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Archive for the ‘Beets’ Category

What are we thankful for this year?  For many things.  We are thankful for the presence of one another.  We are thankful for the fortune that those we love are healthy.  We are thankful that we have been graced with the ability to make better choices than at any other point in the past,  and that these choices have led to more compassionate lives with the prospect of a more healthful future.

Wild Rice and Millet Stuffing

I’ve always made a bread-based stuffing for Thanksgiving in the past but for whatever reason, I just wasn’t feeling the urge to do that this year.  Instead, I wanted to make something earthy and, to my mind, far more wholesome and sustaining.  It also happens to be gluten-free, which gives those with gluten intolerances another option for holiday dressings.  I thought the combination of wild rice and millet would make a beautiful duo when melded together with seasonal fruits and vegetables.  This dish set the tone for a gorgeous holiday meal.

Ingredients:

1 cup wild rice

1 cup millet

2 stalks celery, finely diced

4 golden beets, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered

1 cup dried cranberries

½ cup hazelnuts

½ leek, sliced thinly

2 shallots, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup fresh parsley, minced

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh sage

6 cups vegetable stock, divided

Sea salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Add the millet to a hot pot and toast for a couple of minutes.  [You will hear the seeds beginning to pop when they’re ready.]  Add 2 cups of vegetable stock and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and then drop to a simmer.  Cover and cook until the millet is light and fluffy.  This should take about 20 minutes.

In another pot, bring 3 cups of vegetable stock to a boil and add the wild rice.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the rice is soft.

Place the bite-sized pieces of beet and the quartered Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan.  Place in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes or until the edges of the vegetables have caramelized.

Add a drizzle of olive oil to a pan and add the celery, shallots, leek and garlic.  Cook over medium heat until softened.  Add the fresh herbs. [I like to tie mine together with kitchen twine so that removing the stems isn’t a hassle.]  Add the hazelnuts and dried cranberries and mix well.  Add one cup of vegetable stock and reduce heat to a low simmer.

When the millet is ready, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.  Drain the wild rice when ready, if necessary, and add to the bowl with the millet.  Mix in the contents of the pan, removing the herb stems.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Lastly, gently fold in the roasted beets and Brussels sprouts.

I served this in a roasted pumpkin.  If this is how you’d like to present this dish then you will need to get a medium-sized pumpkin and cut a round out of the top.  Clean out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon.  Place the hollowed out pumpkin and the top you removed on a baking sheet.  Place into a 400°F oven for about an hour or until the pumpkin has softened.  Remove from the oven and place upon a plate.  After that it’s just a matter of filling the pumpkin with the stuffing and serving it at table.

 

 

 

Tempeh, Walnut and Roasted Pear Loaf

Roasted pear purée was the key to giving this loaf an amazing seasonal flavor and moist texture.  The ingredient list reads like a Who’s Who of healthful botanical phytochemicals, polyphenols and antioxidants as well as omega-3s.

Ingredients:

16 oz tempeh

4 pears, divided

1 cup shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, diced

½ leek, sliced thinly

2 shallots, minced

2 stalks celery, finely diced

8 cloves roasted garlic

¼ cup ground flax seeds

½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 T fresh rosemary, minced

1T  fresh thyme leaves

4 large fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut 3 pears in half and core.  Place them upon a baking sheet and roast for an hour.  Thirty minutes into the roasting time, add the garlic cloves [wrapped up in some aluminum foil with a small bit of olive oil].

Sauté the leek, shallot, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms in a drizzle of olive oil until softened.  Add the herbs and mix well.

Place the tempeh into a food processor and blend until well crumbled.  Add to the sautéed vegetables, mixing thoroughly.

Remove the pears and garlic from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Place the roasted pears and garlic into the food processor and blend until homogenized.  Add to the tempeh mixture on the stove.  Add the flax meal and bread crumbs and stir to combine well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Core the remaining pear and cut into slices.   Line the bottom of a oiled loaf pan with them, overlapping each piece with the previous one.   Spoon out the loaf mix atop the pear slices and fill the pan.  Press down with the back of the spoon to compress the contents well.

Bake for an hour.  Allow to cool slightly and then gently invert onto a serving plate, pear side up.

 

 

Persimmon and Cranberry Gravy

I served this over some steamed green beans with roasted chestnuts [pictured above] as well as spooning it over the tempeh, walnut and roasted pear loaf.  This tart, tangy and sweet gravy tastes wonderful with savory dishes.

Ingredients:

3 cups organic unfiltered apple juice

1 persimmon, peeled and cut into a large dice

4 cloves garlic, smashed

4 sprigs fresh thyme

Zest of one orange

1 T while balsamic vinegar

½ cup fresh cranberries

Sea salt

Directions:

Place the apple juice, vinegar, garlic, persimmon, orange zest and thyme into a pan and bring to a simmer.  Reduce volume by half [~20 minutes].  Add reduced contents to a blender and blend until homogenous.  Return gravy to the pan and add the cranberries.  Bring to a low simmer and cook until the cranberries have popped [~10 minutes].  Season to taste with salt.

