Tag Archives: citrus

A Recipe for Sunshine: Roasted Golden Beet Jewels with Clementine Butter

DSC_0137Thursday morning I managed to get out of the house for a coffee date, before it started snowing—again. I detoured on the way home (despite big fat furry flakes already falling from the sky) to go into the “big” grocery store down-Island. I headed for the produce department and went straight for the brightest looking thing I could find, which happened to be orange beets. I still have some Clementines at home, I thought. I’ll make sunshine: Yellow + Orange.

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My apologies for still being citrus- and color- obsessed. When I first wrote about the snow (specifically, chicken farming in the snow) three weeks ago, I had no idea we had four storms and below-zero windchills just ahead of us. Not that cold isn’t invigorating and grey skies aren’t interesting. In fact the color of the sky is fascinating; one minute it looks like a collection of dull dust bunnies, the next it’s a deep tarnished pewter platter, and then it turns blank, like a nearly colorless piece of cheap copy paper. But sunshine is scarce. And it does get to you after a while.

scale 2Back at home, I pulled up my Beet Jewel recipe from Fresh from the Farm and decided to tweak a  a little variation with golden beets, almonds, Clementine juice and zest, and a touch of vanilla.

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I zested my clementine and then squeezed a bit of juice out of one half.

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Then I sliced my beets (no peeling necessary) into slices about 1/2-inch thick. I used a piece of brown paper to protect the board from beet stains, but the yellow beets really don’t stain like the red ones do.

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Then I cut the slices into 1/2-inch cubes, tossed them with oil and salt, and spread them out on parchment-lined sheet pans.

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I roasted them for about 25 minutes at 450°F, until browned and tender.

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Then I dressed them with the clementine butter, and took pictures, of course.

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And then I ate my beets, standing up, looking out the kitchen window at the giant icicles dripping off the mudroom gutters, growing longer every day, like Pinocchio’s nose.

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I watched Roy pull the chicken feed bags down to the coops on a sled. (We can’t get the truck down to the feed shed, so the bags have to be carried down one at a time, or loaded on to the sled, two at a time. We have a little toboggan run through the deep snow that both the sled and Farmer will charge right down.)

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And I watched for egg customers in the driveway so that I could run eggs out to them (too cold to keep the eggs in the farm stand fridge). It was sort of an egg drive-thru (no French fries or milkshakes, though).

Kind of fun, really; but, hey, fun has its limits.

Apparently a mix of sleet, snow, freezing rain, and ice is next on the docket. Whatever.

DSC_0128Golden Beet “Jewels” with Cranberries, Almonds & Clementine Butter

You’ll love this method for cooking beets—no peeling necessary, and the small-diced beets cook in only 25 minutes. If you don’t have clementines, try a mix of orange and lemon zest and juice. You can also replace the honey with maple syrup, and use whatever nut you like.

Serves 3 to 4

 

1 1⁄2 pounds golden beets topped and tailed but not peeled

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon fresh clementine juice

(scant) ½ teaspoon fresh clementine zest

2 teaspoons local honey

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled

1⁄4 cup very finely chopped dried cranberries

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1⁄3 cup toasted sliced almonds, lightly crushed

Small fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

Heat the oven to 450°F. Cover two heavy-duty sheet pans with parchment paper. Cut the beets into medium-small dice (no more than about 1⁄2 inch) and toss with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Transfer to the 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 clementine juice and zest, the honey, and the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir or whisk until the honey is dissolved and the mixture is hot (it may be steaming but it should not boil), 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the vanilla and 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 butter with the cranberries over the roasted beets and mix and toss gently. Add most of the almonds and stir gently again. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the remaining nuts and the parsley.

 

 

 

In the Winter Kitchen: Grains, Greens, Citrus & Sunlight

cit 4My pal Barney and I have been in the Laboratory all morning, mad-sciencing up creations to satisfy my winter cravings. For some reason, I am fixated on dark green vegetables, grains of all kinds, and citrus in every color. Plus, crunchy stuff. (My new love is roasted chickpeas). And then, I am putting them altogether for lunches and dinner. (My other new fixation is cooking grains ahead.)

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So first Barney and I had a nice cup of coffee.

