Notes on prep: The beets alone weren’t all that better to me than if you were to just roast them in tin foil with olive oil, salt and pepper; The goat cheese mouse was good, but I found it to be more satisfying after letting the mixture separate from the whey in the container over night. It becomes super thick and much richer than when you pump it full of nitrous imo; The caraway tuiles are a complete waste time–virtually flavorless when combined with the rest of the components and a complete pain in the ass to make; I didn’t even end up using the rye crumble b/c I thought it was gross; The beet vinaigrette is amazing! Just make this and some roasted beets and strategically crumble some decent goat cheese around the plate, and save yourself the trouble of 40 some-odd steps.
I picked up a hefty bag of golden beets the other day. They were all very small, none larger than say a golf ball—-perfect for pickling! This is probably my favorite home-made pickle that I’ve done so far. I make them whenever I can procure a large number of golden or chiogga beets for relatively little money. (Sometimes beets can be extremely expensive, and other times not.) It’s super easy, and the flavor the beets take on is amazing.
• 1-2 lbs small beets of any variety (enough to fill a 1 quart mason jar)
• Olive Oil and salt & pepper
• a few sprigs of tarragon
• one small bulb of fennel
• a few thick strips of orange zest
• 1 cup champagne vinegar (or other similar variety)
• 1/2 water
• 1/2 sugar
Preheat the oven to 375º. Toss the beets in a bowl with olive oil and some salt and pepper until they are evenly coated. Fold all of the beets up into some tin foil, and put into the oven, baking for about 45 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Once they are done baking, allow them to cool until you are able to handle them. Then peel and trim the beets making sure they’re nice and clean. Cut the fennel into thin strips, a bit larger than say a matchstick. Put the beets and fennel into mason jar along with the orange zest and about 3 or 4 sprigs of tarragon.
Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a small pot, and bring to a simmer. Then pour it straight into the mason jar. The liquid should come right up to the brim (or at least pretty close!) Put the lid on the jar, and allow it to come to room temperature, then put it into the fridge for 2 days before eating for full pickle effect. (You can eat them sooner, if you want, but the pickling process takes a few days.) These last forever so long as they’re kept refrigerated, but I don’t reckon they’ll last too long. . .
I’m just going to be upfront about it and let ya’ll know that I basically jacked this idea from the Mango & Tomato site. However, our two quinoa salads are quite different apart from the beets, and the, uhh, quinoa. This also happens to be composed from just about everything that I had left in the fridge, the dregs of last weeks CSA share. I like cooking this way, though. Having virtually nothing to eat except a bunch of random vegetables, if you’re lucky, and maybe a grain is a great way to dig deep and test your ability to come up with something. In most of these circumstances, I whip up a bacon gravy, and give a nice slosh to a bunch of boiled carrots. You can imagine the scene: I’m nosing around the fridge hoping that this time, a ribeye or similar will reveal itself, and being left hopelessly out of luck, I start trying to think of who I’ll call for a delivery, but then I see the big jar of quinoa that’s been sitting in the cupboard for a good probably year or more (I like quinoa in theory, just not in practice–I mean I never make it, but I should more often.) With the itemized list of veggies I have tucked away in the veggie drawer floating through my mind, I turn to a Tastespotting quinoa search, and find the beet based recipe. This is indeed what Tastespotting is for!
Quinoa Beets & Celery Root
I just wing these things. This is enough for a family of 10.
• quinoa – 2 cups
• beets – 1 bunch, raw, shredded one way or another
• celery root – cubed
• greens from black radishes (or whatever) – cut into chiffonade
• craisins – a good amount (or another dried fruit)
• salt & pepper
• toasted almond slivers
• goat cheese
Cook the quinoa. It’s made by simmering 1 part grain to 2 parts water, the same as rice. I tried shredding the beets with a microplane, then a box grater, and then I finally just sliced them into rounds, and then into very thin batons. It was a pain in the ass, but less of one then actually grating them. I had small beets, though. It’s probably easier with bigger ones. Do it the way it works best for you. Cut the celery root into 1/2″ cubes, toss with salt and pepper, and olive oil. Heat a large skillet on high heat, and add a little canola. once the oil is smoking throw the cubes in the pan. Smooth the cubes into a single layer, and cook until they brown, then toss around in the pan until they’re toothsome, but not mushy. Take your leafy green, and cut it into a very thin chiffonade. Once the quinoa is down cooking, take a bowl or a pot large enough to hold everything, and mix it all together, throwing in the craisins, (a good variation or addition would be crisp, tart apple) and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer servings to separate bowls, and top with toasted almonds and crumbled goat cheese. This is good hot or cold, which makes it a great go-to lunch for the next day, and the main reason that I made so much.
Collard Greens and beets are two of my favorite vegetables. I swore up and down that I hated beets for years and years until I decided to buy some fresh ones at the market and try them out again. Both of these are cheap, and simple to prepare. One bunch of collards is enough to feed a family of four. I bought the bunch (about 5lbs) I used here for $3.50 at the supermarket, but they sell them at farmers markets for as little as $2.00. Beets are a great anytime snack, especially drizzled with olive oil with salt & pepper, or with, my favorite, rich goat cheese. I bought 5lbs of these for $3.00 at the farmers market–that’s 60¢ a pound! I do not recommend buying these in the supermarket, as they are usually exceedingly overpriced. This is how I prepare each of these:
Ingredients: 1 Bunch Collards, 1 Onion, a few cloves garlic, Salt Pork or anything with fat including just fat, bacon fat for instance, or to keep it vegetarian, about half a cup of Olive Oil, Chicken or Vegetable Stock or water, Vinegar, Salt & Pepper
Heat the Oven to 300ºF. Take one bunch of collards and trim the stalks from the leaves, then cut them up into about 2″X2″ pieces or smaller, and set aside. Peel and thinly slice an onion, and peel and mince some fresh garlic. Today we had some chorizo that we needed to use, so that’s what I used for the fatty pork. Cook whatever you have, or just heat the fat or oil, in a dutch oven or any large pot with a tight fitting lid. Once the pork is cooked and all the fat is rendered, you can either remove it and add it back in later, or leave it in the pot. I opt to take it out. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and quickly sauté and then start adding the collards. They won’t all fit in at once, so add as much as will fit, and stir until they cook down, then add some more until they’re all in there. Season with salt and pepper as you go. Add a cup of stock, give it a stir, and put it in the oven for an 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven, stir in a tablespoon or two of vinegar. This will yield a massive quantity. Be careful, it’s hard to stop eating them.
Ingredients: As many beets as you want to make at once, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper
Heat the oven to 425ºF. Take the beets (do not peel), and coat them in olive oil by mixing them around in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, then wrap them up in tin foil, either individually or in groups of two or three, so long as they are completely wrapped up. Place them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Alternatively, place them on your charcoal grill when you have to let the coals burn down. They taste awesome off the grill, and it’s a great way to save yourself the guilt of losing so much charcoal. When they are cool enough to handle, peel, slice and serve.