Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Beet Revolution

Ok, so maybe I'm not changing lives here but I am really excited that beets are back at the market. I've never experimented with them much but a friend brought a beet salad similar to the one below to a dinner party recently and they were just so pretty that I went out and bought a huge bundle of them from Houston Farm. These things were absolutely gorgeous even before cutting them open:
All of that was just $3!
So what does one do with beets? The two things I'm most familiar with is salad, where the beets can really stand on their own, or roasting them as a side dish. Here are the two recipes I've used most recently.

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad (v)
3 medium beets, trimmed, cleaned and cut in quarters
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup mint, chopped
3-4 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
Salt to taste
  1. Put the quartered beets in a large saucepan and cover with water.
  2. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until a knife cuts easily. Remove and put in a large bowl in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Combine goat cheese, mint and pine nuts. 
  4. Cut the beets into 1/2 inch pieces and add to cheese mixture. Mix well (helpful to use your hands).
Doesn't look amazing in pictures but this is a beautiful salad!
Roasted Beets (V)
3 medium beets, trimmed, cleaned and cut in 3/4 inch pieces
Olive oil for coating beats
Thyme (or other herb of choice) and sea salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees  and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss the beets, olive oil, and thyme in a bowl until beets are coated, and arrange pieces of beet on baking sheet so that they don't touch. Sprinkle the beets with sea salt.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven until the beets are tender, 10 to 20 minutes. A fork inserted into a beet cube should come out easily.
I served my roasted beets with a slice of my tofu quiche. Delicious!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My Discovery of Kale

As an IBS sufferer, I have all sorts of weird things I can't eat. Red meat, fried and spicy food are pretty common across the board but I also don't digest preservatives or seeds very well. Unfortunately, most lettuce that you buy in a store or in a restaurant, no matter how organic, has preservatives on it which means that all traditional salads are on the NO list for me. 

However, I have discovered during the last couple weeks that kale, for whatever reason, doesn't bother my stomach like spinach, arugula, or other leafy salad greens. This is a huge deal for me because I can start adding this dark green to my diet which will increase my iron count and open up so many culinary opportunities!

Here are two recipes I have tried and loved over the last week using fresh kale straight from Houston Farms or the Lomax Incubator Farm. The kale really adds a natural saltiness and heartiness to the dishes and they both only took minutes to put together. The tomatoe in the first recipe was a local one I had frozen at the end of last summer. This is a perfect use for them because their consistency isn't key to the dish. I got the turnips in the second recipe from Houston Farms as well and the gnocchi from the pasta guy at Atherton Market. The dill is also from the market - various vendors have had herbs on and off the last several weeks, most likely green-housed or grown inside.

Penne Pasta with Tomato, Kale and Dill (V)
1/2 pound penne pasta (about half a normal box or bag)
2 large handfuls of kale, stems removed, cut into pieces no larger than 2 inches
1 tomato, cut in 1/2 inch chunks
2-3 tablespoons fresh dill
2-3 tablespoons olive lil
Juice of one lemon (optional)
  1. Prepare pasta.
  2. In large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium/high heat.
  3. Add kale, tomato, dill and lemon juice. Saute until kale has darkened.
  4. Add made pasta and saute until pasta is covered with kale and tomato.
  5. Serve hot.
Turnips and Kale side dish (V)
2 medium turnips, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
2-3 good handfuls of kale, stems removed, cut into pieces no larger than 2 inches
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in large frying pan (I used a non - non-stick pan) on high heat.
  2. Add turnips and cook on high until nice and brown on both sides.
  3. Add handfuls of kale so they are layered over top of but not mixed in with turnips. Reduce heat to medium and let kale soften and darken.
  4. Once kale is dark, mix in with turnips. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Serve hot.
I served this with gnocchi and basic tomato sauce. Delish!