Posts Tagged beet

Chioggia Beet Salad with Raspberry Mint Vinaigrette and Feta

So, a couple months back I wrote about my newfound love of beets. And while I was enjoying the wonderful world of beets, I also made sure to apologize to all the beet haters of the world and promised that I would cool it on the beet posts for awhile. I did mention, however, that I had just planted a bunch of chioggia beets and said that I would probably post about beets again when I harvested my beets. Well, my friends, that time has finally come. My beets are ready!

But let me back up for a second. As you can probably tell from the above photo, this is no an ordinary beet. Chioggia beets are an Italian heirloom varietal of beet, known for their gorgeous red and white striped flesh (they are also called candy cane beets, which makes perfect sense!). I first heard about this type of beet when I read Barbara Kingsolver’s book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”. While I had mixed feelings about the book, I did come away from it with a clear understanding of what it means to cultivate heirloom vegetables. Currently the term ‘heirloom’ gets thrown around a lot in trendy restaurants and high end food stores. However, there really is something to be said for planting (and eating) heirloom foods.

I won’t attempt to take on the whole of the American food system today (I’ll save that for another day!). Instead, I would simply like to point out a few major changes that have taken place in the agricultural system. As you can see in the diagram below, the availability of different types and varieties of vegetables has greatly dwindled. Just take beets for an example: 100 years ago, there were 288 varieties of beets. Today, there are just 17 varieties of beets in existence.

(Graphic from

If nothing else, these figures are incredibly sobering. Fruits and vegetables are now bred and modified to be resistant to pests, to last longer on grocery store shelves, and to look more appealing to the eye. While the nutritional value of heirloom vs. genetically modified produce is often debated, I happen to believe that heirloom vegetables simply taste better. I also love the variation and beauty that is often found heirloom varietals: purple, yellow and green tomatoes; black zucchini; candy cane striped beets, and more.

It is for these reasons (and more) that I am personally a fan of heirloom vegetables. If nothing else, I find that they are often much prettier than their hybrid counterparts! (Note: To learn more about heirloom varietals and ongoing attempts to save and share heirloom seeds, visit the Seed Saver’s Exchange)

As for the recipe, I made this salad when I was home alone one evening. I went to my backyard, picked some raspberries, mint, and beets…and an hour later I had an incredibly fresh and tasty dinner (I ate the salad alongside a baguette and Salted Molasses Butter). Sadly, the chioggia beets lose a lot of their candy cane brilliance once you roast them, but they still taste amazing!

Roasted Beet Salad with Raspberry Mint Vinaigrette and Feta

4-6 small to medium sized beets (If you can’t find chioggia beets, red or golden beets will also work)
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh mint
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (could substitute lemon or lime juice)
1 small shallot, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled

Roast the beets: To roast the beets, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and trim beet greens off (reserve for other use), leaving 1/4 inch of the stems in tact and leaving the skins on. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and bake until tender when pricked with a fork or knife (30-45 minutes). The times will vary depending on the size of the beets. Set beets aside and allow to cool. Once cooled, peel off beet skins. The skins should come off easily when rubbed with a paper towel (or you can just use your fingers).

To make the vinaigrette: Macerate raspberries and mint in a small bowl. Whisk in shallots, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if you desire a thinner consistency. Allow vinaigrette to set for 30 minutes or more, to allow the flavors to meld together.

To assemble the salad: Slice cooled beets into quarters, and arrange on a plate. Sprinkle crumbled feta over the beets, and drizzle raspberry vinaigrette over the beets and feta. Garnish with fresh mint. Serve immediately. (Note: this beet salad could be served atop a bed of arugula, spinach, etc.)

For the love of beets.

I apologize for the sudden outpouring of beet recipes on my blog. I don’t quite know what’s gotten into me.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I did not like beets until somewhat recently. Not one bit. I don’t know what finally persuaded me, but suddenly I can’t get enough of them! They are just so darn beautiful (and tasty! And good for you!) So many great things rolled up into one pretty little package.

