Food from the Hart

Posts Tagged ‘Fruit and Vegetable’

Fall Produce: Beets

In Product Spotlight on September 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

Tomorrow is the official start of fall and time begin ushering in all the wonderful produce autumn has to offer.  Beets are one of falls best bounties. Full of sweetness and bursting with color, beets become tender and packed with flavor when cooked properly, making them an ideal addition to salads, side dishes and soups.  We often think of beets as a root vegetable, however the whole plant is edible. You can use the leaves in salads or sauté as you would kale or Swiss chard.

Picking the Best

We most often think of red beets, but in fact beets come in a variety of colors including yellow, stripped (called Chioggoa) and white.  To find these more unusual varieties your local farmers market or specialty grocery store is your best bet. When picking your perfect beet, look for smooth skins with firm roots.  Give the root a little tap, if it feels flimsy move on. To make sure you are getting the freshest, buy beets with the greens still attached.  The brighter the greens the better.

Once home, keep beets fresh by storing in a cool place like the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.  Beet roots last for 2 weeks and the leaves hold for 2-3 days.

Preparing Beets

There are two basic ways to make beets.  The easiest method is to place whole, unpeeled beets in boiling salted water and cook until fork tender.  When ready, simply use a paper towel to rub the skin off.  You can also roast them.  For this method,  peel and cut beets into pieces and roast in a 400 degree oven with olive oil, salt and pepper until fork tender.  You might consider using gloves when handling beets, their juice tend to stain everything from cutting boards, dish towels, counter tops, even your hands!

Surprising Combinations

Beets are more versatile than you might think. Try pairing cooked beets with a strong salty cheeses like Maytag blue, Roquefort or sheep’s milk feta.  These pairings work great in a simple baby green or arugula salad. Orange is another classic flavor match.  The acidity and brightness from the orange plays nicely against the earthiness of the beets.  Try whipping up an orange vinaigrette or adding orange zest to you next beet dish.

Add Beets to Your Next Meal

  • Toss boiled or steamed beets in a composed arugula salad with feta cheese, walnuts, orange slices and a soft citrus vinaigrette.
  • Roast with carrots, squash, turnips and parsnips for a wonderful root vegetable medley to go with nearly any protein.
  • Saute beet greens with spinach or watercress along with ginger and garlic. Add roasted beet wedges into the pan and deglaze with orange juice and cider vinegar.  Let the liquid reduce and serve warm.
  • Try adding a few slices of boiled beets on your next hamburger for a unique flavor twist.

 

 

 

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Old-Fashion Coleslaw

In Recipes on May 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Yield: 8 servings

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Classic, crunchy and delicious! This is the easiest coleslaw recipe you’ll ever make and will definitely become a fan favorite.

1 medium head of green cabbage, quartered, cored, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices

2 cups grated peeled carrots

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon kosher salt

½ tablespoon black pepper

¼ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup mayonnaise

preparation

In a large bowl, mix cabbage, carrots and green onion.  Season with kosher salt and pepper.  Add white wine vinegar and mayonnaise and mix well.

Spring Produce Spotlight: Fiddleheads

In Product Spotlight on April 13, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Fiddleheads? Yes, that is what they’re called.  These tightly spiraled green guys grow from fern fronds and have a similar taste to asparagus.  You have to catch these uncultivated forest delights quickly, they’re only available for a few weeks in early spring.

How to Cook

When you pick them up from the farmers market or grocery store, rub off the brown, papery thin skin and trim the stalks within 1 inch of the spiraled head.  Wash in several batches of clean, cold water.  Since these are wild greens you MUST cook fiddleheads before eating.  Not throughly cooking can lead to food-bourne illness. Steam or boil the clean fiddleheads for 10-12 minutes.  After boiling, shock in cold water and sauté if desired.  You want them cooked but to still maintain their crunch.

Add Fiddleheads to your Next Meal

  • Sauté blanched fiddleheads with thin strips of pancetta or prosciutto.  Add a little olive oil and finish with tarragon and chives.
  • Blanch fiddleheads and then simmer in some heavy cream.  Once the cream has reduces by half fold in some fresh goat cheese.  Season with fresh herbs.
  • Sauté blanched fiddleheads with a variety of wild mushrooms like morels, trumpets, chanterelle, etc.  Finish with a little butter and fresh herbs.
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