Vegetable of the Week: BeetsRead Now
Sliced Chiogga Beets, showing striped interior.
How lucky can one girl be? Having the opportunity to walk out into your garden and pick everything fresh for dinner – for me, it’s a dream come true.! There is absolutely nothing better than produce that you harvest and eat in the same day, most times before it even makes it to the refrigerator.
Tonight we are having some of the heirloom beets that CSA members received for the first time two weeks ago. Beets are one of the unsung heroes of the garden. Here at the farm, we only grow heirloom varieties, which are some of the prettiest vegetables in the garden: Bulls Blood, which is a deep dark red; Chiogga, bright red on the outside with red and white concentric circles in the center; Golden, a rich, golden-yellow color and very sweet; and Albino, pure white and very tasty.
Beets are as nutritious as they are beautiful and the entire plant is edible. When I was doing the farmer’s market a few years ago, I had one customer faithfully purchase several pounds of beets from me every week – not for the beet root but for the beet greens, which are an excellent source of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, iron and calcium. Beet greens look deceivingly sturdy, but cook down quickly to a meltingly tender texture with a mild, earthy flavor. A good idea is to steam the leaves and use them as a bed for roasted beets, or add them to a braising mix and serve as a side dish.
Beets are very low in calories and contain only a small amount of fat. Certain unique pigment antioxidants present in the root, as well as the greens, have been found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke, lower cholesterol levels in the body and have anti-aging effects.
The bland, canned beets from childhood in no way compare to the beets that we grow here on our farm. They are sweet, tender, versatile and very delicious. Their earthy, hard-to-define flavor is like no other vegetable, which is one reason they so often appear on high-end restaurant menus. Tonight I’m making Beet Salad with Goat Cheese. Except for the pine nuts, cheese and seasonings everything in the recipe came straight from my garden.
Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
Ingredients1/2 pound beets, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/3 cup pine nuts
4 ounces goat cheese
4 cups baby greens
4 cups baby spinach
Tarragon dressing, recipe follows
4 very thin slices red onion, separated
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Wash and dry the beets and trim off the ends.
Take a large sheet of aluminum foil, 12 by18, and double it over.
Put the beets in the middle, drizzle with olive oil and season with the salt and pepper.
Bring the sides of the foil up around the beets to make a pouch.
Put in the hot oven and bake until the beets are tender, about 1 hour 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool.
When cool enough to handle, gently peel off the skin and slice into julienne pieces, about 2 inches long by 1/2-inch thick.
Chill until ready to use.
Lightly toast the pine nuts in a small saute pan over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a plate or small bowl and cool.
Slice the goat cheese into 1/2-inch rounds and press the pine nuts onto both sides.
Chill until served.
When ready to serve, lightly toss the baby greens and the spinach together in a large bowl and dress the edge of your serving bowl with 1/4 cup of the tarragon dressing.
Toss the greens and then top with the beets and the goat cheese rounds.
Drizzle with additional dressing and serve immediately.
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a small bowl or glass jar, combine all the ingredients, except the olive oil.
Whisk until well combined, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
This recipe works really well with a stick blender.
Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri
Sources: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com and http://www.foodnetwork.com
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Beech Springs Farm is a small family farm near Gettysburg, PA. The farm is open to the public by appointment only.
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