Posts Tagged ‘beetroot’

Week 10: July 27 – August 2

August 1, 2008

This week was almost entirely things that will not freeze well. We got two bunches of arugula, one bunch of tatsoi, three yellow summer squash, two cucumbers, two bunches of beets (well, one of beets and one of onions that we traded for more beets), two small red cabbage, and four pounds of potatoes.

We stir-fried the two bunches of tatsoi (one from this week, one from last week) with tofu, in a sauce of hoisin, tamari (soy sauce), garlic, and ginger.  It was delicious.  Tatsoi has a cabbage-y flavor similar to bok choy, but the leaves are sturdier and don’t wilt down as quite as much.  The stems are very tender and edible and are very attractive, light on dark, cris-crossing in all directions.

The beets this week had unusually long, thin stalks with unusually sparse leaves.  The beet stems-and-greens, therefore, were mostly stems.  I chopped the leaves coarsely and cut the stems to one-inch pieces, maybe shorter.  I cooked them in my usual way, sauteed with garlic in olive oil, then tossed with lemon juice and salt.  They made a meal paired with cheesy polenta – my husband mixed in shredded mozzarella, grated parmesan, garlic powder, and pepper. 

I finally made the potato salad I’d been meaning to make since I bought dill for it in week 8.  I did by best to re-create the yummy salad a friend makes based on her grandmother’s recipe.  I don’t know how similar my potato salad was to my friend’s grandmother’s, but I’m very pleased with how it came out.  Here’s what I did:  Cut two pounds of potatoes into large bite-sized pieces.  In a saucepan, cover the pieces with water.  Bring to a boil.  After the water reaches a boil, continue boiling for seven more minutes.  (Test with a fork to be sure the texture is right.  Potatoes cut a different size will need a different length of cooking.)  Drain the potatoes and rinse with cold water.  Dress with a mixture of 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola), 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt, and a half dozen or more grinds of black pepper,  Mix in one bunch of dill, chopped.

I want to make a color-switched cole slaw with red cabbage and yellow carrots.  I hope the red color doesn’t run, because then the carrots wouldn’t still be yellow.  When (if) I make it, I’ll have to post a photo.

While we have arugula (or when we had lettuce), various veggies go into green salad. Tonight’s supper, for example, included a salad of arugula, cucumber, and beet roots.  The beets were boiled for 20 minutes (which was a bit too long for the small size of our beets this week), then cooled and sliced.  They’re sweet, colorful, and (if not over-cooked) crunchy, which makes them a wonderful addition to a salad.  Be careful, though, because they stain hands and could probably stain countertops if you don’t wipe them down promptly and thoroughly.

We at the salad with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. I use a Good Seasons cruet, and add balsamic vinegar past the -v- line all the way up to the -w- line, then olive oil up to the -o- line.  I put in salt, garlic powder, basil, oregano, and black pepper.  I have no idea what quantities.  Just sort of to taste.  Sometimes when I make a fresh batch, I’ll dress my salad and then get up from the table to doctor up the dressing.  Usually my problem is not enough salt.  Kitchen chemistry hint:  it’s easier to dissolve the salt in the vinegar before adding the oil.  It’s about polarity.  That will have to be its own post sometime soon. 

When we don’t have leafy greens for a salad, some of those same good-for-eating-raw vegetables become crudites (vegetable sticks) with dip.  We did that recently with carrots, cucumbers, and kohlrabi.  My homemade vegetable dip is very easy:  start with plain yogurt, add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dill, all “to taste.”  Because the base is plain yogurt (as opposed to sour cream and mayonnaise, which is the more typical dip base) it’s very healthy, aside from the salt.  I use lowfat plain yogurt.  I buy Stonyfield Farms, which is based in southern New Hampshire only about an hour north of Boston, so it’s a local food.  And tasty local food, at least on this blog, is the whole point.


Week 8: July 13-20 (Part II)

July 20, 2008

This was a 3-farmers-market week.  In addition to buying apples and zucchini early in the week, I bought dill (intended for potato salad) at the mid-week market and tomatoes and lettuce at the end-of-week market.  The lettuce is just for salads, because it’s so hot and we have so many good things to put on top of lettuce in salad.  The tomatoes were for a family reunion picnic, and were sliced and put on sandwiches. 

The family picnic took care of some of our vegetable glut.  We made cole slaw, using the shredder attachment for our stand mixer.  We used the slicing blade for the cabbage and the shredding blade for the carrots, mostly orange and some yellow for color.  Because of the heat, I didn’t use the normal mayonnaise-laden dressing.  Instead, I made an Asian dressing of rice vinegar, canola oil (sesame oil gives too heavy a flavor), tamari soy sauce, grated ginger (I buy it jarred), and lots of sesame seeds (cheapest at an Indian grocery).

