Love, love, love beets. There are different varieties, but I think it’s safe to say that the majority of us find the red most often. Getting the golden, pink, rainbow, or any other kind of beets, for me, requires a special trip to a farmers’ market or specialty store.
Well, this past week, I lucked out. The farmers’ market that sets up shop outside of my workplace once a week had golden beets, which is not always the case.
Anyway, in my opinion, the best thing to do with beets is make a salad with them. It’s the easiest thing in the world and so flavorful. And when you mix beets, it’s beautiful, too.
But if you can only find the red beets, it’s just as delicious. I like to roast beets, but in the summer, turning on the oven is not fun, so I boil them. (If you have a grill you can use, then that’s even better!). There’s nothing wrong with boiling, just don’t overcook them and use only just enough water to cover them in the pot. Enjoy!
Red and Gold Beet Salad
1½ pounds red and yellow beets ½ small red onion, thinly sliced 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar ½ teaspoon sea salt Freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash and trim the beets of excess roots or threads. Place in a medium-large pot and fill with enough water to cover the beets. Bring to a boil; lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the beets are cooked. You should be able to stick the tip of a knife easily all the way through.
Remove beets from the water and let them cool. Peel off the skin and trim off unappealing parts (such as near the roots). Cut them into quarters or bite-sized pieces. Place in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir gently. Serve.
I was just commenting to someone that I sometimes feel that I cook more in summer than in winter. That seems counter-intuitive, but there’s a reason for this. With summer comes all the beautiful vegetables that you can’t get in winter (or they’re not as good in winter), and I definitely want to take full advantage.
One of those things is garlic scapes, which are available for a short while in early summer.
At the farmers’ market this week I found garlic scapes, as well as beets with beautiful lush leaves. Usually I cook beet greens with garlic, so I thought that garlic scapes would work well too. And they do.Continue reading →
Once again, I was lured by the Siren’s song of the farmers’ market. I picked up some lettuce, some carrots, some cipolline onions. But what caught my eye this week was the box of baby beets. Gigantic red globes can be found anywhere, but baby beets are not quite as easily found. At least not for me. So I pounced on them.
When I was doing my internship at the James Beard House, I worked with different chefs each week. One week, I worked with the crew from Blackberry Farm in North Carolina. They did a plate of roasted baby beets that were like sparkling jewels. And the memory of those little gems is what inspired me to make this recipe.
This recipe is another example of just how good leftovers can be. You can transform the things you have in your refrigerator and pantry, the little bits and pieces that remained behind, into something new and interesting.
I had purchased beets from the farmers’ market and wanted to do something different with the leaves than the usual saute with olive oil and garlic. As much as I like that particular dish, I think I’ve O.D.d on it. So I started thinking about other ways of using them.
I also happened to have leftover roasted eggplant slices and some millet in the pantry. After some thought I came up with this recipe: beet green rolls stuffed with millet and eggplant. Millet is the perfect grain for stuffing because it’s sticky and you won’t have little individual grains skittering across your plate. It will hold everything together. It’s also gluten free, so those of you with (or who have loved ones with) Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, this is a great recipe for you. Further, beet greens are loaded with iron, vitamin C, beta carotene, and antioxidants.
Since I will assume that you don’t just happen to have roasted eggplant slices already in the fridge, or perhaps not even millet in your pantry (even if you do, I doubt you’d have both at the same time), I’ve written this recipe so that you can start from scratch. Btu it’s a very easy recipe—you can even make the eggplant a few days in advance so that you can just jump right into this recipe.
This is the perfect autumn/winter dish—hearty, delicious, and great to bring to gatherings. You can serve it as an appetizer, a main course, or side dish. Enjoy!
Beet Green Rolls Stuffed with Millet and Eggplant
½ cup olive oil, plus extra 1 medium Italian eggplant ¾ cup millet Greens from 1 bunch beets 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. If you’re using foil, grease it with some of the olive oil.
Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick slices lengthwise and lay them on the baking sheet (use more than one baking sheet if you have to). Set aside 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and use the rest to brush both sides of the eggplant slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, turning over once, until browned on both sides, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Chop up the eggplant finely and measure out 2 cups. Reserve the rest for another recipe.Meanwhile, place the millet in a small saucepan with 1½ cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 10 minutes.If the water hasn’t been all absorbed, drain the millet in a mesh strainer. If it needs to cook some more, you can add a little more water and continue simmering.Transfer the millet to a bowl. Add the eggplant, parmesan, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper; mix well.Place the beet greens in a large bowl of water and wash the greens in several changes of water.
