Beet – Pear Soup

Pears in the orchard

Pair your pears with beets for a soup you can’t beat!

4 medium beets
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1 ripe pear, peeled and cored, cut into 1 inch strips
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Steam beets (as described at the bottom of our About Beets post). Heat the butter on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the pear and cook for about 3 minutes more stirring occasionally. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the beets, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Allow to cool. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or carefully puree in batches in the blender. Can serve hot or cold, topped with goat cheese. Serves 4-6.

Adapted from 50 Best Plants on the Planet, the Most Nutrient-Dense Fruits and Vegetables, in 150 Delicious Recipes by Cathy Thomas.

P.S. Save those greens! Beet greens are a lovely sauté green and offer you the same nutrient density as the beet root. It’s a two for one deal! Prepare them like you would Swiss chard.

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Red Velvet Cake

A bunch of chioggia beets

The secret ingredient in this sweet dessert is — you guessed it — beets!

3 medium beets
3/4 cup butter, plus more for greasing pan
3/4 cup buttermilk
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups Nash’s soft white flour*
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake until the tip of a knife slides easily into the largest beet, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool until beets can be handled, then peel. (This may be done up to a day ahead.)

Butter two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment and then butter again.

In a food processor, chop beets to pieces about the size of finely diced onions. Measure 1 cup and set aside (remaining beets can be reserved for another purpose). Return cup of beets to the food processor. Purée with buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar and vanilla until smooth.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until soft. Slowly add sugar and beat until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Alternate adding flour mixture and beet mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and beating for 10 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the bowl after each addition of the wet ingredients.

Divide batter between prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove pans from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Frost with cream cheese frosting or other white icing.

*Nash’s soft white wheat flour has been milled fine, but if you want your Red Velvet Cake to be really silky, sift it before measuring it. We usually don’t, so we can get all the health benefits from the germ and bran.

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About Beets

Sliced beetsBeets are getting a lot of attention for being a unique source of ‘betalains’, phytonutrients that are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification supportive properties. To ensure that you get these benefits when enjoying your beets, keep your steaming times to 15 minutes or less and your roasting times to 1 hour or less, as the betalain concentration diminishes with heat exposure.

Beets are an excellent source of folate and a very good source of manganese, potassium, and copper. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, iron, and vitamin B6.

Folate is a water soluble B vitamin, critical for the normal development and function of our brain. This is why foods like cereals are fortified with folic acid, the synthetic form. A folate deficiency has been associated with an increased risk in cardiovascular disease. Beets provide a sweet and natural source of folate.

Steam beets for 15 minutes to maximize their nutrition and flavor. Fill the bottom of the steamer with 2 inches of water and bring to a rapid boil. Add beets, cover, and steam for 15 minutes. Beets are cooked when you can easily insert a fork or the tip or knife into the beet. Serve on top of a salad or sprinkle balsamic on top and serve as a vegetable side dish.

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Raw Beet Salad

Sliced beetsThis sweet and crunchy salad is the perfect nourishing side dish for these hot summer days. Yield: 4 servings.

1 to 1 1/2 pounds beets, preferably small
2 large shallots
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, or to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry or other good strong vinegar
1 sprig fresh tarragon, minced, if available
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves

Peel the beets and shallots. Combine them in a food processor and pulse carefully until the beets are shredded; do not purée. (Or grate the beets by hand and mince the shallots, then combine.) Scrape into a bowl.

Toss with the salt, pepper, mustard, oil and vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Toss in the herbs and serve.

Recipe from Mark Bittman.

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Kia’s Tahini Beet Salad

beet-salad

The crew got to try this vividly colorful salad for lunch recently — and boy, was it tasty!

As the availability of last fall’s beet crops extends far into the spring, I’ve been experimenting with new ideas for preparing these delicious crimson roots. This salad’s rich flavor disguises its simplicity, and no one could guess the secret ingredient… tahini!

For the Salad
3 cups minced parsley
4 cups shredded beets, cooked or raw (6-8 medium beets)
4 or 5 chive blossoms (optional)

For the Dressing*
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Thoroughly scrub the beets, then grate them raw. Or steam/boil/roast them until tender, and then grate. Toss beets with parsley and set aside. Although both are delicious, I love the cooked beet version of this dish better, and my two-year-old son did too!

Combine the olive oil, tahini, lime juice, apple cider vinegar and salt & pepper in a pint mason jar. Screw lid on tightly and shake thoroughly. Dressing will be thick. Thin as desired with another splash of vinegar, or water.

Toss veggies with dressing. Break apart chive blossoms into tiny flowers and sprinkle throughout salad. Serve warm or chilled.

This salad debuted at an April 2015 Farm Lunch. It was accompanied by Mary Wong’s ham and cheese scalloped potatoes. Needless to say the crew returned to work that afternoon with full, happy bellies!

