Tag Archives: beets

Making Sunday Soupier

Because I work in a place with a garden, I sometimes score some lovely produce…..like beets.

Great, big, red, big, really large beets.I know that beets aren’t for everyone, and that means…more beets for me!

Beets will keep for quite a while, especially the big ones, especially in the back of the fridge. Although, being these were very large big beets – I’m talking nothing smaller then a pound, most around 2 – pounds, that is – and several checking in at 3 – they were hard to forget and get lost in the back of the dark cold place. I’ve been pulling out the smaller ones, one by one throughout December, but a nice beet soup was defiantly in my future. I’ve long been intrigued by borscht and other sorts of beety soups, maybe since Moosewood Cookbook, which has a vegetarian borscht, variation of which I’ve made in the past.

moosewoodBUT

new year, new recipes and when Bon Appetit had not only a Get Healthy headline and a recipe for Beet Caraway Soup,

Bon Appetit January 2015 New Years Cleanse and Big Batch cooking

Bon Appetit January 2015
New Year Healthy and Big Batch cooking – of BEETS

I had to think, Why don’t I pick up Bon Appetit more often? and Beets AND Big Batch Cooking, I’m soooo in !

Detroit Red  beet from Burpee Seed catalog

Detroit Red beet from Burpee Seed catalog – these are probably fist sized or slightly larger – maybe 1/2 pound a piece. A three pound beet – bigger – cradle in your arm big.

To get to the  Get Healthy  part of the story (with the menus and the shopping list and the pantry list), you have to go to the Bon Appetit website, which 1) isn’t the magazine and 2) has lots of moving parts and is an exercise in (I accidentally wrote ‘stupidity’ instead of ‘futility’, but stupidity isn’t completely wrong) exasperation , because there are links within links and for heaven’s sake, YOU ARE A MAGAZINE, PUT IT ON PAPER. LAYOUT IS IMPORTANT AND POPUPS ARE THE WORK OF THE DEVIL.

I went back more then once, on different days and I may never go back there again, which is a pity because beneath the flash and dazzle jumpiness, which may pass as edgy, but comes off as far to much caffeine, there a a really good recipe data base. Just not for me.

And the Big Batch stuff serves four. FOUR. That’s right, 4. I may not be good with numbers, but 4 is a batch, no big. For Big it should be 6-8 ; a Crowd should serve 8-12, all of which are smaller numbers then what show in my mother’s church cookbook from 1968.

Now I’m remembering why I don’t pick up BA as often as I used to……because we live in very different worlds.

BUT…. to steam-roast a big batch of beets…first, I made the batch bigger.

BIG BATCH STEAM ROASTED BEETS

4-6  pounds beets

2 Tbl olive oil

1 sprig rosemary or several sprigs fresh thyme or 2 bay leaves

1/4 cup water

  1. If the beets are very large (over 1 #) or uneven sizes, peel and cut to make them the same size.If you have a bunch and they’re pretty uniform, wash and trim the tops and tails and you can peel them after. If you have large ones, peel them now. The red will wash off your hands, I promise.
  2. Put them in a large heavy bottom pot/Dutch oven.
  3. Add the oil and toss all around.
  4. Salt and pepper.
  5. Put in the herbs and the water.
  6. Cover tightly.
  7. At this point you can put it in a 425° oven OR
  8. Put it on the stove top on high.
  9. Stir every now and again.You want the roasty/searing thing, not burning – adjust accordingly.
  10. Beets are done when a knife pierces easily – 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the beets and their age (and whether or not it was a dry or wet season when they were growing).
  11. Cool. They’ll keep at least 3 days in a covered container in the fridge. They can be used as is in salads, or in smoothies or soups.

adapted from Bon Appetit January 2015

Now for the soup.

BEET  SOUP with caraway

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoon caraway seeds

1 medium onion

1 leek

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 # cooked beets

2 cups buttermilk, more for serving

cracked pepper (for serving)

  1. Chop the onion and slice the leek.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add caraway seeds and cook, stirring, until they start to pop and dance around in the pan, about 1 minute.
  4. Add onion, leek, and a little water to keep seeds from burning; season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, 5–7 minutes.
  6. Add beets and 4 cups water to pan.
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, 15–20 minutes.everything should be pretty soft.
  8. Let mixture cool slightly, then purée in a blender in 2 batches, adding 1 cup buttermilk to each batch. Gently heat soup, adding water to adjust consistency if needed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
  9. Serve drizzled with buttermilk  and more cracked pepper.

adapted from Bon Appetit Jan 2015

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Kitchen Garden

This is the time of year that my thoughts turn to

GARDENS

There’s nothing like the days growing shorter to make me want to be out in the sun. Or at least in a sunny window. And so it is in November that I really want to garden. Maybe I’m just living in the wrong hemisphere, or maybe it’s just my contrary nature, or maybe I just need some dirt not covered by snow and ice.

This year, I will really and truly try to garden indoors. Again.

But I don’t have the best track record.