Pick out the largest, nicest leaves (you’ll need about 14) and place them on a kitchen towel to dry.Cut off the stems of the leaves. You may need to cut out a little bit of the ribs a the bottom if you find the leaves difficult to roll. Place 1/4 cup of the filling—less, if the leaf is smaller–at the base of a leaf and roll the leaf up. (It’s okay if the leaf tears a bit or the rib pokes through—you’re not making rolls that people will eat with their hand. These are fork rolls!)
Place it on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining leaves. Pack the rolls close together. Gently brush olive oil over them.Cover tightly with foil. Bake 15 minutes. Transfer them to a serving platter, sprinkle more parmesan over the top, then drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil.Serve hot or at room temperature.
Despite the fact that I have less and less time to cook for myself these days, when I walk past the farmer’s market, I’m seduced by the beautiful vegetables. So, then I find myself with vegetables that I have no time to cook, but must.
This week, I had beets. The beets were firm and bright and the leaves were full and green. I couldn’t help myself. But I had to deal with them quickly. So, I went to my go-to beet recipe: Chickpea and Beet Salad. It’s simple, it’s fast (once the beets are cooked), and it’s satisfying.
The greens? My go-to greens recipe: sautéed in olive oil and garlic.
The reason for my lack of time? Well, apart from my work/commute issue, I have multiple projects happening at the same time. One of those is volume 2 of Vegetarian Italian: Traditions, which is finally under way after a very long delay at my publisher. It’s slated for release in April 2016. With any luck, that will be the case.
I went to the Greenmarket this past week and found golden beets, which is not something I encounter often. So I bought a bunch and finally got around to roasting them. I love beets and so happened to also have some red beets left over as well.
I wondered what I should do with all these beets. Well, as it turns out, today was a pretty hot day and I just didn’t have the energy or desire to do too much food prep.
So I pulled out my mandoline and just sliced these little jewels up. My mandoline is old and cheap and it sucks, so I didn’t really get nice clean edges. But it didn’t matter. Some extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and thinly sliced red onions (which I also got at the Greenmarket), and I had a simple, flavorful, and attractive light summer dish. The herbs from my garden and a few olives topped it off.
Do not discard the leafy greens. Those are amazing sauteed in olive oil and garlic. Trim off the tough stems. Fill a big bowl with cold water and soak the leaves for about 15 minutes (swish them around a couple of times). Lift the leaves out of the bowl and place them in another bowl. Repeat this a couple of times until you feel the leaves are clean. Saute garlic in olive oil, sprinkle in some paprika, then add the greens and some salt. Cover and cook over medium heat until wilted, about 10 minutes. This is both delicious and nutritious—they contain antioxidants, vitamins B6 and A, calcium, and they help fight osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s Disease. The beets themselves have vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, folate, and manganese. They help prevent prevent anemia, build muscle and maintain nerve function, build bone strength, regulate blood sugar levels, and promote a healthy immune system. And its betaine, an amino acid, helps fight against colon and stomach cancers.
Red & Golden Beet Carpaccio
2 large red beets
2 large golden beets
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and trip beets (snip off long roots and cut off stems). Wrap beets up tightly in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierce with the tip of a knife, about 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and unwrap. When cool enough to handle, peel off skin with the help of a paring knife.
Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice beets as thinly as possible. Arrange on a plate, along with the red onion. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Season with salt and pepper.
Add olives, herbs, or any other seasonings you’d like.
Chickpea (garbanzo) and beet salad is not a new thing. In fact, a recipe for it is in my cookbook, Vegetarian Italian: Traditions, Volume 1. But, see, I had this kale that I needed to use, and I had just roasted up these fresh beets that I’d purchased at the Greenmarket.
So, this particular chickpea and beet salad is a mutated version of my old recipe, encompassing the little “extras” in my fridge. It’s really simple and can easily be seasoned to suit anyone’s taste.
2 medium beets
1 cup kale leaves, washed and chopped
½ cup cooked garbanzos
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup cured olives (any kind)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes. (The time will vary, depending on the size and freshness of the beets. You will have to unwrap the foil to check it.)
Remove from oven, unwrap the foil, and let cool. When cook enough to handle, peel the beets with a paring knife (the skin will pull right off). You may want to wear gloves to keep your fingers from turning red. Chop and place in a medium bowl.
Add kale, garbanzos, oil, and balsamic and mix. Season with salt and pepper to your liking and mix again. Gently mix in the olives.