I’m back in the kitchen after a week of lounging, going out on the town and taking care of a million errands that I otherwise can never seem to find time for (eye exams, cleaning out the broom closet, buying new shoes, etc.) It occurred to me that while I call this blog “The Sweet Beet,” there has never actually been a beet recipe posted. I’m thinking of changing the name sometime soon, but before I do, here’s another ode to the beautiful beetroot.
Pickled beets are one of my favorite snacks. The brilliant vermillion color of the beets, dressed in a tangy brine brighten up salads, rice dishes or meat entrees. Try beet relish on your next hotdog or hamburger, or if you’re veggie, on a nice broiled portobello cap.
Sweet Beet Relish
1-2 pounds of beets, boiled, peeled and diced. I think pre-cooked beets work just fine. Avoid canned beets.
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 large red onion, finely diced
1-2 tbsp pickling spices (or a mixture of mustard seed, juniper berries, clove, thyme and bay.
2 tbsps brown sugar
1 tbsp salt (pickling salt or sea salt is fine)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Cracked pepper to taste
Put all ingredients into a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 20-35 mins until liquid had evaporated. Taste. You can make the relish sweeter or saltier if you like.
The end result is a tangy, delicate condiment. I love the soft texture of the beets and their earthy flavor. They go well with a creamy goat cheese, or brie. I like to enjoy this relish on toast with tea, but straight out of the bowl is good too.
Valentine’s Day came and went, where did the time go? I really wanted to post this before the holiday, but life handed me a bunch of lemons and I had to go make preserved lemons instead (which, by the way, are doing pretty well, fermenting as we speak).
So, here’s a belated Valentine for you. Heart healthy flax crackers sweetened with honey. I keep a big ol’ bag of flax meal in the freezer (the stuff goes rancid almost instantly when left at room temp). Usually, I’ll sprinkled a tablespoon over my oatmeal in the morning, to boost my Omega-3s. But I wanted to do something more interesting and I found what looked like the world’s easiest recipe for crackers: flax meal, water, salt.
The recipe called for two cups flax meal, one cup water and a pinch of salt. I thought I’d get a little crazy and add honey and sesame seeds.
This picture makes it look like I had the easiest time rolling out the dough, but unfortunately, the crackers really gave me a hard time. I wasn’t able to scrape the sticky dough from my work surface. Flax seeds get incredibly gooey, almost slimy, when mixed with water. My hands were caked in cement-like flax dough that would not rinse off and it could have quickly turned into a nightmare had I not added about a cup and a half of whole wheat flour. The flour helped keep the dough firm and in place while rolling.
Once I figured out that the flax meal alone wasn’t going to cut it, everything worked out nicely. Here’s the recipe I used with my alterations:
Honey Sesame Flax Crackers
2 cups flax meal
1- 1 1/2 whole wheat flour
3 Tblsp sesame seeds
1 Tblsp honey
1 tsp salt + salt for sprinkling on top of the crackers
1 cup water
1 tblsp olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 400.
In a bowl, mix the flax meal, sesame seeds, and honey. Slowly add the water until you have a firm dough.
Add flour until the dough is firm enough to roll on a board or table surface. I found that I needed to dust my board several times to keep the dough from sticking. Roll out your dough think (1/2 to 1/4 inch). Score with the back of a knife. Using a pastry brush, brush with olive oil and sprinkle salt and sesame seeds.
Bake for 15-20mins.
These didn’t turn out quite as crisp as I would’ve liked. I think adding a tablespoon or two of oil to the dough would remedy that. Flavor-wise these crackers are quite tasty and nutty. Flax seeds are high in dietary fiber, micronutrients, and help keep cholesterol levels down. They’re a delicious way to protect your heart year-round.
Just don’t make the same mistake I did and pop your crackers in the oven without scoring them or else this will happen:
Oh well, they still taste great.
I will begin by saying that my husband knows that I love food related gifts for any occasion. Christmas, birthdays, the anniversary, I’m happy with anything that makes cooking even more fun, easy or exciting. Actually, he has known this from the very beginning. I will never forget the very first present he ever gave me: a bag filled with gift-wrapped veggies. It doesn’t sound great, or even interesting, but it was one of the sweetest gifts I’ve ever received. At the time, I was vegan and courting a vegan girl is not an easy task for a non-vegan boy. One day, while I was away at work, he left a giant blue bag with my roommate and I arrived home to find it filled with strangely shaped, brightly wrapped objects festooned with bows. I ripped open the presents to find that he had individually gift-wrapped an eggplant, an artichoke, a pepper, a bottle of kalamata olives, and lastly, a bag of vegan cookies.
