Everything is Coming Up Beets! (Easy Mennonite Pickled Beets)

Pickled beets, Mennonite-style. I feel so pioneer-ish!

Pickled beets, Mennonite-style. I feel so pioneer-ish!

Given that it’s fall, root vegetables are having their moment. My local grocery store had 10 lb bags of root veggies on sale for $1.97 last week, which is the best price you’ll find all year. So I? Bought 30 lbs worth. That’s right — 30 lbs of delicious root veggies! Ten pounds each of carrots, onions, and beets. Time to get on a preservation kick!

I chopped, blanched, and froze 5 lbs of carrots, as well as all 10 lbs of onions. Onions don’t freeze perfectly, but eh, good enough.

KITCHEN HACK

How not to cry when chopping onions: wear swimming goggles! You might look silly, but hey, you won’t be crying! (The same wasn’t true for the DH. After chopping 10 lbs of onions, the fumes had drifted out of the kitchen where I was working, along the hall, and into the man cave where the DH was. Let’s just say it was an emotional moment and leave it at that. Tee hee hee!) Seriously though, swimming goggles — do it!

So. That’s the carrots and the onions taken care of. But how to preserve (and eat) the beets? I made beet and bean hummus one time (sound bizarrely horrible, I know, but it’s actually bizarrely delicious), which we ate with homemade tortillas. And we’ve been eating salad topped with roasted beets, crumbled goat cheese, and vinaigrette all week. But still. Ten pounds of beets is a LOT of beets!

So I called up my mom and got her to tell me the pickled beet recipe that she used when I was growing up. I asked her where she found it, and she told me that she had received the recipe from a neighbour, who had said that it was a recipe from a Mennonite community. This is a verrrrry easy recipe that even a beginner cook can make, and it’s great as a side dish to round out a meal and bring some ‘eat the rainbow’ colour to your plate. All you’re doing is boiling, peeling, and chopping the beets, and then mixing the chopped beets with a quick pickling syrup. Easy as pie. (Actually, much MUCH easier.)

I'm all about the rough chop.

I’m all about the rough chop.

Shall we?

Easy Pickled Beets

  • 8 medium beets
  • 1 c. vinegar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  • pinch of cloves

Boil beets until tender. Let cool, and the skins will rub right off under cold water. Slice the beets to your desired thickness (I tend to do a ‘rough chop’, but then again, I have no time for finicky cutting). Next, bring syrup ingredients (everything but the beets!) to a boil, and mix with sliced beets. Bam, done!

The longer you let the beets sit in the pickling syrup, the stronger the pickled flavour will be. You can serve these beets hot or cold (I love both!), as a side dish, on top of a salad, or just eat them with a fork. I like to can mine so that I can enjoy fresh autumn flavour all winter long, but you do you! And eat them knowing that not only do they taste delicious, but they’re packed full of nutrients! #WinningAtAdulting #TastesStillComesFirst

Next Post: Homemade Yoghurt? Homemade clean eating granola? Lentil sprouts? Oh dear, have I gone to the crunchy side? Fear not! More sugar (and fall flavour) is on the way with apple pie and pear custard squares!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday

French-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Squish Factor

*stares at cookies as though hypnotized*

*stares at cookies as though hypnotized*

This week, my bake-a-long group is making Edouard’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, aka French-style chocolate chip cookies, from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi cookbook. What are French-style chocolate chip cookies, you ask? Apparently, ones where some of the flour is subbed out for hazelnut or almond flour.

But…I used up the last of my almond flour weeks ago, and I’ve never, ever come across hazelnut flour at my local bulk store, so…what’s a gal to do?

Substitute, you say? You betcha! With what? Huh. Good question. More flour?

Obviously replacing a ground almonds with flour is not going to have the same results — flour binds differently than ground nuts. But if it comes down to a) having chocolate chip cookies tonight, fresh out of the oven, or b) NOT having chocolate chip cookies tonight, well, I think we all know what I’m going to choose!  The answer is clear, is it not? Chocolate chip cookies forever! (*sung to the tune of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, except with more glee*)

So I added in more flour to replace the ground nuts, but only about half the quantity, as at that point, the dough seemed dry enough. I also added in about 1/4 c. ground flax. (In my mind, the benefits of the flax seed compensate for the butter, sugar, and chocolate. I’m sure you agree.)

I still followed the rest of Dorie’s instructions. Except for the part where she says to let the dough chill in the fridge. Um, no? I need cookies ASAP, people! Forget that!

