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TIP OF THE DAY: Potato Fondue With Baby Potatoes

You may have used potatoes in an assortment of fondue dippers, but they can be served on their own with a pot of warm, dripping cheese.

Try potato fondue as a first course at dinner (photo #1), or a light main course with an added protein dipper (ham, sausage or turkey chunks) and a salad.

We adopted this recipe from one by Mary Giuliani, sent to us by Potatoes USA, a potato marketing and research organization that represents more than 2,500 potato growers and handlers nationwide. You’ll find hundreds of interesting potato recipes at PotatoGoodness.com.

We:

  • Used tricolor (white, red, purple) bite-size baby/petite/new/creamer* potatoes instead of the standard tricolor potatoes cut into chunks, specified in the original recipe (photo #2).
  • Added roasted onions for a more diverse dish (photo #3).
  • Used an IPA instead of the original stout.
  • Turned it into a main dish by including sausage with the potatoes and onions (we used Applegate Organic Chicken & Apple Sausage).
  •  
    RECIPE: POTATO FONDUE

    Ingredients

    For The Potatoes

  • 1 pound mixed baby† potatoes (white, red, purple), skins on, washed and patted dry
  • Optional: 1/2 pound pearl onions (ideally mixed colors)
  • Optional: Sausage, cooked and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (more as needed)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  •  
    For The Fondue

  • 1 cup stout or other strong beer
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 3 cups cheddar or gruyère‡, shredded
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Optional: 1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon (optional)
  •  
    Plus

  • Fondue pot and stand, Sterno/votive candle, fondue forks
  •  
    ________________

    *Like miniature vegetables, baby potatoes are harvested before they’re full-grown. This makes them pricier, but with so much more eye appeal! They are available in white, red and purple varieties and are often sold as a mix. Baby potatoes are variously called creamer, new or petite potatoes.

    †The original recipe called for 1 cup of russet, 1 cup of purple and 1 cup of fingerling potatoes, cut into cubes.

    ‡You can use any cheese that melts well. Emmentaler, fontina, gouda, havarti, Monterey jack, provolone, raclette, reblochon and taleggio are also good melters. You can also blend two or three cheeses together for more complex flavors.

     

    Potato Fondue

    Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

    Roasted Pearl Onions

    [1] Yummy potato fondue (photo courtesy U.S. Potato Board). The original recipe used cut-up potatoes. [2] We substituted baby potatoes (photo courtesy Cilantropist). [3] We added roasted pearl onions (photo courtesy The Cutting Edge Of Ordinary).

     
    Preparation

    Everyone should be able to reach the fondue pot with their skewers. You can pass the potatoes in a serving bowl, or bring individual filled plates to the table along with a serving bowl for “seconds.”

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. If you are using fresh onions, soak them in warm water for 5 minutes before trimming the ends and removing the skins.

    2. TOSS the potatoes and onions in a bowl with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Place them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes, or until brown and crisp. Stir several times during cooking and rotate the pan halfway through, for more even cooking.

    If roasting the onions and potatoes together, keep them on separate sides of the pan in case you have to remove the onions a few minutes earlier. The onions should be al dente. If they get soft, they won’t stay on the fondue forks. Ditto with the potatoes: yielding to the fork, but not soft.

    3. COMBINE the beer, half-and-half, flour and mustard powder in a medium saucepan. Warm the liquid over medium heat and begin adding the cheese, whisking until melted.

    4. REMOVE from the heat and add the pepper, salt and nutmeg. Place the pot back on the stove and cook while stirring to a smooth consistency. Add more beer if the fondue is too thick; add more cheese if it’s too thin.

    5. TRANSFER the mixture to a fondue pot and stand fitted with Sterno or a votive candle (Sterno will keep it hotter, longer). Stir in the bacon. Serve with roasted potatoes. To keep the fondue at its ideal consistency, stir it intermittently.

      

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    RECIPE: Tea Brack, An Irish Sweet Bread

    Tea Brack

    Barmbrack

    Irish Breakfast Tea

    [1] Brack, an Irish tea bread, is traditionally round (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [2] But it can be a rectangular loaf (photo courtesy Stasty). [3] Enjoy it with a cup of tea (photo AG Photographer | Canstock).

