Misrembered Quasi Italian Peruvian Salsa

Misremembered SalsaA million years ago, I enjoyed a ‘Peruvian Salsa’ as made by an Italian. Long story. I loved the stuff! I’ve held it in my memory for many years, and never wrote it down till right now.  I’m sure it’s warped a lot being stored in my brain so long. My brain does that to things.

 

(Measurements do not need to be exact. Adjust to your liking.)

1 Cup finely chopped red onion
3 Cloves finely chopped garlic
2 Tbsp oregano (chopped fresh leaves if possible)
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/2 Cup red wine vinegar
1 Lime – juiced
Approx. 1 Tbsp Ground fresh pepper

Combine everything in a container with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate a few days. Let it warm to room temperature so the olive oil smooths out, and enjoy!

UPDATE! After hearing from the daughter of the one who taught me this recipe, I am corrected. GET THESE PEPPERS.  She says, “Its only red onion, small amount of garlic, toreador chili peppers, a splash of the pepper juice, wine vinegar, and oil but only a little oil. Love this stuff.”

 

 

Sweet and Spicy Pickled Beets

beets
Yum. Beets.

If you’ve known me for over fifteen minutes, you know I have earthmomma tendencies and like to grow or forage as much of my own food as possible, and love crazy bouts of Kitchen Therapy. At this time of year, I’m totally into my baby beets!  I have no disdain for biggie beets, but I do like growing the smaller ones.  I love them boiled and served with butter, salt and pepper, but I know most people are more familiar with beets as a pickled product. I love them pickled too, and here’s my favorite recipe. It is not for wimps. This recipe brings beets to a stage of singing and dancing Rockette-style across your kitchen counter, so brace for a dose of vegetable attitude.

Ingredients
8 medium or 10 petite fresh beets, scrubbed till the skin is nearly gone (trust me. They are often impossible to peel when they are petite, and you are NOT going to die from eating a bit of skin. So clean it up and get on with your life.) Leave the roots and tops on so the bleedy insides don’t, well, bleed too much. SAVE THE BEET GREENS. Simmer them in a saucepan with a half cup of water, then eat with butter and salt and pepper. Beet greens are so GOOD for you.  PS: Do the same with your radish greens. While you are at it, if you find purslane growing in your garden, acknowledge that it’s a weed but ALSO acknowledge that its totally edible and full of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are astoundingly good for you.  EAT ALL THE PURSLANE.

Wait… I’ve digressed.  But I hope you paid attention. Now… the beet goes on.

Here’s the rest of the ingredients for Sweet and Spicy Pickled Beets.

2 cups sugar
2 cups cider vinegar
2 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon dill seeds
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

Put your beets in a large pot and add enough cold water to really submerge them. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to maintain a slow boil. Cook until beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes. Pour water off and let beets cool. If the skins wanna come off, let them. If they are fighting the process, cut away any thick, gnarly skin and leave the rest in peace. Just like potatoes, the skins do contain a lot of the good healthy vitamins. After pondering the skin and dealing or not dealing with it, slice the beets sorta thinly, to a thickness you would enjoy eating. THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE PEOPLE.  Make them whatever is personally yummy for you. The Beet Abides.

Place the sugar, cider vinegar, water, salt, and spices in a smaller saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour this pickling liquid into a large glass jar (1.5 liter or 1/2 gallon), add the sliced beets, cover with a lid and refrigerate. Let the beets sit at least a week before tasting.

Yield =  approximately 3 quarts

If you like pickled hard-boiled eggs, add them into the liquid, but use them quickly;  within 2 or 3 days or you will be eating rubber eggs. Food should never be bouncy unless it is Jell-O.

The pickling juice will keep a while. You can keep adding and enjoying beets and eggs to it for up to six months, if it’s kept refrigerated. But I’m betting you’ll use up the juice well before that if you keep it active.

Feel free to comment and tell me that you will be eating purslane from now on. 🙂 Oh, and pickled beets too, of course!

