Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Balsamic Molasses Lemonade and Pickled Chard Stems

The other day I took the bean to a toddler yoga class. He had a blast. After the class, the instructor (who is also a great friend, the beautiful Vicki Rose), told me she'd brought me a lovely bag of Meyer lemons, she knew they'd go to good use with me. I was so excited! After many more activities, I completely forgot about them and left them behind. I was so sad. The following day I had my dad and his wife over for lunch. They came bearing another unsolicited full bag of juicy lemons! I was so happy! And these ones actually made it all the way to my house!

On Monday the bean came wandering and asked for lemonade. I was about to respond that we didn't have any, but then I remembered my lovely lemons!

I decided to play with my lemonade and sweeten it with molasses and toss in a bit of vanilla and balsamic vinegar to make it more exciting. It was the ugliest lemonade you've ever seen, but it was sour, delicious and exceptionally refreshing for all this toasty weather we've been having.

I juiced the lemons, which came to about 1 quart of lemon juice. On the stove top I put about 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, about 2 tablespoon of molasses, some vanilla and some water. I heated it a little just to dissolve the molasses and then added that to the lemon juice. I decided I wanted it a bit sweeter but didn't want more molasses, since it's a pretty strong flavor. I added some raw, local honey, maybe another tablespoon? I just squirted it right in so I'm not exactly sure how much. Stirred it all up and it was divine. The bean enjoyed his out of one of my little spice jars I keep for him to drink out of and I poured mine into an icy cold ball pint jar.

Remember that tasty chard and broccoli frittata I made a while back? I saved the gorgeous chard stems and made refrigerator pickles from them. I tossed some spices in an old pickle jar (some yellow and brown mustard seed, whole cumin, green, pink and black peppercorns, a couple cloves of garlic, and some dried dill since I didn't have any fresh). On the stovetop I heated a tablespoon of raw sugar, a tablespoon of unrefined sea salt, 1 cup of water and somewhere between 1.5-1.75 cups of apple cider vinegar. Have I mentioned I really don't measure anything, ever? In the meantime I'd cut my chard stems into pieces that would fit in my jar and stuffed them all in. When the brine was boiling and the salt and sugar was dissolved I poured it directly into my jar, over the stems and put the lid on. I let it sit on the counter till it had cooled and then popped it in the fridge. They came out nice and spicy, but a bit stringy. I think next time I might quickly blanch the fatter pieces. Otherwise they are quite tasty and I'm sure I'll plow through them, stringiness and all!


  1. I love the picture of L doing yoga!

  2. Me too!!! He loved it! Can't wait to go back and do more with him!