Monday, November 12, 2012

Gingery Quick Pickled Daikon Radish and Carrot

This spring, thanks to Front Porch forum, I hooked up with a local lady who was giving away a bunch of seeds.  One of the packets she had extras of was Daikon Radish.  I had heard of these radishes before but never tried growing them or eating them.

I ended up planting some of these late in the season when I read that radishes were amazing for the garden.  I don't like radishes, never have, but I thought I'd give them another try when I read how beneficial they are to a garden.  I didn't have any red varieties but I had the Daikon so I decided to throw a few seeds in the ground to act as the perimeter around some lettuce.

A few months later, actually it was late October, I decided to clean out most of the garden.  When I pulled these radishes out I was blown away at how big they were!  I had to break one of them in half because I wasn't able to pull it out myself.  It was probably 6 inches wide and almost 2 feet long.  Crazy.
This is the huge one I pulled out in 2 pieces.  There's probably still a little bit left in the ground!

Then I left all the radishes just sitting in my picking bucket for a while, just like any good gardener and canner would do.

This weekend I pulled the last of my carrots except those few I left in the ground for next spring.  While leafing through my favorite canning book I came across a recipe called Gingery Quick Pickled Daikon and Carrot.  The recipe was fairly simple and something I could pull off quickly and easily- hence the name!  I figured the radish would still be usable as it had been outside and it is sort of a root crop, right?

All the daikon I pulled from the garden
Today at lunch I prepared the carrots and daikon, put 1 tablespoon of salt onto them, and let them sit in ice water for the afternoon.  I pretty much just cut up 2 carrots and probably one piece of an 8" daikon.  When I got home I made up the brine so it had time to cool down before I was ready to cover the veggies.  It was a very easy process and I'm hoping they turn out good.  It's a good test to find out if I should grow Daikons again next year.  Stay tuned to the taste test!  My favorite thing about this recipe was it made just one pint and there was no canning involved.

Recipe from the Pickled Pantry by Andrea Chesman (my favorite canning book)

Ginger Quick Pickled Daikon and Carrot
Makes 1 quart

I pound daikon (about 16 inches in length), peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 tablespoon pickling or fine sea salt
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

1. Combine the daikon, carrot, and salt in a bowl and mix well.  Cover with ice water and let sit for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 hours.
2. Combine the white vinegar, water ,sugar, ginger, and garlic in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Remove fro the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
3. Drain the vegetables and pack into a clean 1-quart canning jar.  Pour the cooled vinegar mixture into the jar to cover the vegetables.  Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, and preferably 1 day.  The pickles will keep for several weeks.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Can much?

I caught the canning bug this year.  BIG time.

I had done some canning in the past mostly because my awesome husband Bill was a canner and we grew some stuff in our garden.  But this year I took the plunge and canned my first stuff all. by. myself.  It didn't hurt at all that I have a bangin' garden with veggies coming out of my ears.

I started out with curried summer squash relish.  This turned out pretty good; I canned 7 pints and had a little left over for the fridge.  I used the food processor for this so the veggie pieces may be a little small, but for the first time using it I can't complain too much.

Next up were the beets from the back garden.  I just love how these Chioggia beets come out looking just like a candy cane.  Aren't they so pretty?

I pickled 2 quarts and 3 pints of assorted beets.  Beets are my absolute favorite veggie to eat.  If I were to ever grow just one thing it would be beets.  Just call me Dwight Schrute!

Up next came the dilly beans.  I can't believe my dill was ready at the same time as my beans so I took full advantage and canned 4 pint jars.  I also canned 2 pints of basil beans (the same recipe as dilly beans only you replaced the dill with, you guessed it, basil).  I'm looking forward to trying this variation out this winter.
My first round of tomatos only produced a small amount so I made 3 freezer bags of salsa.  Once again I used my food processor and played around a bit with the ingredients.  The bottom bag was made with plum tomatoes and peaches.  The top bag was also with plum tomatoes but no peaches.  The medium bag had normal tomatoes and produced much more.  This is dubbed "my big ass batch of salsa."

Freezer salsa was SUPER simple to make- there was no cooking or boiling water to process anything in.   I'm looking forward to tasting the difference in freezer salsa vs conventionally canned salsa.