  1. I tend to feel sorry for the poor pitiful specimens in the grocery store, most of which were a deep breath from dust before they got off the truck, and so I bring them home….at least with herbs they can be used dried…..and thus I continue my long tradition of The Dead Plant Society collection.
  2. OR I forget that since I live in a well shaded yard, and that even when the leaves drop from the trees, it’s still dark by photosynthesis standards.
  3. OR that the brightest windows are often the draftiest windows and plants don’t like to grow in Arctic breezes, it’s not just the snow that gets them down.
  4. OR that the first killing frost or the first snow are past the point to dig something up from outside and bring it in. And definitely the too-late mark for looking for a shovel or a pot or a bag of potting soil….
  5. OR I try to start seeds without supplemental grow lights and the shortest days of the year are not long enough for any good germination.
  6. AND I forget that artificial heat, even at the low levels I keep it at, dry out the pots Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah quick
  7. And then Michael Tortorello has a great story on Kitchen Gardens  in the New York Times. I am inspired all over again. I have sorrel and thyme already in, and I have vowed not to buy anything in the grocery store, but rather wait for the Plymouth Farmers Market and buy only actual plants and not dried herbs that still have soil attached…And I have not 1, but 2 pieces of ginger root that have sprouted…Shades of The After-Dinner Gardening Book!After Dinner Gardening Book

    Ginger rooting - root, root root for ginger!

    Ginger rooting – root, root root for ginger!

 

 

Have a wonderful day!

 

 

 

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Red Potato Salad

More of a pinkish mauveish reddish….pnkyredthat’s what happens when you mix red beet root ….

with just about anything.

In the Victory Garden Cookbook it’s called Russian Beet and Potato Salad. Not red potatoes, not this time.
I thought I could play up Spud/ Sputnik angle by calling it Spudnik, but then I thought it might go unnoticed…..or worse, you’d think that I could NOT spell, and  didn’t even know how to use Spellcheck.
Sheryl Julian who was with the Phoenix back in the day, now with the Globe – I have a whole lot of her Sunday Globe columns in my clippings file. Here’s a story with her Apron obsession, which doesn’t sound so obsessive to me…..

The New York Times also had an Apron photo essay/story recently….

But the season is good for beets and potatoes, and this salad is almost a stand alone meal, if you add a hard boiled egg – a cold one for a hot day and a hot one for a cool night. For now is that part of September that is still Summer, but encroaching Autumn.

Autumn Leaves - John Everett Millias 1856

Autumn Leaves – John Everett Millias 1856

Red Beet and Potato Salad

2 medium potatoes

¼ c chopped parsley

1/3 c chopped scallions (or chives or Vidalia’s)

1 cucumber

1 dill or half sour pickle (or 2, 2 pickles)

Salt and pepper

4-5 medium beets

Mayonnaise

Horseradish mustard

  1. Cook potatoes until just tender, peel as soon as they can be handled and cut them into ½ inch pieces.
  2. Peel cucumber, cut in half and remove seeds with a spoon. Cut into ½ pieces.
  3. Cut pickle in to ½ dice and add with spuds and cukes.
  4. Add parsley and scallions and mix gently.
  5. Cook beets, slip off their skins and cut to ½ pieces.
  6. Just before serving add beets and season to taste.
  7. Dress the whole thing with a mixture of mayo and horseradish mustard.
  8. The longer the beets sit with everything the more magenta the whole thing gets. Sprinkle with vinegar of it’s too flat. Salt and pepper everything, too.

Victory Garden Cookbook p. 25.

Victory Garden Cookbook - Marian Morash

Victory Garden Cookbook – Marian Morash

Fractals, chlorophyll and solstice - what's not to love about September?

Fractals, chlorophyll and solstice – what’s not to love about September?

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Beet it!

It’s a great time of year for beets, and by beets I mean red beetroot.

Central Italian School, 17th century

Central Italian School, 17th century. On closer inspection these ‘beets’ look more like turnips, but the little pan with the eggs….and that great big beautiful ham…and the cabbage, Oh, the cabbage..and the lovely little smoked mozzarella.

‘Turnip the Beet’ would be a great name for a rock band…..seems it’s not my most original thought today

 

 

Mint_2014-06-01_00-53

Mint – great time to pot some up to take indoors for the winter

But it’s also a great time for mint….actually it’s a great time for gardens in general. Warm days, cool nights, everything ready for the Harvest Moon on the 10th.harvest moon

Back to mint – so you have a few handfuls of mint, either because it’s chosen to grow everywhere you didn’t plant it or it’s doing just fine where you did plant it (you put it in a pot, didn’t you?) or they had really big bunches at the Farmer’s Market and they were practically giving it away? In any case, dry some for the winter (wash, shake, hang upside down out of direct sunlight but where there is good air circulation and when it’s dry, take it down and put it in a jar, either still on the stem or take the leaves off and use it all winter, because when the snow melts and the weather warms up, there will be more fresh.

Or you can make some mint vinegar.

Yes, you can.

Yes, YOU can.

Easy Peasey.

