Tag Archives: beets

Roasted Beet Jewels with Cranberries, Pecans & Balsamic Butter—A Festive Recipe Preview from Fresh From the Farm

RoastedBeetJewelsPg.205Tomorrow is Christmas. Oh boy. And, in one month, I will hold the first copy of my first-ever hardcover book in my hands. I am doubly excited. This could be a problem, as I’m not known for containing excitement well.

When I was three years old, I woke up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, put on my green velvet party dress (backwards, buttons down the front), and threw up all over myself. I thought I heard Santa on the roof. (Why I put my party dress on, I’m not sure. But apparently I was quite feverish—sick enough that the doctor had paid us a house-call earlier that day—so perhaps I got the dress-up part confused with Easter morning.) At any rate, I’m sorry to say that’s not the extent of the damage I did as a child during peak moments of excitement. (Graduation from elementary school involved pinning myself accidentally under a folded up ping-pong table. I’m not kidding.)

DSC_9957So my wise and wonderful publishers at The Taunton Press, who know how excited I am about Fresh from the Farm, have given me permission to publish a recipe from the book, just in time for Christmas. Whew.

So I will spare you any more childhood stories and get right to it. I’ll just tell you that I picked something easy and festive (with a pretty picture!), even though it is kind of an iconic Susie-type vegetable side dish recipe, the kind of thing you readers of Fast, Fresh & Green and The Fresh and Green Table will find familiar. But Fresh From the Farm has so much more—everything from tostados and burritos to pot roast and meat loaf to French toast, coffee cake, and cookies (all still inspired by the veggies and fruit that we grow). But since Christmas (and deep winter market/CSA season) is upon us, I thought I’d share something that could just as easily go on the holiday table as be part of a weeknight winter supper. (And use up some of those beets in the veg drawer. Although, in case you don’t know, beets are one of the better keeping winter veggies—wrap them in dish towels and put in open plastic bags and they’ll retain some moisture longer.)

FFF small image for webHere you go. I hope you have a peaceful and relaxing and delicious holiday. I wish I could give you the real book for Christmas, but alas, you and I will have to wait patiently. (You patiently, me not so much.) At least you can order Fresh From the Farm now if you like. (If you need it, all the ordering info is on the homepage of sixburnersue.)

 

If you like beets, check out these other recipes on sixburnersue as well.

 

Roasted Beet “Jewels” with Cranberries, Toasted Pecans & Balsamic Butter

DSC_3632_1This easy and delicious side dish is a great way to introduce people to roasted beets—or beets in general. You’ll love it too, because the small-diced beets cook in only 25 minutes—no boiling or long slow roasting here! This is just as great to make with summer beets as fall beets, and would be delicious with roast beef, roast chicken or crispy duck. I like to use a mix of red and orange or yellow beets if I’ve got them, but for a variation, you can also make this by substituting carrots for half of the beets.

Serves 4

1 1⁄2 pounds beets (preferably half red and half golden), topped and tailed but
not peeled

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon seedless red raspberry jam

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 1⁄2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and chilled

1⁄4 cup very finely chopped dried cranberries

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1⁄2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Small fresh parsley or mint leaves, for garnish (optional)

 

Heat the oven to 450°F. Cover two heavy-duty sheet pans with parchment paper. Keeping the red and golden beets separate (if using both colors), cut them into medium-small dice (no more than about 1⁄2 inch). Put each color in a bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt. Transfer each bowl of beets to separate sheet pans and spread in one layer. Roast until the beets are tender and shrunken, about 25 minutes. (Rotate the baking sheets to opposite racks halfway through cooking for more even cooking.) Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Put the orange juice, raspberry jam, and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir or whisk continuously (don’t walk away!) until the jam is completely melted and the sauce is slightly more viscous (it may be steaming but it should not boil), 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the cold butter. Swirl the pan until the butter is melted and the sauce is slightly creamy. Add the cranberries and thyme and stir. Pour and scrape the balsamic butter with the cranberries over the roasted beets and mix and toss gently. Add most of the pecans and stir gently again. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining nuts and herb leaves (if using).

PHOTO CREDIT, TOP PHOTO: Alexandra Grablewski; styling by Michael Pederson

 

 

Tiny Roasted Beets, A Winter Garden Salad, And A Dog that Likes Both

You would think that at some point I’d reach my limit with this whole veggie thing. But it seems I can never get enough. On Saturday I threw Libby and Farmer in the car (this was not hard, as where one goes, so goes the other) and headed off to Whippoorwill Farm. I’d heard a rumor that they were offering their last winter harvest for the CSA to the general public–$20 a share. Oh boy! I remember from belonging to the CSA a few years back that the cabbages and root veggies they provided at the end of the season lasted a good long time in the fridge. And since the only real winter-keepers we’ve got from our garden are onions and rutabagas, the idea of eating those carrots and beets and leeks (my favorite!) in January and February was too enticing for me to ignore.