He’s had a hard time outdoing himself ever since.
Although, last Christmas he got me a lovely French cookbook and before that a wok set, he sometimes misses the mark. Like the time that he got me a giant, magnetic oven timer that sticks to the fridge….for my birthday! To his credit I’ve never let on that I would like anything else. Leave the diamonds to Marilyn Monroe, I’ll take a slow cooker and a bamboo steamer any day.
Unfortunately, most people wouldn’t appreciate a bag of produce for the Holidays. Which is why I’ve taken the time to round up some of my favorite kitchen gadgets just in case anyone out there is wondering what I’d love Santa to send me *wink *wink.
Click on the title for a link to Amazon.
The Ronco Five-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator
I distinctly remember watching infomercials for this item in the early ’90s. I’ve always wanted to make my own fruit leather.
Kotobuki 2-Tiered Panda Bento Box
I can’t think of a reason why I wouldn’t want a Panda Shaped Bento box.
This one might seem a little strange, but personally I’ve wanted a potato ricer for ages. It’s not really necessary, as I prefer to mash potatoes by hand anyway, but I’m enticed by the prospect of “silky mashed potatoes.” Also, you can apparently make a ton of other useful things like tomato sauce and apple sauce, all without electricity! I need silky mashed potatoes for the zombie Apocalypse!
Reusable Produce Bags
For the eco-conscious consumer (and really, we all should be eco-conscious by now) these bags are fantastic. I try and avoid using plastic packaging whenever I can and it breaks my heart a little to visit the produce aisle and have to use those flimsy plastic bags for everything.
Demarle Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat
Beautiful, durable and multipurpose.
Cuisinart CSB-77 Smart Stick Hand Blender with Whisk and Chopper Attachments
Years ago I had one of these bad boys and it was sadly lost during a move. I just didn’t have the heart to replace it, but time heals all wounds and I’m realizing now that the Smart Stick is perfect for the kitchenspace-challenged. I have virtually no counter space. I actually had to ditch my old countertop food processor when I moved to my apartment because there was nowhere to put it and I have been hurting ever since. I think this is perfect for anyone with limited storage space.
Wilton Whoopie Pie Pan
Talk about gratuitous. A few months ago, I mentioned to Chris that I was going to make whoopie pies and he looked alarmed and asked, “What?!” I have never even heard of a whoopie pie pan until I found it while rummaging around on Amazon. It seems kind of pointless, but when I really think about it I can see the potential. Not only will this pan make delightful little cakes that you can then sandwich with any kind of cream imaginable, but it would also work nicely for quickly baking batches of blini or making tart shells. Which is why I immediately wanted one as soon as I saw it.
I would never buy these for myself but I think they’re awesome. I realized, especially during the Thanksgiving weekend, that it would really be great if I could chop a large amount of onions without enduring torturous eye stinging.
Japanese Sometsuke Bowl Set
I have a weak spot for bowls. I don’t really care much about plates, but I like a nice bowl. Probably because there are so many things you can’t eat on a plate but there’s almost nothing you can’t eat in a bowl. Right? And Japan has a long tradition of beautiful bowls.
Himalayan Salt Block
While I’m sitting here thinking of wildly original foodie gift ideas I might as well throw this one out there. I would recommend pairing your giant block of salt Mark Bitterman’s excellent book “Salted.” Himalayan salt is incredibly beautiful and while you can actually cook on the salt block, it also makes a lovely serving tray.
Mussini 14 Year Balsamic Vinegar, Riserva di Famiglia, 3.38-Ounce Glass Bottle
I know Chris loves me, but I don’t think he loves me enough to spend $35 on a bottle of balsamic vinegar. A girl can dream…
p.s. All photos are taken from Amazon.com. I did not take the photos, I do not own the photos and I have provided links to their appropriate pages. While I love using Amazon for general shopping, I am not a paid endorser for Amazon.