Swap-Box Hero: NSFW Edition

Cover photo partially redacted for your safety.

Because horseradish, often, is Not Safe. Not for work. Not for polite company. And certainly not for expectant, insistent little pups who run counter-side as soon as they hear the clink-scrape of the carrot peeler.*

Who knows whether it was squeamishness or unfamiliarity that put off our CSA members last week. Either way, I’m grateful I found this little fella demurely tucked under a couple bunches of kale in our first-of-the-season swap box.

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I mean, come on.
Horseradish Cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 prepared horseradish (see below)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp (or more) minced chives
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Whisk or whip cream until just shy of the soft-peak stage.

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You want it good and thickened, but not stiff.

Squeeze in the lemon juice, and fold in the sour cream, prepared horseradish, and chives.

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Those little blossoms are a major perk of having a pot of chives growing right outside the door. Yes, eat them.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve alongside beef, pork, or poultry—or as a dip for asparagus, broccoli, carrots, or cauliflower. Keeps for up to two weeks in the fridge, best in an airtight, glass container.

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Having this on a whole-wheat Kaiser roll made it healthy, right?
Prepared Horseradish

My 7-inch root yielded 3/4 cup prepared horseradish. I stowed two 1/4-pint jars in the fridge, and used the third to make the horseradish cream. Recipe scaled from Serious Eats.

  • horseradish root
  • distilled white vinegar
  • kosher salt

Peel the horseradish root and give it a rough chop (1-inch chunks is good).

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No need to wear gloves, but it’s probably a good idea to wash your hands very carefully when you’re done.

Blitz the horseradish in a blender or food processor until it’s finely shredded. Mind your eyes and your lungs, though—keep your face clear when you open the lid.

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I like a chunkier texture, but for a more uniform mash, you might go another 10 seconds beyond this stage.

Tip the mash into a bowl, and, working quickly, add a pinch of salt and just enough vinegar to cover. Why the rush? Once you break horseradish’s cell walls, you release allyl isothiocyanate, the compound that gives the root its trademark kick (same for wasabi and mustard). It doesn’t take much exposure to oxygen, especially with a fine grate, before pleasingly piquant becomes inedibly harsh. Vinegar, blessedly, arrests that process, and—bonus!—acts as a preservative.

Give it a taste. If it’s still too much, splash in a spoonful of water. Resist going too far, though; after a few days curing in its vinegar bath in the fridge, you may find it’s mellowed nicely. And besides, the heat is kinda the point, isn’t it?

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To avoid having a container (and fridge contents) that forever smell like horseradish, use a tight-sealing glass vessel.

This’ll keep for three to four weeks, giving you a ready reservoir of kickass to add to Bloody Marys, cocktail sauce, salad dressing, or hummus.

 

 

*No dogs were harmed in the making of this condiment.

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But since Spooner was just home from the hospital after his second episode (in 2019!) of ingesting something really, really bad for him (see: raisins, ibuprofen), I didn’t give him a chance to see how horseradish peelings compare to his beloved carrots.

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