Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Leah's Guest Post - Continued - Escabeche

Do you know what it is to have a friend who can cook like nobody's business? I am lucky enough to be able to say that I do. So it is, that when Leah makes Mexican food, she doesn't just make the best Chili Rellanos you've ever tasted, she doesn't just have ice cold pacifico's waiting in the fridge, nor does she just teach you to make tortillas by hand. No. When Leah makes Mexican food, she goes all out. She even makes Escabeche, that little dish of pickled somethings that arrives on the side of a good authentic dish.

Oh my. It. Was. Delicious.


Right now It seems like canning is all the rage. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Happy Girl Kitchen cabbage and man are those pickled beets de-lish! But, to be honest, I am so much more of an instant gratification girl. I think that's why I cook and don't make pottery (all that waiting, and leaving it alone kills me!) I want to be the kind of person who can pick a bunch of Ollieberries and make copious jars of jam for winter gifts or set cucumbers in a brine for weeks until they emerge all perfect and ready for a sandwich. But I am just not. I seem to always be looking for a short cut or at least a way to enjoy the fruits of my labor NOW.

Which is why I am sharing with you two recipes for one of my favorite side dishes, Spicy Carrot and Radish Escabeche. One is the quick eat it NOW version and the other is the "Save for Later" 5 hour soak. Both are equally delicious, but of course, the longer one (the one that takes a little more patience --which is a virtue, they tell me) is a little rounder in flavor. The longer version can also be stored for about 3 months, and so you end up being able to stretch out the enjoyment as well as the process.

Spicy Carrot and Radish Escabeche

These pickled carrots and radishes, which are often found in Mexican restaurants, are great as a side dish but I also love to put these carrots and radishes inside sandwiches for a little texture and flavor kick. You can make them as spicy as you want by adjusting the jalapeno amount.

4 large carrots, peeled and sliced on an angle
1 bunch radishes, washed and sliced into rounds
1-2 large jalapenos, quartered
1 cup champagne vinegar (or any vinegar you like, but NOT balsamic)
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
4 whole bay leaves
1 star anise pod

(optional: 2 cups of ice)

1. The Eat NOW Version:
Bring the Water, Vinegar, Salt to a boil in a sauce pan when the salt dissolves bring the heat down to a simmer.
Add the Oregano, Bay, and Star Anise. Simmer for one minute.
Add Carrots, Radish, and Jalapenos.

Turn the heat off and cover for 5 minutes.

Add ice to the carrots etc. to cool mixture down.
When carrots, radishes, and jalapenos are cold drain the liquid out.
Discard the bay leaves and star anise.

Serve cold and enjoy.

2. The Save for Later Version:

Toss together the carrots, radishes and jalapenos and fit into a large glass container (with a lid)

In a large sauce pan, combine the vinegar, water, salt, oregano, bay, and star anise. Bring to a simmer for two minutes.

Carefully pour the vinegar mixture over the carrot mixture until it covers all the vegetables, and allow to cool on the counter top. (Leftover liquid should be discarded) When cool, cap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

Serve cold and Enjoy!
Can be kept for up to three months.

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