Soil and Cellar

Growing and preserving foods in Seattle


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Carrot Coriander Relish

Here's the relish I made last year.

I’m finally posting about this relish I made last year. This is last year’s photo, but the rest of the post is from this week.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a coworker about my blog, and she asked about the orange thing in the middle of my banner photo. When I told her it was carrot relish, she wanted to read the post. Well, as it happens, I never wrote about it! It was one of my projects from early last year, before the blog. When piecing together my colorful banner photo, I had to find foods I had made and photographed, which if you can believe, wasn’t common for me back then. Oh, how times have changed.

Annabeth is a great helper in the kitchen. Here she is ensuring that I can't read the recipe. Later she stole carrots from the compost and chased them all over the house, finally eating them. This recipe is fun for the whole family!

Annabeth is a great helper in the kitchen. Here she is ensuring that I can’t read the recipe. Later she stole carrots from the compost and chased them all over the house, finally eating them. This recipe is fun for the whole family!

Anyway, I knew I had to remake this relish, because it is delicious, flavorful, and bright. It’s a great alternative to pickle relish, and goes fabulously on burgers, hotdogs, and all manner of sandwiches. It’s also a little spicy, but not too much (you could certainly add more chili to amp up the heat). This weekend (Happy Memorial Day to all!) marked our first BBQ of the season, so it was the perfect time to bust out this great recipe.

I julienned the carrots on the mandoline. I think next time I'll shred them in the food processor - this took a really long time.

I julienned the carrots on the mandoline. I think next time I’ll shred them in the food processor – this took a really long time.

I got the recipe from Salt Sugar Smoke, still one of my favorite books on food preservation. This time I didn’t toast coriander seeds and grind them, opting for pre-ground coriander. I recommend doing as the recipe suggests, the coriander flavor stood out more last year. Also, this time I subbed a jalapeño for “red chili” because I don’t know what she meant by “red chili.” Looking back, I think a dried red chili is probably a better fit. But I do like the jalapeño, so you do you and I’ll do me.

Just put everything in the pot all together. I love recipes like that!

Just put everything in the pot all together. I love recipes like that!

Recipe (makes about a pint)

8 carrots, cleaned, and shredded (or julienned)
1 ½ inch piece of ginger root, peeled and minced
8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
zest and juice of 1 lime
¼ cup apple juice
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
pinch or two of salt
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped (optional) – I have never included this, but I think it would taste great, but would probably really change the flavor.

After cooking, but not cooked all the way down (there's still a lot of liquid.) When it's done it'll be drier.

After cooking, but not cooked all the way down (there’s still a lot of liquid.) When it’s done it’ll be almost totally dry.

Mix everything except cilantro together in a pot. Stir and bring to a boil slowly over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Then increase to medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. You want the liquid to reduce and cook off. The carrots should be soft but not mushy, and appear candied from the liquid.

The relish on a (veggie) sausage. Fantastic! This is dog is also a "Seattle dog" which is with cream cheese and caramelized onions. I urge you to try that, it's ridiculous. So freaking delish - and adding this relish really worked!

Messy, but so tasty – carrot relish on a (veggie) sausage. This dog is also a “Seattle dog” which is with cream cheese and caramelized onions. I urge you to try that, it’s ridiculous. So freaking delish – and adding this relish really worked! Just noticed, “delish” and “relish” are one letter apart… coincidence?

Remove from heat and pack into a warm sterilized jar. Store in the fridge for up to 3 months (if it lasts that long!). If you’re using cilantro, either add just before using or mix it in the jars with the relish. If you do the latter, you need to use it up within 5 days.

Enjoy!


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Lemon Curd with the Ladies’ Preservation Society

Waffles served with butter, lemon curd, and a little powdered sugar. Pure heaven!

Waffles served with butter, lemon curd, and a little powdered sugar. Pure heaven!

Oh yes. This is a real winner, let me tell you. You know the delicious lemony part of a lemon bar? That’s what this is, but you can put it on anything! Waffles! Popovers! Ginger snaps! Toast? I’m sure you could, but it might be a bit much for me, it’s quite sweet and rich.

