Pickled Beets

I have yet to meet a beet that I like. Beets just aren't my thing. My husband on the other hand, loves them. Recently when we were visiting New York, we got a lox platter with pickled beets and Dan was so into them he took the dish from the waiter's hand when he tried to clear it with one beet left. When my CSA arrived with a GIGANTIC beet in the box two weeks in a row, I was initially annoyed because there was no way in I was turning on the oven long enough to roast beets the size of my head but then realized I could make my husband pickled beets to last a lifetime (or a few weeks given how many he'll eat in one sitting) plus, I'm not super into the beets but I won't say no to having pretty pink pickled onions with which to garnish a salad.

Like most of my recipes, I read a bunch of pickled beet recipes and took the parts I liked from each. Dan thinks these turned out a touch sweet so you could reduce the sugar some, especially if you know your beets are on the sweeter side.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (900 g) Beets (in my case, this was just two VERY LARGE beets)
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 3 tablespoons Pickling Spice*
  • 1 large or 2 small Onions

Directions

  1. Our first step is to get those beets tender! Because mine were so giant, I cut off the tops and then halved them before fulling submerging them and boiling until they could easily be pierced with a fork. For my beets, this took about an hour but if you're using smaller ones I'd check after 30-40 minutes.
  2. While the beets are boiling away, combine sugar, water, cider vinegar, salt, cinnamon stick and pickling spices in a pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat. During this time you can also prep your onions. I just halved and sliced mine. Nothing crazy.
  3. Once the beets are fork tender, drain them and let them cool until they can be easily handled. If you've cooked them enough, you can now rub off the skins pretty easily (I recommend wearing a glove unless you want to look like a murdered for the next few days). How you cut the beets is up to you. I did slices about a quarter inch thick, but you could also do cubes if that's more your style.
  4. Place alternating layers of onions and beets in a 2 liter/half gallon jar and then carefully pour the pickling liquid over the onions and beets.
  5. Let cool to room temperature and then cover and place in the fridge. Let sit at least four days before trying. Enjoy in a salad or just as a simple side on their own.

Optional: I'm keeping mine in the fridge but of course you could properly can these. Sterilize mason jars of your preferred size, stack the onions and beets in each jar and then cover with pickling liquid. Seal and then boil for ten minutes to process. If you're a newbie to canning or just want more information about canning safely, I really recommend the USDA home canning guide.

* If you're looking for pickling spice in Korea, I've seen it at High Street Market and Foreign Food Mart (both in Itaewon) as well as at Emart.

PLANT Itaewon

PLANT vegan cafe Itaewon

Plant is a small vegan cafe and bakery with a menu that changes weekly. I'm obviously not vegan but I am lactose intolerant, really into vegetables and from the Bay Area. I've been meaning to go to Plant since we moved to Korea but it's only since the weather started warming up that I've really gotten into exploring Itaewon's back alleys and actually figured out the location of the cafe.

This past week I decided to stop by after physical therapy (read: I was starving) and ordered an iced chai, kale and mushroom salad and a big slice of pumpkin cake. I didn't really think about it at the time, but this was the first chai I've had since moving to Korea and I'm not sure I've seen it on the menu anywhere else. It was a teensy bit on the sweet side for me, but I happily drank it down and definitely see myself stopping by to get it again in the future.

Kale is a very exciting thing for me. We talk about missing kale all the time in my house. I miss kale chips. I miss kale salad. I miss kale pesto. We very occasionally get kale in our CSA but it's not the cavolo nero of my dreams. Obviously, I had to order the kale and mushroom salad. Sadly, it was more mixed green with some kale than the mountain of kale I was imagining but it was still a delicious and filling salad. The dressing was agave mustard and I'm just not really into the flavor agave gives things, especially when it's not cooked but the dressing complimented the other flavors of the salad well enough for me to enjoy it (but I'd probably have enjoyed it more with another dressing). If I get something from the savory side on my next visit to Plant, I'll probably try something new but that doesn't mean I wouldn't eat this salad again if it made another appearance on the menu.

vegan pumpkin cake from Plant Itaewon

I think the baked goods is where Plant really shines. Everything is vegan and some items are gluten free. I love that there's a wide variety of flavors and that the presentation is simple and beautiful instead of twee. I went with the pumpkin gingersnap cake which was delightfully moist and had a surprise crunchy cookie layer in the middle. The cake was wonderfully spiced and not too sweet. It was actually much more to my taste than the cupcakes at Sugar Daddy and I'm excited to go back and try more things.

I also got some dog treats for Ada. She was initially excited but didn't end up finishing one of them. I think huskies are pretty into animal protein.

Plant is located at 63-15 Itaewon-dong.