Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rick's Picks - Smokra & Phat Beets

You may have seen Rick's Picks gourmet, pickled delicacies in your grocery store and wondered if they were really worth $10 - $12 per jar. Well, I can't answer that question for you, but what I can tell you is that their products are incredibly unique and delicious. These aren't just any pickled products -- they are pickled products with a twist!  

Rick's Picks founder, Rick Field, grew up making traditional pickles with his family in Vermont. After a career in television production, he decided to turn his passion for pickling into a business. Rick's Picks now offers 14 varieties of shelf-stable pickles that are hand-packed and all-natural.  They are made with seasonal produce sourced from local farmers in New York.

Two examples of some of their most unique products are the Smokra and Phat Beets. The Smokra is just what you might think it is -- smokey okra. But, it is so much more complex than just that.  The okra are pickled with cider vinegar, garlic, smoked paprika, curry powder, mustard seed, chili flakes, dried chili peppers, and cayenne pepper creating a complex smokey okra like you've never tasted before. I loved these so much that I ate them right out of the jar!

The other product I tried are the Phat Beets. Oh my goodness, are these good?! Words can't describe just how good these are. The suggestion on the bottle stated to pair it with goat cheese so I paired it with the closest vegan version of goat cheese that I could find -- Rau Om's Tofu Misozuke.

Crostini with Kombu Tofu Misozuke and Phat Beets

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Cut French bread into 1-inch slices. Brush both sides with olive oil and place in a baking dish. Bake until slightly browned and crunchy -- about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spread some tofu misozuke on top. Then, top with phat beets.

These aromatic beets are delicious and are the perfect complement to the crostini with tofu misozuke. These are not your everyday beets-- they are spiced with ginger, rosemary, allspice, cinnamon sticks, and cloves.  So you get all of those great flavors first followed by the creaminess of the kombu-flavored tofu spread and then the crunchiness of the crostini. This appetizer is guaranteed to be a real crowd pleaser!

Rick's Picks products can be found on Amazon and in stores across the country. Just sure to read the labels of each product as there is currently one flavor that is not vegan, which are the Hotties spicy pickles. As far as I know, the rest are vegan, but I would advise you to read the labels before buying. And if you do decide to splurge on any of Rick's Picks products, I'm pretty certain you won't regret it.

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