     

    Brack is short for barmbrack, a traditional Irish sweet bread.

    The original barmbrack was a yeast bread with raisins and sultanas. Barm is a type of yeast and brack is a loaf of bread.

    Call it brack for short.

    In Ireland it is sometimes called bairín breac, Gaelic for “speckled loaf.” The speckling refers to the raisins and sultanas in the bread.

    That’s why it’s also called Irish Freckle Bread, a name which may go over better with kids and uncurious eaters.

    Call it what you will, today’s brack has ditched the yeast to become a moist, dense, packed-with-fruit breakfast and snack bread. It’s usually made in flattened rounds, but a loaf pan will do (and is easier to slice, in our opinion).

    It’s moderately sweet, like a zucchini bread or a raisin muffin. It is typically served with breakfast and afternoon tea; hence, tea brack. Some people like it toasted with butter.

    Barmbrack has also evolved into an Irish Halloween tradition. The Halloween version has fortune-telling trinkets hidden in the bread.

    RECIPE: IRISH TEA BRACK

    This recipe comes from the award-winning cookbook, The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.

    It uses brewed tea as its liquid. You can substitute 2 tablespoons of Irish whiskey for 2 tablespoons of the tea.

    Prep time is 10-15 minutes, bake time is 60-70 minutes. Cut to modest size, you can get 16 servings from an 8″ round cake.

    Serve it with a cup of tea, of course; and with softened butter if desired.

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup brewed hot tea; Irish breakfast tea is a good choice
  • 1 cup raisins, packed
  • 1/2 cup currants, packed
  • 1 cup pitted prunes, snipped into small pieces
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 cups Irish-style wholemeal flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons coarse sparkling white sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the hot tea over the dried fruits in a medium-sized bowl. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm, about 1 hour.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8″ x 2″ round cake pan. If your pan isn’t at least 2″ deep, use a 9″ round pan.

     
    3. STIR together the brown sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Add the dried fruit and any remaining liquid. Stir until thoroughly combined. The batter will be thick and stiff.

    4. ADD the egg, mixing till thoroughly combined. Spread the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle the top evenly with the coarse sparkling sugar. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out moist, but without clinging crumbs.

    5. REMOVE the bread from the oven and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Food For Presidents Day

    Presidents Day is Monday, February 20, a mashup* of the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12th) and George Washington (February 22nd).

    You can’t, of course, sit down to a meal with a president; but you can have some of his favorite foods. You can find the favorite foods of each president here; plus some highlights below.

    George Washington said about food: “My manner of living is plain, and I do not mean to be put out by it. A glass of wine and a bit on mutton are always welcome. Those who expect more will be disappointed.” He enjoyed meats, including steak and kidney pie (also a favorite of Ronald Reagan), fish and a wide variety of fruits and nuts; and beer was brewed at Mount Vernon.

    However, at a Presidential dinner guests would find roast beef, veal, turkey, ducks, fowls, hams, and other meats, along with puddings, jellies, oranges, apples, nuts, almonds, figs, raisins, and a variety of wines and punch. Martha Washington’s recipes include fruit cakes, sugar cakes (like cookies), carraway cakes, spice cakes, marzipan cakes, cheesecakes, lady fingers, macaroons, gingerbread, custards, pies and tarts [source]

    Breakfast was simple: eggs, hoe cakes and rice waffles, along with coffee and tea, breads and toast. What about cherries? He did, indeed, love them; and no doubt enjoyed them in preserves, jellies and pies. [source]

    Thomas Jefferson may be our most epicurean president. He developed a passion for French cuisine while Minister to France, and became fond of pasta and other foods while traveling through Europe. Yet, Jefferson retained his liking of local specialties: baked shad, crab, green peas, sweet potatoes, turnip greens and Virginia ham, among others. He is also known for his wine cellar.

    He brought back to America a French-trained cook, the first pasta machines and waffle irons; and served the first julienned fried potatoes (e.g., French fries).

    Abraham Lincoln ate what was put in front of him. During the day, he grazed on coffee, apples and other fresh fruit. He could make a dinner of bread and cheese. A teetotaler, no alcohol was served in the White House (which drew private grumbles from guests).

