Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 2 -- Beets

Roots Farm CSA Week 2: May 10 & 13

This Week:
-Sweet Charlie & Chandler Strawberries
-Sweet Onions (“Vidalia-type Yellow Granex)

-Swiss Chard or Kale
-Broccoli Raab
-Hakurei Turnips
-Easter Egg Radishes, French Breakfast Radishes
-Chioggia & Merlin Beets
-Lettuce -- Red & Green Heads
-Summer Squash: Zephyr, Yellow Zucchini

On the Farm . . .
The busy-ness continues. We’ve got a big push of peppers and eggplants to transplant this week and our sweet potato slips arrived just this weekend which leaves us with over 600 feet of plants to get in the ground! Wow! We’re putting a new area into production to handle more sweet potatoes and winter squash than ever before. Yesterday saw me out on the tractor all afternoon mowing and tilling and applying compost to get it prepared for planting this week. The mowing is becoming kinda essential as the grass and weeds shoot up around here. Our upper field is a rampant weedy wonderland! I had that whole garden under mulch last year for weed control, but experience is letting me know that the weed control only lasts as long as the mulch does, so this year, it’s back to landscape fabric and hoeing. Thank goodness we’re having a workday this Saturday to help us get it all this planting and weeding done . . .

Saturday Workday--May 14!
Our May weekend workday is THIS SATURDAY! We’ll be out here from 9am-noon transplanting, weeding, mulching, and more! We could sure use the help, so come on out and join us for a beautiful early Summer morning on the farm. Plus, as always, there a farm fresh BRUNCH afterwords. Becky’s famous kale quiche is on the menu, and since beets are appearing this week, I’ll be making Beet Chocolate Cake Muffins! They’re deee-licious.

Veggies in Your Basket
So I forgot to mention last week when we featured kale that we’re growing 4 kinds of kale this year! Winterbor (frilly green), Red Russian (flat, purple stems), White Russian (flat, white stems), and Rainbow Lacinato (oval flat, purple and white stems). Tatsoi and broccoli raab are appearing again, for the last time, so enjoy them while they last. Dill is also appearing this week, and I happen to love the stuff. It’s great paired with potatoes, carrots, and anything creamy. I like to make shredded carrot and potato cakes with dill and eat them with sour cream . . . ummmm. . . You’re also seeing the last of the French Breakfast Radishes this week--bi-colored red and white long radishes--theyr’e mild and delicious. Hope you liked them! And the summer squash are really beginning in earnest. My favorites are the zephyr squash--a bi-colored yellow and green delight that’s buttery and tender and amazing. I had fried squash and onion tacos for lunch today, and man oh man, I didn’t even miss the beans. Also appearing this week are beets! They’re our featured veggie, so I’ll tell you more about those below.

Earthy, sweet, amazing beets! Some people love them, some despise them. I’ve got recipes for both. Highlight them in a salad or roasted or bake them into dessert to hide them away--either way, you’re getting some red goodness. Beets are high in vitamins A & C and in carotenes; the greens also contain calcium and iron. Beets are closely related to swiss chard, beets having been cultivated for their roots and chard for the leaves. With that in mind, eat your beet greens! They’re yummy.

Storage: cut the greens from the roots and store separately. The greens can be kept in a closed plastic bag for up to one week. The roots can be stored in the hydrator drawer of your refrigerator for up to a month! Preparation: baked, roasted, boiled, grated, raw, in salads, soups, cakes, and more! I especially like grating them to add to dishes. Here are a couple of simple oven ideas, then the recipes. Roasted beets: bake in a pan at 400 degrees for 25-60 minutes, depending on the size of the beet. Baked beets: bake in a covered pan with ¼ inch water at 375 degrees for 20-40 minutes. Pizza option: roasted beets, carmelized onions, olive oil, garlic, spinach, feta cheese, rosemary; bake and drizzle with honey--a CSA member recommendation! Now, the recipes, more of which can be found here.

Grated Raw Beet Salad
4 medium beets, peeled, grated coarsely (3-4 cups)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, pressed or minced
salt & fresh ground pepper
1-2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

Put the grated beets in a large salad bowl. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, and garlic in a large jar. With the lid tightly screwed on, shake the jar vigorously until the oil and vinegar are thickened. Pour the dressing over the beets and toss until well coated. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Transfer beet mixture to the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour. Add the fresh dill, toss again, and serve chilled on lettuce, over cottage cheese, or as an unusual and colorful condiment. Makes 6 servings. (from Farmer John’s Cookbook) You can also add grated carrots or radishes to this dish. . .

Beet & New Potato Salad
2 lbs beets, tops and roots trimmed
1 ½ lbs new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream or yogurt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 scallions, chopped
1 tsp prepared horseradish (opt)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beets, but do not peel them. Wrap them in foil and seal the packets tightly. Roast for 50-60 minutes, until the largest beet is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven, open the packets, and let cool. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in salted water to cover in a medium saucepan until just tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Add the oil and vinegar. Toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip off the skin and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to the potatoes. Mix together the sour cream or yogurt, dill, scallions, and horseradish (opt). Add to the potatoes and beets and toss to mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Let sit for 30 minutes to marinate before serving. Makes 4 servings. From Serving Up the Harvest.

Roasted Carrot & Beet Salad from Athens’ own 5 & 10 and the National
1 lb small beets; scrubbed, not peeled
1 lb small carrots; scrubbed, not peeled, 1/2 in of green top left on
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin seed, toasted in a dry pan, then pulverized
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp finely chopped mint
salt & pepper
1 more Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb good feta (optional)
1 cup pulled flat leaf parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a vigorous boil and add the carrots. Blanche for one minute and then remove to a pot of ice water to stop the cooking. Once cool, remove and set aside. Place the beets in a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, add a half teaspoon of salt and then simmer until beets are tender. Strain the beets and peel them using a paper towel to rub off the skin. This is easier when they are still warm and hot. Make your vinaigrette by placing the Dijon in a bowl and whisking in the olive oil and then the lemon juice and the sherry vinegar. Add the cumin and the mint. Season. If the vinaigrette is not emulsified, that’s okay. Crumble the feta and set aside. Toss the carrots with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, season lightly and place on half a baking sheet pan. Toss the beets with the other half tablespoon of olive oil and place on the other side of the sheet pan. Place in preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove beets and carrots from oven and place in a large bowl. Add about 1/4 cup of vinaigrette, the feta and parsley, and toss. Drizzle with a touch more vinaigrette, if you like, on your plate. Makes 6 servings.

Beet Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3-4 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
¼ cup oil
3 cups shredded beets

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk dry ingredients together. Melt chocolate very slowly over low heat or in double boiler. Cool chocolate; blend thoroughly with eggs and oil. Combine flour mixture with chocolate mixture, alternating with the beets. Pour into pans. Bake until fork can be removed from center cleanly, 40-50 minutes. Makes 10 servings. I highly recommend this recipe--makes a delightfully moist chocolate cake. Yum!

1 comment:

Jen said...

Turnip and Radish Breakfast Salad
I sauteed a turnip and radish along with walnuts in olive oil until, well until I noticed the walnuts were burning. Served this over the arugula with a splash of white balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil. I had this alongside some Luna Honey Wheat bread. Terrific!