Saturday, March 23, 2013

Red Hazeret - A Horseradish & Red Beets Relish

Biblical stories and heroes and heroines' tales from mythology trigger young kids' healthy imaginations and nightmares alike. Maybe worrisome little kids with an overactive imagination, such as I was. I still am. When I read Russian literature, I felt the heroine's agony and yearnings. When we went over the Egyptians' afflictions every year in class, around Passover, I worried about rain of frogs and locust. My shoulders cringed, sitting still in the small, wooden chair in class, my jaw tense. I kept my mouth tightly shut though I had much to voice. I wriggled as a contortionist to shimmy away the itchiness at the thought of lice. Ten plagues, oh the possibilities of plights to be distraught about, even though I am an Israelite. I was the protagonist in my very own tragic post biblical drama.
Majority of my years growing up I went to a secular school. The teachers were true educators. They gave us, so to speak, the creationism vs. evolution point of views. We always had healthy debates and discussions and the teachers usually didn't, speaking of afflictions, inflict their own beliefs and opinions on us. Sometimes they did, especially in Literature class, but never in Bible Studies hour. Still, the ten plagues, whether by hand of g-d or simply a course of nature, were all too real. The what-ifs were vivid daydreaming and nightmare episodes.
No wonder then, to add insult to injury, I love Hazeret so much. A horseradish relish, typically made on Passover, to remind us of the bitterness and hardship of the Israelites' lives in Egypt. The pleasure I take in relishing this condiment even when all my senses, if only for a few seconds, numb, and I feel like a dragon, or Mount Vesuvius, moments before it erupts and explodes in all his or hers fiery wrath. Simultaneously, the heightened fumigation sensation is so cleansing and rejuvenating. It's spring.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the story of Passover, you can read about it here. When I was seeking out fresh horseradish recipes on Twitter, Facebook and Food Wanderings FB page it was educational. Not only did my Facebook friend Patti gave me her Horseradish with Beets Relish recipe but I also learned through her that Christians of Polish or Eastern European decent make it for Easter. Who would have thought?! I thought it was a super curious tid bit.
I can't believe it was the first year I made a horseradish relish from scratch. Trust me I won't ever go back to buying the ready made jars. It is so poignant and fresh. Beware though, the fumes can be overwhelmingly tear jerking while you prep it. I labored a bit, grating it, but you can process it all in the food processor. I cooked the beets about 20-30 minutes to an al dente consistency. I dislike raw beets. I find that the cooking, or roasting, if that's your method of choice, draws out the sugars in the beets. I saw recipes calling for balsamic or other fancy vinegars. They alter the flavor and take away from the purity of the horseradish, but if you are prepared to take the risk, by all means take a leap. I used plain ole' vinegar.
In all honesty I would probably be happiest just mixing the grated horseradish and beets, nothing more. That explains the 'touch of' in the ingredients list below. If you wish, you can follow Patti's recipe above or the one I saw on Leite's Culinaria's site.

I wish you all who celebrate a Happy and plight-less Passover and Easter, too. Let your imaginations run with happy thoughts! Happy spring to you all!

Horseradish and Red Beets Relish

1 lb horseradish root, peeled and cut up to small pieces
1/2 lb red beets (4 small), peeled
A touch of salt
A touch of sugar
A touch of vinegar
Water

Cover the beets 1-2 inches above the tops with water, bring to a boil and reduce to a low medium bubble, for about 20-30 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and let cool. While beets are cooking process the horseradish in a food processor. Scoop into a large bowl. Half or quarter the beets and add to the food processor. Whiz until a desired consistency is reached. Add to the horseradish. Add sugar, salt and vinegar according to taste.

Process in a food processor to a desired consistency. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or can to prolong shelf life.

Cook's note:
1. I suggest to process the beets and horseradish in the food process separately because of the different consistency. You don't want the beets to be mush while the horseradish is still in chunks if you process together.
2. You can change the proportion of beets:horseradish according to your taste.

Great served with Haroset on a matza.

40 comments :

  1. Thanks for the mention Shulie! Love your post and your photos!

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  2. Wonderful post Shulie, with those memories. It´s amazing how we can recall the feelings of our childhood/youth. Horseradish has just appeared on the market and I will make some myself too. Do you know how long it keeps?

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    1. A week, even longer I would think. You can can the rest or just make a smaller batch. It will go well with anything sweet like jam, chutney or haroset. It plays off each other well. I have a link at the bottom for the haroset. The traditional one is made with nuts but we are allergic.

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  3. A wonderful speciality and gorgeous clicks! This plate is so original.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. How interesting that this shows up for Easter as well, traditional recipes really are cross cultural.

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  5. This brings back memories of every Passover lunch with my maternal grandparents - matzo, margarine, gefilte fish, and red beet horseradish. In fact, I had just that yesterday. Loved your post - interesting factoid about it being an Easter treat in Poland and Eastern Europe, surprising, in fact! I'm looking forward to trying this recipe for it - it looks perfect!

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    1. ahaha Lisa, me too, been having Passover food this week. I will be matzo-ed out before Monday! Hag SaMeach!