    He did have two favorite dishes: chicken fricassee with biscuits, and oyster stew or oysters any style; and enjoyed a dessert of apple pie. He was also fond of bacon. Here’s more about his food preferences.

       

    Steak & Kidney Pie

    Oysters On The Half Shell

    CAPTION.

     

    Eisenhower enjoyed stews and was a staunch meat eater, which was typical for his time. He knew how to cook, and liked to make his own beef soup. One of his favorite desserts was prune whip (here’s a recipe), although he enjoyed the more popular apple pie and rice pudding.

    Kennedy was not a big eater, but he liked the standards of the day—lamb chops, steak, baked chicken, turkey (white meat) and mashed potatoes. He also was fond of seafood, baked beans and corn muffins; when he ate dessert, it was something chocolate. Lunch was often soup, a sandwich and fruit; his favorite soup was fish chowder. Like Lincoln, Kennedy was a small eater and often had to be reminded that it was dinner time.

    Johnson favored Southwestern, Mexican and especially barbecue cuisine—not unusual for a Texan. He also loved a meal of chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes. He despised fish. His beverage of choice: Fresca. Breakfast often consisted of creamed chipped beef on toast and a cup of tea. For dessert: banana pudding, tapioca pudding or German chocolate cake. Johnson was also fond of canned peas and sweet potatoes topped with toasted marshmallows. Here’s a recipe [source]

    LBJ was a big man who often ate ravenously. Texas Governor John Connally said: “Most of the time he had no manners. He’d eat off the plate of either person on either side of him. If he ate something that he liked and they hadn’t finished theirs, he’d reach over with his fork and eat off of their plate.” [source]

    Nixon, a weight watcher, he often had cottage cheese and fruit for lunch; he is famous for snacking on cottage cheese and ketchup. He started each day with a breakfast of fresh orange juice, half a grapefruit, cold cereal with skim milk and coffee. He loved meat loaf for dinner—a fact that engendered so many requests that the White House had the recipe printed on the back of the letterhead they sent to consumers. Here’s a recipe. [source]

     

    Prune Whip

    Sweet Potato Casserole

    Monkey Bread

    [2] Both George Washington and ronald Reagan enjoyed steak and kidney pie, a classic British dish. Here’s a recipe from Gordon Ramsay.

     

    Gerald Ford was a hearty eater who preferred American staples: bacon burgers, casseroles, liver and onions, pot roast, spaghetti and meatballs and spare ribs. He rarely ate dessert, but when he did, lemon pudding and butter pecan ice cream were favorites.

    Jimmy Carter was not a big eater, but he enjoyed down home, southern-style dishes such as pork chops with corn bread stuffing, grits, baked and fried chicken. His favorite vegetable was eggplant; he also liked butternut squash, collards, kale and okra. It’s not a surprise that the former peanut farmer enjoyed snacking on peanuts.

    Ronald Reagan liked chicken and beef dishes and hearty bowls of soup. Although the nutrition-conscious First Lady focused on fiber-rich foods and dishes with a minimum of fat and cholesterol, Reagan shared George Washington’s enjoyment of steak and kidney pie. He loved macaroni and cheese, too (here’s his personal recipe).

    For breakfast, he might be treated to monkey bread, a Hungarian sticky coffee cake so-called because one pulls apart the pieces as a monkey would (it’s original Hungarian name is aranygaluska, which literally means golden dumplings). Here’s a recipe.

    For dessert, Regan liked brownies, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, ice cream and pumpkin pecan pie. He liked snacking on jelly beans—especially the licorice ones (he had Jelly Belly make up a red, white and blue mix for the White House—in fact, the blue jelly bean color was created for this purpose!). Chocolate chip cookies were another favorite snack.