*This dressing would be wonderful tossed with any kind of “chop-chop salad.” That’s my term for chopping up (or grating) raw veggies into a slaw-like salad, like broccoli stems, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, ruatabagas, green onions, etc.

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Roasted Beet Salad

beet cascade

Which beets will you choose for this tasty, vibrant salad?

Serves 4 as a side dish

1-2 pounds beets
Feta or soft goat cheese
Olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/2 bunch cilantro

Clean and quarter beets and place in roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and mix with fork to ensure the beets are evenly coated. Roast at 350°F until tender enough for a knife to go through the center. Add a dash of vinegar, salt, pepper and feta/goat cheese to taste. Toss everything together with chopped cilantro.

If you prefer, you can peel the beets for aesthetic appeal with this dish. Keep in mind you lose nutrient content when you peel any vegetable!

We thank Underwood Gardens for inspiration for this recipe.

Thanks!

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About Nash’s Root Medley

Root medley

Explore the rainbow of Nash’s root medley: carrots, beets, parsnips, rutabagas, sunchokes and potatoes might find their way into your bag!

Root vegetables each offer their unique nutrition profiles, but all of them are packed with nutritional benefits because of the extended time they spend in the rich, prime, alluvial soils of the Dungeness Valley. The more nutrient-rich the soil they are grown in, the more nutrient-packed these powerhouses will be.

The root medley is a great way to have an easy, colorful, and nourishing vegetable option for your winter dinner. Wrap roots loosely in a plastic bag and they will last for a few weeks in your fridge. However, potatoes are best stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.

According to food energetics, root vegetables provide a grounding and relaxed energy. Another huge plus: no need to peel these root vegetables, because most of the nutrients are held near the skin. Just use a brush to scrub them clean.

Here’s our favorite way to enjoy all those wonderful flavors:

Roasted Root Veggies

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slice beets, potatoes, rutabagas, and sunchokes to half-inch cubes and slice the carrots and parsnips to half-inch rounds.

Place all vegetables into a casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil or melted butter. (You may need a second dish. You want your vegetables to be all in one layer to cook evenly.) Sprinkle with any herbs or spices of your choosing and mix to ensure oil or butter covers all roots. Cover your dish with with a lid or tin foil if you desire vegetables that will be more moist and tender. Leave your dish uncovered if you like crisp veggies.

Roast until fork tender, about 40-50 minutes.

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Sausage Bean Pasta Ragout

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound Nash’s ground pork sausage
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups cooked beans (kidney, pinto, black)
4 teaspoons dried basil, or 1 cup fresh
3 teaspoons oregano
Crushed red pepper, to taste
1/2 cup macaroni
2 cups fresh greens (kale/chard/spinach/arugula/cabbage)
1/3 cup grated romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: grated beets, carrot, and turnips

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté 6 minutes. Add sausage and sauté until brown, breaking up meat with back of fork, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, broth, beans, basil, oregano, and dried crushed red pepper. (Optional: add grated beets, carrot, and turnips too!) Simmer 15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and cook until tender but still firm to bite, about 15 more minutes. Add greens and cook just until wilted, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Mix in 1/3 cup cheese and more fresh basil, if you have some. Season ragout with salt and pepper; ladle into bowls. Serve, passing additional cheese separately.

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Celery Root & Beet Salad

chioggia beets bunched

Use chioggia beets in your salads for their cheery red-and-white-striped flair.

6 medium beets (2 1/4 lb with greens), trimmed, leaving 1 inch of stems attached
1 (1 lb) celery root (sometimes called celeriac)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, additional to taste
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (2 ounces), toasted and cooled

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Wrap beets tightly in foil to make 2 packages (3 beets in each) and roast until tender, about 1 1/4 hours.

While beets roast, peel celery root with a sharp knife and cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks. Whisk together lemon juice, shallot, oil, salt, and pepper to taste in a large bowl until combined well, then add celery root and toss until coated. Keep at room temperature, covered, until ready to add beets.

Carefully unwrap beets and, when just cool enough to handle, slip off skins and remove stems. Cut beets into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks and toss with celery root.

Let salad stand, covered, at room temperature 1 hour. Taste salad and season with more lemon juice and salt if necessary, then toss with walnuts.

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Roasted Beets with Balsamic Glaze

beet harvest

Beets me why you wouldn’t try roasting beets with a balsamic glaze.

1 1/2 pounds beets
1 tablespoon olive oil mixed with 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
Salt and pepper

Rinse beets well, but do not peel. If they are large, cut into chunks about the same size. Place in shallow baking dish and pour the oil/water mixture over and toss to coat completely. Cover and bake until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork, 35-55 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover and let cool for 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, stir together the vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil until reduced by one-third, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Slice the beets into thin slices. Place the beets in a warmed serving bowl and drizzle with the balsamic glaze. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

We thank Susan Molin for this recipe.

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