 

Celery Bean Salad (Which Needs A Better Name)

There’s a million recipes for celery salad on the internet and I don’t like the looks of any of them!  As often happens, I had a bunch of celery languishing in the fridge. I wasn’t in the mood to make chicken soup, and I don’t really like celery sticks with peanut butter. I wanted a salad. So, I googled. And after reading all the ingredients from all the recipes, I took the bits and pieces I liked from each and made my own.

It’s really good, too.

The stars of the recipe are black eyed peas (why are they called peas? They are beans!) and celery. And the trick is to cut the celery stalks in half the long way, then slice thin. Also, dice all the other crunchy ingredients finely. You’re trying to make a balance between the creamy bean and the crunchy veggies, so one doesn’t overpower the other.

Celery Bean Salad 01

 

  • Black Eye Beans (Peas!): one well-drained and rinsed 16 oz can, or if you like, your own fresh soaked/cooked equivalent
  • 2 big ribs of celery
  • 3 radishes
  • one smallish carrot
  • parsley or carrot tops. Yes, I use carrot tops as a parsley substitute. Yummy!
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ranch dressing – just barely enough to lightly coat everything.

That’s it!  And now you can be picky like me and say “I don’t like this recipe, I’m going to change it!”  You could add frozen peas (better than mushy canned ones), or diced olives, or Parmesan cheese… or whatever you like.  Make it your own!

Yum.

 

 

Juneberry Jelly Recipe

Because extensive searching on the internet for a good, solid, Juneberry jelly recipe yielded up really, really dismal results (and incidentally, Jam and Jelly are entirely separate things, internet search parameters!) I have taken it upon myself to post EXACTLY how to make really, really good Juneberry jelly.

FIRST:  Most of you are saying “What’s a Juneberry?” Good question. Juneberries also are called serviceberries, Saskatoon, and ten thousand other names. I personally had never heard of them myself until our landlord planted a bunch of what he called Serviceberry trees in our two-acre yard, some years ago.  For many years, the birds beat us to all the berries, but this year, for some special, magical reason, the trees produced a record number of berries and the birds seemed blase about them. We picked a bunch of them while red, and made jelly, which is good but not amazing. But when we picked them purple and made jelly, WORDS FAIL ME. SO GOOD.

SECOND: The berry color matters. Don’t pick them yellow, EVER, and don’t even pick them red – be patient, battle the birds, do whatever you gotta do but only harvest fully ripe, succulent purple berries.  They’ve got the juice and the flavor you need.

THIRD: Juice the berries. Throw them in a saucepan with about a half cup of water and boil them up.  When they are bubbly, mash them down with a potato masher to release all the juice. Cool, strain to obtain clear juice, and if you are so inclined, throw the pulp in the blender to make a smoothie, or puree it smooth to dry for fruit leathers.  Or toss it out. I don’t judge.

FOURTH:  Make da jelly!  Here comes the recipe. This recipe assumes you have basic canning equipment and knowledge, including a hot water bath pot.

MAGNIFICENTLY PERFECT JUNEBERRY JELLY

  • Get 7 jelly jars scrubbed with very hot water and soap, rinsed well, and waiting. Same with 7 rings. Get 7 lids simmering in a small saucepan. Get your hot water bath heating.
  • Pour 3-1/2 cups of Juneberry juice into a large pan.
  • Add 5 teaspoons of powdered Pectin (buy it in a plastic jar, and you can measure it out. Juneberries need LESS pectin than other berries. Thus, those boxed packets of pre-measured pectin are too much!  You need a little less.)
  • Bring the juice and the pectin to a rolling boil, while whisking it the entire time. Hold the boil for a full minute.
  • Add 4 cups of regular granulated sugar.
  • Bring to a boil again, whisking all the way, and hold it for a minute.
  • QUICKLY (it’s gonna jell!) ladle the jelly into the jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace at the top.
  • Add lids, twist on rings, boil in hot water bath for ten minutes.
  • If you did everything right, and the berries were purple – you now possess the finest jelly in the universe. Congratulations.