My theory behind the sudden outpouring of beet recipes is that I’m making up for lost time. All those years I spent hating beets…I had no idea what I was missing. So now that I’ve fallen in love with this ruby red root vegetable, I’m going a little beet crazy. To all you beet haters out there: I apologize. I know that my blog is quite beety at the moment. So, I promise that this will be the last of the beet recipes for awhile, OK? Besides, I have spring vegetables to concentrate on now. Bring on the asparagus, radishes, strawberries, snap peas, and more!

However, I will say one more thing to the beet haters out there. If you could find it in your heart to give beets another chance, you might be pleasantly surprised. Beets – when done right – are nothing like their soggy, ghoulish canned counterparts (don’t even get me started on canned beets: ICK!). With that being said, I’ll leave you with a few of the recipes that have helped me learn to love beets.

Beet Quinoa Pancakes
Boozy Beet and Apple Popsicles
BLBs – Bacon, Lettuce, and Beet Sandwiches

And now, for all you beet lovers…you’re in for a real treat. I have not one, but two beet recipes for you. I served both of these at my Cheese, Wine and Swine dinner party (However, I did not serve them together, as I thought that might be overdoing it a touch). The Babushka (beet cocktail) was paired with the melon and duck proscuitto appetizer, and the Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad was served as the second course (paired with a lovely French Rosé).

I’ll leave you all with this thought: this weekend, I planted 3 rows of chioggia beets in my garden. So when I harvest those little beauties, I can promise you I’ll go on a beet craze again. For now, I’ll leave you with these two recipes and lay off the beets for awhile. :)

The Babushka
(Makes 1 cocktail)
3 oz beet vokda (Click here for the recipe)
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup (*or ginger simple syrup, recipe here)
1 oz of Prosecco (or other sparkling wine)

In pitcher or measuring cup, gently stir together beet vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup. Pour into a chilled martini glass. Gently pour prosecco over the top. Garnish with lemon wedge. Serve immediately.

Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad with Whipped Goat Cheese and Pistachio Vinaigrette
(Serves 4)
4 large beets
1 fennel bulb
1/2 cup good quality goat cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
1/8 tsp nutmeg
The juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roast beets: Wash the beets and remove greens (set aside for another use). Do not peel the beets. Wrap each beet in a piece of tinfoil and place directly on rack in preheated oven. Roast 45 minutes to an hour, or until beets are tender when pricked with a fork or knife. Allow beets to cool. Once cooled, the skin should peel or rub off easily. Remove skin and slice beets into 1/4 or 1/2 cubes.

Roast fennel: Remove tops (fronds) of the fennel, set aside for later. Slice fennel bulb thinly (like you would an onion), toss with olive oil to coat. Spread fennel in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven, or until tender.

Make pistachio vinaigrette:
Chop pistachios or pulse quickly in a food processor. Pour olive oil over the pistachios, stir to combine Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cider vinegar. The mixture will be thick.

Whip the goat cheese: using a whisk, blender, or hand mixer, whip goat cheese and creme fraiche together until goat cheese is whipped and fluffy. Add extra creme fraiche if needed. Season goat cheese mixture with nutmeg and a dash of black pepper.

Combine cooled beets and fennel in a mixing bowl. Toss with liberal amount of the pistachio dressing. Take reserved fennel fronds & chop finely – until you have 2 teaspoons worth. Sprinkle finely chopped fennel fronds over the salad, stir just to combine. Serve beet salad in small bowls and top with a healthy dollop of whipped goat cheese. Sprinkle extra pistachios atop the goat cheese. Serve at room temperature.

Note: For those of you who asked about recipes from the Cheese, Wine, and Swine dinner party: I hope you were pleased with what I’ve posted. This will be the last of them! My husband was responsible for making the duck prosciutto, and I’m still waiting on him to write up that post. :) And I’ll admit – the duck proscuitto was really tasty, but we’re definitely still beginners at the fine art of charcuterie. For a full tutorial on how to make your own duck proscuitto, go here.

Recipe Swap: Boozy Beet & Apple Popsicles

I’m a little late to the Recipe Swap party this month (due to my Foodbuzz 24×24 post that went up on Sunday).

But, better late than never, right?

These last few weeks have gone by in a blur. First off, I was sick for a week and a half and it was rotten. Second, I hosted a giant dinner party that required only a few hours of preparation (and by a few, I mean many, many hours). Not that I’m complaining. Trust me, it was all worth it! But, as you can tell, I’ve had a lot going on.