When we got to the farm, Libby took over at the scales, weighing out each pound of carrots, turnips, and beets (we bought a double share, so it was a lot). Then she picked out our bags of lettuce and kale tops while I grabbed the cabbages and leeks. We hadn’t even made it back to the car before we were snacking on the incredibly sweet and crisp carrots. Of course Libby wanted to offer Farmer a carrot, so we broke one into pieces. He had a sniff from his back-seat perch, then proceded to crunch and swallow and lick his lips. Delicious. We ate three more on the way home.

After I sorted and rinsed the veggies and stored them in the new (old) mudroom fridge, I began to think about new ideas for using them. I also have exploding lettuces in the cold frame; the mix of seedlings we planted includes an unusual frilly purple mustard and a deeply handsome red Tat Soi, both of which are thriving. I also am nursing along a couple young heads of radicchio in the cold frame, so all the pretty reds and purples inspired me to make a Christmas-y deep red and green winter salad. (The arugula is also still thriving—outside of the cold frame, no less.)

I wanted to try a slightly different take on my favorite quick-roasting method for beets, too. While I love roasting them as thin slices, I decided to try tiny dice this time. (The recipe for quick-roasted beet slices is both here and in Fast, Fresh & Green. And while I also included a recipe for tiny roasted roots in Fast, Fresh & Green, I had left beets off the list in that recipe for two reasons—they bleed, and I figured they would take longer than most roots to cook.)

But I was so pleased to discover yesterday that the little diced beets did indeed get tender in 20 minutes at 475 degrees. (So the great news is the same here as it is with the quick-roasted slices: You do not need to invest hours of time to enjoy roasted beets.) With caramelized edges, these sweet little gems made a great addition to the salad—which I rounded out with a creamy blue cheese and a bit of salty pancetta. I forgot the nuts this time around, but would have been happy with chopped toasted pecans or hazelnuts. I used a simple white balsamic vinaigrette with a little maple, but you could improvise your own winter salad with your own dressing and any combination of arugula, endive, radicchio, escarole, mustard, tat soi, or other hearty salad green. Figure about two cups loosely packed greens for each serving, and plate the salads for the nicest presentation, especially if you’re including a creamy cheese (which tends to get messy when tossed). Certainly opt out of the pancetta if you like. Follow the simple recipe below to roast the beets. I think using them on the day they’re roasted is nicest (you can leave them at room temp for a couple hours), but they certainly hold in the fridge, too, and can even be marinated in a citrusy vinaigrette to become more of a condiment or relish.

I discovered one other thing yesterday—Farmer likes roasted beets and arugula (in addition to Snickerdoodles). I won’t go into the details on how I learned this, but it has something to do with distracting him from the Christmas tree ornaments.

Tiny Diced Roasted Beets

Toss these in salads, marinate them to make a condiment or relish, or just plain eat them as a side dish or a snack.

1/2 pound trimmed small red beets (unpeeled)

1 generous tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the oven to 475°F. Line a small heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet (also called a quarter sheet pan) with parchment. Cut the beets into dice that are between 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch big. (It’s easiest to slice the beets across first—after discarding the ends—and then lay the slices down to cut into dice.)

Toss the diced beets thoroughly with the olive oil and salt in a small mixing bowl and spread in one layer on the sheet pan. Roast for 20 to 22 minutes, until caramelized and tender when pierced with a knife (they do not have to be soft, just cooked through. Don’t overcook or they will begin to burn.) Let cool a bit on the sheet pan and eat right away—or later!

Makes enough to garnish three or four small salads or two large ones.

Beet Candy—Bet You Can’t Eat Just One

It is well documented that I will roast anything that will stand still long enough. So yesterday, when I accidentally harvested some baby beets while pulling weeds, the beets didn’t stand a chance. I’d barely been home for a minute when I turned the oven on to 450°F.

While I’m happy to slow-roast beets at a lower temperature, my very favorite thing to do with them is to slice them thinly and cook them hot and fast. The resulting “chips” are so sweet that I sometimes call them beet candy. I first discovered I could make beet candy when chef George Germon let me concoct a salad for the menu one night at Al Forno restaurant in Providence, RI, where I was a cook. He had some lovely mâche (a delicate leafy green), and I thought beets, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts would complement it. But I didn’t have a lot of time, and the wood-fired ovens at Al Forno are always running super-hot, so I decided to slice the beets really thinly and spread them out on a baking sheet to roast quickly. When they came out of the oven, they were shrivel-y and a bit black around the edges, but incredibly tender and sweet—in that deeply caramelized roasty-toasty kind of way.

I’ve loved these quick-roasted beets ever since. So much so that I keep writing about them. Fine Cooking.  Fast, Fresh & Green.  Now Sixburnersue. You’ll have to forgive me, but here I go again with the recipe—in case you missed it. It’s such a great way to convert beet haters into beet lovers that I don’t want anyone to be without it in beet season.

