Kick up your cooking with horseradish (recipe)
SAVORY HORSERADISH CHEESECAKE
This is a delicious appetizer or brunch dish to serve with sliced apples or pears, or crunchy vegetables.
1 (9-inch) unbaked, prepared deep dish piecrust or 1 (9-inch) deep dish, unbaked Butter Cracker and Parmesan Crumb Crust (see recipe below)
3 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 cups shredded, sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
1. Heat oven to 325 F.
2. In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a food processor, beat cream cheese, horseradish, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg at medium speed until well-mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Pour into prepared crust. Bake for 45 minutes or until center is almost set but still has a slight jiggle.
3. Cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Bring to room temperature or microwave for 10 to 15 seconds before serving. Makes 12-16 servings.
Butter Cracker and Parmesan Crumb Crust:
2 cups finely crushed butter crackers (such as Ritz, Town House or Club)
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
1. In a large bowl, mix together the crackers, butter and cheese until well-combined. The crumbs should stick together without becoming over-saturated with butter. If crumbs are too oily, add more crushed crackers. If crumbs are too dry and will not stick together, add another tablespoon of melted butter.
2. Gently press moistened crumbs into the pie plate to form a cohesive crust. A measuring cup makes a handy tool to use for this process, as it both tightens the structure of the crumb crust and evens it out, especially around the edges.
Horseradish is widely used in most of the condiments, dips and spreads that we consume. It’s spicy, flavorful and adds a kick to cocktail sauce, cheese, specialty mustards and many other sauces, hummus, relishes and dressings. It’s also a healthy addition to your daily diet because it is low in fat and high in flavor.
Horseradish is a 3,000-year-old plant that has been used as an aphrodisiac, a treatment for rheumatism, a bitter herb for Passover seders and a flavorful accompaniment for meats. Prized for its medicinal and gastronomic qualities, legend has it the Delphic oracle told Apollo, “The radish is worth its weight in lead, the beet its weight in silver, the horseradish its weight in gold.”
In German, horseradish is called “meerrettich” (sea radish) because it grows by the sea. Many believe the English mispronounced the German word “meer” and began calling it “mareradish.” Eventually it became known as horseradish. “Radish” comes from the Latin “radix,” meaning root.
Horseradish is a member of the mustard family. Its “hotness” comes from isothiocyanate, a volatile compound that, when oxidized by air and saliva, generates the “heat” that some people claim clears out their sinuses.
The bite and aroma of the horseradish root are almost absent until it is grated or ground. Isothiocyanates are released as the root cells are crushed. Vinegar stops the reaction and stabilizes the flavor. For milder horseradish, vinegar is added immediately.
In the United States, an estimated 24 million pounds of horseradish roots are ground and processed annually to produce approximately 6 million gallons of prepared horseradish.
Each May, horseradish is celebrated at the International Horseradish Festival in Collinsville, Illinois. Collinsville grows 60 percent of the world’s supply of the root. Events include a root toss, a horseradish-eating contest and a horseradish recipe contest.
To relish the full flavor of processed horseradish, it must be fresh and of high quality. Color varies from white to creamy beige. As processed horseradish ages, it browns and loses potency. For best results, keep horseradish in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator to protect freshness. Remember: To keep it hot, keep it cold. Horseradish tarnishes silver, so serve it in a glass or ceramic bowl, and return the tightly closed jar to the refrigerator immediately.
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