However, in midst of all of this I found the time to whip up a little something for this month’s Recipe Swap. I’ve been at this for awhile now, so I won’t explain the whole thing, but if you’d like a history of the swap, head over to Burwell General Store for more info and descriptions of all the lovely bloggers involved.

This month, CM from Burwell General Store choose a doozy of a recipe for us to re-interpret: Ozarkian Taffy Apples. I’m not a huge sweets fan, so it took me awhile to get excited about the recipe. My initial thought was to transform it into a savory recipe…something along the lines of a pork skewer with an apple glaze. But, after my Cheese, Wine, and Swine dinner party, I was just a little bit porked out. I was in the mood for something light and refreshing. So, I turned to the sun for inspiration.

Why? Because the sun is finally shining in Portland. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Portland is magical, magical place when the sun shines. I promise, it is like no other place on earth. Sadly, the sun doesn’t show her face much from November to March. But, all of the sudden is back, giving us glimpses of her radiant face and promising all the beauty that summer brings. I’ve allowed myself to begin dreaming of ice cream, backyard BBQs, heirloom tomatoes, and all that the summer has to offer. I can’t wait!

It is precisely this type of summery daydreaming that led me to my great recipe swap idea: apple popsicles! Refreshing, delicious, and vaguely reminiscent of the original candy-apple-on-a-stick recipe. Since I couldn’t be content to make a regular old apple popsicle, I decided to take them up a notch and attempt a boozy apple popsicle.

The internet let me know that boozy popsicles were within the realm of possibility (as I was dubious about alcohol and freezing), and so the matter was settled. I would use apple juice as the base for the popsicle along with beet vodka (which was leftover from the 24×24 party). I also threw in a little ginger simple syrup for kicks. This whole thing was one big experiment, and I’m pleased to report that it all worked out marvelously. The trick to boozy popsicles is simple: you just can’t use much alcohol. The ratio should be roughly 3 parts juice to 1 part alcohol.

For those who are wary of alcohol in their popsicles, I will mention that the alcohol taste is hardly noticeable (which makes sense as there isn’t a lot of alcohol in the recipe). And, of course, it would be very easy to substitute beet juice for the beet vodka in order to make non-alcoholic popsicles.

I am including beet apple popsicle recipe, as well as instructions for making beet infused vodka and ginger simple syrup. I do hope you enjoy (and that summery days are in store for us soon)!

Beet, Ginger & Apple (Boozy) Popsicles:
(Note: I didn’t have much freezer space so I didn’t make very many popsicles! This recipe could easily be doubled, tripled, etc, to make more!)

1.5 cups organic unsweetened apple juice
1.5 Tablespoons ginger simple syrup (recipe below)
3 Tablespoons beet (or other) vodka
Dixie cups (I used teeny tiny little 3 oz cups) or popsicle molds

Combine all 3 ingredients together in a small pitcher (or something you can easily pour from). Pour into popsicle molds or small dixie cups. Using cardboard or tape, affix a popsicle stick to hang in the center of the cup, so that it is partially submerged in the liquid and not touching the bottom of the cup. I found that cardboard works best (but tape will work just fine.)

Note: Please feel free to adjust this recipe to your liking! Next time, I think I might grate a little fresh ginger or orange peel into the mix. I started simple as I wanted to see how well they turned out. I was very pleased and I will be making many more popsicles in the near future. :)

Beet Infused Vodka:
1 bottle mid-quality vodka (nothing too nice): Monopolowa, Stoli, Svedka, etc.
3-4 raw beets, peeled & cubed.

In a large jar, combine beet cubes & vodka. Allow to soak for 3-4 days in a cool room, away from sunlight. When ready, strain out the beets and discard (unless you have an idea as to how to use vodka soaked beets. I couldn’t think of anything to do with them!). Store away from sunlight. Vodka will be ready to use and will keep for months. (I store mine in the freezer to keep cold).
Note: I’ll post the recipe for The Babuska cocktail later this week, so you have another way to use your beet vodka!

