Our website has moved! Redirecting to RecipeStudio.com...
If this does not work, please click here.

Health Nut's Raw Vegetable Relish

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Consuming sinful Parisian pastries on my latest trip drew my mind to healthier things - fresh vegetables, spring herbs, vitamins, the stuff of life. Today's recipe is for an ultra healthy relish of carrots, tomatoes, peppers and rhubarb marinated cold in the juice of one whole lemon and a few other flavors. This spicy, zesty and crunchy concoction is chock full of vitamins that will ward off any lurking cold. The strong flavor is a perfect complement to red meat, beer and cheese.

Ready for a burst of energy?

What you need:
Oops... forgot the tomatoes
Here they are!
2 yellow carrots
1 regular carrot
1 parsnip
1 ramiro pepper
1 stalk rhubarb
6 small dark brown tomatoes (or green tomatoes, or any other tougher kind of tomato)
1 shallot

for the marinade:
1 cup very strong black tea
6 Tbsp apple vinegar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp vodka
3/4 cups soy sauce
1 clove garlic, shredded
1.5 tsp sugar

How to do it:
Combine marinade ingredients in a separate bowl (do not heat the marinade!). Chop all the vegetables (and rhubarb, which is not a vegetable) and douse them with the marinade. Cover with a plate (e.g. see mom's instructions for pickled cucumbers) and let stand for 24 hours, in the fridge or at room temperature.

The art spirit:
There are two interesting points about this relish recipe.

Number one - the ingredients are unusual. Rhubarb is most commonly used in desserts, but its fresh sourness works very well among the vegetables. Ramiro peppers are extremely flavorful and sweet, and I have not seen them in supermarkets when I lived in US. Dark brown tomatoes are also not common. Parsnip has a strong flavor of its own, and yellow carrots just have a nice happy color. If you do not have these ingredients - get inspired at your own grocery store! There are infinite combinations of healthy vegetables to choose from.

Number two is the marinade. For starters, it has a lot more vitamin C than your usual vinegar-based marinade. To make life more interesting, it also has caffeine and a little bit of alcohol. I had some of this for dinner today and I don't know what to do with my energy. I assembled a couch, a table, cleaned up a room and got over a cold that was just about to start from biking in the rain along Lake Zurich this past weekend.

Local color:
Finally, if you are lucky, you may be able to garnish this dish with a few blooms of bear's garlic (also known as ramsons, wild garlic and wood garlic). A co-worker of mine (thank you, Stefan!) mentioned that the mountains around Zurich have a lot of Bärlauch this time of year. After a quick look at wikipedia, I learned that Bärlauch is nothing but the beloved wild garlic (черемша in Russian, pronounced cheremsha) that we deemed forever lost after moving to US from Siberia. Bear's garlic has a distinct taste that I cannot pin down - you will just have to try it yourself! It tastes of woodland, childhood, of long journeys and of healthy hunger.

If Stefan had not told me, I would not know to pick up a few of the white flowers scattered around Zurich. They are everywhere and this is what they look like (also pictured in the first photo):
Wild garlic in May around lake Zurich.

A few more photos from my trip around the lake (well, half way around... as it started to rain pretty hard):

The orderly Swiss love graffiti, paradoxically.

Lake Zurich, overcast and beautiful.