/2 cup (35g) toasted nuts – walnuts, pecans, almonds, pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 3/4 cup (142g) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) mixed spices – ginger, allspice, cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups (210g) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt

STOVETOP In a saucepan, combine the dried fruit, nuts, butter, sugar, spices, baking soda and milk. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Turn off heat and let cool for 30 minutes.

OVEN Heat oven to 350F. Spray a loaf pan or an 8” or 9” cake pan with baking spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.

Whisk eggs into fruit mixture until well-combined, then work in flour, baking powder and salt with a wooden spoon until no signs of flour show.

Turn batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Test the cake’s doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done.

If it comes out wet or with crumbs on the tester, reduce the heat to 325F and bake until the tester comes out clean, checking every 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

Slice and savor, if you like (and I very much do) smeared with a little Brown Sugar Lemon Curd.

Per Slice, assumes 16 slices: 214 Calories; 8g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 41mg Cholesterol; 309mg Sodium; 34g Carb; 3g Fiber; 20g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 4, WW PointsPlus 6 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = half a slice.
Many thanks to Never Enough Thyme for the recipe, which Lana adapted from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook.

There's no reason to save this lovely little cake exclusively for St. Patrick's Day but there are other recipes that for me, are once-a-year specialties, see St. Patrick's Day recipes and Irish recipes.


This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012

Caraway Corned Beef Very Very Green Green-Pea Soup Whole Wheat Soda Bread Emerald Isle Stew (<< this week's healthy St. Patrick's Day favorite) Irish Soda Muffins Spinach Soup with Perfect Hard-Cooked Eggs

This Week, Elsewhere

Potato Gratin from Eclipse Restaurant
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Pride of Erin Soup
~ more Recent Recipes ~
A Veggie Venture


More Simple Quick-Bread Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Autumn Pumpkin Bread Carrot & Zucchini Bread Cheery Cherry Banana Bread

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





© Copyright 2012 Kitchen Parade