Fiery Beet Salad

This past Saturday we had our CSA supper with B&H,  which I had been excited about since June. We had no Internet for a few days, and had been talking about how excited we were to go on Sunday… then we got the Internet back, checked our email ( at 3 PM on Saturday), and discovered that the dinner was in 3 hours! I needed something tasty and with speed! I had roasted another batch of beets to make pickled beets (Seriously, all summer production in small batches IS the way to go 🙂 ), and decided that I would attempt to make a beet salad for the masses. Eric, my fiance, is generally not a beet fan, but he went gaga for this spicy salad, and has eaten it 3 days in a row. I must have done something right!

Ingredients
6 large local, organic beets without stems or bottom “tails”
1 large, local organic carrot – shredded
2-3 local, organic cubanelle peppers – chopped
Spicy peppers of your choice (I used 3 hot wax peppers) – diced fine
6 TBSP  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 TBSP local, raw honey (I used Buckwheat)
1 tsp of lime juice (fresh would have been best – I was in a pinch though)
20-30 organic mint leaves (from our garden – I used apple mint)
1 bunch of local, organic cilantro
3 cloves of local, organic garlic – finely chopped
1 small ginger root (mine was the size of my thumb or smaller)
1/4 cup organic sesame seeds
sea salt
tri-color pepper

1.) Roast the beets at 350 degrees for about an hour. I paint them lightly with olive oil, put them on aluminum foil, and put a sheet of aluminum over them (making a beet pocket). They are ready when they are soft.
2.) Let the beets cool before peeling them. I peel by hand, but lots of folks use a paring knife because they don’t want pink hands. I have never had a problem with stained hands (cuticles a bit sometimes, but usually no).
3.) While your beets cook, or cool, mix your other ingredients in a bowl. I did liquid and spices first, then I added the carrots, garlic and peppers.
4.) When your beets are cooled, cut into little julienne strips. Add to mixture, stir, fridge, and eat whenever you like!

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Pickled Beets – My New Obsession

When I was growing up, I hated beets. I hated them until I was 24 because I had never actually tried one, and just instinctively put up that wall that we so easily and unnecessarily put up when we are considering new food options. One random day at a salad bar, I tossed a beet on my plate. I was overwhelmed when I ate it! It was earthy and rooty and sweet and tart. What a delightful find!

Fast forward to the beginning of the CSA. I wanted beets. I would pickle them and store their goodness forever. Though having canned salsa, jam, and other various things in the past, I had never tried beets. I write this blog to show that it is easier than you think to make tasty, organic food, and to promote it in South Eastern Pennsylvania. Though all of the recipes thus far have been my own creation, for something like pickled beets I wanted the expert word. That being said, see the link at the bottom of the page for the pickling recipe I have been using.

When I sell beets at the Farmer’s Market there are 2 things most people don’t seem to know.

1.) Beet Greens are delicious mixed in with salad mix, and they’re healthy for you, packed with a wallop of vitamins A & K, potassium and magnesium (among other things). They come from the chard family, and are quite tasty.

2.) People like pickled beets, but few people actually know how to pickle them.

That’s when I discovered this recipe.  In my experience with cooking, I try really hard to NOT boil any veggies. Boiling kills their vitamin and nutrient content, and all of the good stuff leeches into your water (which you then throw away). When boiling vegetables, they lose a lot of their value. That being said, I roast the beets instead of boiling them.

Again, this is not my recipe. Click the link to check out the full directions from What’s Cooking America.  They offer boiling or roasting as a method, and roasting is healthier!

Ingredients:

3 pounds fresh small whole beets (use similar size beets)*
2 cups organic apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
2 cups granulated, organic sugar
3 or 4 local, organic garlic cloves, sliced in half

* Small beets can be pickled whole. Larger beets can be sliced in 1/4-inch slices or diced. In this recipe, I used several different varieties of beets that were varying sizes that I sliced.

Now before I start feeling like Dwight Schrute from “The Office” I will get off my beet pedestal.


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