I did, however, follow her instructions for baking. I baked for 8 minutes, and then used a spatula to SQUISH them flat! Oh joy! (Technically, Dorie says to flatten with spatula. I interpreted this as ‘squish with intent’.) I have a colleague who loves to shred things; she just finds it so satisfying. That’s how I feel about squishing things — it just satisfies my inner toddler!

That texture, tho!

That texture, tho!

The cookies turned out rather nice! The squishing definitely added something to them, as otherwise the high flour content meant that they wouldn’t flatten. I’m sure if one follows the recipe, they’ll flatten much more easily, probably due in part to the higher fat content.

The recipe says that it will make 5o cookies, and indeed that is the case. I’m sending these in with the DH to his work tomorrow, but…only 40 cookies worth. The DH taste-tested two of cookies right out of the oven. And the other eight somehow managed to hop into my mouth when I wasn’t looking. I’m not complaining though! (My scale might complain, but me? Complain about chocolate? Nuh uh.)

I’ll probably try to make these cookies again, this time with the nut flour. I think it would add such a lovely nutty note to the standard chocolate chip cookies. Want to see how others make them? Check it out here!

Next Post: Sprouting green things? Low sugar yoghurt? Or…sugary, buttery, bites of goodness? Stay tuned!

Linking Up at Southern Plate for Meal Plan Mondays!

Mini Skor Cupcakes — Easy, Impressive, and (Most Importantly) Delicious!

Oh, baby, just look at the chocolate buttercream!

Oh, baby, just look at the chocolate buttercream!

The latest dispatch from the Anemia Front: After a week of diligently supplementing with iron pills, and eating large quantities of kale (via my yummy antioxidant smoothies), I feel like I’m finally regaining a modicum of energy back. Next steps including dosing myself with blackstrap molasses and cooking everything in cast-iron pans (iron leaches out into the food. Handy!) After a few weeks (months?) of this, I shall be…Iron-Woman! Able to bake cakes and crush spatulas with equal ease! Or something to that effect.

But in the meantime, I’ve gone through my photo files and pulled out a recipe to post. Mini Skor Cupcakes! I sent these in to the DH’s work a few months ago, and I believe they were pretty well received. I may have brought some in to my workplace as well. Or I may have eaten them. Can’t remember. Either way, I highly recommend making (and eating) some yourself!

The chopping up of deliciousness.

The chopping up of deliciousness.

Mini Skor Cupcakes

  • 1 batch chocolate cake batter (this is my absolute fave)
  • 1 batch buttercream frosting (I make my own using this recipe, minus the Oreos)
  • cocoa powder to taste
  • Skor toffee bits (I bought mine at Bulk Barn)
  • chopped up Skor bar (I bought a bag of Skor bites, and then chopped those up)

Bake the cupcakes (I made minis), and let them cool. While they are cooling, mix up a batch of buttercream frosting. Mix in enough cocoa so that it has the degree of chocolate taste that you want (I *think* I put in between 1/3 and 1/2 c.). Put in a piping bag and pipe using a 1M tip. Sprinkle some Skor toffee bits on top, and press a piece of Skor bar on top. Et voila, you’re done!

Nom, nom, nom, that is all.

Nom, nom, nom, that is all.

Aren’t they pretty? And best of all, yummy! Although surprisingly easy (bake, ice, sprinkle, and press), they do look rather fancy. Best to make a nice big batch — because these will go like hotcakes! (Except that they’re cupcakes. Mmm…cupcakes!)

Next Post: Chocolate cookies? Apple pie? Or homemade yoghurt and sprouted lentils? Healthy vs. sweet. Why can’t they be both?

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, and A Proverbs 31 Wife.

Blueberry Cheesecake and Burnt Pots: One of These Things Just Doesn’t Belong

Just get in my mouth already!

Just get in my mouth already!

I made this dessert last week, but have been so tired lately that I just didn’t get around to posting about it. Every now and then I become anemic if I’m not watching my iron intake, and the last few weeks I’ve just been super-tired, so I’m pretty sure I’m mildly anemic again (time for some more kale smoothies!). That said, tiredness didn’t stop me from baking the dessert, nor did it stop me from eating it! (As if. Ha!)

This luscious looking dessert is the Blueberry Corn Cheesecake that my bake-a-long group is baking this week from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi cookbook. As you can see, I left out the corn because I didn’t have it. Also, I couldn’t get my mind around adding corn to a blueberry cheesecake.

