This is our first year spending Thanksgiving in Los Angeles. Our dinner guests, Gideon and Carina, are from Germany and it is their first Thanksgiving ever. We met them over the summer while surfing. When Rich asked if they had plans for the holiday, Gideon said, "Zat's when you eat ze chicken, yaa?"
So, I guess there's no pressure or expectations. That's kinda nice, actually. Maybe we'll spend the morning surfing and then cook the bird spatchcock. Don't worry, I'm not serving chicken. I have a 12-pound turkey defrosting in the refrigerator now awaiting its brine bath.
I planned the dinner menu a few weeks ago but realized that the appetizers are generally not something I even think about. Ideally, an appetizer platter provides just enough food to keep your guests from eating their napkins but not so filling that they're not hungry for dinner and not so time consuming that it distracts you from the main meal.
Enter beet pickles.
You can make them a day or two ahead of time, and they are perfect with some Marcona almonds and cured olives and herbed goat cheese. Simple and delicious... okay, and a little addicting.
yields 1/2 pint
1 medium beet, peeled and halved horizontally
2 tablespoons maple syrup
pinch sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- Steam the beet until cooked through but not mushy, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Slice it in 1/4-inch slices horizontally, then slice in matchsticks. Place the beet spears into a small clean mason jar.
- In a separate measuring cup, whisk together the maple syrup, sea salt, and 1/4 cup of the vinegar. Pour this mixture over the beets, adding the remaining vinegar until nearly filled.
- Screw on the lid and invert the jar to ensure the contents are well distributed. Store upright in the refrigerator for up to one week.