It’s beet season! I think beets are one of those vegetables that can often get a bad rap. They look kind of funny when you pull them out of the ground…they stain everything…and they do have an earthy taste. Then again, I grew up eating beets (albeit out of a can, but I did eat them) so I guess it’s one of those vegetables where you love ’em, or you don’t.
The best way to get your beets ready to eat is to roast them. Because of the sugar, they carmelize really nicely and sweeten right up. All you need to do to roast them is trim off the greens, wrap each beet with aluminum foil, and roast for about an hour or two or until they soften (see recipe below). Let them cool and use your hands to gently peel off the skin under running cold water (it seriously rubs right off). You may or may not want to wear gloves during the peeling process because there is plenty of magenta-colored juice under that skin!
This recipe was given to me by my husband’s step mom, who made this with some beets they had also received from their Fresh Fork basket. My father-in-law is not a fan of beets, but really liked this dish. I’m not sure if it made him a believer (beet-leiver? Ha!) of sorts, but she was was really pleased with the result and forwarded it to me. And now, I share the love with you.
Roasted Beets with Feta
- 4 beets, trimmed of greens
- 1/4 cup minced shallots
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or more to taste)
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400*F. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil, and place onto a baking sheet or into a muffin pan (to keep them from rolling around). Bake the beets in the preheated oven until easily pierced with a fork, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- While the beets are in the oven, make your vinaigrette: whisk together the shallot, parsley, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and red wine vinegar in a bowl until it blends. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside. Periodically whisk together to keep the dressing emulsified.
- Once the beets are done, remove them from the oven and let cool. Discard the foil and peel the beets under cold running water, and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Again, you may want to wear gloves or you risk staining your hands!
- Place the sliced beets onto a serving dish or into a bowl and pour the vinaigrette over the beets, and sprinkle with feta cheese.
I have to admit, my picture is a bit terrible…but you get the idea.
This is a great side dish to share with others, or just to keep all for yourself (if you like beets, like I do). The leftovers lasted maybe a day or two, tops.
Maybe my recipe will make a beet-liever out of you. Maybe you’ll make it and still hate beets! But I figure it’s at least worth a shot, especially if you are looking for a vegetable that is a bit more in season for this time of year.
Last month in our Fresh Fork basket we received some Stanley plums (aka “Italian plums”). I had no idea how I was going to use them and I knew that my husband wouldn’t eat all of them as I am the pickiest of picky when it comes to fruit. No, really. The list of fruits I don’t like is much longer than the list of fruits that I actually do like. Granted, I’ve come a long way from my childhood where I would eat only apples, grapes, and raspberries – but I still have a ways to go.
We were invited to my inlaws’ house one night for dinner back in September and I needed to throw something together last minute to bring along and share. I settled on this plum cake, as I haven’t really cooked much with fruit and needed to use these plums. Plus, my husband loves cake – so why not?
Italian Plum Cake
- 1 cup unblanched almonds
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus another 1/4 cup for topping
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 lbs Italian plums, pitted and sliced (I used about a quart)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter the surface of a 10-inch tart pan or springform pan.
- Put the almonds and 1/2 cup sugar in a blender or food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt and pulse once more. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Stir in the melted butter. Add this mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk until the batter becomes nice and smooth.
- Pour the batter into the pan and smooth with a spatula. Arrange the plum slices on top on a circular pattern. Sprinkle sugar generously over the plums. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden and a pairing knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Serve warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.
This cake was, for lack of a better word, devoured. There was not a piece left to take home and a pint of ice cream was a perfect accompaniment to the cake. The almonds and sugar take the sweetness of the plums to the next level…and well, who doesn’t love cake? I was very proud to have made a dessert that was a win with not only family but myself included! I intend to make this again next fall when Italian/Stanley plums are in season.
We are blessed with the overabundance of produce and cursed with a shortage of time in the evenings. The weeks have run together and I realize that I completely forgot to blog!! Then again, I’m still getting back into the swing of things and I’m in the tail end of marching season…so there 😉
September 30, 2015
– breakfast sausage patties – these were delicious on a Saturday morning
– pinto beans – went into a failed tamale pie. I am not used to cooking with fresh beans!
– acorn squash
– eggplant (2) – eggplant rollatini was made. Not too shabby!