We made this lemon curd for LPS in March (once again, I’m super behind.) It is a perfect recipe to do with friends. It’s one of those recipes (like many I post on here) that isn’t hard but has a lot of little steps. It’s great having helpers! And, frankly, I love sharing it at the end. The recipe is for freezing or refrigerating, not canning, so there’s a limited amount you can keep yourself.

Zest-ah zest-ah zest-ah!

Zest-ah, zest-ah, zest-ah!

We took the recipe from Saving the Season’s lime curd recipe, but we left out almost all the aromatics and spices, except ginger (and replaced lemons for limes, obviously.) Here’s our version:

Lemon Curd

Makes 6 quarter-pints

1 lb lemons
1 inch ginger root – peeled and chopped into large chunks
5 egg yolks
1 ½ cup sugar
2 sticks (8 oz) chilled unsalted butter, cut into chunks

The lighting was really cool back in March, and I just liked the way this lemon was backlit.

The lighting was really cool back in March, and I just liked the way this lemon was backlit.

Zest the lemons, to get about 3 Tbsp of zest. Juice the lemons, to get about ¾ cup juice. Strain. Combine zest, juice, and ginger in a bowl.

Juicing the lemons. After this, pour through a sieve, to remove seeds and pulp.

Juicing the lemons. After this, pour through a sieve, to remove seeds and pulp.

Using a double boiler on medium heat (I use a glass bowl over a pot of water), whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk in the mixture of lemon and ginger. Add the butter, and whisk, one piece at a time, until melted.

 

Ok, here we go. This part took the longest for sure, I'd say at least a half hour. You have to melt all the butter slowly, then cook for 10 minutes. But I'd say it took more like 15-20 for us to get to the consistency recommended.

Ok, here we go. This part took the longest for sure, I’d say at least a half hour. You have to melt all the butter slowly, then cook for 10 minutes. But I’d say it took more like 15-20 for us to get to the consistency recommended.

Stirring constantly, cook the curd for 10 minutes in this way. (Don’t let the curd boil, or the eggs will curdle. If that happens, pull off of heat and whisk vigorously.) The curd is done when it is as thick as heavy cream and coats a wooden spoon. Or, use a candy thermometer and cook until it is 170. You can also test the consistency by testing on a frozen plate. I think we got impatient on all these fronts so ours is a little runnier than may be ideal, but it’s still quite wonderful.

Filling jars.

Filling jars. Also – you can tell from the background this was Manhattans night. I had just been offered a job, so we were celebrating! Sadly, I was long since out of the brandied cherries I made last summer. I’ll be making those again as soon as I see cherries in the market!

Pour the curd through a fine sieve into a measuring cup, or something else you can pour from (this will make it easy to fill the jars.) Pour into 6 quarter-pint jars, or 3 half-pint jars that have been sterilized and kept warm. Seal and cool on the counter overnight. Then, store in the fridge and use within a month, or freeze for up to a year.

Now, how to use it? Well, my favorite thing was actually on waffles. It turned an already treat-like breakfast into straight-up dessert.

We dipped ginger snaps into the warm curd for an after-project treat. Nice!

We dipped ginger snaps into the warm curd for an after-project treat. Nice!


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Ramps for Breakfast

Spring veggies on display at Pike Place Market.

Spring veggies on display at Pike Place Market.

I have heard a lot about ramps in the last few years. These wild oniony garlicky beasts are darlings of chefs around the country. But I don’t feel like they grow wild here like they do out east. If they do, I’ve never heard of it, anyway. But after hearing so much about them and their mellow garlicky flavor, I wanted to try them! I think of them like this: Leeks are to onions as ramps are to garlic. Or something. Anyway, alliums are the best, and they are all welcome in my home!

Ramps washed and ready to cut.

Ramps washed and ready to cut.

My SIL and BIL were in town for a short weekend visit, and they’d never done the Pike Place Market. Now, Pike Place is one of the few tourist attractions that even Seattlites enjoy. And why not? We’re all about local fresh foods. We planning on wandering through the market and window shopping, but it’s hardly ever that simple. We ended up with some beautiful purple asparagus, ramps, some dried strawberries (yum!) pastries, yogurt, and salami.

Chopping. I love the rainbow effect on the stems! And you can see the purple asparagus in the background.

Chopping. I love the rainbow effect on the stems! And you can see the purple asparagus in the background.

