Tag Archives: beets

Beets: A Variety Pack of Easy and Delicious Techniques

21 Jul

Beets are popping up in CSA boxes, farmer’s markets and gardens (except mine, because I haven’t planted any this year since I wasn’t going to be consistently available to thin and tend them).  I never liked them as a kid, because when I was a kid they only came out of a can and were floppy and disgusting! Today I know better and I love them.

David and Goliath

David and Goliath

They are available year-round and store well, but are really a cool season crop. Grilled, roasted, boiled, or steamed…there are many ways  to skin this veg. We usually keep one around to grate raw onto salads for extra crunch, flavor, and color, paring just enough to grate some off the bulb and then sticking it back in the fridge.

Rinsing the beets

Rinsing the beets

Any vegetable that colorful has to be good for you and beets prove the rule. They contain phytonutrients called betalains which are supposed to be rich in anti-oxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties (for more on the healthful properties of beets, click here) , so eating them is a good thing. And they are very sweet, which is also a good thing, because they stand up to a lot of interesting flavors. THE GREEN ARE EDIBLE AND DELICIOUS so make the most out of your purchase following the instructions below, or try out one of the easy-peasy recipes here.

Beets are available year-round, but are best from June to October and that's when the beet greens are best too!

Beets are available year-round, but are best from June to October and that’s when the beet greens are best too!

For advice from Cornell on growing your own, go here.

BASIC PREP

Trim off the greens about an inch from the actual beet. You can eat them and they should be used within a day or two, taking out larger ribs before cooking. They can be used like most other leafy greens.

The unwashed beet roots will last about three weeks in the fridge. To use, scrub gently and do not remove the root. Do not peel before cooking. You can wrap in foil and roast at 400°F for 1-1.5 hours or simmer in salted boiling water for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. Another option is to steam in a vegetable steamer for 30-45 minutes. the beets are done when a fork goes easily through the center. The skins will come off easily and should be removed while the beets are still warm. Use kitchen gloves or put your hands in plastic bags to handle them, as they will stain*. Flavor affinities include goat cheese, tarragon, herring and ham.

Zesty Orange Beet Salad with Beet Greens

El amor entra por los ojos -- This dish is love at first sight!

El amor entra por los ojos — This dish is love at first sight!

 USE THOSE BEETS GREENS! 

How to select, store and saute these excellent greens that come attached to your beets!

I like to mash mine into bolied yuca or boiled potato with olive oil...and that's just what I did after taking this photo.

I like to mash mine into bolied yuca or boiled potato with olive oil…and that’s just what I did after taking this photo.

Grilled Beets (No Oven Required)

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Walnuts (or feta)

Roasted Beets with Feta and Walnuts

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Golden Beets (sauteed with garlic and parsley)

Golden Beets, sauteed

Golden Beets, sauteed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally! A Summer Alternative to Roasting: Tender and Crunchy Grilled Beets

29 Jul

We are awash in beets in the summer and while roasted beets are fantastic, the recent heat wave has not made me (or anyone else) eager to run the oven at all!

Vinny buying the beets at the Greenport Farmstand...Vinny might make a better blogger than me...he was very insistent that I photograph everything!

Vinny buying the beets at the Greenport Farmstand…Vinny might make a better blogger than me…he was very insistent that I photograph everything!

So, thanks again to the Macchiroles, I learned a new technique for an old favorite. it was great at theirs and then this week my dad gave it a try and they were sublime.

Capturing Vinny's every move

Capturing Vinny’s every move

So, without further ado, here is the recipe (this is a very busy week of kid stuff — all good, but more in-depth posts will not be happening for a while!)

These are simple and delicious...beet sweetness

These are simple and delicious…beet sweetness

That caramelization balances the saltiness!

That caramelization balances the saltiness!

Grilled Beets

As many beets (the root part) as you’ve got

Olive oil

Pepper and salt (or Adobo seasoning)          

Top, tail and peel your beets (Note: Vinny does not peel, his but scrubs them well. It’s up to you!). Slice into ¼ inch rounds. Rub with olive oil until evenly covered and add salt and pepper or Adobo to taste. Alternately, you can marinate them for a while in the olive oil and seasonings while you do other things.

Lay rounds on a hot grill and cook, turning after about four minutes. Check after eight minutes. They won’t get soft like roasted or boiled beets, but they will be tooth-tender. Serve as a side to any summer dish!

You may also like:

Roasted Beets with Feta and Walnuts

Roasted Beets with Feta and Walnuts

El amor entra por los ojos -- This dish is love at first sight!

Roasted beets with orange and beet greens!

Sauteed Golden Beets with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Parsley

18 Jul

If you are a glass-half-full kind of person, our beet harvest was great. If you are a glass-half-empty kind of person, then it pretty much sucked.

What happened was that each beet seed actually contains as many as eight little beet plants waiting to happen. We didn’t really understand that, didn’t thin them enough and ended up with fantastic, lush beet greens, but nothing at all in the root department.

Observe the only three actual beetROOTS we managed to harvest

Tiny, right?

If that doesn’t give you an idea, how about this comparison with our largest beetroot, and a golden beet from Restoration Farm (our CSA).

David and Goliath

But, the three little beetlets were very tasty…me, Pedro and Myrna each got a bite and what we got, we liked.

However, let’s go to the issue of the LARGE Golden Beets. We got a nice bunch from the farm and while I love my other recipes: with beet greens and orange, or with goat cheese, I wanted something new and easy. The beauty of beets is that you can roast them ahead (preferably in the cool of the evening) and make the dish a couple of days later. This was light yet satisfying and quite effortless. Pretty too!

