Thursday, November 24, 2011

Shades of Yellow

November in Vancouver can be tough.
Before moving out here I had numerous people tell me to watch out for the rainy weather, and do my best to stay positive. I'm a pretty positive person, and have never minded rain all that much, so I didn't think I had anything to worry about. And I didn't! Until I finally (it took a couple years) experienced a real Vancouver bout of rain. Good lord.
Rain isn't as exciting here as it can be in Ontario - there's no thunder or lightning.
Just clouds, and rain, rain, rain. And wind.

November Rain
Grim car garage view chosen to emphasize cruddiness

Weather like this usually keeps me inside. As I get older I seem to be less capable of doing nothing all day, so inside days generally lead to me keeping busy. And most of the time, keeping busy = cooking.

My canning craze from the bountiful days of summer has not slowed much, even if the produce has. So, looking to things in season in fall lead me to one of my favourite veggies - beets!

Golden beets

Specifically these lovely golden beets. I used this Alton Brown recipe as a base (I loved the idea of roasting the beets instead of boiling!). I roasted them with onion, garlic and some sage from my garden (that and thyme are the only things left). I used regular pickling vinegar, but threw extra sage in while bringing it to a boil. I then chopped the beets up, and popped them in jars, to which I had added some mustard seeds, nigella seeds and a few juniper berries.
Et voila!

Golden beets, pickled

Another endeavour of mine has included Meyer lemons. I was introduced to these beauties while working at South China Seas. I got to take the odd, almost-bad one home but usually just made them into lemonade or threw them into some gin (which, don't get me wrong, was delicious).
In the last week or two I have noticed that they've become available at "regular" grocery stores, usually in bulk (a bag of 6 or so). Adam decided to pick some up, and since they don't have the longest shelf life I needed to use them up quickish.
I turned to one of my favourite things in the world - lemon curd.
Oh. My. God.
First of all, it's pretty much the easiest thing in the world to make. Whiz everything up in a food processor and then cook it for less than 10 minutes and you're done. It tastes a million times better than any you would buy. And! With the extra floral sweetness of Meyer lemons? Ridiculous.

Meyer lemons: curd and preserved

The jar on the left was full as of Saturday.
The jar on the right is what I did with the rest of my lemons. Another delicacy I was introduced to through SCS was preserved lemons. They're used primarily in Moroccan cooking and often made from Meyer lemons. I actually have never used or tasted them myself, but now is as good a time as any, right?
As of today they're halfway through their sitting period. They've been blanched, cut up, mixed with salt and covered with their own juice. They sit in this mixture for 5 days, after which I'll top up the jar with some olive oil and pop them in the fridge where they should be good for up to a year.

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