Friday, July 12, 2013

Vegan Chili and Vegan Breakfast Scramble (CAMPFIRE FRIENDLY)

 I am once again thrilled and honored to be a guest chef on this kick ass cooking blog. So Colleen, Shannon, and I, and our corresponding partners, decided to go camping last weekend at Tallulah Gorge (yes it rained all weekend if you must know, but we still had a great time)  Since fully half of us are Vegan-or mostly Vegan- I found some hearty recipes online.  These taste incredible, vegan or not, and got a major thumbs up from the non-vegetarians in the group. 
 Cheers!  Cathy
Vegan Chili (good over sweet potatoes or served solo) 
Photo from
Photo from

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Easy Refrigerator Pickled Beets

   Short anecdote to start this recipe (of course, right? you should be used to this by now). The boyfriend really wanted us to grow two rows of beets in the garden. I didn't really want to because I don't like beets but I finally gave in. Fast forward a month or so later and he is eating a chopped up beet and complaining that his throat itches and he might be allergic to beets. Which really frustrates me because what the hell are we going to do with all of these beets if he's the only one who likes them but he somehow has developed an allergy to them? A week later I tell my mother this story and she bursts out laughing once she realizes that the boyfriend was eating the beet from our garden raw. Apparently this is something you don't do with beets. We had no idea.
      So today I picked some beets from the garden and looked up the best easiest and fastest way too cook them and preserve them. I didn't want to get super involved with canning etc so I looked up an easy pickling recipe that can keep in your fridge for 6 months (or so the recipe says). Even better than that I actually really liked it. Which is amazing because like I said I've never liked beets! Being the queen of google I also looked up the best way to cook and peel the beets. You're welcome.

  • Large Mason Jar
  • two handfuls of fresh beets (large or small)
  •  2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of nutmeg
  1. Cut the stems off of beets leaving about 1/4". You can keep the leafy parts for greens or throw them out. 
  2. Wash beets just enough to get the dirt off
  3. Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover the beets by 3 inches
  4. Bring saucepan to boil then add beets. Reduce heat to a slow boil and boil beats for 25-40 minutes depending on the size of beets. Beets will be done when they can easily be poked with a fork. 
  5. When beets are done drain the hot water from saucepan, then fill with cool water while the beets are still in the saucepan. Keeping your hands under the water to avoid a mess, slowly peel the skins off of beets (this will be very easy). Put freshly peeled beets in a separate bowl to avoid mess and discard skins once all beets are peeled. 
    my beet peeling setup. skins on the right, peeled on the left
  6. Slice beets the put in large mason jar. 
  7. Place the sugar, vinegar, water, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Pour liquid over beets in mason jar.
  8. Store in fridge and let sit for at least a week for best flavor.
  9. Additional cooked and sliced beets can be added to the mixture as you harvest more from your garden.

Kale salad with pickled watermelon rind

     There's a restaurant in Atlanta called MetroFresh. It's an amazing delicious and fairly inexpensive place to eat. The menu changes daily and it's always healthy. They also list all the allergens so that if you're on a restrictive diet you can easily pick and choose. If I lived closer I would probably eat here everyday. They have a kale salad there which is SO delicious. It's the perfect combination of earthy kale, tangy vinegar, and sweet fruit. However, for the longest time I could not figure out what the fruit was. There was the very obvious dried cranberries but there was also this pale white fruit with an almost candy-like taste and texture. Finally one day at lunch my curiosity got the best of me and it turns out though delicious little fruits were pickled watermelon rind!
    The other day we had a cookout and bought a giant watermelon. As I was cutting up the leftovers to put in the fridge I kept looking at the rind thinking what a waste. Then I remembered the pickled watermelon rind in the kale salad!! After a quick internet search I realized most pickled watermelon rind requires canning supplies and lots of time, neither of which I had (or really ever will haha). So a few more minutes of searching and I found the following recipe for pickled watermelon rind. It takes about 20 minutes of prep but it has to cool and sit awhile before you get the best flavor. I stored mine in a tupperware in the fridge and it keeps for about 10 days. We ate it with the kale salad and by itself! We went out of town before we could finish it all so I divided it into freezer baggies and froze it, I'll let you know how its texture holds up.

Kale Salad with Pickled Watermelon Rind

  • 1 quart watermelon rind (including ½-inch of red flesh left on the rind), cut into pieces about 1-inch square (about half the rind of a small watermelon and 1/3 the rind of a large)
  • 1 cup vinegar (white vinegar or cider vinegar)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons table sal
  • 1 star anise (I did not have this, no one cried)
  • 1 two-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (did not have this either I added a couple dashes or powdered ginger)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon 
  • Kale (as much as you want for your salad)
  • olive oil
  • dash of balsamic vinegar  
  1. First pickle your watermelon rind following the steps here. I tried using a vegetable peeler to peel my watermelon but it wasn't working very well so I just used a knife.  I also used apple cider vinegar because I did not have white vinegar.  It still tasted great.
  1. After you have your pickled watermelon rind, wash kale and remove the tough stems (I do this  by folding it in half and cutting down the one side with the leaf).
  2. "Massage" the kale with enough olive oil to lightly coat all leaves
  3.  Add a dash of balsamic vinegar, less is more, you can always taste and add more if you want. 
  4. Dice pickled watermelon rind into smaller pieces ( I like it about 1/4" to 1/2" thick) and add to salad. Toss to combine. 
  5. Add any dried fruits or slivered almonds if you would like. I just ate mine with the watermelon rind. 
  6. ENJOY :)