This week we have been cooking with three new focus ingredients: horseradish, liquid smoke, and beets. I figure I should let you know how things turned out.
On Monday night we made Portobello Mushroom Burgers which used homemade horseradish sauce. We couldn't find ground horseradish because either the store didn't have it or I couldn't describe the product good enough (they had more than enough prepared horseradish sauce though). So instead we bought fresh horseradish mushed it up using this recipe, and then used this recipe to make the horseradish sauce. The 'burgers' came out fine, at times they tasted like BLTs with mushroom and at times they tasted awesome depending on which bite I took (the stem of the mushroom tasted much better than the head). The horseradish sauce was good, but not amazing, however after a couple of days of rest in the refrigerator I bet the flavors will be a bit more developed. I will have to look for some more uses for horseradish now that I have a tupperware full of it.
Also on Monday night we started work on the liquid smoke recipe Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker since the meat was to cook for 16-20 hours. We made a 2 pound roast instead of the 6 pounds, but besides that we did everything as written. Come Tuesday night the whole house smelt of cooked pig. We did end up having to use some water in the crockpot since our roast was small. Even before dinner I was looking forward to eating the roast and I wasn't let down. It is amazing what pork roast + liquid smoke + salt + cooking for 16 hours can equal, in my case awesome. I think that the liquid smoke did play an important role in filling out the flavor, however I couldn't really pick out the 'smoke' flavor since the roast had caramelized quite a bit on its own during the cooking.
Last night we took the biggest leap of faith and made Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup. Since this was my first cooking experience with beets or any Ukrainian anything I was a bit leery about making a freakin huge pot of it. While getting everything ready the first thing that I noticed was how cool beets are. They produce alot of magenta dye and after peeling look really spiffy. It turns out that beets kind of taste like dirt potatoes, or maybe like turnip. They are kind of a pain to work with since everything turns so pink and I was constantly in fear of staining everything in my kitchen. After everything cooked for an hour or so we gave the pink soup a taste and it turned out to be fairly good. Adding the sour cream to the soup at the end helps alot and I would describe the soup as a tomato-vegetable soup with a definite beet flavor. It is good, and I will probably make it again, however it makes alot and it would be difficult to reduce the scale of the recipe.
So whats for dinner tonight? How about Kalua pork sandwiches with horseradish sauce and borscht soup? You bettcha.