     
    George H. W. Bush loved snacking on pork rinds and popcorn. He adored hot sauce. But he is better known for what he didn’t like: broccoli, which his mother served every day. He also refused to other crucifers, such as Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

    Clinton loved to eat, from fast food to Tex Mex (chicken enchiladas, tacos, to ribs cheeseburgers, fried chicken and roast beef. For sides, he prized his mother’s sweet potato casserole and corn pudding. He put jalapeños on his cheeseburgers. For dessert, carrot cake, ice cream, lemon chess pie and peach pie were often on the menu. After leaving office, Clinton became a vegetarian for health reasons and became a vegan. (And he looks great!)

    George W. Bush liked Tex-Mex and beef tenderloin—not surprising for a Texan—plus comfort foods like warm biscuits and chicken pot pie. He and Mrs. Bush liked spicy foods, and wanted Southwestern and Tex-Mex as often as possible, with huevos rancheros for breakfast on Sundays; and deviled eggs for snacking. For lunch, George W. liked a BLT, grilled cheese sandwiches made with Kraft Singles and white bread, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and occasionally, a burger.

    Barack Obama cites pizza as his #1 favorite food; his go-to in D.C. is the deep dish cornmeal crust pizza at Pi Pizzeria (with original locations in St. Louis). He is also a chili fan, a dish that Michelle Obama converted to turkey instead of beef. He likes salmon for dinner and snacks on almonds or trail mix. Also a burger buff, he has been known to bring foreign guests to Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia.

    ________________

    *Initially two individual holidays were for celebrated in government offices in the District of Columbia, on the actual birthdays, February 12th and 22nd. It was expanded to include all federal offices in 1885. State government offices, including schools, followed suit, followed by banks and other businesses. In 1971, the Washington’s Birthday holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February and combined with the Lincoln’s Birthday celebration to allow federal employees a three-day weekend.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Balsamic Glaze

    If you reduce balsamic vinegar into a syrup, you get balsamic glaze: a luscious condiment for drizzling over savory or sweet dishes. If you haven’t had it, we promise: You’ll be converted.

    With its complex flavors—sweet, sour, fruity—at its simplest use it can enhance anything grilled or roasted, including panini and other grilled sandwiches. It’s also called creme balsamica (balsamic cream) and

    While its origin is in Greek and Italian cuisines, it works with everything from French baked Brie to good old American fried chicken, roasts, chops and grilled fish.

    for marinating, dressing, or finishing any dish. Drizzle it over grilled meats, fish, and poultry. Serve with aged cheeses like parmesan or fresh ones like creamy goat. It’s a delicious surprise over fruits like strawberries or (our personal favorite) figs wrapped in prosciutto.

    USES FOR BALSAMIC GLAZE

    AS A CONDIMENT

  • Glaze meats—ham/pork, lamb, duck or other poultry—by mixing balsamic glaze with preserves (blackberry, currant)
  • Mix with mustard instead of honey mustard
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Dress a caprese salad when tomatoes aren’t at peak (it adds sweetness)
  • Glaze vegetables (especially root vegetables)
  •  
    WITH APPETIZERS & FIRST COURSES

    Drizzle over:

  • Baked Brie (with or without other toppings)
  • Bruschetta
  • Crudités
  • Flatbread
  • Glazed goat cheese tart or goat cheese cheesecake (sweet or savory)
  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • Salads: bitter greens (arugula, endive, radicchio, radishes, watercress), with or without quartered figs and crumbled goat cheese
  •  
    WITH MAINS

    Drizzle over:

  • Pizza with caramelized onions and smoked gouda; fig and proscuitto
  • Glazed salmon
  • Glazed pork ribs (try a spicy dry rub)
  • Glazed flat iron steak
  • White fish or salmon
  •  
    Use the glaze anywhere you’d use honey as a glaze or seasoning; and with more sophisticated sauces, such as port sauce over beef.
     
    SIDES

    Stir into:

  • Stir into cranberry sauce
  • Glaze onions or brussels sprouts
  • Sautéed greens and other cooked vegetables
  •  
    WITH DESSERTS

    Drizzle over:

  • Angel cake, cheese cake, pound cake
  • Greek yogurt
  • Ice Cream and sorbet
  • Cheese, from fresh cheeses to the oldest Parmesans
  • Fresh, grilled or poached fruit: berries, pears, stone fruit, etc.
  • Frosted cakes
  • Panacotta
  •  
    RECIPE #1: BALSAMIC GLAZE

    It’s easy to make balsamic glaze, and a good idea if you find yourself with too much balsamic on hand. But don’t go out and buy a gallon of the cheapest stuff at a club store. Get something moderately priced: Output = input. Recipe below.

