I’m drowning!

As of late, life has been a lot about doing…and not a whole lot about blogging. This means I’m absolutely drowning in unfinished blog posts. What else am I drowning in?

VEGGIES!!!

VEGGIES!!!

Cucumbers, yes.  It’s that time of year. But also onions, beets, cabbage, and eggplant.

My veggie drawer is almost overflowing with yummy new potatoes.

And I have to admit to having thrown away more than one carrot that became sad and limp before I could find something to dip it in.

So sad.

So, Monday afternoon I poured myself a glass of wine and settled in for a massive cooking session. On the menu:

– Refrigerator pickled beets with orange.
Refrigerator pickled pickles.
– Refrigerator pickle relish.
Refrigerator pickled slaw. (Sense the trend, yet?)

I'm so impressed with myself!

I’m so impressed with myself!

My family was not a canning family. Maybe it’s part of the growing up in the desert thing. There just wasn’t the overabundance of fresh fruits and veggies that inspires canning.

Or, maybe it’s just because canning seems like a whole lot of work!

So, all of the above foods are NOT shelf stable.  They’re meant to be kept, refrigerated, for a while. (Martha Stewart says 3 weeks. Random internet people say 9 months. I’m gonna split the difference and consider myself safe for the next three months!)

First up, those beets.

Yes, I know that's an orange...

Yes, I know that’s an orange…

I was craving beets flavored with orange. I could find recipes for pickled beets. And I could find non-pickled recipes for beets with orange. I decided to mix-and-match the recipes.  Who knows?  It could be brilliant!

Pickled Beets with Orange

5 red beets
1 onion, sliced
orange rind of one orange
juice of one orange
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup water
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Simmer beets in water until tender, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Peel and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.
2. Thinly slice onions. Place onions, beet slices, and orange rind into two wide mouth jars. Leave some room at the top! (I had to eat the extra when I realized I hadn’t left enough space.)
3. In a medium saucepan, mix together remaining ingredients.  Bring to boil.  Immediately pour over beets.  Let cool completely.  Cover and refrigerate. Chill overnight before eating.

Pre-brine photo.  After adding the brine and allowing the jars to chill overnight, only the slightest white of the onion can be seen through the blood red juice!

Pre-brine photo. After adding the brine and allowing the jars to chill overnight, only the slightest white of the onion can be seen through the blood red juice!

Next up, gotta make a dent in those cucumbers!

The pickles were pretty straightforward.  I looked around for some helpful methods (like soaking the cucumber slices in ice water for maximum crunch!)   And then I kinda picked a recipe at random.

An awful lot of sugar went into these.  My mother would not be proud.

An awful lot of sugar went into these. My mother would not be proud.

But, again, I found a couple of different recipes for pickle relish and neither seemed exactly right.  So, again….mix and match.  Here’s what I came up with:

Homemade Sweet Pickle Relish with Onions and Peppers

2 cups finely chopped cucumber
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon tumeric

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, chop each vegetable separately. (You can add about 1-2 cups of water to the vegetables, to keep them moving freely. This will help achieve uniform pieces, and you’re about to strain the veggies anyway.)

Toss vegetables with 3/4 teaspoon salt and set in a sieve over a bowl. Drain for 3 hours. Discard water. Wrap veggies in a kitchen towel and squeeze to drain out all the water. (The recipe says not to use terrycloth. All my towels are terrycloth, so I used a cloth napkin instead. Perfect!)

In a small saucepan, bring remaining ingredients to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce by half. Add veggies and simmer for two minutes. Transfer to a jar. Cool. Refrigerate. Chill overnight before eating.

I couldn’t resist trying this one the very next night!

Turkey dog, sauteed kale, and a simple tomato salad with balsamic.  I've always considered hot dogs to be a pickle relish delivery device, don't you?

Turkey dog, sauteed kale, and a simple tomato salad with balsamic. I’ve always considered hot dogs to be a pickle relish delivery device, don’t you?

Seriously. You could eat this stuff on a spoon. So good!

Of course, all of the above items need to be chilled overnight before digging in, and I still had those eggplants and a few more cucumbers. Hence:

Baba ganoush
Tzatziki

Yum!

Yum!

I’d like to say that I’m done cooking for a while…at least for a day or two. But, the very next night I headed back to the farm for my weekly pick-up.

Holy veggies, Batman.

Holy veggies, Batman.

Kale, celery, eggplant, garlic, basil, green zucchini, yellow zucchini, summer squash…

(deep breath)

…beets, green beans, husk cherries, cherry tomatoes, regular tomatos.

And sunflowers.  At least I don’t have to eat those!

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4 Comments to “I’m drowning!”

  1. That ratatouille recipe helped me get through the squashes, eggplant, onion and a head of garlic in one go and it tasted fantastic! So many veggies!

  2. I’m definitely keeping the ratatouille one in mind for next time. This time around I managed to use quite a lot in zucchini (no pasta) lasagna. I still have that eggplant and those beets to use up. I can’t wait to see what color the beets are!

  3. Wow, that’s a lot of veggies! And the baba ganoush looks really good – makes me want to try making some. Oh and those limp carrots you can always firm up again or grate them and stick in the freezer for later use…like carrot cake 🙂

  4. Great idea on the carrots, Laura! Oh, and baba ganoush is super easy to make and totally yummy. There are bunches of recipes on the internet. Just be sure to pick on that has garlic and tahini and wait at least a couple of hours after making it to eat it. Overnight is even better!

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