Need more recipe ideas?

« Chipotle peppers in adobo (Recipe: spicy skirt steak) {gluten-free} | Main | Black pepper (Recipe: Peggy's barbecued brisket) »

June 20, 2006

Red wine vinegar (Recipe: beet-cucumber relish) {vegan, gluten-free}

Vinegar

Last April, after a cooking class in my kitchen for the 16 women in my friend Laura's book group, I found two large unfinished bottles of wine, one red, one white. I'd read about making wine vinegar by simply exposing wine to air for at least three weeks, so I popped the corks, marked VINEGAR on each bottle, and let them hang out in the kitchen.

It worked!

Red wine vinegar, the go-to vinegar in French cuisine and a popular choice for salad dressings everywhere, is made from matured red wine, so it stands to reason that the better the wine, the better the vinegar. When the ethanol in the wine is allowed to oxidize, or is in contact with a starter (yes, just like sourdough bread), it forms acetic acid (vinegar).

You can buy good red wine vinegars in any market. Cooks Illustrated conducted a tasting of ten brands, and discovered a couple of supermarket vinegars, including Pompeian (above), that passed muster with their two dozen testers. I have both homemade and store-bought in the pantry.

My homemade vinegar started life as a 2004 Beaujolais Villages, but a few weeks into the process, I added another bit of leftover red wine, and then, a few weeks later, a cup of yet another vino. So now my vinegar is a mutt — a mildly acidic, pleasant blend, perfect for my summer panzanella and the chutney we make when our pears ripen in the Fall. I'll decant most of my vinegar into another bottle and cork it to stop the oxidization, but I'll leave a quarter cup in the bottle to act as a starter for the next batch.


Beet-cucumber relish

Wayne Hansen, our local organic farmer, brought two varieties of baby beets to market this weekend. These first-of-the-season beets were the size of chocolate truffles — a harbinger of the beautiful striped Chioggia, Golden Globe, Detroit Dark, and cylindrical beets to come later in the summer. This recipe makes 3 cups of relish, a perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, salmon or flank steak.

Ingredients

4 large or 6 medium beets, scrubbed, peeled, and diced
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
10 scallions, minced
2-1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp minced fresh dill weed
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel or other nonreactive saucepan over low heat. Stirring occasionally, cook uncovered for 45 minutes, or until the beets are easily pierced with a fork. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Relish will keep for 7-10 days, or, while still hot, pack into sterilized jars and process in a boiling-water bath for 20 minutes.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

Comments

Hi Lydia,

Thanks much for the link to my panzanella page! An inane comment, I know, but I didn't see an email address anywhere.

Kyle

Kyle, welcome to The Perfect Pantry! Hope you'll follow my march through the Ninecooks pantry over the next 11 months -- some day my own panzanella recipe will make an appearance.

I'm going to try this.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

Never miss a recipe

Find an ingredient, find a recipe

Shop here

  • Start your Amazon shopping here, and your purchases help support this site. Thank you.


  • Syndicated on BlogHer.com
My Photo

Find me here too

Blog powered by TypePad