    But buying it is a time saver.

    This recipe makes enough for quite some time. If you want just enough for your current recipe, use the proportions in the brackets

    Ingredients

  • 1 bottle balsamic vinegar [1/2 cup balsamic]
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar* [1 tablespoon brown sugar]
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX the balsamic vinegar with the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved.

    2. BRING to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the glaze is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. The glaze should coat the back of a spoon.

    3. COOL and pour into a lidded ja. Store in the fridge.

       

    Salad With Balsamic Glaze

    Pizza With Balsamic Glaze

    Balsamic Chicken Caprese

    Balsamic Glaze Salmon

    Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

    [1] Use balsamic glaze on bitter greens (photo courtesy A Couple Cooks). [2] Glaze your pizza (photo courtesy For The Love Of Cooking). [3] Whether grilled simply or in a casserole, chicken and balsamic are a match made in heaven (here’s the recipe from Cafe Delites). [4] Salmon and other sturdy fish love a balsamic glaze (here’s the recipe from Cooking Classy). [5] Pork roast with balsamic strawberries (here’s the recipe from Southern Living).

     
    ________________
    *You can substitute agave for lower glycemic; or honey if you prefer it. For a lighter version, substitute apple juice.
    ________________
     
    RECIPE #2: BALSAMIC GLAZE NACHOS

    We love this take on nachos from Half Baked Harvest (photo #5, below).

    Toasted baguette slices substitute for corn chips, tomato and basil for the salsa, mozzarella for the jack or cheddar cheese.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.

     

    Caprese Nachos

    Berries With Balsamic Glaze

    Gaea Grape Glaze

    [5] Mediterranean “nachos”: baguett, tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil…and balsamic glaze (photo courtesy Half Baked Harvest). [6] Strawberries with balsamic glaze are a classic Italian dessert (photo courtesy DeLallo). [7] This balsamic glaze from Gaea is made with honey instead of sugar (photo courtesy Gaea).

     

     
    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 baguette, sliced into thin 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • Optional: minced chives or thin-sliced green onions
  •  
    For The Balsamic Glaze

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the balsamic glaze: Add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to small sauce pan and simmer until reduced by half. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.

    2. PREHEAT the grill to high heat, or preheat the oven to 450°F.

    3. ADD the tomatoes to a bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. If the grape tomates are small enough to fit through the gates of the grill, thread them on skewers. Or you can also roast them in the oven for 10 minutes until lightly charred.

    4. PLACE the baguette slices on a greased baking sheet and brush each side with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper.

    5. GRILL the tomatoes for 8 to 10 minutes and the baguette slices for about 3 minutes per side. Or, you can toast the baguette slices in the oven on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes and the tomatoes in the oven for 10 minutes.

    6. PREHEAT the broiler to high. In ove-safe dishes or on a pan or baking sheet, place a few slices of toasted bread, then a few slices of fresh mozzarella and then a handful of tomatoes. Repeat so you make about three layers. Broil for 1 minute or until the cheese is melty.

    7. SPRINKLE with the basil and optional chives/scallions. Enjoy hot with a cold beer!
     
    RECIPE #3: MIXED BERRRIES WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE

    It doesn’t get easier than this—or more good-for-you than this dessert from DeLallo (photo #6, above), using their own balsamic glaze.

    The velvety rich, deep sweetness of balsamic glaze is a classic Italian way to top fresh berries. So simple, but so good.

    Take it to the next level with a base of gelato, panna cotta or plain Greek yogurt.
     
    RECIPE #3: MIXED BERRRIES WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE

  • Fresh berries of choice
  • Balsamic Glaze
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the berries in individual serving dishes. If you’re using a base (ice cream, panna cotta, yogurt), add it first.

    2. DRIZZLE with balsamic glaze.
     
    MORE!