Ginger simple syrup:
1 small knob of ginger, peeled & cut into small cubes
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup water

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over med-low heat and bring to a gentle boil (or until sugar dissolves). Add in cubed ginger and stir to combine. Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, until the syrup has a fragrant ginger smell/taste. Strain out ginger bits and allow syrup to cool. Store in a sealed container. Will keep for up to a week.

Beet & Quinoa Pancakes

Forgive me if I sound like a world-class drama queen for a moment…but if I see one more heart-shaped Valentine’s recipe I might claw my eyes out. Just saying.

Its not that I hate Valentine’s day or romance…I don’t. I have a Valentine (husband) whom I love very much, and I’m excited for our quiet night in together. I’m just not a fan of the hearts and the cupids, the pink and the red, the chocolates and the teddy bears. Its just not my thing.

So it is a complete coincidence that this recipe happens to be something that is in the Valentine’s color palette. Yes, the beet quinoa pancakes are a vibrant shade of pink/red. Yes, I am posting them on Valentines day. Did I make them for my Valentine? No. I made them for my friend Mari and then a week later, I made them for my family. So take that for what it is, and lets all put this heart-shaped madness behind us.

Now that I have that out of my system, I can tell you without any hesitation that these pancakes are my new favorite breakfast. I’d seen the recipe a while back and placed them on my list of “things to make” in 2011. I was immediately intrigued by their vibrant color, and when I saw that the recipe originate from Kim Boyce, I knew I had to make them. Kim just recently migrated to the Northwest and is the author of “Good to the Grain“, which is a cookbook I’ve been meaning to check out as I am trying incorporate more whole grains into my diet (and Kim is the queen of whole grains!)

There is only one potential problem with these pancakes: you have to get your hands on some quinoa flour. If you are lucky enough to live in Portland, Oregon, you can get quinoa flour from Bob’s Red Mill (You can visit their store & buy their products in bulk or you can get many Bob’s Red Mill products at Portland area grocery stores). However you come by quinoa flour, I highly encourage that you do so. The quinoa adds a distinct (and wonderful) nutty flavor to the pancakes. In addition, quinoa contains no gluten and is a source of complete protein.

Since the pancakes are made up primarily of quinoa flour (and beets!), they are actually good for you. On top of that, they are really quite pretty. And they taste good! In case you need a little more convincing, I’ll mention that these pancakes contain no gluten and very little sugar. The texture is light and fluffy and the flavors are complex and nutty. The beets add a slight sweetness (and the gorgeous color) that pairs nicely with a touch of maple syrup. My family was slightly skeptical when I announced that I planned to make beet quinoa pancakes for a family brunch (they protested that the pancakes sounded too healthy), but I am happy to say that I made believers out of all of them (even my dad had seconds, which is saying a lot). The beet quinoa pancakes were a hit.

So, Happy Valentine’s Day (or Single Awareness Day or Hallmark Cheesy Holiday or whatever you want to call it…).Lets be done with all this heart-shaped madness, and eat some hot pink pancakes! :)

(Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen)

3 small to medium sized red beets

Dry Mix:

1 and 1/2 cups quinoa flour (available from Bob’s Red Mill)

1 cup rice flour (*can use all-purpose flour, but I used rice flour in order to make the pancakes gluten-free)

3 tablespoons dark brown or muscovado sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Mix:

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup plain (non fat) yogurt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 egg


1. Roast the beets, Heat oven to 400 degrees. Trim tops off the beets & wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil. Roast until very tender (prick with a fork or knife), about an hour. Cool, peel, and purée the beets in a food processor or blender until smooth. You will need 1/2 cup of beet purée for the pancakes (any remaining purée can be frozen for later use).

2. Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, melted butter, egg, and 1/2 cup of beet purée until smooth. Using a spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently combine. The batter should be the consistency of lightly whipped cream and crimson in color.

Heat a 10-inch cast-iron pan or griddle over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan. Rub the pan generously with butter. Working quickly, scoop/pour small, flat mounds of batter onto the pan, 2 or 3 at a time. Once bubbles have begun to form on the top side of the pancakes, flip it over and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown (about 5 minutes total). Keep cooking in batches (buttering the pan between each batch) and cook until the batter is gone. (If the pan is too hot or not hot enough, adjust the temp for consistent results).

Serve immediately with maple syrup and butter (if you so desire).