No one eats with the seasons like farmers. It is an absolute joy to dig into the soil and discover the availability of something you’ve yearned for all winter, but by the third week of eating nothing but vegetables x, y, and z, we’ve all become very fatigued, cranky, and downright jaded about all this damn “abundance”. There’s nothing worse than coming inside to escape the heat of midday, only to face an even greater challenge: getting excited about eating uninspired food. So it is not only the responsibility of the farmer to be a good steward to his or her vegetable rows, we also need to have a good repertoire when it comes to cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Beets are incredible. Incredibly nutritious, incredibly delicious, incredibly beautiful. They have roots of varying, eye-popping color perfect for roasting, grilling, pickling, or even consuming raw when sliced thin and marinated with a little salt and vinaigrette (we recommend chioggia for this because of its dramatic color-scheme). Their stems can be chopped finely and cooked down briefly to make them slightly more toothsome and are a welcome addition to sauces, salads, or even pizzas and flatbreads. The greens can be cooked down like mustards or collards, and they can bolster a salad by holding up to acid better than fragile lettuce.
For us, it is important to have an understanding of the individual ingredients, as opposed to creating specific recipes. Imagine a flowchart that begins with a raw vegetable. You make many alterations to the ingredient at hand, transforming it into something very specific by the end of your process. This is the essence of a recipe: complex, distinct, and ultimately very delicious, but you also may have painted yourself into a proverbial corner.
One thing that will aid in cultivating a useful repertoire for beets is a simple roasting method. This is like first position in ballet, from here you can go anywhere.
What you will need
Neutral Oil (canola, sunflower, grapeseed, safflower)
You will need to build pouches using the foil, so depending on the number of beets you would like to roast, pull out two pieces of foil per pouch. About five or six beets of medium size will do for each pouch. In a large mixing bowl, combine beets with enough oil to coat, and a good amount of salt. Place salted and oiled beets on top of two sheets of foil, and add a ton of fresh herbs and crushed garlic. Fold up all sides of the foil to seal in the beets, flip, and seal up the second piece of foil to ensure everything will not leak. Roast in the oven on a tray at 425 degrees fahrenheit for 1 hour and 30 minutes. When they are done roasting, open the foil and let cool for 20 minutes before trying to peel. The skin should slide off very easily. Now you have delicious roasted beets that you can slice and add to sandwiches, salads and soups! They can be served cold or sauteed in a pan to add caramelization, which makes them pair well with meat dishes. The juice left behind in the foil can be reserved and added to sauces or used to fortify vegetables dishes with extra beet flavor! Beets pair well with yogurt, dill, grains, mustard, raw onions and garilic, ginger, carrots, and nuts. You can even make beet ketchup by pureeing roasted beets with raw garlic, mustard, and cider vinegar. Good luck!