    ABOUT BALSAMIC VINEGAR

    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF VINEGAR

     
    ABOUT GAEA

    In Greek mythology, Gaia or Gaea (GUY-yuh), from the word for land or earth, is the Mother Earth goddess. Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life.

    In Greece, Gaea is the mother of all things delicious in olive oil: EVOO, olives isn jars and snack packs, spreads, glazes, vinaigrettes, etc.

    Discover more at GaeaUS.com.

      

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    HOLIDAY COCKTAIL: Christmas Martini Recipe

    Christmas Martini

    Christmas Martini

    Pickled Cauliflower

    Castelvetrano Olives

    Fresh Dill

    [1] [2] It’s a Christmas Martini (photos courtesy World Market). [3] You can find actual rose and purple cauliflower heads at farmers markets, but at this time of year, you may have to color your own with beet juice. Here’s a recipe for pickled cauliflower and beets from The Galanter’s Kitchen. [4] Castelvetrano olives are the greenest, for Christmas garnishing. [5] Fresh dill, along with rosemary, are the two most Christmasy herbs: They look like evergreens (photo courtesy Burpee).

     

    Is there such a thing as a Christmas Martini?

    According to us: Yes!

    We’re not talking a peppermint “Martini” garnished with candy canes, but a real, savory vodka/gin-and-vermouth cocktail as its creators intended it to be (here’s the history of the Martini).

    We adapted this Dill Martini recipe from WorldMarket.com and gave it more holiday spirit.

    If you switch the evergreen-like dill to chive or other herb and perhaps make all the pickles red or pink, you can serve this as a Valentine Martini as well.
     
    RECIPE: CHRISTMAS MARTINI

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce pickle brine*
  • Splash of dry vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Large sprig of fresh dill
  • Beet juice
  • Ice
  •  
    For The Garnish

  • Cauliflower floret pickled in brine and beet juice†
  • Fresh grape tomato
  • Baby radish, pickled or not
  • Pimento-stuffed green olive or pitted Castelventrano olive (it’s bright green)
  • Whole baby beet (from can or jar, regular or pickled)
  • Cocktail pick
  •  
    ________________
    *If you make pickled vegetables, you can use your homemade brine.

    *If you aren’t using beets, you can buy a bottle of beet juice (delicious!) at a natural- or health-food store.
    ________________
     
    Preparation

    1. PICKLE the vegetables as desired and make the cocktail pick.

    2. COMBINE the vodka, pickle brine, vermouth mustard seeds, and fresh dill in a cocktail shaker. Shake and pour into a glass.

    2. ADD enough beet juice until you get the color you want (an assertive blush as in the photo is a good start).

    3. ADD ice to the shaker along with the contents of the glass. Shake well, strain into a coupe or Martini glass and garnish with the vegetable pick.
     
    HOW TO MAKE PICKLED VEGETABLES

    It couldn’t be easier to make “quick pickles”: just the vegetables, vinegar, spices and two hours to marinate.

    You can pickle just about any vegetable, and you can also pickle fruits: from grapes to sliced fruits.

  • Use your favorite spices in the brine. Look at your spices for inspiration: allspice, bay leaf, crushed red peppers, dill seed, juniper berries, mace, mustard seed, and peppercorns are all contenders. Pickled vegetables never met a spice they didn’t like. We often add a touch of nutmeg.
  • For the brine, use cider vinegar or other vinegar (you can use half vinegar and half salted water if you like). To color white veggies like cauliflower red, add beet to the brine. Be sure the brine covers the tops of the vegetables.
  • You can add sugar and or salt to the brine; but make a batch without them first. It’s healthier, and it will let the flavor of the spices shine through.
  • Pickles will be ready in just two hours; although you can keep them in the fridge for a few weeks (trust us, they will eaten quickly).
  •  
    Since these pickled vegetables aren’t sterilized in a water bath, they need to be kept in the fridge. Eat them within two weeks (more likely, they’ll be gone in two days).

    If you’re excited about pickling, pick up a book on the topic. The Joy Of Pickling, first published in 1999, is now in its second edition.

    You may find yourself making classic bread-and-butter and dill pickles, pickled beets and kimchi.

  • Check out our Pickle Glossary for the different types of pickles.
  •   

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