Pickled Beet and Fennel Salad

This salad is quite light tasting for fall, however seasonal. This time of year is all about squash and pumpkin, and certainly have enough of those to keep me going for months but that’s not the focus of this post. It’s about what to do with all those beets! I love beets. And if you’re like me, I bought up all the beets I could carry home from the UBC Farm an now I’m wondering what to do with the ten pounds of beets in my fridge…
They’re a bit of a pain to prepare but I started eating them cooked, with their skins on and I quite like them still – which avoids most of the fuss. Some people find the skins too bitter. I also recently attended a chef demo at the UBC Farm harvest market (last one of the year! So sad 😦 ) where Jane Cornborough from L’Abbatoir did a lovely demo of this salad, as well as the most beautiful pumpkin soup I’ve ever tasted. More on that coming up soon. But she also gave us the simplest method of pickling beets, which is apparently a traditional Scandinavian recipe.

1 part sugar, 2 parts vinegar, 3 parts water. Peel raw beets, slice thin. Boil pickling mixture until dissolved. Add beets and let marinate until cool. Done!
You can choose any vinegar you like – she prefers white wine, I used apple cider and it was also tasty. She had the beets marinating overnight and I used cooked beets that were already in my fridge so I only left them for about half an hour. I’m not sure what the fastest optimal length is but overnight is probably a good way to go. My plan is to just keep a jar in my fridge.

I like that the beets are so delightfully easy to prepare and raw! Plus, I hadn’t ever used the fennel fronds before and they provide a lovely visual variation and texture to this otherwise chunky salad. I also added some pretty purple haze carrots but I can imagine adding turnips or jicama or any other raw root vegetable.

Dressing was a bit of the pickling juice and olive oil, plus salt and pepper. I might’ve added a bit of lemon juice if I’d had it.

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Ham Reuben

I designed this partly to make Linda jealous 😉 A huge piece of Dubliner cheese, with all it’s beautiful sweet, nutty flavours. Two sides of it grilled on hearty multigrain from Beyond Bread, with ham, grainy mustard and fresh sauerkraut from Oyama. Let’s not forget the appropriate pairing with a Belgian saison from Lighthouse. The most fantastic part of this meal was that I actually already had everything in my fridge.
Makes for a tasty late dinner.

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Fresh hops!

These wee Centennial beauties came from the UBC Farm! Yes, in September (hop season is already long past), but we did manage to dehydrate and store a few for future brewing. Hopefully they keep!

Brewing with fresh hops is a truly seasonal treat. We combined them with rye flakes and some London ESB (plus a few other things) to make a light rye pale ale. Unfortunately, our mash temperature was a bit low so our final gravity measured very low, equivalent to about 3.3% alcohol, but the hops provided a beautiful, fresh, aromatic flavour that is truly unique. And really, as only our second batch of homebrew, I think it turned out quite well.

Seasonally, the beer would be more suitable as a summer beverage but I’m sure we’ll enjoy it nonetheless 🙂

Once it’s finished carbonating and is ready to drink, I’ll post a picture of our finished product.


Cranberry orange loaf

‘Tis the season for cheap cranberries this week! I put a whole package in these two loaves, plus I’ve got about a kilo getting a hot air bath in the dehydrator. Lovelies.

Makes one loaf.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup milk
Zest of one orange
2 tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten
Mix until blended.
Add 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries. Stir.

Set oven at 350F. Line bottom of greased loaf pan with parchment paper. Bake about 40 min or until firm.

Source: modified from Hamilton Farms, Black Creek


Root vegetable gratin

More treats from the UBC Farm! Is it obvious I’m excited about volunteering? 🙂 It’s fun to get outside and all but the food is amazing! These carrots are called purple haze. So pretty! And the daikon is so crispy and mellow, you can add it to anything and probably eat it raw. I also added some red and white potato from there as well, to complete the dish.

Slicing thin is the absolute best way to go when doing this kind of dish – or scalloped potatoes. It cooks faster and the potatoes remain crispier, which means when you dig a serving spoon into it, the starches won’t dissolve and you get a goopy mess. Win, win.

I got this recipe from the fall 2012 magazine All You Need is Cheese. Kind of awesome really – it’s a whole magazine devoted to adding cheese to everything possible. Canadian cheese specifically, but cheese no less. Their version is probably enough to feed a family of 10, so needless to say, I modified it a bit.

All thinly sliced. If you have a mandolin, great. If not, I did perfectly well with a chef’s knife.

1 1/2 carrots
4 daikon
2 potatoes
1/4 onion
1/2 cup broth
1/2 – 1 cup cheese (I used smoked gouda but any cheddar would do)

Preheat oven 375F. Layer and toss a few onions in each time. Add broth. Top with cheese. Bake about half hour.



Black Bean Quinoa Wraps

I have recently discovered the recipes blog at Ethicaldeal which, it turns out, has a pretty tasty collection, especially considering it’s vegan. Gasp! I know! But I figure, we could probably all try to eat beans more often and the more we reduce our meat consumption, the better off we’ll all be, so here goes.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups broth

1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 diced onion
1 can black beans

Juice of 1/2 lime
Whole wheat wraps

Toast quinoa in a heated pan for 5 minutes. Add broth and continue cooking. As water starts to evaporate, add onion, spices, and beans. Continue stirring. Once water has completely evaporated, add the lime juice (to taste).

Toppings… some kind of green – lettuce, beet greens, kale…, feta, avocado, salsa, green onion, plain yogurt, other…

Source: Dave Lock


Pina coladas!

And what does one do with all of that leftover pineapple juice from making carrot cake? Why, make pina coladas, of course!

1 oz. (or more…) of white rum
4 oz. pineapple juice
2 oz. coconut milk