You can gobble quick-roasted beet slices right off the sheet pan. Or toss them into a citrus marinade (after roasting) and tuck them into salads. Sometimes I like to gussy them up by making little beet and goat cheese sandwiches, which I serve as appetizers. I mix some fresh goat cheese with a small amount of chopped fresh herbs or lemon zest, then dollop some on one beet slice, and top that with another. Yeah, a little fussy, but so darn cute.

Quick-Roasted Beets

This recipe is adapted from the version in Fast, Fresh & Green. The only slightly tricky part is slicing the beets. Start with a sharp, thin-bladed knife (I love my ceramic knife). Then, if your beets are too wobbly or unwieldy to hold straight, slice a very small sliver off the bottom and the beet will stay more stable when slicing. Then just cut round slices that are between 1/8 and ¼-inch thick (3/16 is ideal!). You don’t want paper-thin, or the beets will burn, so there’s no need to get out the mandolin.  Here’s another tip: to prevent your cutting board from getting stained with beet juice, cover it with a piece of parchment paper or part of a brown paper bag before slicing.

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About ½ pound beet roots (1 bunch, about 4 or 5 small or 3 medium, stalks and leaves trimmed), scrubbed but unpeeled, very thinly sliced crosswise

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves (optional)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

_________________________________________

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large (18- x 13- x 1-inch) heavy-duty rimmed sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper. Put the beet slices in a mixing bowl and toss thoroughly with the salt, thyme, and olive oil. Arrange the slices, evenly spaced, on the sheet pan (it’s okay if they touch). Roast until the beets are tender, shrunken, wrinkled, and glistening, 16 to 18 minutes. (If your beets are very small, they can roast in as little as 10 to 12 minutes.) The smallest slices will be black around the edges. Let cool for a few minutes and serve warm. Or refrigerate for up to a couple of days.

Serves 2 as a side dish or 4 as an appetizer

Walk-Away Beets: Recipe for Diversion

I work at home. Translation: I love a distraction. The kitchen? Definitely the number one destination for diversion.  Even on days when recipe developing is not on my to-do list, I like to wander in to my favorite room and concoct a little something every few hours. Something quick, something that might work for our dinner later.  Even better, something that might last for a few days.

Roasted baby beets (so ruby-red pretty) are the ultimate in quick-to-make,  slow-to-cook vegetable condiments.  By vegetable condiments (no, I haven’t lost my mind) I mean stuff like caramelized onions and roasted tomatoes—things that are so great to have in the fridge for tossing in salads, onto pizzas, into tacos—that sort of thing. Okay, so maybe roasted beet wedges are not quite as versatile as roasted tomatoes, but they do juicy-up a salad and give you a great excuse to warm up goat cheese or to toast pecans (just add arugula and lemon vinaigrette). Plus, maybe you’ve got excess CSA-beet syndrome like me. Remarkably, mine (wrapped in a damp cloth and stored in a zip-top bag) have kept for months in the veg drawer of my fridge.

But today, icy-blue cold as it is outside, it just seemed like a good opportunity to turn on the oven. I knew I wouldn’t feel too guilty spending the 10 minutes it takes to quarter a pound of baby beets (no peeling necessary–that skin is perfectly edible when roasted), toss them with a little olive oil and salt, throw in a few herb sprigs, and wrap them up in a tidy little aluminum foil packet.  Inside the foil, they steam-roast (getting both tender and caramelized), and you don’t need to do much more than pop one in your mouth after they come out of the oven.

There is one extra flavor step you can take. This morning, I let mine cool and then dunked them in a marinade-ish dressing of orange and lemon juices, a little vinegar and maple syrup, and a bit of chopped fresh mint. They’ll loll around in that dressing for days, soaking up flavor in a bowl in the fridge, making themselves coyly available to the nearest taker.

 

Walk-Away Beets

 Serves 4

1 pound baby beets, washed but not peeled, ends trimmed, halved or quartered to all be about equal-sized wedges

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

6 tiny sprigs of thyme, short branches of rosemary, or little clusters of sage

For the marinade:

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons fresh orange juice

¼ teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon maple syrup or honey

kosher salt

2 teaspoons roughly chopped mint, cilantro, basil, parsley or a combination

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a small roasting pan with aluminum foil, and measure out two other large pieces and arrange them in a “+” inside the pan. Toss the beet wedges, the olive oil, the salt, and the herb sprigs together in a mixing bowl. Arrange the contents of the mixing bowl in the center of the intersection of the two pieces of foil, and fold the foil up to form a tighly wrapped package.

Roast the beets for 1 ½ hours. Carefully avoiding the steam, lift the foil away to peek at the beets and to skewer one or two with the tip of a paring knife. If the knife slides in easily (and the bottoms of the beets are wrinkled and brown), they’re done. If not (and they often need more time), reseal the foil package and continue cooking for 20 to 30 minutes more until tender.

Let the beets cool a bit, toss all the marinade ingredients together, combine the marinade and beets, and stow in fridge for future snacks. Or add to your dinner salad of arugula, mache, or mixed greens with toasted nuts.