Basically, it’s a shortbread crust (yum!), filled with a cheesecake mixture. The recipe calls for mixing in some whipped cream, and it does make the filling much lighter than your average cheesecake. The topping is a combination of blueberries and corn, simmered with rosemary and citrus zest. I just boiled up some blueberries, sugar, and water, and then…stepped away from the stove for a minute, at which point the mixture burnt so thoroughly that it took me days to scrub the pot clean. (We shall never talk of this again.) So I topped the cheesecake with some homemade blueberry jam and called it good.

Cheesecake looking very forkable.

Cheesecake looking very forkable.

Was it good? Well, it disappeared in 24 hours. (I mean I had to taste it, then another slice for dessert, then a midnight snack, packed some for my lunch and for the DH’s lunch, ate some for breakfast, ate some for  a pre-dinner snack, and….gone. Much to the DH’s dismay when he came home for dinner and saw the empty tart pan. Hey, to the baker goes the spoils!) That said, I don’t think I’ll make it again. I found the filling a tad sweet, and I actually prefer a more solid cheesecake as opposed to the fluffy filling that this one had.

Still…blueberry cheesecake! Any way you slice it, that’s a win!

Next Post: Homemade Yoghurt? Sprouted lentils? Or Mini Skor Cupcakes? It’s all about the balance!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday

“Esquimaux Pops” and Why Easier Sometimes Wins Out Over Fancier

slightly melty but oh so yummy

Slightly melty but oh so yummy! If you look closely at the photo, you’ll realize that I tasted the ice cream pops before I took the photo. Hey, quality control, right?

It’s been swelteringly hot here in Toronto this past week, with the humidex hovering in the low 40’s. This is just not my jam. I go from air-conditioned home to air-conditioned work and back again, and still it’s too hot for me. Which is why when I realized that my bake-a-long group was making “Equimaux Pops” this week (from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi cookbook), I was ALLLLLL over that!

I researched popsicle molds online and found some gorgeous ones, but in the end I settled for expediency and just bought one from the dollar store. I do not recommend this, as after this recipe, the mold is going straight into my garage sale/donation pile. Sometimes it’s worth it to invest in a nice piece of equipment. But I couldn’t justify the expense to myself for just one recipe, so a plastic dollar store mold had to suffice!

These popsicles are basically ice cream on a stick, but a grown-up version, tasting like alcohol and studded with chunks of chocolate. I was tempted to do as Dorie suggests and dunk them in a coating of hard crack chocolate (i.e. “magic shell”), as it would have made it so much yummier, but really, do you think I had the patience for that? Ha!

We interrupt this blog post for a Very Important Kitchen Hack: mix coconut oil and chocolate chips together, 2/3 unit coconut oil for every 1 unit chocolate chips, and you’ll have made yourself some chocolate shell! Bam, done!

Mixing up the yumminess!

Mixing up the yumminess!

The ice cream itself is made using raw eggs, so Dorie stresses that they have to be very fresh. Personally, I’m not too concerned with salmonella, as I’ve never seen someone get it in my lifetime, but I suspect a lot of people will be turned off this recipe simply because of the raw egg. The eggs are separated and the egg white whipped, while the egg yolk is mixed with sugar and other delicious things. Then they’re all mixed together with some whipped cream, and the chocolate chunks (I used mini chocolate chips) are folded in.

Freeze, release them from the molds, and enjoy!

We interrupt this blog post again for a Very Important Kitchen Instruction: to release popsicles from molds, run hot water over the mold or sink the mold into a bowl of hot water, until the popsicles can be pulled out. No wrestling with unwieldly molds, yay!

These ice cream pops are definitely a grown-up treat, as the alcohol flavour comes through splendidly (I used rum, and oh yeah, baby! is all I can say). Would I made this again? Probably not, just because they’re a bit of a pain to mix together and I think it’s much easier just to make ice cream using my standard whipping cream, rum, and condensed milk recipe.

That said, they did cool me off considerably when I ate them post-work for several evenings! Should I call it dessert or should I call it dinner? Eh, potato, potahto!

Next Post: Skor Mini Cupcakes? Bite-sized cupcakes of Skor delight! Probably. Unless something else delicious catches my eye.

Linking Up at Southern Plate, Stone Gable, and A Proverbs 31 Wife.