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Archive for the ‘Beets’ Category

PomSalad2

Just a quick, festive salad idea to send you off towards the New Year feeling healthy and pleasantly nourished. May the next few weeks bring you peace, blessings, great food, even better memories – and perhaps a little snow.

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Mixed Greens with Pomegranate, Beet Wisps, and Fresh Herbs

I love this salad right around the holidays as it never fails to fill a bowl full of seasonal colors. People line up to serve themselves because it looks so festive and healthy with the glistening pomegranate seeds and beautiful variety of greens. The raw, shaved  beet wisps are also lovely,  adding a sweet and novel New England crunch to the dish. I’ve shared my favorite recipe for our homemade dressing but also think a pomegranate vinaigrette would be wonderful as well.

For the Salad:

2 ounces baby arugula ( about 2-3 cups)

2 small heads romaine hearts (cut into  bite sized pieces)

1/4 head radicchio (torn into bite sized pieces)

1/2 head red leaf lettuce (spines removed, torn into bite sized pieces)

1/8 lb raw red beet (about 1/4 small beet) shaved into “wisps” using a vegetable peeler

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

a handful of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

For the Vinaigrette:

1/8 cup Xeres vinegar

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1 small shallot, minced

2 Tbs Dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

1/2 tsp kosher salt

a few grinds of freshly ground pepper

1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (depending on your preference)

To make your vinaigrette: In a medium-sized ball jar or bowl, combine the vinegars and shallots. Let this vinegar mixture “sit” for at five minutes (so that the vinegar has a chance to briefly marinate the shallots). Now add the mustard, honey, salt and pepper to the jar and mix well so that it is emulsified. Next pour in the oil (for a sharp dressing with a punch add 1/3 cup olive oil – for a mellower flavor, add up to 1/2 cup oil or even more…you be the judge).

For the Salad: In a big, beautiful bowl arrange your assortment of greens so they look fluffy and colorful. Sprinkle the beet shavings, pomegranate seeds, and parsley decoratively atop the lettuces. When you are ready to serve your salad, dress it with your homemade vinaigrette adding just enough so that the leaves are shiny and look full of flavor.

 

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This post is a “shout out” across the web to Alexandra of the blog Alexandra’s Kitchen to thank her for sharing such a fantastic recipe. I ran across it while searching for guidance on making a tart with the jewel-colored beets I’d just hunted and gathered at the (ongoing, through the winter!) Norwich Farmer’s Market. Who says you can’t get good local produce in Vermont once the weather turns colder?

Anyway, even if you can’t find beets quite as sunset orange or deep pinky red as those from Your Farm in Fairlee, Vermont you shouldn’t be deterred from baking this savory show stopper. Go out and forage for some of your own local beets right now, they’re everywhere. This tart fits right in at an elegant autumnal brunch or on a Thanksgiving table, especially if you’re looking to cook some less meat-centered dishes this holiday season. And it just looks so darn pretty. Amber-flecked hunks of goat cheese and heat-kissed walnuts speak to the somewhat muted season outdoors while the beets add a surprising, colorful sense of cheer to plates inside. A little parsley sprinkled on top makes it very artistic and appetizing.

And don’t forget to make your own crust! It’s my annual plea to those of you who might be tempted to go out and buy something factory made. Please, please consider covering your fingers with a little soft, powdery flour and some cool, squishy butter. It’s really fun and a zillion times tastier than something you’ll find in a store. A little practice at making your own crust and you’ll soon feel like you should be opening your own bakery. And the first thing on the menu would be these tarts.

Beet, Walnut and Goat Cheese Tart

The recipe I’m sharing with you from Alexandra’s Kitchen suggests using buttermilk instead of cream. I tried it and highly recommend it – this is a fantastic alternative as it cuts calories dramatically without affecting flavor. Some of you might stop reading right here thinking, “Oh, I don’t have any buttermilk in the fridge” or “I’m not going to go out and buy  a quart of buttermilk if I only need a cup for a recipe.” But I’m here to tell you that you already have buttermilk on hand! You can make your own in five minutes with ingredients you have in your kitchen by taking one cup of milk (whole milk works best but I have used 2%) and adding either a tablespoon of vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar) or a tablespoon of lemon juice  to it. Voila! After five minutes, you’ll notice the milk has thickened. That means it’s ready to use in your recipe.

So, to recap: 1 cup milk + 1 TBS vinegar or lemon juice + 5 minutes = Buttermilk!

Oh, and the recipe below calls for roasting the beets. I got lazy and just boiled mine until they were soft, peeled of the skin and cut them into bite-sized cubes. The rest of what you read, from here on out, is from Alexandra’s Kitchen.

Beet, Goat Cheese and Walnut Tart (from Alexandra’s Kitchen)

Source: Gordon Hamersley via Cookstr
Note: Below is a simplified version of the recipe. Find the original here.
Serves 4 to 6

1 recipe tart dough, shaped and blind baked
Yield: 12 ounces, enough for one 10-inch tart or 6 individual tarts

1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and well chilled
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Quickly cut the butter into the flour, using a pastry blender or the back of a fork, until the butter pieces are the size of large peas. (Alternatively, cut the butter into the flour by pulsing it 8 to 10 times in a food processor, being careful not to overheat and overmix the butter.)

2. Add the ice water. Using just your fingertips and working quickly, combine the flour mixture and the water. Work just until the water is absorbed. The dough will be ragged but should hold together when you squeeze it. If it seems dry, sprinkle on a few more drops of water. (I had to add a few more tablespoons of water.)

