Vegetable Insanity

One of the very nicest things about being done with the book is that I occasionally have time for something I like to call “fun”. Now, my good friend Kellee and I share the same definition of the word fun. And we’re both a little bit… let’s see, how shall I phrase this. We’re both a little bit enthusiastic about pretty much anything that has to do with the kitchen. So when we were going through our farm shares this week, and I sighed about another bundle of beets going into the crisper drawer, she said she had a similar issue at home.

(We interrupt this story for me to assure you that while I adore beets, even though they do cool stuff like turn your pee pink I cannot get the boys to eat them. They’re great with just about any veg, including traditionally-disfavored options like kale, brussels sprouts, and lima beans. But beets? No dice. So they pile up.)

“You know what we should do,” she said, which is Kellee-Amy speak for “ut oh”. “We should get together one day this weekend and pickle them. Just a few jars of beets, that will take no time at all.”

(Either Kellee or me saying “No time at all” is another signal that you should run away very, very quickly.)

So we go through the week, set on the pickled beet plan, and then the weekend comes, and…


I said: “You know, I saw these lovely little pickling cukes at the market and got a couple of boxes of them. It’ll take no time at all to add them to the canner too. Oh, and would you set me up for some refrigerator pickles?”

And she said: “I am drowning in zucchini and thought maybe we could add some of that too?”

And then later, just before she came over? “Let me just bring everything that seems pickleable, and we’ll see where we are.”

Well, here’s where we were on Saturday afternoon:

Those are the original suspects, in the corner there. See?

Lucky for us, pickling is one of the more efficient produce-processing things around. So we were able to actually get everything done in an afternoon/evening with a break for Indian food for dinner. (Yum.)

One of the things I’m most excited to eat is the result of Kellee’s laissez-faire to jardiniere spicing. People, she was just tossing different stuff in and saying “There is no possible way this will be anything but delicious”. My culinary training was all in pastry, where formulas are king and improvising leads to disaster. I must follow a recipe. MUST. I am the “measure out dill seeds exactly” kind of person. To see her just throw spice mixtures into jars without any thought to recipe or exact amounts… …well, it made me feel a little faint. But since she’s always right about food, I’m sure they’ll taste phenomenal. One set of veg in particular I’m really dying to crack open:

“How on earth is that going to be anything but phenomenal?” she asked, and I was forced to agree.

(Of course, I have been playing around with yarn, too. I had a lovely few days of swatching before picking up another sweater project. And we shot the pictures for Caulfield yesterday, so look for a pattern release some time this week! Can’t wait to share it all with you.)

7 thoughts on “Vegetable Insanity

  1. oh man that looks like fun! My grandmother used to pickle. Her bread & butter pickles are to die for. But I never learned, and would love to! Those beets with a little goat cheese and toasted walnuts … yum!

  2. I’m sure everything will be wonderful! What a fun way to spend an afternoon together.

  3. This made me laugh.

  4. My fiance is the same way about cooking – all these just snap judgments. And it’s always delicious. No following a recipe for him. I try to go off recipe, and what I see as logical leaps don’t turn out so well.

    I just remind myself that I can do with crafting what he can do with cooking. It makes me feel better.

  5. What fun! A great way to deal with what the kids won’t touch. Who knows, maybe they’ll be curious enough later in the season to venture out of their comfort zone and try a nibble or three.

  6. Beetroot works well in chocolate brownies. Really. Along the same lines as carrot cake and courgette (zucchini) cakes/muffins. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has a recipe in his ‘Everyday’ book, but there are others…

    He (HFW) also recommends beetroot on pizzas… I think they need to be roasted first, but apparently it’s yum. Even for kids.

  7. Beautiful beets! If you find yourself drowning again, I heartily recommend these two recipes:
    Orange Glazed Beets: (These are a little sweet, good hot or cold.)
    Beet, Barley and Black Soybean Soup: (I sub black beans for the soybeans.)

    Both of these are in Vegan with a Vengeance, which I can’t remember if you have or not.

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