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!

Aye Chihuahua Mexican Bake

Called “Aye Chihuahua” because if you use enough hot peppers it will get your brow sweating and your sinuses cleared. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” says Plato, and he is right. Tons of hot peppers, garlic and tomatoes necessitate a delicious mouth fiesta.

Ingredients

Stuffing
1 pound extra lean ground beef (grass-fed and local if you can)
1 small local, organic sweet onion – chopped
3-5 local, organic garlic scapes – chopped
1 can organic red beans
1 can organic black beans
1 large local, organic yellow carrot – sliced (but if I do this again, I will shred it)
1 cup local, organic corn
1-3 local, organic hot peppers (depends on how much heat you like – we like a lot! )
2 cups of shredded reduced fat cheese (We used Monterey Jack)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 flour tortillas

Topping
1 pint local, organic cherry tomatoes
a handful of fresh, local cilantro (OK, so admittedly I didn’t have this and copped out with 4 Tbsp dry, organic cilantro)
2 heaping Tbsp local, organic garlic – chopped
a pinch of sea salt
Organic Blue Cheese dressing, steak sauce or ranch (100% optional)

1.) Preheat your oven to 350. Brown your ground beef and onions in a pan on medium heat. In another saute pan, combine your beans and veggies with some oil, and saute over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
2.) Once everything is cooked, you can start rolling your wraps. I drain the burger grease, and then combine everything in my large saute pan that the burger cooked in. I put a sprinkle of cheese into the tortilla, scoop a spatula full of the innards into it, and then roll it up to be skinny and tight. Place in a 9×13 glass baking dish. Divide the contents into 8 tortillas (there are 9 in mine, since we had a rogue extra in the fridge).
4.) Once all are rolled up, you can start your topping. In a side dish hand squash your tomatoes. This is my favorite thing about tomatoes. (If you have never crushed one with your bare hands, take a moment to feel like the Hulk and mush the crap out of it. I was once told to rip pages out of a phone book when you are mad – like a kinkajou I suppose. Forget that. I squash maters and cry “Hulk Smash”.) Add your cilantro, salt and garlic. Stir thoroughly.
5.) When your topping is ready, cover your tortillas with it. Cover the whole shebang with foil, and bake for 30-40 minutes.

Serve with sauce if you like. I had one plain, and one with salsa (both were great), and then Eric introduced me to blue cheese and steak sauce on a bite, which was pretty much a little bastardized gift of Mex-American heaven.

Warning: They are addictive and filling. Get ready for a food coma and siesta afterwards!

Pasta Primavara Bake

As any good American citizen, sometime I just need to be able to come home and make something healthy and super quick for dinner. While there are hundreds of variations of pasta primavera, this one is my favorite for a quick fix.

Ingredients

1 box veggie pasta
1 jar organic Alfredo sauce (Newman’s is good, and relatively easy to find)
8 oz. Ricotta Cheese
1 organic, local zucchini – sliced into 1/8 inch pieces, cut in half again
3 organic, local carrots – cut into medium slices
1 cup local, organic peas
1 small head local, organic broccoli – steamed (or microwaved…gasp!)
handful of organic, local basil (I used Sweet Italian and Pesto Basil)
A shake or two of organic red pepper flakes
2-3 Tbsp organic, local garlic -chopped
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Organic garlic granules
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1.) Preheat your oven to 350. Boil your water for your noodles, and cook them as you complete the following steps.
2.)Heat oil  in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add all vegetables (except for the steamed broccoli), garlic, red pepper & basil and saute for 5-7 minutes, until zucchini gets to a slightly wobbly point.
3.) Pour sauce into a 13 x9 glass baking dish. Add steamed broccoli. I usually add 1/4 cup warm water for baked pasta dishes, so that they stay moist – this is optional.  When the pasta finishes, drain and add to baking dish. When the veggies finish, add to baking dish as well. Mix it all together.
4.) Top with small spoonfuls of ricotta  and sprinkle with bread crumbs and garlic granules. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with garlic bread – nom nom nom!

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