3. Gather the dough up into a ball — it’s fine if the dough does not come together completely at this time. Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap, flatten it a bit, and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least a half hour before rolling. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. You can also freeze the dough, well wrapped; allow it to defrost for a day in the refrigerator before using it.

4. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Roll the dough into a large circle — large enough to overlap whatever sized tart pan you are using. Press the dough into the corners and into the sides of the tart pan. Trim off any excess dough. Line the tart with plastic wrap and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Fold plastic up and over to expose the crust. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove beans from tart.

Meanwhile Prepare the Tart.
Note: This recipe has been slightly modified from the original, which can be found here.

2 to 3 small beets (Note: Since you are roasting beets, you may as well roast a few more. When assembling the tart, I used about 2 heaping cups of diced beets)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry white wine (or Sherry or Madeira — whatever you have on hand.)
1 recipe tart dough (above)
large eggs
¾ cup heavy cream (I used buttermilk)
4 ounces fresh goat cheese (I used less. Add according to taste/preference.)
1 cup chopped walnuts (I used less. Add according to taste/preference.)
1 tablespoon walnut oil (Optional — I did not use.)
About 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat the oven to 450°F. Wash the beets. Place the beets in a small ovenproof pan (like a brownie pan or a pie plate.) Add water to reach 1/8-inch up the sides. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until the beets are tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 45 minutes.

2. Allow the beets to cool. (Or not). Rub the skins off of the beets with your fingers, then dice the beets into small cubes. (Be careful, as beet juice can stain counters, towels, and even your hands; you may want to wear gloves for this step.)

3. Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, season with a little salt, and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the onion is just tender, about 7 minutes. Add the alcohol and cook for another minute, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. (Note: I caramelized my onions a bit more — cooked them slowly for about 25 minutes.)

4. Heat the oven to 350°F. Add the beets and onions to the blind-baked tart shell. (Note: I added the walnuts at this step as well, but Hamersley adds them after the tart has already baked for 20 minutes. Your call.)

5. Whisk together the eggs and cream (or buttermilk), season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and carefully pour over the beets and onion, letting the mixture seep evenly into the beets. Dot the goat cheese all over the top of the tart. Put the tart on a baking sheet and bake it for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top of the tart and drizzle the walnut oil over it, if using. Return the tart to the oven and bake until just set, an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle the tart with the chopped parsley and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Final Notes: If you can roast the beets ahead of time and prepare the tart shell (or make the tart dough) in advance, this tart can be assembled in no time.

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An Autumnal Beet Salad with Feta

An autumnal beet salad sprinkled with feta by lantern light

This past weekend I realized that I’m a a New Englander and it caught me by surprise.

I was standing at the kitchen sink slipping the skins off of boiled beets that had just been picked from my sister-in-law’s garden. It was a special sink, too – the one at our camp in Northeast Kingdom where the water for boiling had trickled in through a hose from the nearby  brook. Dusk was falling so a paraffin lamp lit my workspace,  the loons on the lake were singing a mournful autumnal song,  and the tips of my  fingers were slowly turning a garnety hue from peeling the beets similar in color to a leaf I’d picked up earlier in the day. In celebration of the change of season, I’d stuck it to our propane-powered fridge with a magnet.

It was in this moment at the sink that  I experienced a profound sense of place and of belonging.

This feeling of being a New Englander probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. I was born and raised here and have lived in every one of these six states but Maine.  We’ve been in Vermont now for twelve years. So why the confusion? I think it’s because I spend so of my time “thinking globally” that I sometimes forget what it means to be tuned in with the local. Much of my experience here has been so busy, so transient, so full of moving and  living in new places, driving,  traveling overseas, and, yes, of eating exotic foods from worlds away.

But it was in this quiet moment spent at a sink full of beets from a Vermont garden that I really realized how at home, how much myself,  I feel in this place. Cooking with food grown in nearby soil, the familiar sounds of the lake and the woods filtering in with the early evening light, seasons changing like clockwork as they have since childhood, it all felt so simultaneously right. For a brief, beautiful moment it all just made sense.  I would venture to say that what I experienced is the ultimate expression of the term “terroir.”

I hope if you try this simple beet salad that you experience such a moment of profound terroir. Don’t forget to add the sound of loons and a parrafin lantern for maximum flavor.

My beet-red, autumn leaf

Autumn Beet Salad with Feta

Inspiration for this recipe came from the amazing “Morning Glory Farm” Cookbook. I’ve been working my way through their recipes and am having a delicious time! Their version of this recipe calls for roasting the beets but as I had no working oven, I just boiled them instead and it was still delicious. I think the contrast of the salty feta cheese with the sweetness of the beets really makes this salad special.

5 lbs small beets

1 large red onion

1/4 cup chopped parlsey

8 oz (or more!) feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing

4 oz canola or vegetable oil

5 Tbsp cider vinegar

1/2 tsp Worscestershire Sauce

1 tsp salt

fresh ground pepper

2 Tbsp diced shallots

1/2 tsp sugar

Rinse beets well and trim the ends. Place prepared beets in a pot of water and bring to a boil. They are done when a fork stuck in the largest beet slides in easily.

Peel the soft skins off of the beets. Cut the beets into bite sized wedges and place them in a medium-sized bowl.

Cut the red onion into wedges and slice thinly. Mix in with the beets and chopped parsley.

For the dressing, whisk together all of the ingredients until everything is combined. Pour over the beets and fold to coat. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top and serve at room temperature.

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