Sunday, December 21, 2014

Raw Chioggia Beet Salad with Meyer Lemon

This festive looking salad is made with Chioggia beets. They are an Italian heirloom variety, known for their beautiful rings or stripes depending on which direction you cut them. A few years ago I tried growing these little beauties in my garden, but they didn't do very well in the heat.

Chioggia beets are a little sweeter than the regular fuchsia colored ones. They don't appear to stain your hands, at least not when prepared raw. I haven't tried cooking them yet as I was told they tend to lose their lovely stripes when heated.

for every 2 servings:
2-3 Chioggia beets, depending on their size
salt and freshly cracked pepper
juice from 1 small Meyer lemon, about 2-3 tbsp
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp mustard

Scrub the beets really well. Slice off the tops and trim the roots.

Slice the beets as thin as possible. This is easiest if you use a mandoline. Arrange the slices into a serving bowl, lightly seasoning them with salt and pepper as you go along.

Combine the lemon juice, oil and mustard in a small jar with lid and shake well. Drizzle over the beet slices and serve.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Turmeric & Ginger Pickled Eggs

One thing I noticed soon after I began purchasing my eggs directly from the farmer, was how difficult it was to peel them after I boiled them. The egg white would stubbornly cling to the shell I was trying to remove. After doing a bit of research I learned it was preferable to drop farm fresh eggs directly into hot water, rather than cold water. This made timing the eggs difficult for me. So, I picked up one of those egg timers that you place directly into the pot with the eggs. It changes color as the eggs cook. Regardless of how many eggs, or their size, this little gizmo appears to time them perfectly. I have used it a few times now, and my eggs have turned out perfect each time.

Another thing I learned about fresh eggs is that hens lay far fewer of them when the days get shorter. After coming home empty handed several times, I grabbed several dozen eggs when I finally made it to the farm really early, before the sun was up.

These pickled eggs are very easy to make. The seasoning is quite nice and the eggs take on a lovely yellow hue from the turmeric.

a dozen or more hard boiled eggs

Place the eggs into a sterilized jar (with lid), taking care not to squeeze them in too tightly.  Add cold water to cover the eggs, then carefully pour the water into a measuring cup to determine the amount of pickling marinade you will require.

For approximately every cup of marinade needed, combine:
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2-3 thin slices fresh ginger
1 tbsp sucanat or brown sugar
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch red pepper flakes

Combine all of the marinade ingredients into a saucepan with a lid. Bring the mixture to a simmer, lower the heat, cover the pot and cook for about 8-10 minutes.

Pour the hot marinade over the eggs. Add a small amount of water if the liquid doesn't cover the eggs completely. Cover the jar with a sterilized lid and allow to cool.

Refrigerate. Give the jar a gentle shake every day. The eggs will be ready to eat in 4-5 days. They will keep up to a month refrigerated. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Spice Cookies

(about 6 dozen 2" cookies)

This recipe makes a nice crisp spiced cookie, which isn't too sweet, and keeps well in a tin.

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground anise seed
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 sticks butter (1 cup), softened
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3-4 tbsp half and half or milk

Combine the flours, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, anise, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, salt, baking soda and baking powder until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.

With a wooden spoon, beat together the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until fluffy; about 2 minutes.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and brown sugar. Sprinkle the half and half or milk over the cookie mixture, a tablespoon at a time until the dough begins to form a ball.  Knead a few times and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Roll out a piece of dough on a lightly floured surface until it's about 1/5" thick and cut out the cookies. Place the cookies on parchment paper or a silicone baking mat about 1/2" apart.

Gather the scraps, combine with another piece of dough and roll out again. Continue until all of the dough is used up.

Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven on one row for about 10-14 minutes or until they begin to lightly brown along the edges. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets.

1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp meringue powder
1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
about 1 tbsp water, give or take

Combine the icing sugar and meringue powder in a small bowl. Stir in the lemon extract, then very slowly drizzle in the water until you have a glaze that is thin enough to drizzle over the cookies.

Allow the glaze to harden for about 3 hours before transferring the cookies to a tin.