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  6. החזרת שלך נראה נהדר. צילומים מרהיבים!!
    אני מאד אוהבת כל עוד זה לא חריף כל כך, לכן אני לא נוגעת בחזרת הלבנה (שהיא חריפה כמו אש)
    אגב - סיכויים טובים שהמרור המקורי הוא בכלל חסה(!), ובשנים האחרונות צפה שוב הבעיה הזאת, אבל כל אחד ממשיך את המסורת שלו. וגם אצלנו המסורת היא חזרת.
    מאחלת לך ולכל המשפחה פסח שמח וכשר!!
    ♥♥

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    1. היי וייני חג שמח. אני חוששת שאפילו עם סלק זה חריף אלא אם כן אני מניחה אם את מוסיפה יותר סוכר. המון תודות ושיהייה חג נהדר.

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  7. Oh yes... this is something E and I would love. The kick from fresh horseradish is so wonderful. Now where's the gefilte fish!?!?! :-)

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    1. Ahahaha didn't you hear west coast Stephanie an I went on a gefilte fish rant! lol

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  8. Isn't it amazing how much better freshly grated horseradish than the already jarred horseradish sauce? I love the sound of this relish! It would never have occurred to me to blend horseradish and beets. And how interesting that you prefer the beets to be actually cooked. (One of my all-time favourite salads is raw beets grated and then "cooked" in cider vinegar with onions and apples.)

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    1. Hi Elizabeth maybe the brining of the raw beets in vinegar will appeal to me. Sort of like seviche. I should give it another try, your salad sounds fantastic!

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    2. I just made some of this grating raw beets. Rats! I can't taste the horseradish at all! And it's not as if my eyes didn't tear like crazy as I was grating it. Not that the salad doesn't taste good. It does!

      I'm going to let it meld a little before steeling myself and grating in some more horseradish.

      And yes, I guess the raw beets in vinegar and salt are sort of like seviche.

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    3. Huh. My proportion was 2horseradish:1beets produced a really strong horseradish flavor. Very distinct. Hmm...what was the proportion you used? Maybe just grate more horseradish into it? Most recipes out there have the reverse proportions 2beets:1horseradish.

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    4. I used one beet (quite large) and about 2 inch x 1 inch piece of horseradish. I made it again the next day and used more horseradish and grated it less finely. Still no heat! It just made it taste quite bitter. Very odd. Now I'm wondering if there's something strange about the horseradish I got. (It's possible that as I get closer to the bulby part of the horseradish, it may get hotter. I'll keep trying. I'm determined to serve some with Easter dinner.)

      ooooh!! I did not notice that you used so much horseradish! Whoa! A pound of horseradish is a LOT! Your eyes must have been killing you when you were grating all that.

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    5. Ahahaha yep I bought a hunk of horseradish and thought I better use it. I do wonder if the horseradish was stale or close to the root? I didn't use the thick part in the photo. Off the bat when I grated it was super fresh with a kick to it. No bitterness. I could have served it as is, just freshly grated. Very odd. I am really puzzled. The recipe isn't complex and has handful ingredients, so no real room to go wrong. Hmmm....

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    6. Last night, along with the beet/horseradish salad, we had grated horseradish that was held together with just the barest hint of mayonnaise. The result: it was sweet!! There was a tiny bit of a kick. (I still haven't reached the bulby part though. I'm lazy and it's so much easier to peel the straight part....)

      The beet/horseradish salad that I had made the night before was also quite sweet and had lost all of the bitterness from the previous night. It was delicious as well. But not even remotely hot. Yup, it turns out that I managed to buy a horseradish root that had zero heat. Or maybe we have eaten too many green chilies and habaneros and no longer know what "hot" means.

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  9. What a fabulous post! From the history laced nostalgia to the robust Horseradish and Beet Relish a post evocative of spring and new beginnings!

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    1. TY Dev. "evocative" I like that! You've got a way with words yourself! :)

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  10. Thank you for sharing...such a wonderful post full of good writing and a flavorful relish. I, too, felt the plagues in all their vividness. I hope you are having a beautiful weekend, my friend!

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    1. TY sweet, Monet. Good to know it was not only me.:)

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  11. I love that plate too! The color of your relish is so striking, a perfect appetizer!

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  12. I think we all have plate envy :) And your relish is stunning! I'm sure I'd have to tone down the horseradish a wee bit for my palate, but it sounds like an incredible combination. Happy Passover, my friend!

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    1. Ahahaha Lizzy "plate envy". lol I really had no clue when I bought it. I sat on it for months. Both dishtowel & plate were on sale and somehow it made sense together. The shoot came together so easily which is not the case all the time. SOmetimes I get so frustrated! :) TY and Happy Easter to you!

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  13. Beets are my new obsession (and horseradish is an old one).. This sounds tasty and I love your stories!

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    1. TY Kelly. Me, the reverse. Beets,old faves. Horseradish, new! :)

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  14. I really love the pictures of your:)

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  15. great post will share on facebook page after all the horseradish facts

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  16. I wish I had your photography skills! It's a talent and it's beautiful!!
    I am going to scroll back up there and continue to stare... and study! :)

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  17. This is one of our favorite treats to make with beets - the flavors are just amazing. Your version looks wonderful!

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  18. The relish is so bright and vibrant! I love how light and airy the photos feel :) Simply beautiful!

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  19. Shulie, I am truly intrigued and fascinated by your horseradish. And kudos to you for making it from scratch. (the photos are beautiful!). I always loved the story of Passover and found the ten plagues rather exciting. On the other hand, whenever we watch the film The Ten Commandments, I find the blood rather creepy. But I always always loved the Seder, the meal and the special foods we ate during Passover. So many people found it a trial to get through the week but I loved it! Happy Passover, Chag Pesach Sameach!

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