Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Heeeeere...horsey, horsey, horsey....

You should see the door of my fridge. Really, you should. It is packed so full of tubes, bottles, and jars that it is testing the limits of the guardrails around each compartment. I have it crammed with pickles, olives, relishes, salsas, sauces, and every other condiment available, to the point where I am honestly shocked that my husband hasn’t commented on it yet.

And yet, apparently I still feel the need to add to my condiment collection.

On my last foodie escapade with Ginny, we made two different condiments, both equally wonderful and distinctly different from the other. Also, both completely unlike anything else currently residing in the door of my fridge.

Which may have been my justification.

The first selection came from a recent post by Girlichef, which intrigued both of us. Ginny ran across some lovely pineapples and so the idea was born. Spicy Pineapple Vinegar. I’ll let you hop on over to Girlichef’s site for the whole recipe, but the basic process is that you cook down the rinds of two pineapples (yes, the rinds, leaving the lovely flesh for you to scarf down in any number of other possible ways), then pouring the finished liquid into jars over fresh oregano, peeled garlic, onion and hot chiles. 
We also decided to stick a log of fresh pineapple into each jar at the end.

What a wonderful combination of flavors this was! I was really looking forward to tossing some of it into a salad, or over some nice white beans, or even marinating shrimp in it for the grill....

And then..... I left it at Ginny’s house.

Yep, we talked about it as we were packing up my cooler the day I left, but apparently it never made it into my hands. SO sad....truly. Because it made such a large quantity that I probably won’t make another batch for myself. Hopefully Ginny will bring me a jar the next time she comes to visit. And, I bet she will, because I doubt she really needs four quart-size jars of this taking up space in her fridge....

Next up on the condiment parade was Horseradish. Yep, horseradish!! I love the heat of it with a piece of prime rib, or on a roast beef sandwich, or well, any number of other ways. And, as a bonus, Ginny has a friend who had fresh horseradish growing in her garden.
The root.
And so we got to work. The hardest part of this is the peeling. The horseradish root is a wicked looking thing, not any particular shape or size, so it does require some work to get all the peel off. The good news is that you really don’t get any of the heat of it at this stage.
This is what horseradish looks like AFTER peeling.
That comes later. Trust me.

Then, once all your pieces are peeled, enlist the help of your food processor to shred the sucker up nice and fine. All it takes is a little bit of white vinegar to keep it smoothed out, adding a little bit at a time until the root is sufficiently shredded, then a little more at the end to make it look creamy. WARNING: Do NOT, under any circumstances, hold your face over the open feeder tube of the food processor while doing this. Not, at least, if you value your nosehairs. Or your eyebrows. Seriously.

What you can also add is a little bit of sugar. If you like it HOT. Which we DO. But we didn’t know until after the fact that the sugar brings out the heat. Ooops.
At this point, you should DEFINITELY not try to smell the hourseradish. Nope, nuh-uh. Just don’t do it. You may even want to wear goggles.

Remember chemistry class, when you learned that you should never smell a substance directly, but rather WAFT the odor toward your nose with your hand, therefore avoiding any direct contact with noxious fumes? Yeah, use that technique here. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it later.

Ginny and I were coughing and gagging our way around the kitchen for a solid ten minutes after making this crucial mistake.
The final product!
 Finally, you just spoon the mixture into jars, topping with a little more vinegar, if you like, and QUICKLY seal those suckers up with lids.

Your new horseradish will keep indefinitely this way. If you have room in the condiment section of your fridge.....


Kim said...

Whew - I bet working with that horseradish was a sure way to clean out your sinuses! I made some habanero salsa the other day and just the fumes coming from the blender were enough to send me into a coughing fit.
The pineapple vinegar and horseradish are fun ideas. Hope you get your hands on some of that pineapple vinegar when Ginny visits.

Writer Lady said...

Your foremothers will be so proud of you. I'm sure they thought nothing of mixing up a batch of interesting vinegar with whatever they had at hand - or maybe not. Maybe they are watching you both with astonishment.

girlichef said...

You know, I bet that would be fabulous tossed with shrimp!!! I am SOOOO trying that...I still have about a jar and a half left! The horsey sauce souns awesome, too. Thanks for the shout-out ;)