Mint Vinegar

1 pint wine vinegar, heated (save the bottle for the finished product)

1 pint clean fresh mint leaves

2 cloves

1 clove garlic, peeled

Crush the leaves slightly in your hands. Add clove and garlic and pour over the heated vinegar. Cover and let stand.

After 24 hours, remove the garlic clove.

Let stand 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks, strain and press though a cloth through a cloth. Discard the plant material. Bottle the vinegar and cover tightly. I use the same bottle the vinegar came in, and add a big MINT label to it. You can use other herbs the same way. Tarragon, for instance.

Irma Goodrich Mazza. Herbs in the Kitchen. Third edition, revised. Little Brown and Company.1939, 1947, 1975.

Herbs in the KitchenEven easier? Wash and dry the mint (say a cup, pack it in, it needs to be a little crushed, leaves no stems)  Put it in the bottom of a large clean jar. Top with vinegar, up to a quart. LABEL and set in the sun. After 2 week, if it smells good enough, strain through a coffee filter lined strainer and re bottle to use.

Minty Fresh Beet Salad

8 medium sized beets (2 inches diameter)
2 tablespoon raspberry vinegar (or any other fruit vinegar or apple cider vinegar or mint vinegar)
3 tablespoons oil, whatever you like on your salads
3 small very well mushed and minced garlic cloves (I love my garlic press)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ (packed) cup fresh coarsely chopped mint leaves
Optionals – this is the and/or list to make the salad:
½ cup crumbled feta cheese or ½ cup crumbled blue cheese or ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese….you see the pattern
½ cup or more plain Greek yoghurt
Leafy greens – lettuce, spinach, any sort of salad mix…..
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
2 cups cold cooked white beans (more or less)
2 cups cold cooked macaroni (more or less)
1. Cook the beets. (If it’s not fresh beet season and you have a can, drain and rinse and proceed). Boil them or bake them until tender. Rub the skins off in cold running water.

2. Dry your now tender naked beets with a paper towel. Slice them in half the long way and cut them into very thin half moons. Put them in a bowl or a jar with a cover.
3. Mix together the dressing: the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and mint. Pour over the beets and mix well.
4. Cover and let marinate for at least 12 hours. This will keep for up to a week….I usually manage 3 or 4 days…..
5. Salad time options:
a. Add cheese and serve.
b. Add Greek yoghurt and serve.
c. Serve over leafy greens, with or without dairy.
d. Top with quartered hard boiled eggs, with or without leafy greens
e. Add cooked white beans while marinating and serve with or without dairy, topped or not with hard boiled eggs over leafy greens or not…..
f. Mix with cold macaroni and Greek yoghurt over leafy greens and if there’s anything left, beat a couple of eggs, stir it all together and have a frittata, topped with whatever cheese you have on hand…
g. And pears – this goes really well with pears, especially pears and blue cheese….
Adapted and inspired from ‘Marinated Beets with Mint’ if Mollie Katan, Still Life with Menu 1988 Ten Speed Press. p. 57.

Still life with Menu

 

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Making a hash of it

RED FLANNEL HASH with DROPPED EGGS

It’s the addition of beets that makes this red flannel – If you think beets taste more like dirt then ‘earthy’   leave them out and you’ll have basic/regular/plain old fashioned hash.

It's the red of the beets that makes it red flannel hash - without them it's merely hash... as if hash were mere,

It’s the red of the beets that makes it red flannel hash – without them it’s merely hash… as if hash were mere,

Hash means to chop (think: hatchet) and you can do this with a knife or in small batches in a food processor – leave bits, don’t make it into a mousse –  but we used the hand crank food grinder at its coarsest setting.  You want range of sizes in the various bits to create texture and interest.

Manual Home Meat Grinder - some things never change

Manual Home Meat Grinder – some things never change

If you use a non-stick pan, you won’t get a crusty bottom. This is a case where you want a crusty bottom.

 

1 pound cold cooked corned beef cut into small pieces

1 pound cold boiled potatoes, rough chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

Butter (or bacon grease if you’ve got it)

4 eggs

2 cooked beets, peeled and diced. (Open a can of beets, drain and take out 2 to use here; put the rest of the beets in a bowl, slice them. Add a spoonful of sugar and cover with cider vinegar. Serve these quick pickled beets with the hash.)

  1. Mix the meat with the roots.

  2. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Melt the fat in the pan, and when it is foaming, add the hash.

  4. Spread evenly across the pan.

  5. Cook on low heat, pressing down with a spoon or spatula for about 10 minutes. A crust should be beginning to form.

  6. Use the spoon to make 4 indentation in the hash.

  7. Break an egg into each indention.

  8. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  9. Cover the pan and cook another 5-10 minutes, depending on how runny you like your eggs. (I like mine essentially hard boiled without the shell, but with hash, runny works, too.)

  10. On a good day, you can slip the whole thing from the pan, cut into four wedges….or you can scoop about with a serving spoon, making sure to get some of the crusty bit that are holding the whole thing to the pan at exactly the moment you want it on your plate and do the same, looking  more rustic/less Martha Stewart

mk_hash_banner

If you’re craving hash, but used all your corned beef for sandwiches, there’s always the can.

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