– green beans – made into a delicious potato & green bean salad on a Sunday with friends
– green leaf lettuce
October 7, 2015
– beets – I love that they last forever, like the squash. There’s not a rush to get to them!
– cornmeal – Some was used for soaking clams and for the failed tamale pie. I still have some leftover so I may instruct a certain husband to make some cornbread…
– broccoli – Used in the chicken & broccoli dish I made after the tamale pie failed
– sweet potatoes – baked in our Sunday night clambake
– cabbage – Made into stuffed cabbage casserole. Post to (hopefully) come!
– chicken patties
– spaghetti squash
October 14, 2015
– cherry tomatoes
– concord grapes
– green beans
– green cauliflower
– romaine lettuce
– green peppers
Its a good day when it’s CSA Day – or shall I say, Fresh Fork Day. Our CSA bundle arrives Wednesdays up at the church we occasionally go to; I’m slowly learning the ropes of how they do things. Apparently I can also order other local eats to supplement our basket such as meats, pastas, breads, eggs and more. I’m thinking bacon next week 🙂 Anyway, we have subscribed to the Omnivore basket – in addition to vegetables we will also receive fruit, as well as grains and occasional meat. I’ve also signed up for the Winter Share…which will bring us healthy, locally-sourced foods throughout the dreary Cleveland winter. You can imagine how excited I am!
Anyway, let’s get to our basket:
- green bell peppers
- ‘longhorn’ peppers – my guess is that they are sweet?
- cherry tomatoes
- Stanley plums (aka ‘Italian plums’)
- a GIGANTIC purple carrot
- two zucchini
- acorn squash
- butternut squash
I am in no way, shape or form ready to eat those squash yet. It’s a little too warm now – cooling off this weekend for a bit – so I figure these will be stored for a little while and put to use once the weather ‘officially’ turns. The peppers…I’m thinking either a pepper relish or fajitas next week. Tomatoes and zucchini are always easy to use up; if I don’t I will freeze them to use this winter. The leek should be pretty easy to use as well.
As far as the plums go, I am going to see how many my husband takes for lunch…if any are left I will bake something with them this weekend. The carrot…that huge, purple carrot…I’m thinking roasted, or chopped up for snacking.
It’s great to be blogging again, especially about a CSA share! And it’s good to be back into the swing of things again 🙂
Where is September going? The first day of fall is tomorrow…it was chilly this week…part of me is ready for fall and the other is trying to desperately cling to flip-flops and sundresses.
At least I can wear my Birkenstocks with socks if need be, right? 😉
• red butter lettuce
• jalapeño peppers
• lots of tomatoes – made into salsa later that evening
• green bell peppers
• lacinato kale – washed and frozen for soup this winter
Any fun goodies in your boxes this week?
This past week was so, so hectic! Between both school, the bakery, and meetings, I didn’t really have a lot of time to play. Thankfully, the coming week has me a little less frantic, so there’s more time to really create some fun things in our kitchen and actually cook for a change – as opposed to either Hubs making dinner or us getting take out. Don’t get me wrong, though – my husband has been a huge help and so patient as I get used to the new routine!
This past week , we had our usual favorites to enjoy!
- romaine lettuce – Salads for lunches
- garlic – Used in a soup recipe…coming soon!
- celery & celery root?! – My husband had asked the farm helpers what to do with this, and they said that it was really great for stock. Thus this was cut and put right into the freezer.
- grape tomatoes – Roasted and ready for anything!
- potatoes – These will be served with flank steak. Yum!
- green and purple peppers – Used in chicken fajitas.
- zucchini & squash – Most likely, this will go along with the flank steak and potatoes.
- slicing tomatoes – Now I finally have enough for a batch of salsa
The weather is starting to really feel like fall, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. We barely had a summer! Even worse, our house got so cold Friday night that we had to *gulp* turn on the heat Saturday morning to get the chill out. Let’s just hope that the fall weather stays for a while, or the warmer summer air returns. Heaven knows we’re not ready for white stuff yet…
School has started and we are back into the swing of things. So much so, that I’ve been a little behind on almost every single to-do list. I’ll get there (I hope).
This past week we at least remembered to pick up our CSA on time!
In this past week’s box…
• tomatillos! I made a great salsa last year and I’ll (finally) be making it next week
• jalapeño and Fresno peppers
• green peppers
• pickling cukes
• slicing tomatoes
• cherry tomatoes
Any fun things in your CSA this week?