(May 22, 2015) Teaching perfection is a precise pedagogical relationship that is based on knowledge and perseverance.
Although flawlessness may not grace the path of attainment, the mere fact of “attempt” flavors ensuing possibilities.
That being said, one must consider the effect of subjectivity. Culinary veracity encompasses debate because truth is relative and does not always correspond to certainty. As a result, diversity raises the level of potentiality and sets the tone for competition.
The subject of superb pickled beets is the special of the day. Pickling is the process of preserving the lifespan of food by anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. The varieties of vinegar open the door of choice.
Apple cider, white and rice vinegar are the preferred options for pickling by immersion in vinegar. Multiplicity lends credence to creativity and is the foundation of a chef. Rice vinegar takes top honors. It is made from the sugars found in rice and has a mild, delicate essence. The subtle tang achieves the art of pickling and still allows the beets to remain the main component of the dish.
To add or not to add onions is the next question at hand. Once that bridge has been crossed, the kind of onion and how it is to be broken down must be considered. Onions give pickled beets more depth, texture and add to the overall experience. White, yellow, red, and sweet lead the way for selection. The pickling vinegar is going to reduce the pungency of the onions; for this reason red onions are incorporated into the recipe. Using a mandoline, slice the red onions paper thin. Mandolines slice vegetables in perfect unison and enhance the presentation.
Whole black peppercorns and dried crushed red pepper flakes give the pickled beets a touch of heat. Pickling spice, whole Jamaican allspice, whole anise seeds, and ground ginger not only heighten the natural sweetness of the beets but take them to another level of flavor. Whole coriander, fresh rosemary, dill and bay leaves add depth to the dish. The spectrum of delectable spices and herbs turn ordinary beets into a memorable dish.
Originality is the very essence of a chef. Following is another simple beet recipe that will wow your guests. Puree beets until very tender. Peel and place them in a blender. Add a touch of heavy cream and a few pinches of fresh nutmeg. Puree until beet mixture is thoroughly blended. The beets will turn into a gorgeous fuchsia color. Place the beet mixture into a piping bag and pipe directly onto the serving plate. Trust me, accolades will follow.
Pickled beets are yummy accompaniments for your favorite grilled meats and are a wonderful addition to picnics. Presenting them in mason jars with a festive ribbon makes a wonderful gift during the season of sun and fun. Pickled or pureed beets are hard to beat.
5 pounds beets
5 cups rice vinegar
2 ½ cups cold water
2 ½ cups sugar
2 red onions, sliced very thinly
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
½ to 1 tablespoon dried, crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon whole Jamaica allspice
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1 tablespoon whole anise seed
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon whole coriander
2 full sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon dried dill
5 bay leaves
1. If the beets are extra-large, cut them in half.
2. In a large pot, steam until tender, but they still should have some firmness.
3. Cool the beets on cooling racks, this helps slow down the cooking process so the beets do not overcook. Peel off the skins and cut into 1/4-inch slices.
4. Using a mandoline, slice the red onions very thinly and set aside.
5. Add all of the ingredients except for the beets and onions to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Cool vinegar mixture and strain.
6. In a large plastic or glass bowl, combine sliced beets, sliced onions, and reduced vinegar mixture and marinate for 24 hours.
7. Divide beets and onions into 6 mason jars. Fill jars with vinegar mixture.
8. Add decorative ribbon (optional).
Makes 6 pints
Secret Ingredient – Precision.
“Be precise. A lack of precision is dangerous when the margin of error is small.” – Donald Rumsfeld