Sauteed Golden Beets with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Parsley (inspired by Vegetables by James Peterson)

2 lbs beets, roasted and peeled*

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs finely chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Slice the beets into rounds, between  ¼ – and ½ -inch thick. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat until loose and fragrant.  Add garlic. When garlic begins to sizzle, slide in the beets and stir gently to cover. Cook for about five minutes, just to heat beets through. Sprinkle the parsley, salt and pepper over, cook for one more minute and serve.

*Beets are easy to roast. Preheat oven to 425°. Wrap unpeeled beets (with about an inch of stem) individually loosely in foil and roast for about an hour, until a fork goes through foil and beet easily. Allow to cool and then peel.

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese

17 Aug

Beets keep for three weeks or so in the fridge (You should always cut the beet greens to an inch before storing and use the beet greens right away), so if you have any in the cool box waiting for inspiration, this is a simple dish that results in big flavor and gorgeous visuals.

I think you will especially like the vinaigrette (and you can reserve some to use on salads later in the week; it really perks up a simple, seasonal fresh from the garden tomato and cucumber salad like the one I had today with a bit of feta).

This became an instant top ten for my mom; we are all big salad eaters around here (except for my son, but nevermind; we’re working on it) but even those most dedicated herbivore needs a wake up for the taste buds. Beets and goat cheese have become a classic flavor combination with good reason, so don’t wait ’till you see it on a menu. DIY!

Thanks to Adriana for inspiring this recipe in a comment on an earlier beet recipe (beets and greens with orange). https://hotcheapeasy.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/roasted-beet-salad-with-orange-and-beet-greens/.

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

5-6 medium beets, tops trimmed to one inch, roots intact, washed and dried

3-4 Cups baby salad greens (spinach goes very well with this, as does arugula), washed and dried (if using large leaves, tear into bite-size pieces)

2 oz crumbly goat cheese

¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced (optional)

Handful of walnuts/cranberries (optional)

Vinaigrette

¼ Cup sherry or other mild vinegar (scant; reduce if using full-strength white or wine vinegar)

1 generous tsp prepared mustard (Dijon preferred)

¼ tsp agave nectar (or honey)

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets loosely in foil and roast about 40 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from foil and cool. When you can handle them easily, peel with your hands. You may want to use gloves or put your hands in a plastic bag to peel, as the beets stain fingers pink. Cut into small bite-size chunks.

Lay a bed of salad greens on a plate, top with beet chunks, and optional red onion, walnuts and cranberries. Dot with goat cheese.

Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle over salad just before serving (You may want to pour dressing after the goat cheese to keep it from getting colored. You may also want to drizzle less rather than more to really enjoy the exciting flavors of the salad ingredients).

Roasted Beet Salad with Orange and Beet Greens

16 Jul

We’ve been away on a camping trip for a week, but starting back up with a bang….BEETS!

Wacked-out color, floppy texture, weird vegetable discs out of a can. Ick.

That about sums up what I knew about beets as a kid. Later I got into the occasional fresh carrot, beet and apple frappés at farmer’s markets in Puerto Rico, but that was more a Saturday morning hangover-helper type thing as I was shopping for vegetables than a real affection for beets themselves.

It wasn’t until many years later that I had a food revelation at Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village. I was doing a story on Chef Dan Barber for Le Connoisseur, a Puerto Rico food and wine magazine. He is a locavore chef in the tradition of Alice Waters and even owns his own farm. His other Blue Hill is located at Stone Barns, the Rockefeller organic farm center right by Sleepy Hollow, north of New York City http://www.bluehillnyc.com/.

So the chef trotted out a number of tiny dishes, including a single square of beet on a skewer. It looked like a precious jewel and the flavor was giant: intense, concentrated, sweet. I was hooked in a single morsel.

However, it wasn’t until getting involved in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that I actually had to figure out how to prepare them myself. Like, do you actually cook them? How? Do you peel them first? What about the greens?

Here are some short answers, followed by a showstopping roasted beet recipe.

Trim off the greens about an inch from the actual beet. You can eat them and they should be used within a day or two, taking out larger ribs before cooking. They can be used like most other leafy greens.

The unwashed beet roots will last about three weeks in the fridge. To use, scrub gently and do not remove the root. Do not peel before cooking. You can wrap in foil and roast at 400°F for 1-1.5 hours or simmer in salted boiling water for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. Another option is to steam in a vegetable steamer for 30-45 minutes. the beets are done when a fork goes easily through the center. The skins will come off easily and should be removed while the beets are still warm. Use kitchen gloves or put your hands in plastic bags to handle them, as they will stain*. Flavor affinities include goat cheese, tarragon, herring and ham.

I have toyed around with this next recipe for several years now, and I think I have finally hit just the right balance of sweet and sharp. It also takes advantage of the beet greens. It is a gorgeous looking salad and the taste is, well, revelatory.

El amor entra por los ojos -- This dish is love at first sight!

Roasted Beet Salad with Orange and Beet Greens

6 medium beets with beet greens attached

1 large navel orange, peeled, separated into segments, pith and white removed

2 shallots, peeled and chopped fine

¼ -1/3 Cup red wine vinegar

¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tsp grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim greens from beets. Cut off and discard stems. Coarsely chop leaves and reserve.

Wrap each beet loosely in foil. Place on oven rack and roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool, then peel beets (use gloves or small sandwich bags to protect fingers from stains. Cut into eight wedges and place in medium bowl.

Bowl four cups of water, then add beet greens and cook until tender, just 2-3 minutes. Drain, cool and squeeze out as much water as possible. Add greens to beet bowl. Add orange segments (you may break them up) and shallots to bowl. Whisk vinegar, oil, garlic and orange peel in a small bowl to blend well and add to beet mixture. Stir to coat, season with salt and vinegar and allow to stand for at least an hour at room temperature before serving.

*You may notice that beets add color to your subsequent bathroom visits. Do not be alarmed! And kids find it very amusing.

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