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Then we snacked on the roasted chickpeas I made yesterday. Honestly, these are better fresh out of the oven, but they do keep okay for a day or two.

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Here’s how you make them: Rinse, drain, and thoroughly dry a can of chickpeas. Toss with enough of a neutral oil  (I like grapeseed) to coat well and season with about ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400°F until browned and shrunken, 30 to 35 minutes.

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Then Barney and I par-boiled some broccoli raab. If you’re not familiar with raab (aka rapini) it’s actually a turnip relative and has a distinct bitterness which is highly satisfying, especially when paired with lemon or anything spicy. (Goat cheese is another good companion for raab, as are garlic and ginger.)

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You all know how much I love to roast most vegetables, and that I’m not much for boiling them, but broccoli raab is an exception. I almost always cook it in boiling salted water for about 4 minutes—even before finishing it in a sauté pan with garlic, as I did today. I also cut the thickest parts of the stems off and then split the stems down the middle so that the pieces are all about the same thickness.

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Meanwhile, on the back of the stove, a big pot of boiling water was going. I plunked a cup of black rice in it, stirred, lowered the heat just a tad (still boiling) and let the rice cook in the boiling water until tender. (About 28 minutes for me today.) Then I drained it and spread the rice on a sheet pan to cool.

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I refilled the pot, brought it to a boil, and cooked a cup of farro the same way. I overcooked the farro today because I forgot to look back at one of my own recipes and thought I remembered the cooking time was about 40 minutes. In reality, it’s only 30. (There is also such a thing as par-cooked farro that cooks in 10 minutes.)

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That mistake aside, this boiling water method (as opposed to the pilaf method with a measured amount of water) is really a great way to cook grains in big amounts that you want to store and eat throughout the week. You don’t have the frustration of finding all your liquid simmered out and your grain undercooked; simply use a spoon to fish out a few grains every so often to see if they’re done. They should still be just a tiny bit toothy when you bite into them, and with some grains, just beginning to split open a bit.

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You can store them (after thoroughly cooling them) in plastic containers in the fridge. (You can also freeze cooked grains.) One note on salt: I don’t salt the water at first but tend to add some halfway through cooking. That said, the grains will still need to be generously seasoned when prepared for eating.

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Next Barney and I pulled out all the various citrus fruits I’ve been stockpiling—a Meyer lemon, a blood orange, a Minneola orange, a clementine, a navel orange, a regular lemon, and a lime. Mostly I just wanted to cut them open, take pictures of them, and then eat some…but I also wanted to dress my grains with some juice and zest.

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I am a citrus zest freak and put it in everything.

Lastly, I put everything together to make lunch (which wound up being dinner, too, though I did make pork chops for Roy, since he does not appreciate the meatless meal the way I do!). I put a cup of cooked black rice and a cup of cooked farro into a microwavable bowl and reheated them for a minute and a half. (Remember this, as it is easy to do on a weeknight if you’ve got grains already made and stashed in the fridge.)

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I juiced ½ of the blood orange and ½ of the Meyer lemon and added about a tablespoon of each to my grains. I seasoned with plenty of salt, too. In a little skillet, I heated up a bit of oil and a tiny bit of butter and softened ½ teaspoon or so of minced garlic in it. I tossed most of the softened garlic in with the grains and added 4 ounces of the broccoli raab to the skillet, tossing to warm it through in the garlic-scented oil. I stirred up the grains, tasted, and piled in a serving dish, arranging the raab and a smattering of roasted chickpeas alongside. I squeezed the other Meyer lemon half over the raab, and at the last minute, decided to cut the blood orange segments out of the unused half and toss them in, too. Often I used dried fruit and toasted nuts with grains, but it was a nice switch to have the crunchy chickpeas and the fresh citrus segments.

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There are lots of ways to turn grains into filling meals (think beans, roasted veggies, sautéed mushrooms), so I encourage you to do your own mad-scientist experimenting. Just be sure to season with plenty of bright ingredients (vinegars, fresh herbs, Asian condiments, as well as citrus).

But don’t be surprised when your trusty assistant loses interest in the experiment—especially if there are birds outside the window to keep an eye on.

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