 

Raw Pumpkin Custard

The notion of a raw pumpkin pie has been tugging at my brain for a long time now.  Thing is, I wasn’t in the mood for a high caloric raw pie crust full of nuts and dates and such things after having such a large meal, so I opted to simply make the filling.  It’s all anyone ever really eats anyway, right?

Ingredients:

a small sugar pumpkin [mine yielded ~2 cups peeled pumpkin flesh]

one young Thai coconut [mine yielded ~1.5 cups coconut meat]

coconut water from the Thai coconut

6 medjool dates, soaked and pitted

¼ cup almond meal

4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 T fresh ginger, minced

1 tsp cardamom

½ tsp freshly-grated nutmeg

½ vanilla bean

1 tsp lemon zest

pinch of salt

agave syrup, to taste

Suggested garnishes:  raisins, almonds, roasted pumpkin seeds, citrus zest, freshly-grated nutmeg, cinnamon

Directions:

Seed and peel the pumpkin [I reserved and roasted the pumpkin seeds to use as a garnish].  Cut into a medium-sized dice.  Set aside.

Hack into the coconut [Great how-to video here], reserving the coconut water and flesh.  Set aside.

Add the pumpkin, dates and coconut flesh to a food processor and process until smooth.  Add the coconut water to aid the blending until you get a thick but smooth consistency, remembering that you can always add more liquid but can’t remove it.

Split the vanilla bean and remove the seeds with the back of a paring knife.  Add to the food processor along with the other spices.  Blend well.  Add the almond meal, ginger,  lemon zest and pinch of salt.  Process until smooth.   Add agave syrup to taste.  Place in the refrigerator to chill.

The almond meal will help to thicken the pumpkin pudding just as the coconut water will loosen its consistency.  You can adjust this to your tastes as you wish.

This is really nice served with a ginger cashew cream like the one I made here, and garnished with raisins, zests, nuts and seeds.

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This is such a nice autumnal soup and the spiced beets add a wonderfully unexpected twist!

Saged Butternut Squash and Asian Pear Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash [1.75 lbs], roasted

1 onion

1 asian pear, pan roasted

1 green apple, pan roasted

4 clove garlic

1 T olive oil

8 Fried sage leaves [Reserve the olive oil you use to fry them for use later to sauté the onions]

4 fresh sage leaves

¼ tsp mace

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground sage

½ tsp white pepper

Juice of one lemon

1 quart vegetable stock

1 T umeboshi paste [optional]

½ cup white wine

8 scrapes of fresh nutmeg

Directions:

Roast the squash 400°F for 45 minutes.  Pan roast the pear and apple, sauté the onions in the olive oil used to fry the sage leaves.  Add everything to blender.  Adjust seasonings.  Garnish with the fried sage leaves.

 

Chai-Spiced Beets

2 cups unfiltered organic apple juice

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 T date sugar

1 inch ginger

zest of ½ lemon

¼ tsp mace

6 cloves

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

6 green cardamom pods

½ tsp black pepper

1 cup diced beets

Directions:

Add everything to a pot.  [Place cloves and cardamom pods in a tea strainer for easy removal.]  Simmer until the beets are tender.  Drain and spoon on top of the soup.

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Cherries, especially the tart variety,  are receiving a great deal of attention these days in the athletic world due to their ability to mitigate pain after exercise.  This little fruit is packed full of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins as well as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are important to the health of your vision. They are also, interestingly enough,  a good source of the calming antioxidant, melatonin.

I use a great deal of fruit and vegetable juices in my cooking to impart both flavor and nutrients to our food, so when Cheribundi approached us and asked if we’d try out their cherry juice, we eagerly agreed.  This sauce, coupled with the yuba, was savory and sweet, tangy and lip-smacking good.   In short, it had umami.   The slaw, absolutely necessary for any mustardy Carolina-style barbecue-sauced dish, was the perfect fresh and raw accompaniment. 

 

Pulled Yuba in a Cherry Barbecue Sauce with Sesame Slaw

Ingredients:

1 cup tart cherry juice [I used Cheribundi’s Tru Cherry juice.]

½ cup dried sour cherries

¼ cup yellow mustard

¼ cup Dijon mustard

½ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup dark brown sugar

3 T tomato paste

1 T Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

1 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

6 oz dried bean curd sheets [1 package]

Peanut oil

Directions:

Add a drizzle of peanut oil to a pan and heat over medium.  Add the tomato paste and spread around the pan to caramelize and rid the paste of the tinned flavor.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the yuba and dried cherries, and bring to a low simmer.  Cook for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

While the sauce is simmering, soak the sheets of yuba in hot tap water to hydrate.  Once pliable, drain and roll into a tight bundle.  Cut into small shreds across the roll. 

