Friday, September 17, 2010

Pickle Me Yellow

She pulled into the parking space closest to the front entrance. Then she put the car in park and sat for a moment. The kids were chattering in the backseat, peppering her with questions that they knew the answers to.

“Okay.” She sighed. “Let’s go.” She slide her well-organized grocery list into the bag she affectionately called The Pit. As she opened the car door, the Houston atmosphere hit her face like a large shaggy dog belching right between her eyebrows. “Ugh!” she moaned and then proceeded to empty her wonkster mini van of its passengers.

Finally inside, the cool air and weird grocery smell assaulted her senses. Visions of perfectly stacked bunches of romaine and green onions greeted her on her left and fennel bulbs and cherry tomatoes on the right. Her list started to lose its authority. No longer was she focused on what she must buy, but more on what she wanted to buy. Distraction was on the menu.

And then she saw them – the beets. The yellow beets were small and tender, vibrant and fresh. Their dew glistened under the florescent lights. Beets weren’t on her list. Regardless, they found their way into the basket, with no destiny to speak of and acquired mainly for their good looks.


My little story above was inspired by Monet at Anecdotes and Apple Cores. If you haven’t visited her, you really must. She writes the most entertaining stories in her posts.

I never liked beets when I was little. It was the overwhelming “dirt” taste that I couldn’t get past. Pickled, cooked or canned, it didn’t matter, I was not eating beets.

As you grow older, I think you may agree, that certain foods lose their “gross” factor and come into a new light and taste. Just the same, some things you thought were awesome as a kid, let’s say Twinkies, now have a “gross” factor all their own.

So, when did I let my beet wall down? I would have to say, it was official on a trip that me and the Hubs took to Mexico about 5 1/2 years ago. (Yes, that was the last time we went on a real vacation, you know that little thing called “kids” happened…) At the resort, which was lovely, they had a salad that just blew my mind. I mean, it’s a salad for Pete’s sake, but it was unlike anything I had had before. It was called Tres Colores Ensalata (don’t judge me if my Spanish is bad). To be honest, I can’t tell you the three colors but one was the purple-y red of raw, julienned beets. I think there was carrot and some sprouts…whatever, the point is, I fell in love with beets. Maybe it’s because they were presented to me in a new way. I had never had them raw. I had never had them in a salad. And though they still had the “dirt” factor, I was starting to like the dirt taste.

Back to when I was a kid…So my Grandma Elsie would make pickled beets. Of course, I didn’t like them, but now that I have let go of my beet woes, this recipe is actually a nod to her pickled beets.

I did a couple of things different: I left them raw and didn’t can them. These pickled beets will keep for a couple of weeks in your fridge. Also, they are spicy and have onions…okay, I changed it a lot.

Of course you can use red beets, but as the above states, I was pleasantly distracted by the yellow beets, so I used those. Big plus with the yellow ones, they don’t stain your hands!

These are so delicious. They are spicy, sweet, crunchy and tangy. Serve them with salads or along-side fried foods, but do you know what I served them with? Shredded beef tacos. Yup. I know that sounds weird, but it works.

These are so easy you will just laugh yourself into a pickle. (That was dumb and since I don’t feel much like editing tonight, so I’m leaving it.)

Beet Pickles

1 cup white vinegar

½ cup sugar

1 tbsp. salt

Cracked pepper (to your liking)

1 jalapeno pepper

¼ sweet onion, thinly sliced

3 yellow beet, cut length-wise and into half moons approx. ¼” thick

Enough ice cubes to cover the beets in the brine

In a glass bowl, microwave vinegar, salt, sugar and black pepper about 2 minutes. Stir until dissolved. Dump in beets, onions and jalapeno. Stir, let set 5 min. then top with enough ice to almost cover the pickles. The reason behind the ice is to dilute the brine and chill your pickles all at the same time. Let it set out on your counter until the ice dissolves. Give it a good stir and serve. You can make these a day ahead or eat them right away.


Cheers, Foodies!
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