Today is a day generally celebrated with roses, hearts, notes of love and generally a lot of SWEETS. People get down on the holiday blaming candy companies and the like for hi-jacking an otherwise beautiful day celebrating love. At least it has been a day celebrating romantic love since the 14th century when dear old Chaucer spontaneously invented almost all of the romantic “traditions” we associate with the day, prior to which it was a day of remembrance for a disputed number of martyred saints from Roman times. Chaucer is also the one to thank that you are reading this in English, having swayed the British monarchy away from French as the official language oh so many centuries ago. But I digress! So today everywhere you look there will be chocolate, candy, heart-shaped cookies, red cupcakes and other clever edible ways to say I love you. As for me, I like it hot.
So instead of another sugar laden recipe, I bring you one more pantry staple. How to make your own Horseradish, which is ludicrously simple and deliciously spicy. All you need is some horseradish root and some elbow grease. That and a willingness to have your sinuses cleared, making this will definitely have you breathing easier than you have in days. Horseradish adds an excellent kick to sandwiches, any mustard or sauce, salad dressings, a homemade kimchi, a juicy prime rib steak and if your lucky enough for a classic aphrodisiac today – raw oysters.
1 or 2 horseradish roots
White Wine Vinegar
Use a damp cloth to wipe any dirt off the roots. Finely grate root with a box grater or microplane (you can also use a food processor, to make this a faster job) into a bowl. You should end up with a nice pile of spicy smelling fluff. With a spoon mix in about two tablespoons of white wine vinegar, a little at a time until it comes together in thick paste. You may not use all the vinegar and you may use more. Crack sea salt over top and stir. Place in a small glass jar, seal and allow to sit out at room temp for a 2-4 hours. Place in fridge and keep for several months.
Alternatively, you can go the fermented route.
from Wild Fermentation
1 or 2 horseradish roots
Follow the steps above, but rather than vinegar and salt add a mixture of honey water. About a teaspoon to 1/8 cup of filtered water, mixed together. Blend honey water with grated horseradish until a thick paste is formed. Place in glass jar, cover with cheesecloth and allow to ferment at room temp for 3- 4 weeks. Seal and place in fridge for several months.
Either recipe will taste like no other horseradish you’ve had before, due to the simple ingredients, lack of state regulated preservatives and the fact you made it yourself!
As for Valentines, I already found the perfect mailbox to send mine out to all the pieces of my heart that live far away. I have always considered it my mission to keep letter writing alive and it seems my current favorite Venice street artist is with me on this today. I didn’t ask anyone to be mine this Valentines, because…well I’m spoken for twice over. This goofy guy was the first to ask.
And how could I resist the handsome devil? I hope your day is filled with clear skies, gentle breezes and love…preferably HOT!