Never having cooked ramps, I went with the standard for fresh veg – lightly sautéed and then scrambled with eggs. Throw a little cheese on top, and even the blandest veg are made super! Start with delicious veggies, and holy smokes, what could be better?

I sauteed the stems with the asparagus for a minute or two first, before adding the leaves. Then I wilted the leaves just so before adding the eggs.

I sauteed the stems with the asparagus for a minute or two first, before adding the leaves. Then I wilted the leaves just so before adding the eggs.

To top things off (because I like to pretend I run a B&B when I have house guests) I made popovers, which we ate with homemade jam (of course.) Voila! A perfect spring breakfast.

Now, don't you want to come visit?

Now, don’t you want to come visit?

Now that I’ve sampled them, next year I’ll look for ramps again. Any ideas how I should prepare them?


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Spicy Pickled Carrots with the LPS

These are my taco truck's spicy carrots. Oh heavens, they are phenomenal. I've been trying to copy them for years now.

These are my taco truck’s spicy carrots. Oh heavens, they are phenomenal. I’ve been trying to copy them for years now.

I keep trying to make spicy pickled carrots. I just haven’t found the perfect recipe yet, but I feel like I’m honing in on something. I’m learning, at any rate, and it’s totally fun to keep trying! I think pickled jalapeños and carrots was the first thing I ever pickled… maybe? It’s been awhile.

I don’t know if you go to taco trucks, but they are the original food trucks in Seattle, and have been around forever. We used to hit Tacos El Asadero on Rainier about once a week for a great cheap meal. We’re a little further away now, but we still go just about every month.

Beautiful fresh carrots. Too fresh for this recipe, if you can believe it! They were thin and softened quite quickly. Ahh well...

Beautiful fresh carrots. Too fresh for this recipe, if you can believe it! They were thin and softened quite quickly. Ahh well…

They have the most delicious pickled carrots. They’re served free as a condiment, next to the limes and jalapenos and radishes. We try to put them in every bite of burritos. But lately they’ve been making them too spicy for me! I’m not one to shy away from spice, but I do prefer it medium hot rather than hot-hot. And lately they’ve been hot-hot. So I’d love to be able to make the same recipe but just leave a few of the peppers out. Then I could have spicy pickled carrots whenever I want! On burgers? On salads? In a quesadilla? Yes yes yes!

The pickling liquid: cider vinegar, water, and spices.

The pickling liquid: cider vinegar, water, and spices.

So this recipe was taken from a friend’s book, Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry, and we made it for LPS in February. I like the flavor ok, and I think the heat is just about right. There is too much cinnamon, though, and it takes away from the carrotiness. Also, we were using small local fresh carrots, and those took less time to cook than suggested, so they are pretty soft. I like a good firm carrot, almost crunchy, in my burritos!

Prepping the jars - in sterile and still hot jars, add garlic, thyme, and red chili flakes.

Prepping the jars – in sterile and still hot jars, add garlic, thyme, and red chili flakes.

Spicy Carrot Pickles
Makes 4 pint jars

2 pounds carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
5 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
8 dried hot chilies, stemmed
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 sprigs thyme, kept whole
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

Peel or scrub the carrots, cut into sticks 4″ long and about 1/2″ thick.

Combine the vinegar, 1 C water, the salt, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook until just crisp-tender. The recipe says 8-10 minutes, but that was much too long in my opinion. Remove carrots from water. We weren’t quite ready with the jars here, so I the carrots cooked even longer! Not cool.

Loading carrots into jars. This is hot business!

Loading carrots into jars. This is hot business!

While the carrots are cooking, divide the chilies, garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, and peppercorns among the jars. Put the still-hot carrots into the jars (do not pack them too tightly) and fill the empty spaces loosely with slivers of onion. Ladle the hot pickling liquid into the jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace at the top. Use a chopstick to remove air bubbles around the inside of each jar. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel, then put a lid and ring on each jar.

Add onions and pickling liquid, leaving 1/2" head space.

Add onions and pickling liquid, leaving 1/2″ head space.

Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes. Remove the jars and cool on the counter overnight.

As I said, this isn’t quite what I was looking for. But it’s still tasty, and very very pretty! I’ll keep trying, but in the meantime, enjoy!

Gorgeous! Here they are ready to be sealed and processed.

Gorgeous! Here they are ready to be sealed and processed.