Getting into a pickle: Canning beans and beets at La Cocina


I'm a sucker for pickled things, probably because I grew up in a house where my dad always had a pot of kimchee fermenting on the counter or a bottle of homemade pineapple vinegar, getting perfectly bubbly on top of the fridge. Preserving food also feels very nostalgic for the times when our great-grandparents would can the summer's bounty so we could eat peaches and tomatoes through the winter. So you can imagine how excited I was to take my dad with me to La Cocina for a pickling party with Emiliana Puyane of Jarred SF Brine, to brush up on our fermentation implementation.

There were three pickles on the to-do list for the evening: garlic-and-dill pickled green beans, oven-roasted golden beets and shallots, and the one that I was most excited to try (and still am -- we have to wait a week or more before we can pop the lids), cinnamon-and-thyme pickled peaches. Emiliana led us through the process, from the sanitation of the jars to making a perfectly-balanced brine. There was a lot of peeling, chopping, and de-stemming to be done. Everyone helped, including my dad, who helped blanch peaches over a steaming pot.

After two hours we jarred our creations and indulged in the most delicious Nepalese dinner, prepared by Bini's Kitchen. Crazy-good rice, wonderful eggplant, everything made with spices that Bini herself mixes, a homemade touch which yielded bright and fresh flavor in her dishes.

I'd also just like to say how much I love La Cocina. I've been to a couple of their cooking classes and they are such great events, bringing together a lovely group of people for a night of cooking. La Cocina's director Caleb Zigas always gives the warmest welcome. As an entrepreneur myself, I know how much work goes into starting a business, and I think it's wonderful that La Cocina gives blossoming chefs the tools, space and skills they need to get their business up and running. If you want to try some of these amazing eats, don't miss the SF Street Food Festival, which starts August 18.