Add the shredded yuba and dried cherries to the sauce.  Mix well to incorporate and set aside to marinate.  The longer you leave it, the more flavor the yuba will absorb.  To serve, simply return to the heat and warm through.  I served this sandwich-style on a toasted ciabatta bun.

 

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Sesame Slaw

Ingredients:

snow pea pods, julienned

red bell pepper, julienned

apple, julienned

golden beet, shaved with a vegetable peeler

tahini

fresh lemon juice and zest

dark sesame oil

black sesame seeds

Directions:

I did not include amounts because it depends upon how much you wish to make.  I simply added equal portions of each fruit and vegetable ingredient and then used a 2:1 ratio of tahini to lemon juice as the dressing with a few drops of dark sesame oil added.  Season with sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.  Garnish with sesame seeds.

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We went nettle picking recently on a local organic farm and walked through a gorgeous pasture full of blooming dandelions.  We gathered up quite a few of the beautiful flowers and decided to work them into a meal.  The petals are fairly sweet, while the green of the flower is slightly bitter.  I figured integrating them into a salad full of cooked sweet vegetables would be perfect; and it really was.

Golden Beet, Fennel and Grilled Pear Salad with Dandelions

Ingredients:

1 bunch golden beets with tops [Clean the tops well in cold water and chop into pieces.]

1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly

1 pear, cored and cut into wedges

a handful of organically-grown dandelion flowers

vegetable broth

olive oil

Directions:

Peel and cut beets into wedges.  Place in a pan and cover with broth.  Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until fork-tender. [Keep an eye on the level of liquid, you may have to replenish.]  Remove the beets and transfer into a bowl that can accomodate the entire salad once made.  Add the washed and chopped beet greens to the same pan and add more liquid if needed.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Drain and add to the bowl with the beet root.

Wipe out the pan and add a drizzle of olive oil.  Add the thinly sliced fennel bulb and sauté until slightly softened.  This should take 5-7 minutes.  Add fennel to the salad bowl.  Add the dandelion flower tops to the pan and sauté briefly.  Add to the salad bowl.

Heat a grill pan on medium high heat and add the pear wedges.  Cook until each side has grill marks.  Add to the salad bowl.  [You may want to cut the pears into smaller pieces, if so, let them cool atop the vegetables so that their juices fall into the bowl and are not wasted.]

Toss the cooked fruit and vegetables and season to taste with sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.  Either serve warm or at room temperature.  Garnish with fennel fronds.

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Borscht Noodle Soup

We picked up some gigantic organic beets the other week while  at the Co-op.   I wanted to put a new spin on a traditional dish and decided that the main beet element of this “borscht” would be a beet root pasta.  It turned out to be a really nice meal though there may be a Russian grandmother out there smacking a computer monitor with a wooden spoon while shouting:  “Nyet, nyet nyet!”

Borscht Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

one recipe Beet Root Pasta

1 leek, sliced thinly

1 T olive oil

2 carrots, sliced into oblong coins

4 cups red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces

½ head napa cabbage cut into ¼ inch slices [or any other green you prefer, kale would be nice]

1 large beet, cut into medium dice

¼ cup fresh dill, chopped plus an extra frond for garnishing

2 quarts faux chicken broth

red wine vinegar

vegan sour cream or non-dairy yogurt, for garnish

Dill seeds, for garnish

Directions:

Place diced beets into 2 cups faux chicken broth and simmer until fork-tender.  Drain and transfer to a bowl.  Cover the beets with red wine vinegar and set aside.

Sauté the leek in a stock pot until softened.  Add carrots and potatoes and continue to sauté for a few minutes longer.  Add broth and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender.  Add cabbage and fresh dill. 

Toss the pasta into boiling water and cook until it floats.  This should take about 2-3 minutes.  Plate the soup in a bowl and add a generous serving of fresh pasta and a few spoonfuls of the vinegar-marinated beets.  Garnish with vegan sour cream, dill seeds and dill fronds.

 

Beet Root Pasta

Ingredients:

½ cup semolina flour

½ cup unbleached white flour

1 tsp walnut oil

¼ cup beet juice

Water

Directions:

[The volume of liquid required to make a smooth and silky pasta dough will vary according to the moisture level and measurement of your flour.  Bearing this in mind, you may or may not need to augment the beet juice with some additional water.]

Place flours and oil into a food processor.  Slowly drizzle the beet juice into the flour with the processor running.  Once the dough pulls off the sides and forms a ball against the center rotor the dough is ready.  Remove the dough and knead a few times.  Form it into a flattened disk and cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.  You can make this the day ahead and refrigerate.

Once it has rested, run the dough through a pasta machine [I use a hand-cranked model that I picked up for $25.  It was well worth the investment] and lay it upon a clean surface to dry out a little bit.  Cut into linguine-style noodles.  Toss loosely with extra semolina flour so that as it dries further, it will not stick together. 

Cook in salted boiling water for a couple of minutes until it is cooked through.

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