Shown here are the 2 quarts of peaches I canned in a honey syrup.  I LOVE summer peaches so I figured these ought to be pretty good.  I got the recipe from a blogger (link to come later) and can't wait to try these out.  I had leftover syrup which has been an excellent addition to my morning smoothies but better yet in a gin and tonic.

I pulled a bunch of carrots one morning and got 3 pints of pickled carrots.  To the right are Christmas pickles- a mixture of zucchini spears, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, garlic and assorted spices.  I imagine they're going to look gorgeous and taste pretty good come Christmas day!

I canned 5 quarts of crushed tomatoes.  I go through at least 2 cans of those a week in the winter time so these should come in really handy.  Next to the quart jars are 4 pints of sauce I made.  I neglected to pull the seeds from the plum tomatoes so hopefully they will turn out OK.  I also canned 6 quarts of dill pickles.  I'm crossing my fingers that the extra additive of pickling crisp will make these pickles snap like a Vlasic.

There are a few things I forgot to get pictures of.  I canned 12 tiny jars of lemon basil jelly.  I also got another full pint of the jelly for the fridge and have been using that in some recipes.  It's really tasty but was rather time consuming to get the right consistency.
I also made summer squash pickles that hopefully turned out pretty good. 
There are still a number of things left in my canning repertoire for this summer- more summer squash canning, a lot more tomatoes/salsa, more peaches if I can get my hands on some (dill peach pickles anyone?), as well as some jalapenos and more lemon basil jelly.  My basement is stocked like crazy and I just love going downstairs to check it all out.
I also have to give a shout out to Front Porch Forum.  I put a post about needing some mason jars of any size and I have been given a ton from my neighbor (thanks Penny!), some from my neighbor and coworker Missy (thanks!) and bought a few at a very reduced rate from another neighbor ($.50/jar).  Behold the power of the internet!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Got extra summer squash?

I made Squash Squares tonight with some extra squash I had laying around (don't these plants ever stop producing?). The description in the book says "Although summer squash is visually prominent in the topping layer, no one seems to guess that it is there until the name of the recipe is offered. These cookies are quite sweet, so cut them into small squares." Here's the recipe from "The Classic Zucchini Cookbook":

Cookie layer:
12/cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon coconut flavoring oil or extract
2 cups grated yellow summer squash
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking pan.
2. To make the cookie layer, cream together the butter and sugar by hand, with a standing mixer, or in a food processor. Add the 1 cup flour and mix until the dough comes together. Transfer to the baking pan and pat down the mixture to cover the bottom of the pan.
3. Bake for 15 minutes. (Mine came out quite dark so you may want to watch this as it cooks)
4. While the cookie layer bakes, make the topping. In a large bowl beat the eggs. Add the brown sugar, almonds, almond and coconut extract. Stir in the squash. Add the 2T flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
5. When the cookie layer is done, spread the squash mixture evenly on top.
6. Return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
7. On a wire rack, cool completely before cutting into small squares.

Makes 28 squares.

hhhhhmmmm... these are interesting.  Once they cooled down a bit they were actually quite tasty.  The girls loved them, EVEN with squash in them. When I dished them out my 5 yeard old threw a mini-fit and said she wanted something else for dessert. Eventually she tried it and had 2 squares. 20 minutes after she ate it she said "I'm so glad I tried those! They are so yummy. Can we make them again sometime to bring to Kelley's daycare?"

One thing I have to share is how easy these were to make with the food processor.  I had never owned one before this summer but finally broke down and got one about a month ago using credit card reward points. I have used it a TON since then- mostly because the garden is in such high production.  Tonight it got another great work out.

First thing was to mix the cookie layer together. Easy as pie let me tell ya!

Second thing was to sliver the whole almonds I had on hand (no slivered almonds).  I added the flour to prevent it from turning into butter.

And the last thing was to shred the squash. Talk about easy!!!!!  The shredder attachment rocks- it is so easy to shred something in about 2 minutes that would take 30 minutes by hand

I love it. Mom and Dad, you absolutely need to get one.

Overall I would definitely recommend making these. Who would have thought that squash could taste this good just by adding a bunch of sugar and butter?