Also for the picnic, we made a big batch of tabbouleh (using 3 cups of bulghur wheat), and put in the entire bunch of parsley, three cucumbers, three orange carrots, and three yellow carrots.  The carrots are on the small side, the kind you buy at the farmers market not the kind you buy at the grocery store. 

We finally did some freezing.  It’s been very hot, so standing over boiling water to blanch vegetables is thoroughly unappealing.  We boiled about two pounds of beetroots.  The larger ones are good for grilling.  The smaller ones are good for freezing.  It works out very nicely.  We boiled the beets for half an hour, but probably should have given them only 25 minutes.  After boiling, many of the skins came off easily, but if they didn’t come off I didn’t worry about it.  Skinning beets involves pushing at the skin, trying to slide it sideways over the inside part.  We sliced a few of the beets for putting on salads (cold).  The rest we cut into wedges and froze. 

We also froze some zucchini and green beansPutting Food By says that only small zucchini freeze well.  Of our six zucchini, I judged that three were small enough to freeze.  We cut them into thick slices, blanched them for three minutes, shocked them for three minutes, and put them in our freezer.  The green beans were also three minutes to blanch and three minutes to shock.  I cut them to lengths somewhere between one and two inches.  Unfortunately, sitting on the top shelf of our refrigerator for nearly a week caused many of the beans to freeze and become weirdly translucent and have to go straight to compost. 

In other food news, we tried kohlrabi finally.  I knife-peeled one of them, and cut it into sticks maybe half an inch on a side.  It’s delightfully crunchy.  It reminds me of the inside of broccoli stems, which isn’t surprising, because kohlrabi is also a stem. 

Finally, the inventory:  The non-roots still to be used are one bunch of dill, one bunch of lettuce, three large zucchini, one cucumber, and one kohlrabi.  The roots still to be used are lots of carrots, some beets (mostly chioggia), and two pounds of potatoes.  The fruits still to be used are most of two pints of black raspberries.

I forgot to mention the raspberries.  We went berry picking today with friends, and brought back two pints of purple raspberries and two pints of black raspberries.  Well, that’s how many there were before we started the car ride home.  There were fewer when we arrived.  The purple raspberries I tried to turn into conserve.  I hope the boiled berry-sugar soup will firm up.  After a night in the refrigerator it will move into the freezer, in one-cup containers, to be moved to the refrigerator as needed during the year.

Week 7: July 6-12 (Part II)

July 11, 2008

The most exciting food this week was the most local:  blueberries from our backyard. 

Eight Delicious Blueberries
Eight Delicious Blueberries


Last year, we put in blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry plants.  They were mail-order, and arrived as barely more than twigs. We got 3 of each type of plant, but one of the raspberries died.  Only one of the blueberries matured enough to flower and fruit this year.  We noticed yesterday ( July 10, 2008 ) that the berries were ripe.  We picked and ate our first-ever blueberry harvest:  8 delicious berries. 

The photo shows my husband holding our harvest.

Tonight, for the first time this summer, we grilled.  We have a charcoal grill, and we used a vegetable grilling tray to make it easier not to lose food between the bars of the grill.  The vegetables we grilled were summer squash, beet roots, and beet stems.  The beet greens I cooked in the microwave, so as not to heat up the kitchen.  Everything was delicious. 

To prep it for grilling, I sliced the summer squash, and tossed (briefly marinated) it in olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and jarred dried spices:  basil, oregano, and garlic powder.  If I were using fresh herbs, I’d sprinkle them on after grilling. 

I trimmed the beets, but for the past few years I’ve been too lazy to peel them.  I’ve also stopped peeling my carrots and potatoes, and I only buy them organic.  I prepped the beet roots for grilling by slicing them, somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick, and then lightly oiling and salting the slices.  I also lightly oiled and salted the stems, which I left long (not cut up) to reduce their chances of falling through to the charcoal.  The beet slices need more cooking time than the stems.  The beet greens I microwaved.  Like the roots and stems, I seasoned them with oil and salt, and then also splashed in some red wine vinegar. (I used vinegar because it was out already for use on the summer squash; normally I’d use lemon juice). 

Earlier in the week, I used the microwave-to-not-heat-the-kitchen trick on the mizuna.  Before microwaving, I tossed on some rice vinegar, soy sauce (tamari), sesame oil, and ginger paste (which didn’t mix in as well as when I sautee the mixture). 

It was finally cool enough, by the time we’d finished eating, to blanch and freeze the kale.  (See instructions in week 4.)

Just for recordkeeping, a quick rundown of what’s still in the fridge:  The napa cabage and parsley (both week 6) are demanding attention rather urgently.  The carrots (6 bunches from weeks 6 and 7) and beet roots (3 bunches from weeks 5 and 6) are waiting quite patiently until their services are desired.  The kohlrabi (2 from week 6) I’m not sure of, how long it will stay good.  The spring onions (week 7)would probably make a lovely stock, but onions and I don’t get along, so I need to give them away.  I still don’t know what to do with the fava beans (2 pounds from weeks 6 and 7).